A/N: This is a little thing I wrote a while ago, but never posted. It's set in the middle of Season 5, after Tamara but before Exit Wounds. Very minor spoilers involved.

Disclaimer: I own nothing of Criminal Minds. I'm just playing a little


"There's a difference, Derek, between just taking what's available because you're horny and really wanting one particular person." Penelope ground out angrily.

The argument had begun out of nowhere. Well no, not really. If she were being honest, Penelope knew exactly where the argument had come from … and who had caused it to start.

After the disaster that had been Tamara, compounded by his stint as Acting Unit Chief, Penelope Garcia and Derek Morgan had faced a surprising dilemma – their friendship, which had sustained them both for over six years, was in danger of falling apart.

Though they both had realized it, neither had known how to begin to fix it. Penelope had been hurt by Derek's apparent dismissal of her sincere advice and by the distance he had seemed to put between them. Derek had been torn between wanting Penelope to be happy – even if that meant distancing himself so that her relationship with Kevin Lynch didn't suffer – and missing her so damn much he hadn't known how to even be without her, and so made foolish decisions – like getting involved with Tamara Barnes.

Then Kevin Lynch chose, for the second time in his and Penelope's relationship, to go through an interview process without informing Penelope until the job was almost his. This time, she'd done nothing to make the opportunity 'disappear' and instead, had allowed him to walk out of her life unchallenged.

The moment Derek found out about it (from a helpful JJ of course), he was in Penelope's office, pulling her up out of her chair and into his arms. He held her tightly, whispering soothing nonsense into her hair, while she cried on his chest. Her best friend had helped her put the hurt behind her, and in a few short weeks, having talked out the things which had shifted them apart, they had been getting back to being themselves again.

That had led to tonight. Derek had asked her to have dinner with him and then had suggested they could go back to his house afterward and watch a few movies; just hang out, like old times, like they'd started to do again so recently. It was never meant to be a date, as far as Penelope was concerned. Never. They didn't do dating. Derek didn't feel that way about her. She'd resigned herself to that by now, despite her own somewhat buried feelings.

Still, she'd enjoyed the compliments he'd lavished on her when he saw her in the new pink and purple, low cut, swirling wrap dress she'd recently bought; she'd enjoyed his attention to her in the restaurant, and she'd had a wonderful evening.

Everything had been wonderful … until they'd returned to his place. As Derek closed the door behind them, and before she could even suggest a movie for them to watch, it had happened.

Derek grasped her shoulder and turned her to face him. As Penelope looked up at him with slightly raised eyebrows and a question in her eyes, his mouth slanted down over hers and he kissed her, deeply and thoroughly. Penelope couldn't help but respond to his kiss. She was partly shocked and partly bemused, but she was mostly sure that she had always wanted to feel his lips on hers.

That was until he broke the spell ...

Derek raised his face from hers, looked into her eyes, and spoke in a sexy, sultry growl she'd never, ever heard him use before, "I want you."

Penelope froze. Then she pulled swiftly out of his arms, stumbling as she backed away, moving from the small foyer into the main living room. Her feet were on automatic, taking her to where she'd been heading before the kiss.

The kiss.

What the hell had Derek been thinking? He didn't really want her. He couldn't. Just because all his dates usually ended up in the bedroom, didn't mean that he … that they …

And this wasn't even a date, dammit! So why? Why now?


Derek had quietly followed Penelope into the living room. Now he stood watching her, knowing that something was terribly wrong, but not what exactly.

He could have sworn that there was something more developing between them. Could it be possible that he was the only one here who wanted that? It didn't bear thinking about, but he had to ask. He couldn't just watch her hurting.

"Baby Girl? What's wrong princess? Talk to me." He spoke gently from behind her.

Penelope spun around to face him, her features shuttered and guarded.

"You don't really want me." Her tone was bitter, angry even, and he responded instinctively.

"What the hell does that mean?"

"You … don't … really … want … me!" she ground the words out slowly.

"I still don't get it." He responded, sounding thoroughly put out … and clearly he was feeling stubborn.

And that was where their argument began … and who started it.