Chapter 10

December 27th

Penelope looked at him and could see that he still wasn't grasping what she was saying. "Baby, I don't mean to worry you . . . " He started, and she sighed. He really didn't get it.

"Derek, I'm not going to stick around and wait while you get yourself killed!" She started, shaking her head. "I can't do it anymore. Its irrational and silly but every time you have a close call it takes a little piece of myself and I have to put an end to it before there is nothing left!" It all came out in a rush. "I can't sit by and wait for your luck to run out anymore. Then I'll just be empty and alone."

She saw the realization dawn in his eyes, watched as it morphed into shock with a tiny edge of anger. "So," he said slowly, "when you said 'you couldn't do this' you really meant you us, didn't you?" He motioned back and self between the two of them. When she nodded, his jaw clenched. He closed his eyes as he exhaled deeply. He looked physically in pain again. "Why, baby?"

The damn tears were back. How could she make him see? She searched for the right words, while trying hard to keep herself from crying. "I'm scared to death of losing you, Derek, and you aren't even mine to lose," she whispered. "That's why I have to leave."

It happened before she could even process it. One second he was seated across the couch, the next he had pinned her against the arm of the sofa. His arms braced on either side of her head, the full length of his glorious body pressed against hers. He growled out, "That's a lie, Baby Girl. I've always been yours." And then his mouth was on hers.

It was absolutely the last thing she had expected him to do. She put her hands on his chest, intending to push him away, but there was so much passion and heat in that kiss, she ended up fisting her hands in his grey t-shirt instead. She moaned into his mouth and became utterly lost. When he lifted his mouth from hers, she felt immediately bereft for the loss of contact. He held himself back from her, just slightly, his dark eyes boring into hers. "You can quit the B.A.U., you can quit the fucking F.B.I. for all I care. But you will not get rid of me, Penelope. Not now. Not ever. How often do I tell you I love you?"

She remembered a case in Ohio several years ago when she had asked him that very question. As she remembered his response, realization dawned on her. How could she have been so blind? She smiled now as she repeated his answer. "Every day it's implied." Then she couldn't speak anymore because he was kissing her again. Could it be that he had felt the same way she had for all these years?

When he pulled back again, he answered her unspoken question. "I love you, Penelope Garcia. I think I always have and I know I always will. How can someone so smart not see that?"

She smiled at him. "Maybe I need to get my eyes checked?" He grinned at her, moving in again. Her last coherent thought was that she would need to decide to do about work. She supposed her fate would depend largely on whether or not Strauss would be able to overlook the anti-fraternization rules for them. But she knew, after tonight, she wouldn't be able to shut out Morgan. But that was all for tomorrow. Tonight, they had eight plus years to make up for.


AN: I hope you've enjoyed! Thanks all for your kind reviews and follows. Have a Happy New Year!