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The Music of the Spheres

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Penelope woke up the next morning with their song on her lips. Humming along to it, she chose her outfit for the day before heading into the bathroom she and Derek were sharing for the trip, hanging her outfit on the closet door before stripping off her pyjamas and stepping into the shower. Allowing the water to muffle some of the sound, she began to sing her song a little louder, feeling free to do so. She knew that it wouldn't matter to Emily, she knew that Erin was her soulmate. But Derek might not react quite so calmly to her sudden declaration. JJ still didn't really get it, after all, and she was open with Will being her soulmate, so she knew about the bond that that brought, and she still wasn't certain that Erin and she were meant to be together.

Shaking those thoughts from her head, Penelope continued to was her body and sing her song, letting the joy of it fill her heart, wondering if Erin could hear her. She knew that that was a possibility, and smiled to herself as she finally washed the last of the conditioner from her hair. Turning off the shower, she grabbed a towel to wrap around her body before stepping out and padding over to the counter. Plugging in the hairdryer, she continued to sing her song as she went through her morning routine, making herself ready for the day ahead.

Once she was finally happy with how she looked, Penelope left the bathroom and made her way down to the kitchen, still singing her song. It was unconscious by this point, and she felt her heart grow so light at the sound that she didn't want to stop singing it. Waltzing over to the cupboard, she pulled out the cereal and made herself a bowl before taking a seat at the table. She looked up at her friends, seeing that they were staring at her, and she gave them a small shrug as her humming came to an abrupt stop. "What?" she asked before taking a bite of cereal.

"You are way too perky for someone who was up so late last night. Who were you talking to on the phone?"

Swallowing, Penelope shot a quick look to Emily before answering her best friend. "How do you know I was up talking, Der?"

"I had to go to the bathroom, and heard your voice. Have you finally decided to let Kevin out of the doghouse?"

She shook her head, and hoped that JJ would cover for her, if Derek texted her. "No, I was talking to JJ, trying to see how things were going without us there. Seems that they're still looking for someone to replace you, Em. You left a pretty large hole to fill, in all our hearts."

Derek rolled his eyes a little at the perhaps too saccharine words, but he nodded, as well, seeming to believe that she had said. Emily knew that there was something different to the story, and she arched an eyebrow upwards as she took a sip of coffee. "I imagine that it must be quite difficult to cope with three of us gone right now."

"A little, but Kevin is trying to do his best. I'm still not ready to speak to him, though."

"Is that why you were singing such a happy song? Thinking about the prospect of reuniting with him once we get back from this assignment?" he asked, and Penelope shook her head. "And what even was that tune? I don't think I've ever heard it before in my life."

"That's my soulmate song, Der. I've finally found them, and of course it had to happen before we got sent over here on a long assignment. At least I know they'll be waiting for me when we get back." Taking a deep breath, she stirred her spoon around her bowl, watching the cereal move gently through the milk, thinking about how she would love to have mornings like this at the kitchen table with Erin. That would probably be a long while off, but still, it was something that she wanted in her future. "Have you heard your soulmate song?" she asked offhandedly, not thinking about the fact that Emily would not be at all happy with her in that moment.

A sharp kick to her shin told her that she had indeed made a misstep, and she tried to give Emily a sheepish look, even as she heard Derek draw in his own deep breath. "I can't say that I have heard such a song. I'm not even certain that I believe in a thing like soulmates. We make our own soulmates, they're not just fated to enter our lives at some point. I'm going to head in now, Clyde wanted me to work with his team on the forensics of explosions, and I still need to get some things set up for it. I'll see you all tonight?" he asked as he pushed himself away from the table. Penelope nodded quickly, still watching Emily as they heard him leave, closing the flat door behind him with a dull thud.

"I am so fucking sorry, Emily. The words slipped out before I even thought about the meaning behind them. I know that he's still angry with you, but it seemed like he was coming around a little. Until I opened my big mouth."

"I know that you didn't think, but not all of us have the luxury of carrying on a telephone affair in order to get to know their soulmate better without having to worry about her figuring out that they belong together. Or did you tell Erin that last night while you were talking to her?"

Penelope shook her head a little, looking down into her bowl as she took a few shallow breaths. "I'm not brave like you, Em. I don't have that internal drive that tells me I'll be all right, even if the world is falling down around me. I'm squishy, like a stuffed animal. You're elegant and cool, like a sculpted marble statue. And I know, that's probably way oversimplifying things, but that's how I view you."

Emily reached across the table, covering Penelope's hand with her own and giving it a soft squeeze. Looking up, she saw that her friend was near tears, and her own eyes welled up. Blinking rapidly, she tried to stop them from falling and making her mascara run, waiting for Emily to speak. "You have the best heart of anyone that I've ever met, Penelope Garcia. How you see people is beautiful. And maybe, once I get a little more accustomed to the idea that Erin Strauss, the resident Ice Queen of our department, is your soulmate, I'll ask you to describe her to me."

"Then you're not mad at me?"

"I'm upset, of course, but that's more on me than you. I cocked things up so badly with Derek that I doubt he'll ever be receptive to the idea of us sharing a song. But you're right, I think that he is thawing towards me a little, so who knows what the next eleven weeks will bring? I'm certainly hoping that we'll at least be talking by the time I take you to the airport."

"From your lips to God's ears, dear Emily. Now, let's head in for the day, I want to make a lot of memories that I can tell Erin the next time we talk." Emily laughed as she nodded, pushing away from the table to take her bowl and put it in the washer while Penelope fixed her makeup, hoping that the day ahead of them was a good one.