A/N – And now the conclusion…I had fun writing this, and I hope you guys have enjoyed it. Thanks for all the reviews and alerts!
For disclaimer see chapter one.
The next morning, Derek woke her up with one of the biggest cups of coffee she had ever seen outside of an overpriced chain. It was still relatively early – too early for someone on vacation to be waking up – but she had slept surprisingly well on the pull out couch and opening her eyes wasn't so much of an effort, especially when the wake-up call was so delicious.
"Well good morning gorgeous," she purred, reaching for the coffee eagerly. Derek shook his head, holding the coffee just out of her reach.
"Are you talking to me or the coffee?"
"If I say you will you give me the coffee quicker?"
With a chuckle, he handed her the cup and perched on the edge of the makeshift bed, his own drink cradled between his hands.
"I always knew I'd get you in my bed one day, Derek Morgan," she quipped. He groaned and shook his head, pointedly sipping his drink so as to not have to come up with a response to what she privately thought was probably one of the most hilarious things she had ever said at seven in the morning. Not that anyone was keeping score of course…apart from her.
"So what do you think of my mom?" he said suddenly, his voice deliberately casual.
"I think she's so much like you that there was never a question of if we would get on," Penelope replied simply, reaching out to pat his hand, "I'm so glad that I've finally met her. She's a wonderful woman."
"Yeah she is. You're wrong though – she's a much better person than I can ever hope to be."
There was no melancholy in his voice – just a kind of peaceful resolution. It had always been obvious to Garcia, but even more now that they were in the presence of Fran Morgan, that her son worshipped her. Deciding not to argue, knowing that she knew the truth he denied and that was what really mattered, Garcia squeezed his hand once more, slipped from the bed and padded towards the door.
"Shotgun the shower!"
It was only when she was refreshed and dressed for whatever day Derek had planned did he tell her what they had to do. Fran was already in the kitchen by then making pancakes and on Derek's plea she didn't say anything about what he had told her in front of the woman that he had already told another tiny white lie to. It was a full hour and a half later, when they were leaving the apartment, that she could finally react.
"You've left all your shopping until now?" Penelope exclaimed the moment they were out of the apartment door and his mother's earshot, "I didn't actually think men really did that!"
"Baby girl, you know what our case load has been like lately," Derek said, an uncharacteristic flash of fear in his eyes as he turned to check that the door was really closed and his mother couldn't hear them, "When was I supposed to find the time to do it?"
"Excuses, Derek Morgan!" she shook her head, reaching up and tapping him on the nose, "Is that why you really wanted me here? To help you with this?"
A stricken look crossed his face, and he looked so worried that Penelope didn't have the heart to keep messing with him. She grinned broadly and skipped ahead down the stairs.
"You're cute when you forget I'm secretly evil. Are you coming or what? We've got a lot to do!"
-HOW DEREK MORGAN SAVED CHRISTMAS-
As it turned out, Christmas Eve shopping wasn't nearly as horrifying as Garcia had always imagined it would be. The majority of the shoppers, as far as she could tell anyway, were very lost looking men who just tended to jump out her way when she went breezing straight to a display that she wished to look at. She'd always been good at buying gifts, it being one of the many talents that she felt she should be able to put on her CV because so few people seemed to be able to do it properly, and so with a few words from Derek to point them in the right direction she'd helped him pick out things for his mom, sisters, aunt and three much younger cousins. It was in the clothes store when he had gone to pay for the three band t-shirts that she had suggested for the three boys that she found the adorable display of little kid's superhero t-shirts, and half wished that she hadn't already given Hotch and JJ the presents she had bought for Jack and Henry. The team didn't really do Christmas gifts, but she and Emily always got a little something for the kids at Christmas and birthdays. She was cooing over the display still when Derek came back.
"What have you found, baby girl?"
"Oh, I just wish I'd seen these before I bought Jack and Henry's presents!" she exclaimed, eying the 'Iron Man' t-shirt and thinking how awesome her godson would look in it, "These are so cool!"
"You think?" he said, picking up the shirt she was looking at and checking the size, "This is Henry's size, right?"
"Yeah," she replied, confused for a moment, "Why are you-"
"Well, I'll get them," he shrugged, his eyes searching the rest of the stand, "I know I don't usually but I feel like it. And if you think it's a good idea, why the hell not? Hey, do you think Jack would like 'Spiderman' or 'Wolverine' better?"
"It's got to be 'Wolverine'," she said, reaching for one that looked about the right size, "This is really nice of you, Derek."
"Hey, we've all got to look out for our kids right?" he breezed, taking the other shirt from Garcia and heading back to the counter, "It'll be a nice post-Christmas treat. They're good kids. I don't mind spoiling them a bit."
"Oh Derek Morgan," she breathed, ignoring the strange looks she got from passers-by, "Just when I thought you couldn't be more perfect."
After that, an attack that she wasn't sure her ovaries would ever recover from, came the task of getting the gift-wrapped bags of gifts into the apartment without Fran noticing that they seemed to have been purchased that very day. Running intervention, Garcia ambushed the woman in the kitchen and kept her talking long enough that Derek could sneak past and into his room with the offending articles. Fran played along beautifully, waiting for the barely audible sound of the bedroom door closing before she stopped Penelope mid flow and asked if they had had a successful day shopping and did Derek remember to get his aunt something? Both women were still laughing by the time Derek emerged from his room and the look on his face when Fran informed him that his top secret mission had failed only made them laugh more.
The full force of a Morgan family Christmas started right after that, and Garcia found herself swept along quite happily in the full spirit of the thing. Gifts were placed under the tree with great ceremony, and four candles lined up on the mantle were lit. Derek donned a Santa hat that his father had worn every Christmas since Sarah was born and that Fran had kept carefully stowed away until she decided her son was old enough to wear it and poured them all glasses of eggnog that they used to toast the season and 'absent friends'. Dinner was macaroni and cheese, which apparently Derek had once asked for when he was very small and asked what he would like most of all to eat on Christmas Day. As a compromise, Fran had served the same thing every Christmas Eve since, a running joke in this lovely warm little family that Garcia felt privileged to have been invited into. Sarah wasn't there, working a double shift as a nurse so that she could have Christmas Day off, but Des was and she regaled Penelope with stories about growing up with Derek as a brother. The siblings argued good naturedly over dinner and over the glasses of wine and cheesy television that came afterwards and before any of them knew it, it was time to leave for Midnight Mass. This was the most serious part of the Morgan tradition and the younger members of the family visibly sobered as they all slipped into coats for the walk to the church. Fran took her religion very seriously.
"It's beautiful, Derek," Penelope gasped as they made their way into the church. She had never been to a Midnight Mass before and she clung to his arm as he led her to a pew behind his mother and sister. It really was gorgeous – the candle light was throwing soft shadows onto the walls as people moved to find a seat, and holly and ivy hung subtly from the doorways and fixtures. It was freezing cold, their breath coming in clouds, and Derek put one arm around his sister and one around Garcia. She leaned into his side and watched the people coming in. Little children, awed to be up so late, clung to parent's hands, teenagers in bright hats and gloves greeted one another before moving to sit with their families, old people sat close to one another for warmth and chatted brightly.
And as she watched them all during the service, neighbourhood people who knew each other so much better than anyone in Virginia did, she had a thought. This was Derek's world and although it was strange to be a part of it, knowing that she didn't really belong there, she knew that she would go home in a few days and feel like she knew her best friend so much better than she had before. It was a thought that warmed her right to the core and she nudged him as the clock struck midnight, whispering, "Thank you so much, Derek. For sharing this with me."
"You're welcome baby girl. Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas, Derek Morgan."