The day that he had dreaded for years had finally happened. Kevin had come close to breaking Derek for good when he had asked Penelope to marry him but Derek was able breathe again as soon as that relationship ended leaving his and Penelope's relationship intact. But now…

"Derek I'm getting married tomorrow. After that I don't think I can be your baby girl anymore. I'll be Steven's baby girl." He stared at her, shocked. His heart, already aching, broke in two. He was actually losing her. He had waited too long. She'd fallen for someone else, even worse was the fact that Steven Simons was a great man. Derek had run a thousand back ground checks but they'd all come back clean. It was terrible of him to not want her to marry. He'd never made the move that he should have and now he had lost her. It hurt more than he could bear. His mouth opened wordlessly but tears sprang to his mahogany eyes. "Gar-," He choked, the formality burned at his throat so he started again. "Baby girl, please." But even that came out in the form of a whispered plea.

Her large eyes filled with tears and she shook her head. "Don't do this Derek. Don't start caring now." The layer of spite hidden in those words struck him like a blow to the stomach. Start caring. Don't start caring? Had she really been that blind? He felt bile build up in the back of his throat as he thought back to everything he had done and said back over the years. Yes he had never been forward about a desire for a deeper relationship but he had always been there for her hadn't he? He thought back to when she had been shot. That time he had almost lost her. He had refused to rest until they'd caught that bastard. Or when she was with Lynch, he had supported their relationship even as he'd felt the burn of jealousy tear at him. Start caring? He'd cared about her from the first time he'd called her baby girl.

"I'm sorry gorgeous, but you will always be my baby girl. I care about you more deeply than I have ever cared for someone in the past. I l-"

"Don't!" Garcia cut in, a familiar fire burning in her eyes. "Don't ruin this for me Morgan! Don't make me hope for the impossible anymore! I've waited on you for all these years while you were out with dozens of others! Don't you dare say you care about me!" He recoiled as though struck by a physical blow. His ears rang with those words. He relented.

Derek Morgan gave up as he witnessed for the first time the damage he had done to the one he cared for most. All these years he thought he was being a best friend to the her because that was what she needed, the truth was that he had never dared to try for more and this is what that cowardice had cost him. Everything. He had to walk away. Now, before any more damage could be done to either heart.

"I'm sorry Garcia, I'm sorry for putting this on you today of all days. I just didn't want to live with more regret than absolutely necessary." Then he turned his back to her, tension was written in every line of his broad shoulders. "I'll say goodbye now, have a great life with your new husband." He forced his stiff limbs to begin the walk away. Every step he took felt like a hundred mile hike.

A hiccup.

He paused, listening, he heard another one. Glancing over his shoulder he could see the tears that were streaming down Garcia's face. He turned to face her fully once more but she still stood there with the tears pouring from her eyes. His heart clenched, he took a few long steps to be standing directly in front of her and wiped her tears away. "Don't cry ba- Garcia. I want you to be happy, I'm just sorry I couldn't do that for you." The anger flashed in her eyes again.

"You still don't get it do you? You are the only one who can make me truly happy! I just got so tired of waiting I am settling for second best!" Derek was speechless and he felt his stomach do another twist.

"Baby girl," it was music to his ears as he breathed the endearment. "Baby I'm so sorry for being such a coward. I was so afraid of ruining our friendship that I never went for anything more." A small smile touched his girl's lips and he felt his heart lighten ever so slightly.

"Derek Morgan, I've always loved you, Stephen is a great guy and my heart does love him. But I'm not in love with him." That was when he kissed her. It was a slow, sensual kiss that sent sparks shooting down her spine.

As she pulled away a voice came from the doorway.

"I always knew what I was getting in the way of." Garcia turned around, alarmed.

"Stephen!" The tall brunette man in the doorway gave a sad smile and nodded towards Morgan.

"The chemistry between the two of you was unmistakable but I tried to blind myself to it." He took a few steps to end in front of Garcia. "Penelope Garcia, I love you but I can't marry you when I know that you'll always regret it." Garcia opened her mouth to reply but Stephen put a finger to her lips. "It's okay love, it hurts but I'll be able to handle it but only if I know that you are happy." He nodded towards Morgan. "You make sure you don't mess this up got it?" Morgan gave a soft smile and nodded, his arms wrapping around Garcia's torso.

"I'll never let this go ever again." Warmth spread like a wild fire in Garcia's extremities until her whole body was tingling with it and Morgan could see it in her eyes. This was how things were meant to be.