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out of the blue uninvited

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She can’t find her pen. She has a lot of pens, obviously, but she wants that pen. It’s purple and sparkly and doesn’t smear when she writes. She’s left-handed; so many pens smear all over her hand. She didn’t have a choice when Hotch called a few minutes ago and had to take notes with some random pen she found on her desk and now her pinky and the heel of her hand are covered in black ink.

She’s all the way under the table in the corner when she hears someone come in. She can tell it’s Morgan. She doesn’t know if it’s creepy to be able to tell just from his walk. But he’s a profiler and she’s willing to bet he can tell people apart just from their walk, too.

“Baby girl?” He calls, confusion in his voice. “Are you under the table?”

“Yes,” she admits. “I can’t find my pen.”

There’s a pause. “You mean the one up here on your notepad?”

No, that’s the wrong pen.”

This time the pause is a little longer. “Okay.” He gets under the table with her. “What am I looking for?”

“It’s the purple sparkly one with the big fuzzy ball on the end of it.”

He shakes his head at her, huffing. “You are crazy.”

“You’re under the table, too,” she points out. He rolls his eyes and boops her nose. She should really hate when he does that. She doesn’t.

“Watch it, smart aleck, or I’ll leave you here to your wrong pen.”

“Don’t do that,” she pouts. She holds out her hand. “Look what it does. That’s why I have to have the right pen. So this doesn’t happen.”

He tilts his head and takes her hand. “Oh, from your hand going over what you already wrote. Lefty curse, huh?” He starts rubbing at the ink, trying to get it off. She knows from experience it isn’t going to help much, but she doesn’t tell him that.

“Hey, Gar—” JJ stops when she notices them under the table, basically holding hands. “Oh, uh. Sorry, am I…” She widens her eyes at Penelope.

“I lost my pen,” Penelope explains.

“Uh huh.”

“He’s helping me find it.”

“Okay,” JJ says. Her voice is all suggestive, like they’re under the table to make good on some of the things they say to each other on the phone.

“You need something?” Morgan asks pointedly, still rubbing at Penelope’s hand.

“Hotch needs us in the roundtable room.” JJ grins at them. “Whenever you’re ready.” She waggles her eyebrows before she leaves.

Morgan rolls his eyes at Penelope. She laughs at him. “Soap and water’s the only thing that works,” she says, jutting her chin at her hand. He nods.

“Well, go wash up, then. I’ll find your pen.”

“What about Hotch?” She asks as he offers her a hand to help her stand.

“I didn’t say I’d do it right now.”

He makes good on his promise. When she gets to work the next morning, there’s an entire package of the exact pens, only they’re in a rainbow of colors. She squeals excitedly and rips open the package. What a man that Derek Morgan is.



Some cases are just bad. Well, really, they’re all bad. But some are so bad she can barely handle it, even all the way across the country in the safety of her lair. These were all children, just little kids who were alive two days ago, playing and going to school and laughing and living. And now they’re dead, hurt and killed by some disgusting monster. She had to watch the videos of the torture. It’s her job, and she did it so she could save other kids, and she only threw up once while she did it. She’s not sure if she should be proud of that or not.

“Hey, you.”

She turns around and there’s Morgan, leaning in her doorway. She only realizes she’s crying when his face drops and he comes close, tugging her up out of her chair to give her a hug. He swipes at her tears.

“Sorry,” she says, trying to pull back. He keeps his arm around her and she can’t really help the way she melts into him.

“Sorry for what?” He murmurs.

“You—you had to see way worse things than I did. And you have—all that. Memories. I shouldn’t be crying on you. You should be crying on me. If you cried about cases. Maybe you do. I don’t know. But either way, I shouldn’t be the one crying here.”

He shakes his head. “Garcia, you watched every single one of those videos. More than once, I’m guessing, trying to get any hints on who that guy could be and where he was. That’s not something anyone should have to see, especially not your sweet self.”

She can’t stop crying. Every time he gently strokes her face, it makes the tears fall faster. She’s practically sobbing into his chest before long.

“Go ahead,” he says into her hair. “Let it out.”

She cries herself out, at least for now, and pulls back. Her glasses are all fogged up. He smiles sadly and takes them off her face.

“Let’s clean these up.”

“Are you okay?” She checks. “This case was so bad.”

“I’m okay,” he reassures her. “As okay as I can be. We got the guy. That’s what’s important.”

“You’re important,” she reminds him, clutching at his shoulder. He laughs a little.

“Well, thank you.” He puts her glasses back on for her. “There we go.”

“Sometimes, with cases like these, I think the whole world is so awful and I don’t know how I can ever trust anyone.” She puts her hand on his face. “But then there’s you. And you’re so…everything. Wonderful and perfect.”

He ducks his head and shrugs. “I’m nothing compared to you, mama.”

There’s a squeak of a shoe behind them. Penelope pops her head up over Morgan’s shoulder and sees JJ’s apologetic face.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt,” she says. “Um…I brought you a muffin.”

“JJ,” Penelope says, touched. Morgan’s still got his arm around her waist and the two of them are making her feel so much better about the world.

“It was a rough case,” JJ points out. “I wanted to make sure you’re okay. But looks like I got beat to it.” She grins at Morgan. “I should’ve guessed.”

“The day someone else comforts my girl will be the day they bury me,” he says, tightening his arm around Penelope.

“Oh, you two,” Penelope says. “I accept comfort from anyone and everyone.”

“But you do play favorites,” Morgan insists, jostling her a little.

“Yeah, me,” JJ teases. “I came with a gift.”

“I am the gift,” Morgan says smugly.

“Okay, that is very true,” Penelope admits apologetically. “But I also love baked goods and, more than that, I love you.” She leaves the warmth of Morgan’s side to give JJ a hug. “My people.”

“Well, enjoy the muffin,” JJ says. She smirks. “And the love muffin.”

“Oh, God,” Morgan groans. “That was bad.”

“I liked it,” Penelope says. “And I assure you, I will do both.”

JJ leaves with a laugh and a little wave of her fingers. Penelope presses a hand to her chest, feeling so much better already. She doesn’t even complain when Morgan steals half her muffin.



“Garcia,” Reid says urgently, not even bothering with a greeting after she picks up the phone. “Morgan didn’t want me to tell you, but he got stabbed.”

Stabbed,” Penelope gasps. “Oh, my God. Oh, God, is he okay?”

“He’s getting stitches right now,” Reid tells her. “It wasn’t deep, but it grazed his ribs. He almost…a few inches higher and if Hanson was a little stronger…” Reid’s voice is shaking.

“Oh, God,” Garcia says again. She’s already crying. “I’m coming now.”

“He’s okay,” Reid tells her.

“I’m coming anyway.” She hangs up on him before he can say anything else. She doesn’t want to hear arguments or rationalizations or details. She has to see Morgan and hear him breathing or she’s going to freak out. More than she already is, anyway.

She finds Reid and Hotch in the waiting room. Emily and Rossi are with the baddie at the police station doing whatever they do after they catch people. Penelope doesn’t really keep track of that stuff and she’s certainly not in any condition to think about it now, though she’s willing to bet they’re not exactly being gentle with him after he stabbed Morgan. They are not a team that looks kindly on people hurting their own.

“Is he—where is he?” She asks frantically.

“Right in there,” Hotch says. He’s using his please-calm-down voice. “We’re waiting for the doctor to come out and then we can go see him, but Garcia, he really is fine.”

“He got stabbed,” she counters. “That is not fine!”

Hotch doesn’t argue with that. Penelope sits next to Reid, who has blood on his hands. She grabs one and lifts it to her face.

“Is this Derek’s blood or are you hurt, too?”

“It’s Morgan’s,” Reid says. His voice is still shaking. “I should wash my hands.” He gets up and wanders off, aimless.

“Oh,” Penelope says, taken aback and forgetting her blind panic for a second. “Is he—”

“I’ll go check on him,” Hotch says. “You should be able to go in and see Morgan any minute now.”

“Okay.” She glances worriedly at the direction Reid went in, but before she can say or do anything, a doctor comes in.


Penelope flies out of her seat. “Can I see him?”

“You can. He’s a little disoriented and has a slight concussion in addition to the stab wound, but his vest stopped the knife from doing much damage. He only needed nine stitches.”

Penelope’s not sure how any of that is supposed to be comforting when it makes her feel worse. How is getting nine stitches an only situation? She hustles over to Morgan’s room as fast as she can on her stupidly high heels. She should’ve changed her shoes before she came. What if he needs something really fast and she can’t run for it?

He’s sitting up on the edge of the bed, already back in his own clothes, when she gets to the room. He purses his lips and shakes his head when he sees her. “Pretty boy couldn’t keep his mouth shut.”

“You!” Penelope points her finger at him accusingly. “You were going to try to hide this from me. Not okay, Derek, not okay at all! And it wouldn’t have worked, FYI.”

“Yeah,” he sighs. “I know. But I didn’t want you to come here and be all freaked out like this.”

Penelope sits down on the bed beside him. “I’d rather be freaked out than in the dark, okay? Please don’t hide things from me.”

“Okay. I’m sorry.” He leans against her a little. He’s not actually resting all his weight against her, because she’s way too weak for that, but she appreciates the warmth of him there. She rubs at the back of his neck.

“Concussion, huh?”

“Barely,” he says with an eyeroll. “I’ve had worse.”

“That doesn’t mean it isn’t bad,” she points out. She hates how blasé he always is about getting hurt. “I don’t want even one delicate pore on your beautiful body to be hurt. Are you going to have a scar?”

“Yeah, probably.” He grins at her. “You’ll still love my beautiful body with scars though, right?”

“Oh, of course. Chicks digs scars, you know. I will worship your body as ever,” she promises, earning herself a laugh. “Does it hurt a lot?”

“Nah.” He leans a little further into her. “Tired, though.”

“Yeah, that’s the concussion.”

“And a fourteen-hour day,” he points out.

“Can I spring you from this joint?” She asks.

“Soon as the doctor gives Hotch the all-clear. He doesn’t trust me and makes me wait until the doctor tells him specifically.”

“He knows you well.”

“I just want to go home.” He drops his head to rest in the crook of her neck. “If I wasn’t wearing my vest…” He blows out a breath. “Kinda hitting me, you know? It was a close one.”

“Oh, sugar.” She strokes his head and uses her other hand to lace their fingers together. “I am so happy you wear that vest. Keep wearing it, okay? I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.”

“You’re never gonna lose me,” he promises. “If I’m ever heading for the grave, you just say my name and I promise I’ll wake right back up again.”

Penelope turns her head to kiss his cheek and then rests her temple against his. “Deal.”

“Uh, hey, guys.” JJ’s in the doorway. “Sorry to interrupt. Doctor says you’re good to go, Morgan, but she wants someone to stay with you and wake you up a few times during the night because of the concussion.” She looks at Penelope. “I’m assuming you’re the woman for the job?”

“A sleepover with this tall drink of hot chocolate? Best job ever.”

Derek groans. “You don’t have to.”

“Excuse me, how will I say your name and bring you back to life if I’m not there to wake you up?” She reminds him. He huffs, but he nods.

“I did say.”

“You did.”

“So…that’s a yes?” JJ checks.

“Yeah,” Derek confirms. He grunts a little as he stands up and Penelope puts her arm around his waist to steady him.

“You need to talk to Reid,” she says. “He’s a mess.”

“He thinks it’s his fault,” JJ agrees. “We tried talking to him, but…”

Derek nods. “I got it.” He leans heavily against Penelope. “My personal crutch coming with me?”

“Always,” she promises. JJ snorts from behind them. When Penelope looks back at her questioningly, JJ just shakes her head.

“Right behind you guys,” she says. “As usual.”



Penelope does not like the idea of Derek confronting Carl Buford in the prison. It’s not that she’s worried that anything will happen to him physically—she knows he’s safe on that front. But she can only imagine the toll it’s going to take on his mind and his emotions. She doesn’t try to talk him out of it, though; she knows better than that.

He texts her afterward, tells her he’s fine, but she doesn’t believe it. She knows him better than that. And then he walks right out to those reporters and tells the whole world his story and she cries and she just needs him to come home. She needs to hug him and comfort him. She goes to his office to wait and keeps switching from pacing to sitting on the couch to sitting in his desk chair. But his desk chair is super uncomfortable, so she doesn’t stay there long. She leans her head back on the couch and closes her eyes. The next thing she knows, Derek’s sitting beside her, stroking her hair.

“Hey, beautiful,” he says softly. “Waiting for me?”

“Mmm, what a sight to wake up to,” she says. She wraps her arms around him right away and he sighs against her shoulder.

“He’s dead.” His voice is completely flat, not even a hint of emotion.

“What?” Penelope pushes back to look at him. “What are you talking about?”

“I got a call on the plane. Some of the other inmates killed him. I…it’s my fault. I told them all what he did.” He bites his lip. “I can’t…I don’t know how to feel.”

“Oh, honey.” She pulls him close again. “Oh, Derek.” She feels tears pricking her eyes. She hates that he’s hurting, hates that he’s so confused. She has to admit there’s a part of her—a large part—that’s incredibly happy Carl Buford is dead. She hopes he suffered. Of course she hurts for every little boy whose life he ruined, but overall, she hates him immeasurably for how he hurt Derek.

“I shouldn’t feel bad,” Derek whispers, jaw clenched. “I shouldn’t.”

“You feel however you feel,” she reminds him. “There’s nothing wrong with being confused. Everything that happened…it’s a confusing situation.”

He sniffs. She wants to see his face and wipe away his tears the way he does for her, but she knows he wouldn’t be comfortable with that. It’s doubtful he’s letting any tears fall, anyway. The fact that he’s even sitting here with her is a huge milestone. She rubs his back.

“What can I do?” She asks.

“This.” He buries his face in the crook of her neck and tangles a hand in her hair. “You’re my lifeline, you know that?”

“You want to go home? Your place or mine, you pick, but I’m staying with you.”

“In a bit,” he says. “Can we just stay here for now?”

“You got it.”

He pulls back to lie down with his head in her lap. “Is this okay?” He asks.

“Oh, baby, this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” she purrs. He laughs, which is what she wanted, but she can still feel little tremors going through him against her leg. She strokes his scalp softly.

“I love you, you know?” She gives his shoulder a light squeeze. “I love you so much.”

“I love you, too,” he says. It doesn’t take very long before his breaths start to even out. She keeps running her nails lightly over his skin, hoping to lull him to sleep. He probably won’t stay asleep for long, if not for nightmares than for how uncomfortable the couch is, but she wants him to get any rest he can.

He’s been asleep for a few minutes when a noise in the doorway makes Penelope look up. It’s JJ, face etched in worry and sympathy.

“How is he?” She whispers.

Penelope shrugs. “He’s been worse.”

JJ nods. “Okay. I just wanted to check on him, but I can see he’s in good hands.”

“Thank you,” Penelope mouths.

JJ smiles sadly. “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.”

“I promise,” Penelope says. “Go home and give those boys a kiss for me.”

JJ blows Penelope a kiss as she leaves. Derek starts to stir a little, and Penelope turns her attention back to him.



Penelope is having a no-good, rotten, bad day. It started fine; she got coffee from her new favorite place where she did not meet a murderer who shot her and also not where she used to go with Kevin, and she got to work on time, and someone brought homemade donuts into the office and everything was shaping up to be a pretty great day.

But then she was in the bathroom and she overheard two of the women in legal talking about the cute tech guy who got engaged the night before. At first, she told herself there could be more than one cute tech guy, even though she has been to systems security meetings and she knows it isn’t true, but then one of them said,

“Guess he finally got over the BAU tech girl.”

And then she had to hide in the stall for another five minutes while the one lady fixed her hair because obviously she couldn’t come out while they were still there. And when she did finally leave the bathroom, Hotch snapped at her for being away from her desk so long.

So she’s less than happy and she is counting down the minutes until she gets to leave. She’s going to go home and drink wine and watch one of those shows where women murder their no-good husbands. Except then she’ll start considering how to solve the cases and that’ll inevitably lead back to thinking about work, where she will think about Kevin and his new fiancé.

It’s really stupid, because she was the one who didn’t want to get married. They broke up because of that. And she was fine with it. She was! She was dating other guys and she and Kevin were friends. But something about him getting engaged is making her sad. Maybe just because he’s moved on in such a big, permanent way and she’s still going on bad first dates.

“Earth to Garcia.”

Penelope blinks her eyes back into focus and realizes she’s standing in front of the coffee pot and hasn’t moved in at least two full minutes. Derek raises his eyebrows.

“Everything alright?”

Penelope opens her mouth to say she’s fine, but nothing comes out. She closes her mouth and sighs. “Yes.”

Derek makes a face at her. “You weren’t even trying to be convincing.”

“It’s stupid and I shouldn’t be upset.” She stirs sugar into her coffee a bit more forcefully than she needs to and splashes some over the side of her mug. “Oh, come on.”

“I got it,” Derek says, grabbing a napkin off the counter. She watches the top of his head as he bends down to clean up after her and she suddenly feels like crying because it seems very metaphorical. She’s not really sure what the metaphor is and she doesn’t feel like untangling it all right now.

“Whoa, hey,” he says once he stands back up and notices her inner turmoil. “Penelope, would you please tell me what’s going on?”

Penelope glances around to make sure no one can hear her and then mutters, “Kevin got engaged.”

Derek doesn’t respond for a beat, then realizes she isn’t going to say anything else. “Oh. Well. Uh…?” He looks so adorably confused it almost makes her feel better.

“It’s not that I wish he were still dating me, but…” She sighs again and tries to put her feelings into words. “He found someone, you know? And I don’t know if I ever will again.”

Derek’s face softens and he opens his arms for her to walk into. She loves when he does that. She goes happily and he wraps her up in his beautiful, muscular arms.

“You will,” he promises. “Someone way better than that dweeb.”

She huffs a little laugh. “Dweeb? I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say that since high school.”

“I bet I could find a locker to stuff him into,” Derek offers. That makes her laugh out loud.

“You were never a bully,” she protests. “There’s no way.”

“Nah, not really,” he admits. “But I would be so willing to make an exception.”

Penelope squeezes him a little tighter. “No. There’s no need. I just need to sort myself out.”

“Listen to me, sweetness.” Derek pushes her back a little to look her in the eye. “You are amazing and perfect and you deserve some kind of perfect Hercules guy, okay? But you might have to wait a little because there’s just not many of us left in the world.”

That makes her laugh again. “Oh, I see, you’re one of those perfect Hercules guys?”

“Obviously. This really smart woman once told me I was a statuesque god of chocolate thunder.”

Penelope snorts. “Well, that’s definitely true.” They’re holding onto each other and laughing and someone behind them clears their throat. It’s JJ.

“Can I get some coffee?” She asks, eyebrows raised.

“Yes, sorry,” Penelope says. She moves away, but Derek keeps an arm on her shoulders and keeps her close.

“Don’t you think Garcia deserves a perfect Hercules guy, JJ?” Derek asks. JJ meets Garcia’s eyes and Garcia has a sudden flashback to getting drunk on girls’ night and calling Derek himself Hercules. Oops.

“I do,” JJ says, smiling at Penelope. “Actually, I’m not sure even Hercules is good enough for her.”

Penelope feels herself blushing, even if JJ is kind of teasing her. “You guys.”

“She does have a point,” Derek goes on blithely, either not noticing or choosing not to comment on JJ’s smirk behind her coffee cup. “I bet Hercules was kind of a dick.” JJ snorts and almost inhales her coffee, making Derek finally take his arm off Garcia to pat JJ’s back. “Whoa, JJ, you okay?”

“I’m fine,” JJ gasps. “Just, uh. Wasn’t expecting you to say that.”

Derek shrugs. “Okay?”

“I gotta get back to my desk,” Penelope cuts in quickly. “Thank you, my prince, for cheering me up, and JJ, please be careful with that coffee in the future.”

“Will do, PG,” JJ promises, biting down on another smile. As she scurries off, Penelope hears Derek make a huh sound that means he finally realized he was missing something.



“Listen up, creepy psycho guys, you cannot hide from me,” Penelope mutters, typing furiously. “Try all you want, but I will find you.”

“I’ll keep that in mind before I go on a spree.”

She jumps a little and spins her chair around. “Don’t scare me like that,” she scolds.

“I brought lunch,” Derek says, holding up some bags.

“You are forgiven. Wait. What is it?”

“Chinese from that place you like in Georgetown.”

“Definitely forgiven,” she says, clapping and then making grabby hands. He drops a kiss onto her cheek at the same time he drops the food in front of her.

“You coming up with anything?” He asks as he unwraps chopsticks.

“Not much,” she admits with a scowl. “For now. These guys are good but they’re not as good as me.”

“No one is,” he says. “If we get out of here sometime tonight you want to check out that new frozen yogurt place around the corner?”

“Uh, like you even have to ask,” she says. “We should ditch this and do that now. Killers gonna kill but mama needs her froyo.”

“Mama will get her froyo,” Derek promises. “Be a good girl first and then you get your reward.”

“Only the froyo?” She asks in her best coquettish voice. He points a piece of kung pao tofu at her. The fact that he only got tofu and not even meat for himself proves her really loves her.

“We’ll see how good you are and then decide on a reward.”

“Promises, promises,” she says with a laugh, trading him the kung pao for chow mein. “Did you get fortune cookies?”

“What you think this is, amateur hour? Check the bag, woman.”

“Such a gentleman,” she says. She reaches out and kicks him lightly in the shin. “Hey, did Reid call that girl you tried to set him up with? Did he see her again or what?”

Derek reaches his leg out and tangles his foot with hers. “He got all blushy and tongue-tied, so I think so. But then he started talking about Anna Karenina and I left.”

“Let me guess, he read it in Russian in kindergarten.” Penelope rolls her eyes and Derek laughs.

“Probably. You know I can’t focus when he starts talking about books that don’t have centerfolds in them.”

Penelope kicks him again. “Don’t pull your brainless meathead act on me. I know you’re smarter than you pretend, Mr. Honors Law Student.”

“Ah, come on, don’t go spreading that around,” he protests. “I got a reputation to uphold.”

She kicks him another time just for fun, but he traps her foot between his feet and uses it to yank her chair toward him. He moves his feet from hers to wrap around her chair, holding it in place.

“Caught ya,” he says with a smirk.

“You caught me,” she agrees. “Now what are you gonna do with me?” She keeps her voice flirtatious to mask the way her stomach is fluttering. She’s used to the way they do things, joking and talking dirty on the phone, leaning on each other when they’re vulnerable, but sometimes when he drops close proximity on her unannounced her heart still pounds. She’s only human. It’s easier to stick to their usual routine, to joke it away, than to examine the feelings.

Derek tips his head to the side, tongue poking out between his lips, and she swallows hard despite herself. She’s never sure if he knows what he does to her when he acts like this. He definitely knows how gorgeous he is, and he wields it as a weapon ninety percent of the time. She’s usually in the ten percent where he lets his guard down, but she does wonder sometimes with all the leaning he does in those heaven-sent tight jeans.

“You know, I have some ideas,” he says. His voice is a low rumble and her breath catches a little. She’s on the edge of her seat, and with the way he’s holding onto her chair, she’s basically between his legs. He has to know what this is doing to her.

“Yeah?” She tries to sound unaffected but his smirk grows, so she knows she wasn’t completely successful.

“Oh, yeah,” he says, and then he’s leaning forward and kissing her. On the lips. She’s completely frozen for a second, waiting to wake up. This can’t possibly be happening. She’s only ever let herself think about this in dreams.

But this feels awfully real. He has a hand on her face and she’s very familiar with that feeling. His lips are softer than she expected, though she shouldn’t be surprised. She’s seen his extensive nighttime moisturizer routine.

He eases back and he’s not smirking anymore. “Was that…did I just completely misread that?”

“What?” Her brain doesn’t exactly feel like it’s firing on all cylinders right now. It doesn’t feel like it’s firing at all. He broke her.

“Sorry.” He’s actually blushing. She doesn’t think she’s ever seen him blush.

“Wait, just wait,” Penelope says. She feels like she missed a step going down the stairs and she’s going to fall on her ass and bruise her tailbone any minute now. She holds up a hand to get him to pause. “Did you plan this? With the Chinese and the fortune cookies?”

“No, not really,” he admits, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment. “I mean, I’ve thought about it. A lot.”

“You have?” She can’t believe this is happening. Maybe it isn’t. She pinches herself and then yelps a little because it hurts. Derek looks down at her arm and then back up at her face. She has no idea what it’s doing, but he licks his lips and takes hold of her chin.

“You want to try it again?” He asks quietly. Penelope nods furiously.

“Yes, please.”

This time he’s smiling as he meets her lips. And this time she’s ready. She kisses back and puts a hand on his chest. She’s touched his chest before—his glorious, sculpted chest—but this time she’s doing it with his lips against hers and his big, warm hand on her cheek. It’s better than she could’ve ever imagined, and the first touch of his tongue against hers almost drives her wild. She tries to get closer but the chairs aren’t really working for her and she huffs, annoyed. He slides his hand up her thigh to go around to her hip, which is very nice, and she pushes his shirt up to get at his abs, which are very nice, but she still wants to get closer. He tugs her into his lap, biting down gently on her bottom lip and kicking her chair away, and she could very well be convinced to throw decorum and probably her job to the wind and just get down right here on her office floor. He seems to have the same idea, because he has one hand snaking up under her shirt and the other gripping her ass and she starts reaching down to finally, finally get a hand on his—


They jump like guilty teenagers to face JJ in the doorway, who’s blushing with her hands over her mouth. “I am so sorry,” she says, muffled because she hasn’t moved her hands. “Um…I—should I go? I’ll go, because I mean, well, finally, except—Rossi thought—we might have a lead, so…”

“Okay, JJ,” Derek says, deliciously breathless. “Be right there, just…uh, gimme a minute.”

“Is that really safe?” JJ asks. She’s smirking now, recovered from her shock, eyebrows practically meeting her hairline. “If I leave are you guys just going to lock the door and get down to business?”

“God,” Derek groans.

“Yes,” Penelope admits. JJ gasps out a laugh and Derek drops his head to Penelope’s shoulder to hide his face

“Oh, sure, now you’re shy,” JJ teases. “All of us had to suffer through your decade-long foreplay and you left the door open for all that but suddenly you feel awkward.”

“Goodbye, JJ,” Derek says pointedly.

“Goodbye, JJ,” Penelope echoes, grinning. JJ closes the door behind her, cackling

Derek looks at Penelope. He’s almost panting and it’s incredibly gratifying. “Duty calls, I guess.”

“I guess so.” She climbs off his lap, unsure what to expect now. He likes to play up his womanizer image, even though it isn’t completely accurate, but she knows he wouldn’t do this on a whim, wouldn’t change everything between them just for a few hungry kisses in her office. Not with her. That doesn’t mean this is the same life-changing, earth-moving thing for him as it is for her, though.

He stands up and kisses her again, a gentle little thing that’s as good as the other kisses in a wholly different way, a soft press of lips and his fingers gently cradling her jaw. He tucks her hair behind her ear and boops her nose and she almost wants to cry because this is actually happening and it is perfect and he is smiling so widely at her.

“See you later,” he murmurs, righting his clothes as he leaves.

“Froyo,” she reminds him. He turns around and winks at her.

“And other rewards. If you earn ‘em.”

Penelope’s pretty dazed as she turns back to her computer—understandably so, she believes—but she sets to work. She refuses to miss out on anything he might have in mind, and she isn’t going to let some dumb serial killers stand in her way.