Home of Dave and Fran Rossi – Morning –
Fran was happy to hear from Penelope the night before. Derek had allowed her to stay with him through the night and now Fran was packing a picnic basket filled with food for the two of them. The rest of the team would meet them later but for now Fran couldn’t get to the hospital fast enough.
Dave watched as his wife placed the final items in the basket; her spirits were a lot better than the night before and for that he was grateful. He knew they’d be facing difficult times ahead with Derek’s prognosis being so uncertain. Still, for now he’d relish in this brief moment and pray that the news for his stepson would improve. He wasn’t sure how Fran would handle it if it didn’t.
Potomac General Hospital – Morning –
Derek watched Penelope curled up in the recliner nearby. He was happy that she had stayed, although he knew that there would have been nothing he could have said to make her leave. He didn’t want her or anyone else putting their lives on hold for him and if the news was as dire as the doctors made it seem the day before, he and Penelope would have some difficult conversations up ahead. He would never hold her in their relationship no matter how hard she insisted. He knew her and he knew her heart of gold would sacrifice herself for him; she deserved more than that...much more.
“Good Morning Handsome.” She said sleepily.
Penelope slowly sat up; looking across the room at him he seemed so far away. She was glad she stayed...glad he’d allowed her to stay. Their eyes met and for the first time since she’d met him, he didn’t smile back at her. Her heart broke; the strongest man she’d ever known, she wanted to fix things for him but she didn’t know how...all she could do now was pray.
“How’d you sleep? She asked walking toward the bed.
“I slept okay, I guess; I didn’t have much choice with all of the medication they’ve given me.”
Penelope lightly ran her hand across his face and placed a sweet kiss on his lips. She saw a faint spark in his eyes, and she kissed him again, this time he returned the kiss.
“You’re not going to give up on me are you Handsome?”
Derek stared deeply into her eyes pondering her question as if he actually had a choice.
“Never, Baby Girl.”
“Good.” She smiled as she kissed him.
“I hope you two are hungry!”
Fran and Dave burst through the door interrupting the tender moment between the couple. Penelope stood to make room for Fran to place the oversized basket on the small cramped table next to Derek’s bed. Dave shrugged and smiled as he pulled up a chair for his wife.
“How are you, Baby boy?”
“I’m fine, Ma.”
“I brought you two breakfast because I refused to have you and Penelope eating the slop they serve here.”
“Thanks Ma, but I’m not hung...”
“Don’t finish that sentence, young man! You’re going to eat and that’s the end of it!”
Fran stopped in her tracks, she knew what she was doing, and it wasn’t good. She was allowing her nervous energy and motherly hysterics to get the best of her. Somehow, she needed to dial it back and allow nurse Fran to peek out from the mania that was possessing her.
“I’m sorry...I-I just thought I had lost you and...”
“Bella, it’s okay, Derek understands, okay?”
Dave wrapped his arms around his wife as Fran shook her head that she understood. Derek watched as his mother took the empty seat that Dave had placed on the other side of the bed. For the next few minutes, silence fell over the room while Fran placed her hand on her son’s arm and watched him with tear-filled eyes.
“Hey Kitten, how about you and I go find some coffee?”
“That sounds like a great idea, Dave.”
Derek and Fran had not taken their eyes off of each other and so without another word, Penelope and Dave left the room. The two walked toward the exit; just before stepping outside, Penelope stopped, frozen in her tracks.
“Come on, Kitten. He’ll be fine the fresh air will do you good. Besides, we’re just going across the street to Andale’s.”
Penelope shook her head and followed him outside. The crisp air felt like pins on her skin and now she was fully awake. The two exchanged worried smiles both feeling as if they’d aged a hundred years over the past twenty-four hours.
“So, how did the two of you sleep last night?” Dave asked.
“Derek was out like a light after the nurses gave him something for pain.”
“To be honest, I couldn’t sleep. All I thought about was finding Derek bleeding on the floor. I thought he was...”
“But he wasn’t.” Dave grabbed her hand tightly as they walked. “You saved his life, Penelope.”
“If he can’t walk, I don’t think he’ll agree with you.”
Derek’s Room –
Fran’s look changed from sorrow to confusion at his words.
“Sorry, for what?”
“For putting you all through this...”
“Derek, none of this is your fault!”
“I don’t know what I would do if I’m not able to walk.”
“You’ll keep living, that’s what!”
“How? How do I do that? Laying on my back or in a wheelchair twenty-four seven? That’s not who I am!”
“Well, it sounds like you’ve already done the doctors work for them. Hell, I might as well tell them to stop working on you and spend their time on other patients who are far worse off than you are!”
“No! This, this isn’t who you are! Feeling sorry for yourself and acting like there’s no reason to fight? Stop it, I won’t have a son of mine giving up, Derek!”
Derek looked away; searching the ceiling for the dot where he’d ended his counting earlier. He didn’t want a pep talk or a scolding; what he wanted was his life back, he wanted his body to be pain-free and he wanted to be the person he was before all of this had happened.
“Okay, I hear you but...”
“No buts, Derek. You have to hold on to everything that’s within you! If you give up then that despicable beast who shot you wins, even from the grave he wins!”
Derek nodded his head and looked again into his mother’s eyes. Tears filled his eyes and rolled down his face. Fran stood and carefully hugged him the best she could while wiping the tears from his face.
“Don’t give up on me and don’t give up on Penelope...we need you, Derek, okay? We need you.”
“Okay...okay...” He whispered.
...to be continued
*Disclaimer: The Derek Morgan Chronicles is fan fiction based on the CBS Crime drama, Criminal Minds. We do not own Criminal Minds or its characters.
About the Creator
I adore words and I love what happens when we grab them, sleep with them, holler and scream and laugh at them! I love what happens when we throw them in the air and watch them fall magically from our minds onto paper!