Author's Note: Hi, ya'll. There are so many exciting things going on over at "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" forum this week! First, we have a brand new April challenge up for those that wish to participate. All the details can be found there, but basically, sign up to write your favorite character. You'll be assigned a random Original Character to pair them with in some capacity. For example, sign up with "David Rossi" and you might be assigned the OC of the second Mrs. David Rossi. Sign-ups are through March 31,2012.
Also, there's a brand new "Author of the Week" thread and this week our spotlight is on the fabulous jekkah. And, we've added a new discussion thread, "The OCs of Criminal Mind" for productive conversation regarding original characters.
Fortune Cookie Friday prompts are up for your consideration. And, we'd still like to hear from you on the idea of a Criminal Minds Fanfiction Reading Day. The idea is to choose one Sunday a month to set aside for reading and reviewing the many fantastic stories in the CM fandom. Swing by and comment on any of our discussion threads. We'd love to have you.
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As always, Happy Reading!
Mars and Venus
"I told her that I couldn't be there for her. Not on this," he admitted softly, staring at the rug beneath his feet as equal parts shame and misery washed over him. "That's why I'm here, Jayje. I need you," he said, leveling the blonde with a look that begged for her understanding.
"Me?" JJ echoed, arching one blonde brow as she looked pointedly at the man who had interrupted her precious sleep. "Derek, you're Penelope's best friend,." JJ shook her head.
"And you're her best girlfriend. JJ," Derek said, struggling for the words. "This is just too…hard. Watching her with him this last year…I feel like it's eaten away at my soul, gnawing away at everything that makes me who I am. I want what's best for her. I want her to be happy. But listening to her go back and forth about Lynch is like being slowly tortured."
Seeing the pain etched on Derek Morgan's granite hard face, JJ faltered, her earlier frustration fading slightly. "You're in love with her, Derek," JJ said, giving voice to the truth she'd always known. "And not just in that, "let me be there for you" kind of way. You're in so deep, you're drowning. And now, you realize exactly what you stand to lose if she says yes to Kevin."
Not bothering to deny the obvious, Derek asked hoarsely, "How long have you known?"
Merely offering him a derisive eye roll, she snorted, "How long have I been at the Bureau? The only two people on the planet that haven't figured out where you two stand are our guests from Mars and Venus."
"Smartass," Derek grumbled. Hell, he knew she had a point. He hadn't exactly done an expert job at concealing his feelings for his Princess, but damn, he didn't think he'd been quite so obvious either. Hell, he flirted with everybody…well, almost everybody. Try as he might, he hadn't yet found much to admire about Erin Strauss.
"Face it, Derek. You've got dog in the manger syndrome. You were perfectly content to let things go between Kevin and Garcia until it looked like it might actually evolve into a committed relationship. Now that it could go either way, you're like a dog with his favorite bone. And, Penelope is that bone."
"Jayje…" Derek shook his head.
"Don't Jayje me, Derek!" JJ retorted sharply, interrupting his certain denials. "Deny it if you can," she invited heatedly, the urge to wrap her fingers around his corded neck and squeeze the life out of him for his stupidity nearly overwhelming her.
"I want what's best for her. If that's Kevin, so be it. All I'm saying is that you're gonna have to take point on this particular Penelope adventure. I can't do it. She needs somebody to vent on…but, I can't be impartial. Not about her."
"Of course, you can't. Because after nearly a decade of flirting back and forth, it's time to either crap or get off the pot. And instead of being honest about your feelings, you want to just fade into the background and hope she picks you. It's like a bad romantic comedy," she said in disgust as she flopped back against a cushion. "Newsflash, Morgan, this isn't a frigging movie. She can't make a choice unless she knows what all her options are!"
"I'm not an option," Derek mumbled, staring down at the floor, the carpet suddenly becoming far more interesting than anything he had seen in a long, long time.
"Pardon me?" JJ blurted.
"Garcia deserves to be with somebody that can offer her stability and commitment…and all that other crap women are searching for," he muttered, his teeth clenched as he tried to control his emotions.
"And you can't do that, why, exactly?" JJ huffed, staring at the top of his bent, bald head. "Seems to me like it's what you've been doing for years without getting credit for it. What would change? Besides the fact that you'd be going to bed together?" When the man remained quiet for a moment too long, JJ said softly the one word guaranteed to galvanize Morgan into a response. "Coward," she accused, her eyes narrowing.
Jerking his head up, Derek's chest puffed out. "I am not a coward."
"Bullshit," JJ declared flatly. "You'll put your body between Pen and a bullet, but you're too damned scared to put your heart on the line. You do realize how incredibly stupid that is, right?"
"JJ, I came here to ask you to be there for Baby Girl," Derek grumbled. "Not for you to psycho-analyze me," he complained, wiping his sweaty forehead. The keen woman was striking entirely too close to his truth for comfort. No one could ever claim that Jennifer Jareau was easily manipulated.
"Lucky you, you get two for the price of one," JJ snapped, her blue eyes flashing. "If you came here looking for my help, you're gonna have to take the bad with the good."
"I'm not gonna dump my own shit on Penelope while she's sorting through what she feels for Kevin. It wouldn't be fair to her," Derek defended himself.
"Are you so dense that you can't see that it's all linked together?" JJ asked, frustrated beyond anything even her young son could manage to accomplish. "My God, Derek, you and Pen are like extensions of each other! Everybody sees it but the two of you!"
"Damn it, I see it, JJ. I'm not a complete idiot. But if I went there with Mama, I could never go back. And if it didn't work…" he trailed off, squeezing his eyes shut.
The air in the room suddenly stilled as JJ felt her eyes widen unexpectedly. "You'd lose her anyway," she whispered, suddenly understanding.
"Now you're getting' it," Derek said under his breath.
"Not really," JJ dismissed him breezily. "I still think you're an idiot. But, then again, it's your God given right to be a moron if you want. I won't stand in your way," she sniffed, privately thinking that what Morgan really needed was a hammer slammed upside his exceedingly hard head.
"Very funny, JJ," Derek frowned.
"I wasn't kidding," JJ stated seriously. "I think you're nine kinds of a fool if you don't tell Pen how you feel before it's too late. Life is too short to spend waiting for a miracle, D. Make your own," she advised quietly. "That said," she groaned, leaning her head back against the recliner and meeting his eyes, "You are my friend…and you've always had my back when the chips were down. I'll do whatever you want me to do. All you have to do in return is think about what I said. Sooner or later, Mars and Venus are gonna collide all on their own. I'd sorta like to live through the fallout."
Nodding his assent, Derek met JJ's eyes again. "I'll think about it, Jayje. I swear. But in the meantime…"
"I'll talk to Pen," JJ said gently, reaching out to pat Derek's hand. "I'll explain that she needs to make a decision about Kevin with a clear head and without anything influencing her."
"Thank you," Derek replied gratefully, capturing her fingers and squeezing for a moment before letting out a sigh. "I knew I could count on you, JJ," he said as he stood, relieved that Baby Girl would have someone to lean on even if it couldn't be him.
Following him to the door, JJ touched his arm. "You need to think about what I said, Morgan," she ordered. "You might dodge a bullet this time, but…she won't want to be alone forever."
Swallowing hard, Derek nodded. "I will," he said huskily. "Thanks."
And as he walked toward his black truck, he knew that, beyond a shadow of doubt, there wasn't anything else he would be thinking about.
Penelope Garcia was always on his mind.
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