AN: Okay...when I first started writing fanficion, I did it because I would get upset over something that happened, and I would fix it in my own way. "Write" the wrong, so to say. Well...I did that with this year's season finale. Lynch and that talk about sheep farms...Gah!...To be honest, I was mad as hell, and I intended on this being a one shot to get that out...and it ended up being another epic where I worked though my feelings. That being said, this story may not be for everyone...but I can promise it ends up P and D with as much love and care as I give my HEAs...I ended up loving it... I hope you like it, too.
Penelope Lynch hadn't quite known what to expect from a relaxed life away from the BAU, but she hadn't expected this. She was sitting on a front porch in a very old farmhouse, knitting and rocking in her plastic white Adirondack rocker, watching her grouping of white sheep baaing in the breeze. She was retired at the ripe old age of thirty-eight, in an area that didn't have cellular service...or internet access. A techless tech goddess.
Yes, things in Fountain City, Wyoming, were far more laid back and gentle than in Quantico, Virginia.
"Yeeeaaachooo!" her husband sneezed, making her jump in her chair and knock her yarn ball off her lap. The ball rolled slowly across the porch, falling off the side and into the bush, like the famous meatball in the song, On Top of Spaghetti.
Linux, their hairless cat, jumped off the porch and chased after it.
Kevin's allergies were really foul. He had a hard time just about all months of the year in this state. The green grasses, the tall prairies, the dander from the barnyard animals—all of them increased his sneezing. No amount of Nasonex® or Flonase® seemed to help.
And poor Linux was the laughingstock of all the neighborhood cats for no reason...Kevin was still allergic to him, too.
It was one of the many, many poor decisions that Kevin had made with her—spur of the moment ones, from the moment they cashed in their 401k's and left the FBI together, arm in arm last spring.
"All I need is you, Penny," he'd said, those soft brown eyes glistening with hope, like she'd hung the moon for him. She'd never really hung the moon for anyone before.
She weighed it all out at that moment—Derek being courted heavily and possibly leaving for NYC, Prentiss dying, JJ being gone, and the rest of the unit in turmoil. She'd been so upset and worried, her stomach had roiled daily and she'd developed an ulcer.
She'd gone to her best friend for support...
"Baby, hold on there," Derek told her after the trafficking case. "It's going to be all right."
"Can you promise me you'll stay?" she begged. She knew she sounded ridiculous, but she needed him to stay. "Look me in the eyes and promise me, Derek Morgan."
He couldn't answer her with an affirmative...and her heart exited her chest in a blind panic.
"We'll be so happy!" Kevin had said. "A hobby farm out west. I've been looking, Penelope! It's wonderful! A huge white farmhouse, built in the early nineteen hundreds, acres of land, fresh water, and solar lights. It even has a red barn!"
He'd shown her the picture, and she'd fallen in love with him all over again. It had been exactly what she'd needed at exactly the right moment. She'd wanted what he'd offered: security, love, someone else making the decisions...and to never lose another friend to a violent death.
She'd kissed him then and gone for it. They'd gotten married on the way, happy and full of dreams.
The farmhouse ended up being a hundred year old, mice infested dump. Fresh water was a dried up well they'd had to replace a month after moving in, and solar lights were holes in the roof.
It was a dream...a terrible, poorly planned dream.
"Wait! Here," she said, standing up and handing him a tissue before he could wipe his wet nose on his sleeve. Little things like that were really starting to annoy her. Kevin was losing his appeal; his boyish charm seemed more and more incompetent every day, and his lack of taking charge was becoming frustrating.
"I don't see what the big deal is," he said archly, blowing into the tissue, and then still wiping his nose on his cuff.
"Just use the tissue," she said through gritted teeth.
"Farmers have been wiping their noses on their sleeves for years."
That did it. For some reason, she couldn't take it.
She narrowed her eyes at him and put her hands on her hips. "Well, this farmer's wife is sick of cleaning snot from your shirts!"
She stomped up the front steps, hearing the loose boards creaking under her feet. It was too much; the whole place was too much.
Running up the stairs to her bedroom, she looked in the cracked glass at her reflection. She wasn't wearing a stitch of makeup, her hair was growing out into a very drab brown, and she looked every year her age. She opened her closet and saw the last dress she'd worn at the BAU—a white one with a pink bolero sweater. It seemed like a thousand years ago when she'd worn it.
Sitting on her bed, she stared at the dress. She missed her clothes, her technogadgets, her funky pens, and her high heels. She missed her designer purses, her colorful hair, and her lipstick. She missed Rossi, Hotch, and her Boy Wonder.
And most of all, she missed her Hot Stuff.
Derek would've known exactly what to say to make this all better. He always did. He had a knack for turning her worst possible moments into her best. She missed that, missed his laughter and his million watt smile that he'd only given to her. She missed his hugs, and his kisses on the top of her head. He'd know how to make this better, if only—
She turned to look at Kevin and felt a tiny thread of light in her heart building. Maybe he would know what to say to make her realize she hadn't made a huge mistake. That they didn't screw up, using all their savings to fix a roof, a well, a heater... That they didn't need to watch every single penny—"My Penny squeezing pennies!"—because living on love wasn't as fortuitous as it seemed.
Turning her face to her husband, she looked at him and smiled hopefully. "Yes?"
He reached in his pocket and removed a tissue. "I promise to keep some tissues in my pocket from now on. Okay?"
She felt the thread in her heart snap as she stared at him.
Not even close.
Forcing a brittle smile, she said, "Sure. Thanks."
And then he left.
She leaned forward and buried her face in her hands, giving away to hot, desolate tears, before returning to a life of sunsets and sheep.