A/N: Set after Profiler Profiled. I'm assuming that Morgan went off the grid for a day or two after coming back from Chicago. This is the first time Garcia sees him since she worked out what had happened to him.
Song: Every Breath by Boyce Avenue
I'll be updating Cross Wires next, this one just wouldn't leave me alone :)
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing :'(
It sounds like this is nothing new and that it hasn't been for awhile,
You wake up on the other side and you strain to force a smile
The fairytale inside your head has become your new best friend
But I can assure you, that I'll be there 'fore the story ends
Walking into the bullpen on the first day we're all supposed to be back in the office as normal my eyes go straight to your desk; but you are not there yet. I need to see you, to make sure that you are hanging in there. You wouldn't answer any calls over the past few days. The only reply I got was a text that read: "I'm fine Baby Girl" after I had sent one to say I wouldn't call anymore but you could call me if you wanted. I know you are far from fine. I know that you won't come to me unless you absolutely have to because you're afraid to look weak, afraid to be vulnerable in front of someone and my heart aches because you should know that it does not matter to me: you have seen me at my worst, at my best and everything in between and you kept me strong throughout, I wish I could do the same for you. But I know that you have to deal with some of this alone; I just wish that there was nothing for you to have to deal with in the first place.
I'm waiting for you to come in, waiting to see that handsome face of yours, to hear that gravelly voice as you greet me good morning. You finally walk in as I'm grabbing my morning dose of caffeine, I watch as you sit down at your desk and my heart goes out to you. To all the terrible things you had to endure in silence. You think you are doing a good job of hiding your feelings – like you did in hiding this secret – but you are not. You may have succeeded in hiding your past but you cannot hide your present. I know you, Derek Morgan, I can tell by the slightest twitch of your eyebrow and the slightly forced placid expression on your face that you are definitely not ok. And you have every right not to be. But the one thing I hate to see right now is that you are ashamed; there is no reason for you to be ashamed my love, what happened is not your fault, it does not make me see you any differently, only understand you more. That is what I want to tell you as I head towards your desk, but I bite my tongue because you don't want to talk about it, but I will be there to listen when you are ready. If you ever are.
You sit and stare at the desk as I approach and for a second my heart thunders at the thought that you are going to ignore me. I didn't want what I now know to come between us. I know that you know that I know about it, and the others have made their guesses, however educated they may be but they will not say a word, that's down to me, and for once I wish that it wasn't.
I shouldn't have worried. Our usual morning greeting gets batted back and forth and yet it's bittersweet because I know that today your heart isn't in it, that it's a struggle for you to sound cheery and it is partly for me too when all I want to do is wrap you up in a hug and never let you go. There is a look in your eye as you try for normalcy, a look that tugs further at my heart; it's a look I have never seen from you before. I only realise what it looked like when I am safely tucked away in my office. It looked like you were pleading with me, but for what? For normalcy? For me to ask you the one question I do not dare ask, at least not here?
You have held this secret inside for so long, not telling a soul, not breathing a word, and I know that you have tried to forget and that you never will. That you wish that it had never happened, but you also know that it made you who you are today and I know that as much as I wish it had not happened it brought you to me so I cannot wish it away with all my heart, instead I want to remind you that pretending that it didn't happen does not help, pushing it down, squashing it away only makes it grow stronger, increasing its hold on you as struggle beneath its burden but I can't find the words and I know that now is not the right time for them even if I could.
You made your own story up in your head that covered up the inconsistencies on those very rare occasions when you talked about your past. I don't care for fairy tales, not for these types anyway. I want to reach out and touch you, to reassure you that you do not need those stories anymore, that this time you do not need to hide behind the false tales, that I know you, I love you and this does not change that.
'Cause when I needed a place to hang my heart
You were there to wear it from the start
And with every breath I make, you'll be the only light I see
I'm racing to the finish line of a lifetime has barely started
The piece of mine I left behind, I pray you keep in your perfect garden
You waited on the minute hand on the countdown to last for days
But I'm here to tell you, it won't be long before I'm here to stay
Because no matter what you have been there for me, for the simple to the complex. The (over)protector before dates, the Knight in Shining Armour when dates were going horrendously, the bear after the Dan fiasco; protecting me fiercely and with love, the therapist when my head's been spinning with too many thoughts about cases, you are the vicious guard dog that guards the castle of my heart, reminding me over and over of my worth and the love you have for me, the best friend whenever you are just there for me in your scary, almost telepathic, moments when you wipe away my tears and hold me close. I never feel safer than I do when I am cocooned in your warm embrace, it's as if you are shielding the rest of the world from me, and I wish that – when you are ready, if you are ready – you give me the chance to do the same for you.
I want to tell you all of this, I want to scream it from the rooftops to make you believe me, but I can't. I'm scared to push you too hard, but all I want to do is help you, help you like you help me all of the time. Only this time it's the opposite way and the issue is of much higher order. It is not a nightmare I am helping to chase away, this time I would be trying to chase the demons themselves, the dark brooding ones that lurk in the darkest places you have kept hidden away from the world. I wonder if you will let me try and help with it. Either way, if you want me to or not, I know that I am going to try. I love you too much to watch you suffer this way.
I see you again at lunch time and again I bite my tongue: work is not the place for the kind of conversation I want to have with you and I know that you would not answer me if I did ask it here. Here you do not show weakness, here you are always strong, here you are hiding behind your macho persona. I hope that you don't stay hidden behind that when you are at home, even heroes need a break, especially damaged ones like you. Watching you as you try to make casual conversation with the team as we eat is almost painful. It is clear to all of us that you are not all there, that you really don't want to be there at that moment, and yet that you also wouldn't want to be anywhere else. At least here you can pretend, even for a little while, that everything is normal, that nobody knows anything and you can shove all your emotions down and ignore it all. The rest of the team knows exactly what's going on, I can see it in their eyes, in their questioning gazes they shoot at you and you pointedly ignore and the ones they shoot at me, silently asking if you are ok, if you will be ok. I know you will be. In time. I'm not going to let you collapse completely, I can't let you. Everything happens for a reason, I cling to that as I watch you try and put a clamp on your emotions when Reid mentions our possible next cases, as you grapple to focus your already overloaded mind on work to keep it from straying. I wonder when you will break completely. It's not even been a day back to work and you are struggling so much. As I watch you try and interact with them some more I know where I will be tonight – as if there was any doubt really, I wouldn't be anywhere else but yours.
You need me. You may not want to admit it, but right now it's hurting me too much to watch you hurting and not do a thing.
The weightlessness and the lack of rest
Away from you, I'm in over my head
Even when it's dark before the dawn
I will feel your grace and carry on
And with every breath I need, you'll be the only light I see
You didn't say a word when you opened the door, it was as if you knew I was coming. But of course you did, you know me so well. You try to smile at me but it falls flat and I smile softly back anyway. I decide that there is no use in a pretence of why I'm here, you can see right through me.
"I'm worried about you." I say softly into the somewhat tense silence that had enveloped us when I closed the door behind me. You just look at me, your face still a mask of non-emotion and I want to shake you, to make you react, but I don't. I know you'll talk to me if you want to, but right now I just want to be there in case you need me.
"I know." You reply, your voice is hoarse and you look surprised, as if you hadn't meant to say it aloud.
"I just want you to know I'm here Derek, if you ever want someone to talk to, someone to listen, or even just someone to be there. You don't have to be alone." I say. It's almost as if I'm pleading with you to let me stay, to let me help you, to let me do something.
"I know." You say again, but this time your lips quirk, it's not nearly a smile but it's something. You turn and head towards your living room. I guess that is my cue to follow, so I do.
You're sitting on the couch, the game is on but I know you're not watching. You turn it off as I sit down next to you. I take a deep breath, readying myself to be the strong one for once. And then you begin to talk, in a voice almost devoid of emotion and my heart is breaking. You won't look at me, or maybe it's more you feel that you can't and at this moment I am glad you aren't because I am sure I've gone red. I am most certainly seeing it.
That man was a monster. In fact, he can't even be called a man. He's a despicable monster. I cannot get my head around it, no matter what I have seen on the job it still does not make sense, and this time it's personal, so much so that it is hurting me just to hear about it, and I know that even now you are holding some things back. I smile, you, my gorgeous loveable hunk of man hero, are still trying to protect me from the bad things of the world even when you are in this state. It makes me love you more, and want to shake sense into you all at the same time.
You stop suddenly, taking in a jagged breath. I still don't say a word, I fear if I do the spell will be broken and you'll shut right down on me again, locking yourself away once more. I was right to stay silent.
I place my hand on your thigh and you flinch ever so slightly, but I see it. It causes my heart to ache. You have gone so deep into yourself that right now everything is Buford. I take your callused hand in mine, squeezing it reassuring you; I am here, I am real, he cannot hurt you anymore. You turn to me and I think my heart splinters into a thousand pieces; you are crying. Big fat tears trail down your cheeks as silent rivers. I bite my lip. I want nothing more than to hug you to me and never let you go. I can feel my eyes welling up as you speak judderingly of why and how you got out, of what finally made you run from the man that had turned from mentor to tormentor in your thirteen year old eyes.
I try so hard not to cry, try to stay the strong one, but I can't. The tears fall down my cheeks traitorously and I wish I could stop them when I see the look of horror that crosses your face.
"I shouldn't have said that, I shouldn't have said that, I shouldn't have said that." You begin to say in a panic, almost horrified that you've horrified me. You should know me better than that. It would never be you I was horrified in. Never.
I tell you that, forcefully. I make you sit and face me, taking your face in my hands. My tears have stopped but yours are still falling. I don't think you've even noticed.
I wipe your tears away softly, my heart aching at seeing you so sad, so broken.
"You are my best friend, and I love you. No matter what, you hear me?" You don't say anything. "Do you hear me?" I ask again, more forcefully this time, and you look up from your lap and into my eyes for the first time tonight.
"I do." You say so softly that if I hadn't been so close to you I would not have heard it.
"That man was not a man, he was a monster. You did not ask for any of it, you did not know any better. It is not your fault. You were a child Derek. No child should ever have to bear the burdens that you've had to. No man should either." I still have my hands on your face, my thumb is still stroking your cheek. You shut your eyes and lean in to my touch.
"I know." You say in a voice so hoarse from tears and talking.
"Good." I say in a soft but strong voice and I feel tears welling up in my eyes again when you open your eyes to look at me again. This time instead of them being devoid of emotion or full of heartbreak you look at me with your eyes filled with hope and if I'm not mistaken, love, and it takes my breath away and scares me at the same time. I never knew what it felt like to be the light at the end of the tunnel for anyone, not truly, but I do now. I'm not anybody's hero and yet you are looking at me as if I am.
"Will you stay the night Penelope?" You ask me, your eyes so hopeful.
"If you want me to." I say, moving my hands from your face, all at once feeling silly for still caressing your cheeks. Your tears stopped long ago. You grab my hand in yours, bringing it back to your face. I follow our joined hands with my eyes. You kiss my palm softly before taking a stronger grasp on my hand and leading me to your room.
"I don't want to be alone tonight." You say softly as we stand facing your bed. It's almost a terrifying prospect. You want me to chase away the nightmares and stop the demons taking hold. I don't know if I can do it, we've never shared a bed, not once, and I don't even think I can help you. Even in your present emotionally messed up state you seem to know what I'm thinking. "I need you Baby Girl." You plead, squeezing my hand.
At those five words I crawl in to the bed, not caring that I'm still in my clothes, and pull you in with me, moulding our bodies together. I feel you sag against my back and feel the warmth of your breath on my neck as you sigh and snuggle in closer. I pull your arm around me and sink back into you as well, I realise that I needed this, needed you as much as you needed me at this moment.
When I wake up during the night to you mid-nightmare I know what to do instinctively: I pull you closer, I place kisses to your face and I whisper that I am there in your ear, that you are safe. It works, your breathing regulates, your body relaxes and in your sleepy state you move closer to the warmth of my body. I curl up at your side and sleep comes quickly.
In my half awake-half asleep moment I wish that I never had to leave this spot.