A/N: Howdy! I'm back. This picks up right where 57 left off so it may help to read that last chapter since it's been a while. Have outlines for 3 more stories so, real life permitting, I should keep y'all entertained for a couple more months at least.
As soon as the team is in the air, Garcia starts tapping into the security systems at the various banks that were robbed to download their full security video as events unfolded. State police, who are heading up the investigation with a regional FBI agent, had sent her abbreviated copies with the case files but she knows her little elves like to see everything. When she realizes the extent of what she will be doing that day in addition to anything more the team asks for, she figures it is best to cancel her dinner with Stephanie early. She hits speed dial 8 on her phone.
"Diedrickson," is the terse answer.
"You sound so sexy when you answer that way."
Stephanie smiles. "Hey. Sorry, you came in as unavailable. Why do I think you might be calling to cancel on me?"
Garcia sighs. "Because I'm calling to cancel on you. I just sent the team minus Emily to Wyoming to look into some weird bank robberies. I've got to view a bunch of security videos plus start the various runs they come up with to help them narrow down a profile."
"Why are the local agents calling in a profiling team?"
"That's the freaky part." Garcia tells her about the weird escalations. "So, they need to get inside the minds of these guys and try to predict what's next for them."
Stephanie chuckles. "Yeah, I can see why. Well, if anything changes, let me know. Otherwise just call me when we can do dinner."
"Okay. Thanks for understanding."
"I seem to remember a certain sexy lady forgiving me when I had to go meet a dope dealer in North Carolina with barely an hours notice. We have pretty crazy jobs, Penelope. You're the first woman I've been with that doesn't hold that against me. It's just one of the many reasons I love you."
Garcia smiles proudly. "I love you, too. I'll call you tonight when I get home."
"Perfect. Love you, sweetheart."
Garcia is smiling goofily as she hangs up the phone. A throat clearing behind her startles her. She slowly turns and stares into the blushing face of Kevin Lynch.
"Uh…hi," she says quietly.
"I…um…I was…" he finally just holds up the items in his hand. "The boss sent me down to set Emily up with the voice command software."
"OH! Uh, right. She'll be in JJ's old office. Reid cleaned off the desk yesterday for her."
He nods, clearly uncomfortable. "Right. Guess she can't be carrying on conversations on this with all the noise in the bullpen."
The two former lovers stare at each other a moment. Finally Kevin clears his throat.
"So…does he treat you good?"
Garcia contemplates her answer. "Yes…she does."
Kevin nods a second…then the pronoun hits him. "Sh- -she?" Garcia nods. "Oh. So, uh, you were…did you always…did we break up because…shit, I don't know what to ask."
"Don't ask any of those things, Kevin. Just know this has nothing to do with you and is all about me and my feelings."
"Why didn't you ever tell me you had feelings for women? Feelings like that?"
"Kevin, I'm not having this conversation with you at work. Maybe not out of work, either. Do you need help with Emily's things or what?" she says with frustration.
He stares at her a moment. "No…I got it. Bye."
He turns and walks out. Garcia slumps down in her chair. She hadn't wanted to break it to him this way. She knew she'd have to tell him eventually but she had hoped to talk to him over coffee or something; not have him hear her declare her love over the phone to someone else. Finally she shakes her head.
"Oh, well, what's done is done." She spins back to her computer. "Time to get on these videos to help my little worker bees track down these disco dancing dirt bags."
Kevin works quickly setting up Emily's monitor and docking station in the office in which she had once been held captive by a man whose daughter had just 72 hours to live. In the time since, it had become a storage area as no one could forget the final act of that desperate sheriff.
"I'm so sure she'll love being back in here," he mutters.
Finally he has everything set up as best as he can with her laptop still at her house. He suddenly sits up. If anyone knows what's going on with Garcia it would be Emily. He calls his boss.
"Emily has her laptop at home and her team just left on a case. I'm going to take the software to her and get it loaded in case they need her help before tomorrow."
Grabbing the disk with the program and the headset, he quickly leaves the office. He considers calling ahead but decides surprise might be better. He had his FBI creds so he should be able to get into the community with no problem.
Thirty minutes later Kevin is pulling up at the gates. He hands his credentials to the guards.
"Computer Tech Kevin Lynch delivering a computer upgrade to Agent Emily Prentiss," he explains.
The guard checks Kevin's name against his list of banned people and does not find it. He hands them back.
"No problem. I'll call ahead and let them know you're on your way."
Kevin nods, knowing better than to ask that it not happen. "Thanks."
He drives through the gates, hoping Emily doesn't just turn him away when she finds out why he is really here.
After getting off the conference call, Emily had sat down in the recliner in the bedroom, staring out over the backyard. Sergio had jumped up into her lap, seeming to understand his Mama needed a little comfort. Her mind replays things over and over again trying to see if there was a better way to have handled things. She can't find one. So all she can do now is accept the aftermath of a decision made many years ago.
"We were cleared, Sergio. I'm still not completely okay with it but Declan and Tom are the ones that benefit from this. It's not about me, right?" she looks down at the cat, who just stretches his neck to make sure she scratches the right spot. She smiles at him. "I'll take that to mean yes. It also means I don't end up in prison here or overseas. The story was accepted. Maybe it's the old Catholic guilt still in me but I'm not sure I'll ever feel right about this where it concerns me. But for Tom, Declan and the babies on the way, I will learn to live with it. This is bigger than me, Serg. The team saw that or they wouldn't have done what they did. Especially not Hotch. He is so by the book I think it might be tattooed on his heart. But he did this because he saw it was more important than the book. So really all I can do is accept it, honour them by being the best damn teammate they have, and by being an even better friend." With one arm she lifts him up and gives him a kiss on the head. "Thanks for the talk, big guy. You always know just what to say to me."
Emily hears chuckling from the doorway. She looks to see Francesca standing there.
"You've been up here stewing for a while, Emily. All okay?"
Emily nods. "Getting there."
"Good. The gates just called. Kevin is on his way with an upgrade to your computer."
Emily frowns. "He came here to do that? Why not wait until tomorrow?"
Francesca shrugs. "I don't know, cara. But he will be here in a couple minutes."
"Okay. Let me grab my laptop."
Emily stands, much to Sergio's displeasure, and takes her computer and its cord downstairs. She smiles at Kevin when she opens the door.
"Hi, saw you coming up the walk."
He nods. "Hi, Emily."
She studies his face as he walks in. "Kev, why the rush to do this today? Why not just wait until tomorrow?"
He shrugs and takes the computer from her. "Well, you know, this way if there are any problems, we have a day to fix it."
Emily raises an eyebrow as he walks into the living room. "Kevin, you are aware I'm a profiler, right? And that I can tell you're lying?"
Kevin sighs and continues to set the computer up. After it gets running, he pops in the thumbdrive with the program and looks at Emily.
"So…Penny is seeing someone."
Emily sighs and sits down. She had not seen this coming. "Uh, yeah. How'd you find out?"
"Heard her cancelling a date and saying that she loved her, too."
"Ah. So you know it's a woman?"
He nods. "She told me."
"I see. What else did she say?"
"She said she wasn't going to talk to me about it at work and maybe not ever. You know, I thought if we couldn't be together we could at least be friends and she doesn't even tell me about…about liking women…that way. Why didn't she ever tell me?"
Emily is extremely uncomfortable and tense, which is making her arm ache. "Kevin, I don't…feel comfortable talking about her like this."
"Why not? You were pretty blunt about things when you found out we broke up," he points out.
Emily sighs. "True. But that was more about how you needed to change to maybe win her back."
"Too bad you didn't suggest a sex change," he mutters.
Emily stiffens. "I'll ignore that comment for now. But say something like it again and I'll throw your ass out of here faster than you'd believe possible with one arm." Kevin looks ashamed and nods. "Kevin, thank you for bringing by the program and headset for me. But that's all this visit will be about. If you can be mature about it, ask Garcia to talk to you about this. If you can't be mature, just get over it. All that should matter to you is she is happy and with someone that doesn't jump her ass when the job interferes with her personal life."
Kevin slowly shakes his head. "I was trying to improve myself to win her back. I was working out and trying to grow a goatee even."
Emily rolls her eyes. He was trying to turn into Morgan. "Kevin, those things on the outside don't fix what's wrong inside. Does having a goatee mean you won't get mad when she stays all night at Quantico running down leads for us? Does adding muscles make it okay when she doesn't want to see you because she's exhausted? Does trying to become Derek Morgan mean you get that her job is an important part of who she is? I think the answer to all of those questions is no. So, stop trying to improve your appearance when it's your heart and soul that need the work." She walks towards the door. "If there's nothing else you need?"
Kevin had taken the dressing down and Morgan wanna-be accusation quietly. He grabs the thumb drive out of the computer. "If there are any problems, let me know."
"Kevin," Emily says calmly. "You're a nice guy and somewhere out there is the right woman for you. But if you are honest with yourself, whether Pen is with a woman or not, she is not the right one for you. Not if she has to change so much to be the right woman for you. And not if you have to change so much to be the right person for her."
Kevin finally meets Emily's eyes. He is surprised to see compassion in them. He slowly nods. "I'll…I'll think about that. See you tomorrow."
Emily nods and watches as he leaves. Francesca walks up behind her.
"All okay, cara?"
Emily nods. "Yes. He just got a punch to the heart and thought I could help him figure out how to heal it."
"Is he not to be allowed here?"
Emily smiles. "He's not banned. He really is a good guy and if he and Pen can remain civil I have no problem with him. Of course, if he does something dumb and hurts her that's a whole other story."
Francesca grins. "Understood, cara. Now, your son and daughter asked if I could find you and see if you want to play a game with us."
Emily smiles and nods. "I think I'd love that."
She threads her good arm into one of Francesca's and walks with her back to the nursery to spend time with her kids before going back to work the next day.