DISCLAIMER: I own nothing

A/N: So just a little fic while I work on something bigger ;), hope you all enjoy how this runs out!

This is for my favourite Rossi lover, Sangreal7, who is one of the best people ever and edits most of my writing for me! So count this as a thank you (for EVERYTHING)! =)

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Love's Effect -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Penelope felt the relief surge through her body. He was waking, meaning he was going to be okay. After all the panic and worry and waiting it was finally over because he was waking up and he was coming back to her.

Then as soon as her happiness began to burst it was crushed.

"I think you can leave now, Penelope," a snide voice said, and Penelope didn't need to look up to know who it was, "I think you've done what you needed to."

Penelope looked up into Laura's face and strained a smile, "Keep him rested." Penelope said and got up and left the room. She didn't want this to fall into another argument. There had been too many of them in the two months that Laura and Derek had been officially dating and right now, with him in a hospital bed, he didn't need them at loggerheads.

So Penelope gracefully got up and for the first time since sitting beside him, holding a powerful vigil for his fast recovery she left the room without touching Derek, or dropping a kiss on his forehead.

At that moment, Penelope felt more like she was being denied access from the room rather than being allowed to leave on her own free will.

After near enough a week of sitting by his side, praying for him to wake up, she was now made to feel like the unwanted party and with it her adrenaline left every inch of her body. Her head felt weird as she left. Her life took a newer surreal turn; somewhat becoming a little bit darker than it had been, daunting and haunting and all she could do was slowly feel herself begin to break and every defence mechanism she had to compartmentalise was destroyed in a few words exchanged between her and her assumed archenemy.

And the thing was, Derek would never know the effect that Laura had on Penelope because she held his happiness in the highest regard and she would wait for the demise of the relationship, if it ever came, but she wouldn't trample on it. That wasn't Penelope and she wasn't about to become that type of person.

So she kindly did the right thing as far as Laura was concerned and left the room, left Derek behind and was going to go home and finally get the rest her body was screaming for and she would wait for whatever tale Laura spun to be caught out as a lie.

"You should stick around you know," Rossi said as he watched Penelope rush past; he pushed off of the wall and stepped out behind her, "Let him know you've been here."

Penelope turned around, running a hand through her hair, her eyes stained with the same sadness that she had kept the moment she was told he had slipped into the coma. She tried to be brave, God did she try to be brave in front of one of the toughest men she knew.

"I think it's best I went home, Boss Man," She told him with a hug, her eyes boiling the tears away, her voice slick with upset, "He's got what he needs."

"So what about the woman that sat by his bed side until he began to wake up?" Rossi asked her as he took a choice step forward. "What about the woman that sobbed her heart dry in my arms at the fear she felt at losing him?"

"None of that matters when I'm not who he loves." Penelope told him as a tear fell and she dropped her gaze. "Plus, she wolf doesn't want me there and Derek doesn't need stress. He needs to get better."

"Oh Bella," Rossi spoke softly as he wiped a tear away from her cheek, "What he needs is his best friend. Not some girl that claimed she couldn't come near him until he was awake." Rossi told her honestly, a gentle smile on his lips. "And he doesn't need to be lied to because we all know that all Laura's going to do now is tell him how worried she was, how long the nights have been and how hard the days have gotten when she has no idea what it was like to be in your shoes."

"Rossi, I'm not his girlfriend, never am, never will be." Penelope told him, "I'm just a girl that became his baby girl and that's all I'll ever be to Derek. However much it breaks my heart in the process, I'll only ever love a man that I can't have."

"You need to give him a chance, Penelope," Rossi told her gently, "Let him know what he has waiting around."

"What he has waiting around is her," Penelope told him, motioning back to the room, "It doesn't matter if I'm here, or you're here, or his mom's here. All that matters is that she's there now and she's who he's going to need."

Rossi inhaled deeply, taking her hand in his, "I wasn't going to do this but now I think it's time you knew." He watched confusion cast upon Penelope's face, "He said your name before he passed out from blood loss, Penelope. That says a lot more than anything."

"I was the one directing you guys; I was the last voice before he was shot." Penelope told him, "It was just a reaction to that."

Rossi chuckled at her, "We could all say that but the truth of the matter is so much deeper than that and we all know that fact very well." He saw her not look wavered by that matter anymore than she was, "Why can't you see it?"

"Because I've tried and tried to get him to look at me like that for six years and never once have I seen it." Penelope replied, "That's just how mine and Derek's relationship is. He gets hurt, I panic, I worry, my heart breaks and he never notices how much it hurts me and then we just resume course as we did before."

"This time he is hurt a little more than he ever was." Rossi tried to prompt her to do what was obviously right.

Penelope's lip trembled, "What's the use when Laura's around?"

Rossi watched Penelope's heart shatter bit by bit, chunks of it falling off and he knew that Derek Morgan was the blindest man that walked the earth. He couldn't see what an amazing woman he had in front of him. He didn't see what type of women sacrificed her life just to get him to wake up, just for her world to resume some form of ease and normalcy. However, now he was awake, Penelope's world didn't seem to have taken a turn for the better. She was still stuck in the frame of mind she had been thrown into the moment she saw Derek laying in the hospital bed with a tube breathing for him.

He could still see her registered fear, the one that showed him how scared she was lose him from her life.

"Come on, Kitten, I think you need a time out and a strong drink." He said and walked towards her, turning her around and walking towards the elevator, all the time keeping a strong arm around her shoulders to show her his support.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Love's Effect -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-