Title: What I need

Fandom: Criminal Minds

Pairing: Morgan/Garcia, Garcia/Kevin? Kinda both.

Prompt for 24 runes: # 10 Nauthiz (distress, confusion, conflict and the power of will to overcome them)

Word count: 1313

Rating: K

Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time. No copyright infringement is intended. The idea of the story and the story itself – including all possible chapters, pre- or sequels – belong to me.

Summary: Penelope is having a hard time once a year – and there's only one person who can help her get over it.

warnings: spoilers for season 3

AN: I'm still trying to get better on updating regularly. ;) But I can't just forget about this challenge. Only two stories to go. It's possible that the next story will be a sequel to this one, but I'm not sure about it yet.

I'm also working on updates of the other stories, so don't worry about them. But now, I hope you enjoy this little story.

"Come on, why don't you tell me where you're going?" Kevin complained once again.

"I'm sorry, but I can't," was all she replied. She felt like she'd explained it about two hundred times within the last two hours, and she was simply tired of having to repeat herself all over again.

"Then let me go with you!" he begged again.

"No," she snorted slightly. Why couldn't he simply leave her alone? "As I told you, this is my business – and mine alone!"

"Okay, but…"

"Kevin, that is out of the question, so leave it alone!" she interrupted him.

It was clear that she was getting angry, and he didn't want to make her angry. So he remained silent and watched her pack her bag. All he knew was that she had taken two days off and wanted to fly to California.

It wasn't that he didn't trust her, but he wanted to be a part of her life – and he was sure that he could make her let him be. So he'd booked a flight to California as well, anxious to arrive earlier than she did.

He had to wait for almost an hour until her flight finally arrived. He saw her waiting for her luggage, saw her calling for a cab. He'd hired a car so he could easily follow her cab to the hotel where she stayed for the night.

And then he waited again. About two hours later, he saw her leave the hotel and call for another cab. He followed her again. He started to feel like the excessively jealous boyfriend who had to watch his girlfriend the whole day long. He just needed to know where she was going.

It was partly because he was curious, but mostly because he was worried. She'd been quite distraught lately. She'd even looked sad when she'd been packing her suitcase. That was why he needed to follow her. He needed to know what was bothering her so much.

The cab stopped in front of a flower shop, and Penelope obviously told the driver to wait for her, because that was what he did. After only a few minutes, she left the shop with a huge bouquet of colorful flowers – mostly carnations.

The next stop was in front of a cemetery. This time, the cab took off.

Kevin started to feel very awkward. He shouldn't have followed her and spied on her like that. She wanted to be left alone, visiting the grave of whoever she had lost – probably her parents; she never talked about them.

But he couldn't back off now. She looked so sad, and he had to at least try and offer some comfort. So he entered the cemetery about five minutes after she had. It took him a few minutes until he found her standing in front of the grave.

"He's really nice," Kevin heard her say. "He takes good care of me, and… I'm rather sure you would have liked him. Oh, well, you actually wouldn't, 'cause he is a computer geek, just like me. I know you never believed in all the new technology."

There was a long pause, before she continued.

"I miss you." Her voice was barely above a whisper and clearly filled with tears. "Even after so many years. Sometimes, I just miss talking to you, and… well, at the moment, I could really use your advice or just someone who listens. I have to make a few decisions, and I'm not sure what to do…"

Advice? Decisions? What was she talking about?

"I can talk to JJ most of the time – she's a very good friend – but she has a lot of things to deal with at the moment." She sniffled a little. "And then there's Derek, but I can't talk to him. Not this time."

Kevin's heart cramped when he saw her wipe the tears from her face.

"I… just wish you were still here," Penelope whispered, all in tears now.

That was enough! He simply couldn't stand it any longer. He should be there holding her, comforting her. So he took a step forward from where he was hiding behind a tree.

She heard the familiar footsteps come closer. She'd told him – just as everyone else – that she wanted to do this alone, but she was glad that he hadn't listened to her. Just as she was about to lose it because all the memories of the day she'd suddenly lost both her parents came back, he was there – and she wanted him to be there, with her.

He carefully placed the bouquet of white carnations on top of the grave, took a step back, and placed his arm gently around her shoulders without saying a word.

Penelope leaned her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes. She hadn't visited the grave of her parents since the day she'd buried them here. She'd been afraid that she would break down if the memories came back. Just thinking about her parents usually made her feel lonely.

But his strong arms and the warmth of his embrace soothed her. She had found a new family – and at least one of them cared so much about her that he'd flown all the way to California just to be with her and comfort her.

Penelope turned a bit and wrapped her arms around his body, enjoying the warmth his full embrace offered. That was one of the reasons she loved him so much. He didn't have to ask where she was going or what was going on or what she needed and wanted the most in the world. He just knew.

That was why she'd been wavering. She was caught in the middle. She was dating Kevin, and she loved him. But her heart kept telling her that she was supposed to be with Derek. She'd wanted to make a decision whether she should act on her feelings or not. Now she felt like he had made the decision for her.

He gently kissed the top of her head, and then leaned his head against hers. Of course, she'd told him to leave her alone, but when he'd heard that she was flying to California, he'd known why she did it – and he simply couldn't let her do this all on her own. He needed to be with her and make sure she knew that there were still people who cared.

Kevin froze in the middle of the movement when he saw Derek Morgan approaching his girlfriend. What was he doing here? Was he the reason Penelope hadn't wanted him to go with her?

At least he seemed to have known where she was going and why she'd come here. He'd even brought flowers along. He caught her in his arms, kissed her head, and offered her the comfort Kevin, as her boyfriend, was supposed to give her.

He clenched his fists and desperately wanted to jump at the two of them and take them to the task, but that definitely wasn't the moment.

"Thank you," he heard Penelope sniffle. "I'm glad you're here."

"You should have known I'd never let you do this alone," Derek softly said.

Penelope raised her head to look at him.

Derek locked eyes with her for a moment, smiled, and gently stroked her cheek.

She smiled back at him, and then leaned her head back against his chest.

Kevin turned and hurried back to his rental car. He didn't need to see or hear anything else. The look in their eyes had spoken volumes at least to him. He would go back to Quantico for now. And when she was back, he would confront her with all this.

He knew it would be useless, though, so maybe he should just leave a note for Penelope and never bother her again.

She wasn't his; she'd probably never been.