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24 October 2009 @ 09:04 pm
Criminal Minds Fic: In Between Days  
Posted to bau_fic
Crossposted to morgan_garcia

Title: In Between Days
Pairing/Characters: Derek, Penelope, Spencer, JJ, Emily
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Lucky, Penelope
Summary: Derek ponders how he almost lost Penelope and what he gained in the process
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ


If he hadn't been such an insensitive jerk...

-

"Come on, baby girl. Pick up the phone."

Derek paced the empty conference room at the police station, cell phone pressed to his ear.

'You've reached the office of FBI Technical Analyst Penelope Garcia...'

He hung up, frustrated at being shunted to voicemail yet again when he knew she was sitting right there as she always was during a case - at the team's beck and call.

He hated her new voicemail message, but after the recent phone debacle, she'd overreacted, removing all of her trademark snark from her voicemail and phone answering openings. He'd been grateful when it started sneaking back in, missing her personality, the individual in her that kept the job from getting too dour, too grim, too Hotch...

Popping his head out of the conference room, he flagged down Emily.

"Prentiss! Can I borrow your phone for a few minutes?"

Emily eyed him warily. "What's the matter with your phone?"

"Caller ID," he replied reluctantly. "Garcia knows it's me so she won't pick up."

"Maybe you should respect that," Emily chided.

Derek put out his hands in supplication. "Then how can I apologize?"

"Point taken," she conceded. "But I'm not just handing over my phone. Deception is no way to start an apology." She pulled it out and dialed, giving him a glare of reproach. "Hey, Garcia. Morgan's apparently done being an ass and is ready to apologize. Can you give him a call as soon as you're ready for him to start worshipping you again?" She smiled and then chuckled a little as she listened to Penelope's response. "Oh, I'd make him do all that and more, but if it's any consolation I really do think he's sorry. Okay, talk to you later."

"What did she say?" Derek asked anxiously.

"She'll call you," Emily said. "Until then let's get finished up here so we can get on the road."

/

If she'd just gone out with him...

-

Derek answered his ringing cell phone as he stepped out of the SUV, which had just arrived at the airstrip.

"Morgan."

"Church of Garcia. Worshipping hours are 5:00PM to 5:10PM and the clock is ticking."

Derek stepped away from the car and gestured to Emily that he'd be a minute. She nodded in understanding and headed towards the jet to board for the trip home. As he moved out of earshot, a quick glance at his watch told him it was 5:00 on the nose, though with Penelope he should have known that.

"Bless me goddess, for I have sinned. I'd like to make a confession and do my penance now."

"Hmm..." He could hear the hesitation in her tone across the miles. "There might be enough time for a confession, but ten minutes is wholly insufficient for penance. Would you like to sign up for our indentured servitude program? Complete absolution in five years or less."

"Ouch." Derek winced. "Okay, I screwed up. Royally. And I really am sorry. I was being an overprotective jerk and a bad profiler instead of just being your friend."

"You were being a man." Penelope put a distasteful emphasis on the last word. "You thought I needed saving, I needed fixing, that it was your duty to fix me."

"I know, that was stupid of me," Derek told her. "I have no excuse other than I couldn't bear to see you get hurt. I was working off instinct, not thinking at all."

Penelope huffed. "Yeah, I'd have to agree on the not thinking part."

"So let me make it up to you," Derek soothed. "We'll be back in time for a late dinner. Let me take you out. We'll have a good meal, we'll talk, you can let me get started on my penance. What do you say?"

"Sorry, I'm busy," Penelope said curtly. "And I'm not interested in a pity date."

"Penelope!"

"You know for an expert in psychology you're surprisingly clueless when it comes to women - or maybe just women who aren't fawning all over you."

"Penelope, please."

"You're on probation, buster. Be nice to me, be respectful, and just maybe you'll get back in my good graces. For now maybe you should spend tonight thinking about the error of your ways."

"I never wanted this to happen to us," Derek said mournfully.

There was a moment of silence before Penelope's sad voice came on the other end.

"Neither did I."

/

If he hadn't overreacted to her gut instincts - and his own...

-

Penelope woke in fits and starts, emerging from the healing sleep her body desperately needed only a few minutes at a time.

Every pained exhalation of breath, every grimace that crossed her delicate features, the wounded look in her eyes as they made her recall how she was violated... Derek felt them all and they churned inside him wrapped in guilt and bound by love.

Spencer's interrogations were gentle yet insistent. Each time she woke he asked for more, forcing her to relive the worst night of her life.

Derek couldn't ask the hard questions so it fell to his co-worker to extract the clues from Penelope's drug-addled mind before she slipped out of consciousness again.

"Reid, she needs a break."

Derek's thumb brushed over the back of Penelope's hand as she slept.

"We need information. If we're going to catch who did this to her..."

"I know that," Derek said tersely. "But have a little compassion, man. This is Garcia. This is one of our own." Spencer fell silent for a moment, staring at his hands. "I know we need to do this." Derek's tone shifted to gentle and understanding, almost pleading. "But she's just been shot. She needs to heal more than we need to catch this guy two hours faster than we're going to."

Spencer looked from Derek to Penelope, letting out a weary breath. "I'll head into the office for a couple of hours," he said, rising. "I'll come back after that."

"Thank you." Derek nodded in acknowledgement and gratitude.

Spencer gave him a weak smile. "I want her to be okay too, you know?"

"Yeah, I know." Derek turned back to her, brushing an errant curl from her face. "We all do."

/

If they hadn't broken the rules…

-

Derek watched across the bullpen as Kevin introduced himself to Penelope. He couldn't make out what they said, but the look on Penelope's face, how long she held onto his hand…

It hurt to think Kevin did more to catch the bastard who tried to kill Penelope than he did and it hurt to see that look on her face, that depth of gratitude, going to someone who was not him.

Two hackers had been what it took to bring down a dirty cop when a room full of profilers couldn't. In the end it had actually been Penelope who solved her own crime and Kevin who caught the perp on their own soil.

Derek tried not to be offended by that, holding onto the idea that Dave had been the one to get the critical clue out of her, Aaron had been the one to find a way to keep plausible deniability yet let Penelope get the computer access she needed to figure it all out and JJ… JJ had been the one to pull the trigger and end it all. Like Spencer, she wasn't required to carry a gun yet she did, and Derek felt thankful for that fact now.

As he watched, JJ made her way over to where he was, bumping shoulders as she stood beside him.

"They make a good pair, those two. Don't they?"

"Yeah," he had to admit. "They do."

"She said everything happens for a reason. Maybe that was supposed to be the end result of all this: she goes out with the worst possible guy ever to find the best match for her in the aftermath."

"Even if that were true," Derek said, turning to her. "She shouldn't have had to get shot to learn that lesson."

"Maybe not to learn that lesson," JJ countered. "But if she had to get shot to save the lives of all of Battle's future victims?" JJ offered up an encouraging little smile. "Doesn't that make her truly one of us: willing to risk life and limb to save innocent people?"

Derek turned back to where Penelope and Kevin were talking, heads bent together, close.

"She's always been one of us to me."

/

If he hadn't prayed the night she was fighting for her life in surgery…

-

The grand door creaked as Derek opened it up, stepping into the dimly lit church once again. He made his way to the same seat in the same pew as his first trip, slipping to his knees and bending his head as he clasped his hands in front of him.

"I came in here," he began shakily, his voice barely a whisper, "lacking faith, but you helped me anyway. You saved a woman I love even though I didn't deserve your intervention." He swallowed hard, emotion tightening his throat. "But I believe now. I have faith." He lifted his eyes to the cross on the wall above the altar. "Thank you."

///
 
 
 
Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on October 25th, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
Confession
Yet another wonder of the end of year fic finishing binge!

This is the second fic I signed up for at ficfinishing this month so I'm thrilled to have them both done and with days to spare before the month long round is over!

I confess I don't recall exactly what I had in mind for this fic when I started it in November of 2007, but having recently rewatched Lucky and Penelope it felt like what I already had (through the Spencer scene) was fine, I just needed an exit strategy. The comment that Derek makes about the first time he prays in 20 years just happening to fall on the same night Penelope's on the operating room table gave me my ending. He might have told Rossi his faith was day to day, but he's got it - that's what was important.

Title from The Cure song of the same name.

Thanks,

Emma DeMarais

Edited at 2009-10-25 04:17 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 25th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Hey there! Nice to see you! Sorry about being gone from your comm so long and then spamming it with a bunch of fic at once, but I guess it's my turn this month to spread the MG love, eh? :-)

The show really hasn't given us good MG since the Lucky-Penelope arc, save a bit in Mayhem, so I hope someone (*cough*Chris Mundy*cough*) helps TPTB see we need our banter back!
(Deleted comment)
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 25th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
YES! OMG yes with one of Garcia's colorful hair clips on top!
hiswoman1979 on October 25th, 2009 04:35 am (UTC)
This is wonderful. The hurt that they are both feeling just under the surface. Dealing with the aftermath of Battle. Each dealing with the hurt that they cause each other. My favorite line, i believe is the most powerful is the last one. BRAVO!
It was wrong of the writers to give her a romance so soon after Battle.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 25th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Thank you.

It hadn't hit me until now, but I think Battle was aptly named. We'd never seen M&G at odds with each other before plus Hotch's proclamation that they weren't taking any new cases until they figured out who did this to Penelope showed they were willing to go into battle to protect one of their own.

I figured TPTB didn't want to crush all those fangirl hearts by pairing up Morgan with someone hot while Pen still pined for him, so by pairing her off with someone acceptable they removed any complaint people could have at Morgan hooking up elsewhere. Cheap and kind of a little demeaning to some, but sadly understandable.
Alainazikki4eva on October 25th, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 25th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC)
Totally!

Thanks for reading!
MiaDamenina1108 on October 25th, 2009 09:31 am (UTC)
Aww, I loved it! Are you thinking about writing a sequel?
reseda_3067reseda_3067 on October 25th, 2009 10:41 am (UTC)
You certainly are one good writer!

Have you ever thought about writing for a living? Seriously.

Everything about this story was simply wonderful.

I sure hope you´re planning on writing a sequel to this?

Thank you for making my day.
lizbethperrylizbethperry on October 25th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
You truly have a talent for capturing all of their personalities and making it real... I think the 'Kevin' character was one of the most insulting additions to the cast in terms of 'She's a geek; here's another geek' that I almost stopped watching. This story nicely depicts all of the solidness of their relationship; more please.
harleyzgrl26harleyzgrl26 on October 25th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
This was powerful. The ending especially gave me chills.
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csichicky on October 26th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
as always truly beautiful and heart felt i loved it
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 26th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
Thank you! Shemar and Kirsten did such a great job in that arc I just wanted it to keep going like this.
baily007baily007 on October 26th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
awwww.....sequel - PLEASE?!?
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on October 26th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
Hee! Thanks!

I have no plans for one, but the muse often feeds me sequels I didn't see coming so one never knows. ;-)