Season of Love

Episode 11

January 2012

"Have Reid and Prentiss meet us in San Francisco," Hotch ordered Garcia, as he stood up from the table after their team briefing.

"Yes, sir," she answered.

When the other members of the team filed out, Morgan hung back for a moment, going slow in gathering up his paperwork so he could have just a few more seconds to be near his girlfriend. The last couple of months- when they had been dating- had been, bar none, the best of his life.

A part of him had always known he should settle down with that woman but fear and shame had been stronger than desire for way too long- leaving her wondering what was wrong with her that he didn't want her enough to give up his player ways. But it had always been more complicated than that.

He had feared real emotional intimacy. Feared anyone knowing him so well that they found out he wasn't just the hot, funny, smart, accomplished man who had looks and charm overflowing. That deep inside he was dark, damaged in ways that would never heal completely. The fear was driven by shame. The shame of knowing he had left other young boys back in Chicago to endure the abuse he had escaped.

It was different with other women who Derek had dated. He didn't even try to get to that deep level with them where they might know all his demons, see all his faults, get under his mask. With Penelope though there was always this deeper connection that, even years before he could come to terms with it, had hinted to him that he shouldn't go there with her unless he was ready to step up and be a better man.

For the longest time he wrote it off to excuses: we work together, she's too good for me, she's too smart to get with a player, she only likes to flirt with me and doesn't want more anyway. It took him years to admit to himself how damn much he was crazy about her.

Years he had wasted being caught up in fears, shame, and self doubt. Years that they could never get back. Even more years gone because she fell for Lynch.

So much time wasted.

But there was still plenty of time left for them. He had to believe that. Believe that he would make it home from this case and be in her loving arms again.

She caught his gaze, as it lingered on her. With a wink, she told him "Mama will give her boy a reward when he comes home," before she sashayed out of the room.

Derek chuckled beneath his breath as he shook his head at her silliness. She always gave him something to look forward to coming home to.