Disclaimer: I own nothing.
"What are you trying to tell me?" Derek asked, leaning in and taking Penelope's hands.
She trembled. Nausea rolled through her. "Listen, Derek, I…"
Derek frowned. "Are you regretting what we did?" he asked with asoftness in his voice. It was so uncharacteristic for him, he who so usually had a joke in his voice. And she sat here, about to further take the humor from his spirit.
She shook her head. "No, I don't regret it," she said. "But, something…happened from it."
"Baby Girl, you gotta tell me what's going on," he said with a nervous laugh. "If I did something wrong, or – "
She cut him off by blurting out, "I'm pregnant, Derek."
That certainly silenced him. His mouth fell open, then clamped shut again. Tears filled Penelope's eyes. He felt the same as she did.
"What do we do?" he asked.
She snorted. "How the hell should I know? It's not like we know a lot about how to handle this sort of thing."
He gulped. "Have you told anyone else yet? Like your parents?"
Penelope bit her lip and nodded. "I told them," she mumbled, putting her face in her hands. "We're lucky my dad isn't pressing charges against you."
"What?" Derek yelped. "He could do that?"
She nodded, thankful they didn't have that issue to contend with. "You turned eighteen right before we…anyway, courts don't tend to like fifteen year olds dating boys who are legally adults, even if we've been dating for a long time."
Derek had visibly paled at her mention of courts, but he took a deep breath. "Well, even though we're young, I'm gonna do this right. We can get married, we'll have the kid, we'll figure it out." He took her hands. "I love you, Baby Girl. I want this to work."
Looking down, Penelope swallowed hard and took her hand back. Usually she was not at a loss for words, but right now she had nothing. She was three months along in a pregnancy she didn't know if she could handle. But one thing that she knew for sure was that she couldn't tie down Derek. What he was offering would mean the end to his dreams of being in law enforcement, of being a hero. She couldn't take that away from him. For her, she was too young to make a decision about marriage.
"I…I can't marry you," she said, finally looking up at him. "I just can't."
Derek stared her for a moment, his eyes wounded. "Do you not feel the same way about me that I do about you?" he asked, his voice tight.
His uncertainty pained her heart, and she swallowed hard. She had no idea how to answer him. Her simple answer would have been that yes, she did love him. They'd known one another since childhood, had been best friends before going out. But she was young – they were both young – and she didn't have it inside herself to get married now. That kind of commitment was far more than she was ready for.
"That's not what this is about," she said. "I just…I can't get married. I'm not even out of high school, Derek. I have things I want to do with my life. I'm not ready to just be tied down and a full time mother. It's not what I want."
Derek swallowed hard. "Do you still want me to be a part of your life? Of the baby's life?"
Penelope gave him a small smile and took his hand. "There's no way you won't be a part of my life now," she said.
"Damaris! Come pick up your stuff from the table so we can eat dinner!" Penelope Garcia called to her sixteen year old daughter. She finished stirring the marinara sauce in the pot before turning off the burner. She turned around to make sure she'd put dishes out, but when her daughter did not appear, she pursed her lips. Strolling through the apartment to Damaris' room, she knocked on the door, only to find her child wasn't there and her cellphone was on the desk.
With a sigh, Penelope closed the door to her daughter's room softly and readied herself to head upstairs. Damaris had a habit of disappearing to the roof of their apartment building when she had responsibilities like homework she wanted to avoid.
When Penelope pushed open the roof's door, she found her daughter perched on her rickety lawn chair she had beside the ledge. Damaris stared out over the section of Washington DC where they lived, her back to Penelope as she came up. Her daughter didn't even stir when the heavy door groaned shut. Penelope's lips quirked into a smile, thinking Damaris must have had her headphones in if she could not hear that damn door.
"Hey, squirt," Penelope said, going up behind Damaris. She put her hands on her daughter's shoulders, making the girl jump in alarm. Penelope laughed, her voice coming out like a twinkling bell. Leaning down, she kissed Damaris' forehead. She ruffled her daughter's mass of dark, curly hair. "Time for dinner." She smiled.
Damaris Morgan looked up at her mother, blinking her dark eyes several times before she pulled one of her headphones out of her ears. The music was entirely too loud after she took her headphones out, and Penelope winced at the fact it had been in her daughter's ears just a moment ago. Damaris smiled immediately, the whiteness of her teeth almost blinding. She wore a pair of thick-rimmed black glasses instead of her contacts right then.
"Mom!" she said, holding up her headphone. "You need to hear this song that Dad sent me. He said he got it from Jenna before they broke up, and he never really liked it, but he said I would so he sent it to me." She held up the ear bud. "Wanna hear?"
Pursing her lips, Penelope placed her hand over the still-playing headphone. "Ah, no," she said. "I'm good." She didn't want to know what kind of music Jenna had listened to.
Damaris sighed, turning the music off. "Your loss," she said, linking elbows with her mother. "You know, Jenna was alright. I liked her better than Danielle." The two of them started back to the door to go to dinner. Penelope rolled her eyes at the idea of Derek's girlfriends, knowing that their daughter had seen them come and go over the years. Sometimes she never even met them before Derek moved on.
"Well, Derek has always known how to pick 'em," Penelope drawled, kissing her daughter's forehead. She'd always been impressed with how fast Derek could go through girlfriends. After their split when her parents died and Penelope moved away, he'd swiftly risen through the ranks of law enforcement and into Chicago's FBI field office…and through the female population of Chicago, as well.
Penelope had no reason to care, though. She'd said goodbye to Derek a long time ago, not wanting to take away either of their chances at what they wanted. And they had it; Derek was a special agent in charge in Chicago's field office, and Penelope had wound up working for the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. The whole time they both retained strong relationships with their daughter, the one they'd had so young.
Everything had worked out well enough.
"Mom?" Damaris asked, shaking her mother's arm gently as they meandered down the stairs back to their apartment.
"Huh?" Penelope said absentmindedly.
"Did you hear me?" Damaris asked, opening the apartment door. She kicked off her shoes and turned around to start walking backward to the kitchen with a grin. Penelope shook her head, and Damaris rolled her eyes playfully. "I asked when the next time I could see Dad? It's been a few months, and I know he had that undercover assignment and that's why he couldn't see me last month, but I – "
Penelope laughed and put her hand over her daughter's mouth. "Okay, motor mouth," she said. "Slow your roll." She kissed her daughter's forehead before getting the food off the stove for them and putting it on a potholder on their small kitchen table.
"But Mom, I really want to ask if I can go visit him," Damaris said, pulling her chair in closer toward the table. "And I don't want him to beat himself up if I ask him because I know he'll feel really bad if I ask him."
Sitting down, Penelope smiled across the table at her daughter. "Baby, you know your dad will always listen to you," she said as she started to put pasta on her plate. "If you talk to him and tell him you want to see him soon, he won't ignore you." Penelope knew Derek and his faults better than most people, just as he knew hers better than anyone else, but one thing she knew about him was he cared more about his daughter than anything else. He dropped anything and everything if she needed it. Damaris knew that, and she tried her hardest to have her mother express her desires to Derek that she wanted to see him.
"I just don't want him to feel like he has to take time off work to see me if he's really busy," Damaris said before taking a bite of her garlic bread.
Penelope watched her daughter begin to eat. She was unsure of what to say now. Damaris had lived most of her life in a different part of the country than where her father was, but she made up for it by trying to see him as often as possible. And when his schedule was too busy for her to be there to physically visit, Skype helped. But that separation hurt both of them, and Penelope hated seeing the effect it had on both of them.
"Baby," Penelope said, sitting up straighter in her chair. "I want you to go to your laptop and Skype him right now. You need to go ask him if you can come visit him."
Damaris blinked several times, chewing her most recent bite slowly. "Umm…right now?" she asked. She pointed at her plate in front of her. "I'm still eating."
Her mother pointed at the hallway. "Go. Call him."
"Food," Damaris shot back.
Penelope could see Damaris really didn't want to go, knowing that she had no chance at getting her mother to talk to Derek for her. But Penelope wouldn't back down. Damaris needed to do this for herself.
Damaris huffed and put her fork down. "Ugh, you're the worst," she mumbled, getting up. She planted a kiss on the top of Penelope's head before bounding off to her bedroom.
Pleased with herself, Penelope grinned and took a satisfied bite of her dinner. It would be good for both of them to see Derek again. A little Derek Morgan went a long way in someone's life. She was looking forward to seeing Damaris' smile widen.