Title: The Goddess of Small Things: A Study in Contrasts
Author: dannica webb
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Category: Drama, UST
Spoilers: About Face
Summary: Penelope is different from other women. Dave is about to find out just how different. Post-ep for About Face.
A Study in Contrasts
She's at his house.
She's sitting in his goddamned living room when he gets home from changing Gideon's nameplate to his own. On his handmade Italian leather sofa.
He doesn't have a chance to admire how the cream of her skin looks against the soft burgundy, because when he steps through the door and realizes the alarm has already been disarmed, the hair on the back of his neck stands up. He pulls his sidearm and steps out of the foyer to stand with his back against the wall, hands extended in front of him. If it weren't for the moonlight illuminating the face of his intruder, he might have taken the shot.
She's staring down the barrel of his gun and her big brown eyes are wide as saucers but she doesn't even flinch. Just picks up the file lying on the coffee table and extends it to him, her hand mostly steady. Her voice only breaks a little when she says, "I brought what you asked for."
"Jesus," he gasps, swearing under his breath as he clicks the safety back on the weapon and drops it into the table before falling into the chair next to the couch. "Are you trying to get yourself killed?"
"They would have noticed if I'd gone in your office when you got back," she says by way of explanation. "You said you wanted to keep it between us." The way she catches her lower lip between her teeth, chewing off a little of her bright lipstick, betrays her nervousness.
He leans over to take the file from her hand and sets it back on the table. "Would you like something to drink?" She's dressed in more muted colors than she was when he first saw her in the conference room – green, but her headband is sparkling. Her blonde hair is pulled up off her neck and tendrils frame her face.
She's still just as beautiful.
He shakes off the thought. His reputation precedes him, and Aaron would skin him alive if he thought Dave was going after any of the team. And it's clear from the way they spoke to her during the investigation that they very much consider her a part of the team.
He can't help, though, the way his eyes follow the curve of her neck as she tilts her head. She leans over to turn on the lamp at the side table, bathing the room in a warm glow.
Most people would look up – would be curious about their surroundings the first time entering a coworker's home. But he doesn't think she snooped around before he arrived, and her eyes stay on his face, her stare a little unnerving.
"Tell me about them."
It takes him a second to realize she's not answering his question. She casts a pointed glance to the file before her eyes flicker back to his face.
He sighs and scrubs a hand over his face, leaning back into the chair. "Most people would have read the file, not just printed it out." He loosens his tie wearily as he speaks.
"It felt like an invasion of privacy," she says, slipping off her sandals and tucking her feet underneath herself.
"But cracking my alarm code didn't." His lips twist wryly as he looks over at her, then he stands and walks past the bookshelves to the side bar. "Scotch?"
"I have to drive home," she says to his back.
He twists around, the decanter still in his hand. "You get drunk after one glass?"
She waves a dismissive hand. "I never drink when I'm driving. And I'm not thirsty."
"This case," he says quietly as he pours himself a tumbler full, "always makes me need a stiff drink." When he makes his way back to the chair, she's leaning on the arm of the couch, her chin in her hand.