It was a warm, sultry summer night, and the dance floor at Mulligan's Bar was filled to max capacity with sweaty bodies. However, that didn't stop Penelope from going out on the dance floor and shaking it.
Derek watched as she, JJ, and Emily were dancing near the DJ, to "Love Shack" from the B-52's. They looked like they were having the time of their lives, doing some sort of half-organized line dance similar to the Macarena from years ago.
That went out in the nineties, but it didn't matter. She looked fantastic. Regardless of what his Baby Girl did, she did it with style and a zest for life.
The DJ was watching the girls, obviously liking the attention he was getting from Derek's beautiful teammates. Derek didn't mind; the kid was dividing it up evenly amongst the three ladies. If he leered too long at Penelope, that would be a different story. Derek would have to go knock his head into a wall.
After all, she was his...even if she wouldn't admit it.
That brought a whole other slew of thoughts to his head—ones he didn't really like thinking about too much. A couple of months ago, Derek finally felt the time was right for them. She'd dumped her old boyfriend, Lynch, and Derek, not wanting to waste any time, had taken her aside...
"Penelope...I want to go out with you."
She laughed. "Silly boy, we do go out."
"No, baby," he said, reaching a hand to touch her cheek like he had a million times before. There was no hiding it; he'd always wanted her. "I know you know what I mean. We've been dancing around each other for years."
He saw the awareness flare in her eyes, along with the excitement—a complete mirror of what he felt.
And then doubt crossed her pretty face. "D...I..."
There was no more doubt for Derek. "It's time for us, Baby Girl," he reassured her. "You let me know when you're ready."
Two months later, he was still a single and frustrated man.
Now, he was the one with all the doubts. He'd thought the feeling was mutual. Everyone else in the BAU had thought the same thing. Penelope had been avoiding being alone with him. He'd started thinking he was completely wrong... Maybe they really were just friends?
The strains to the "Time Warp" from the Rocky Horror Picture Show began, and the girls squealed so loudly, he could hear them back in the booth where he, Hotch, and Reid were sitting.
"They're crazy, aren't they?" Hotch said, taking a sip of his beer.
"Absolutely certifiable, I believe," Reid agreed, swirling his wine in his glass.
Derek laughed and shook his head. This was the third line dance in a row the DJ had played. At this rate, Penelope would be out on the dance floor all night, while the schwarmy kid spinning discs played every eighties tune he could think of.
Now was a good time to step outside for a bit.
"Excuse me, guys," Derek said, standing up. He was reaching into his back pocket before he even made it to the club doors...
"Derek Morgan, put that thing out."
Penelope watched as Derek turned from talking to another patron, a lit white cigarette hanging from his gorgeous lips. He'd been promising her that he'd quit for a very long time now, but he hadn't succeeded.
She couldn't understand it. He had such willpower in everything else. He watched what he ate, insisting that he was forty now, and his metabolism wasn't what it used to be. (She, of course, thought he was lying completely!) He exercised like a fiend, making her sweat just watching him. He'd even paid off his house ten years early by disciplining his spending.
But he couldn't quit smoking.
He blew a long stream of the smoke up in the air, far away from her. "Baby, don't give me shit, now..."
She scrunched her nose and waved the air in front of her, even though the smoke was nowhere near her. "Oh, yes, I will give you pooh about this. You told me you were quitting."
He shook his head. "I told you I was trying to quit."
She placed her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes at him. "Are you?"
"Baby, when have I ever lied to you?"
She kept the stance.
He rolled his eyes, put his cigarette back in his mouth, and reached into his pockets. He removed his pack of smokes and put it on the wall, and then rumbled around some more in his pockets.
"Here," he mumbled around the cigarette, tossing some packets at her.
She leaned against the wall where he was standing and watched as the end of his cigarette glowed devil red in the dark as he inhaled. In her hands, she held packs of nicotine lozenges and nicotine gum. She felt terrible for being accusatory; she knew he hadn't lied to her. She loved him too much and just...hated smoking.
She couldn't be around that every day, watching him slowly kill himself, like her grandfather had, dying of emphysema.
"Derek, I wouldn't say anything if I didn't care," she said softly.
"Sweetheart, I know that," he replied. "But that doesn't make quitting any easier."
"But there are a million good reasons to quit smoking," she pleaded.
"I know. Good health, the environment," he replied. "All that."
"You forgot a very, very important one," she added, nodding crisply at him.
He arched his brow, before blowing a cloud of smoke out of the corner of his mouth. "What's that?"
"Not smoking will make you more attractive to the opposite sex."
Both of Derek's brows shot upward, and then he burst out laughing. He laughed for so long, tears of mirth formed in his eyes and he coughed a little.
"Smoker's hack?" she retorted smoothly.
Derek wiped the tears from his face, and then narrowed his eyes at her. "Woman, do you really think I have a hard time getting women because I smoke?"
"You are single..."
He snorted. "By choice! Baby, I could have any girl, any time, any way I wanted."
She shook her head. "Not any girl."
He glared at her, scoffed, and then reached for another cigarette. She cringed at the chain smoking, while he used the stump of his first one to light the second.
"Derek, some women do not like kissing ashtrays," she replied. "No matter how hot the man is."
He was quiet for a moment, frowning, a pensive look on his face...and then realization hit. "Some women, Penelope Garcia? Or you?"
Penelope nodded, crossing her arms over her chest. "Both."
"Oh, hell, no." He tossed the cigarette he was going to light aside angrily. "That is stupid. My smoking isn't a reason not to get with me, Baby Girl."
"It is for me."
"But you know we'd be perfect together, woman!" he snapped. "We are like yin and yang, sun and moon, chocolate and vanilla."
"Damn it, I love you, Penelope, you know that!" he yelled, running a hand over his head like he was looking for hair to pull, but had forgotten there wasn't any. He tugged her into his arms, a desperate reach for her. "Baby, we are meant to be together."
She pushed him away. "Not if you smoke. I won't watch you do that to yourself."
"Fine," he snipped with a shrug, reaching onto the ledge for another smoke. "Your loss."
Instead of being hurt, Penelope felt angry. He was much stronger than that pack of Marlboros on the ledge. Their love was a lot stronger than that stupid pack of cancer sticks.
"Derek," she said, taking a step closer to him and pulling the cigarette out of his mouth. "I think you may need some incentive to quit."
A second later, she looped her arms around his neck, stood on her tip toes, and gave him their first—and perhaps only, she realized sadly—kiss.
His lips were soft under hers, and tasted just slightly of the beer he'd drunk, along with a stronger hint of tobacco. She felt waves of awareness wash over her, electric tingles. Soon, he reached for her again, molding her body against his as his tongue breached her lips and dove into her mouth.
She closed her eyes as his tongue made deep, dark strokes in her mouth. Flashes of light, erotic, dancing streaks that resembled fireworks filled her body, played behind her lids as she clung back to him. This was perfection. This was her soul mate. This was her perfect match. She'd been waiting her entire life for a kiss like this...
And then she tasted the tobacco again.
She tried to tear her mouth away from his and succeeded only in shifting positions, giving him a different angle. She surrendered again to the kiss, letting herself fall deeper, but forced herself to stay aware. He was holding her aloft, his hands under her bottom. She hadn't even needed to stand on her tiptoes; he was supporting her weight.
"Derek," she murmured.
"Baby," he whispered, kissing her cheek, her neck. "My baby...my Penelope..."
She said the hardest words she'd ever had to say. "Please...let me go."
He stiffened and raised his head. He gave her a look, a long look of disbelief...and then he released her.
She turned and ran off the patio, but not before she heard the distinctive rasp of a lighter. Tears rolled slowly down her face as she made her way through the busy club, past the other patrons, and out the front door.
AN: It's been awhile since I've done anything angsty! I wrote this because of a small video, watching Shemar smoking while he sang to Kirsten. It is incredibly hard to quit, and staying smoke free is even harder. I'm not saying it is the same for others, only saying what's been my experience. I feel for both of them here. Unfortunately, I'm Derek here.