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The Music of the Spheres

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There hadn't been time for Penelope and Erin to get together during the course of the case, though they had ended up calling each other twice. It was nice to finally be back in the same time zone, since that meant they could actually talk at a decent time and not have one of them be thoroughly exhausted. And when Derek called to let her know that the team was returning, she had texted Erin to let her know as well, seeing as how she was still in the office.

Hearing a bit of a commotion out in the almost empty bullpen, Penelope quietly opened her door and peeked out to see that there were happy faces on everyone in the team, but for Blake. Well, Penelope assumed that she had a mulish expression on her face, as her back was to her at the moment, her shoulders and spine stiff and unyielding as Erin leaned in and tried to speak with her. It broke her heart a little, to see how hard Erin was trying to find an inroad with the woman, only to be rebuffed, and she unconsciously started to hum their song, wanting to lend her soulmate a little bit of her strength. Erin glanced up at her in that moment, and Penelope smiled and nodded before stepping back into her office and waiting for Erin to finish. Rummaging around in the things that she had purchased in England, Penelope touched the other coffee tumbler that she had brought home and knew that it would be going home with Alex instead, in hopes that it might smooth out their rocky start.

Taking a deep breath, she smoothed out all the invisible wrinkles in her skirt and then peeped out the door once more. Erin had disappeared, and Alex was sitting at her desk, head bent low. A deep sigh slipped from her lips as she tried to gather her courage and make her way down to where the woman was sitting. "Just get on with it, Penelope," she murmured as she shook out her shoulders and strode from her office, starting to hum their song as she got closer and closer to Alex, needing something to lend her the courage she wasn't feeling in that moment.

Wordlessly, she paused in front of Alex's desk and waited for the woman to address her. "Can I help you?" she finally asked shortly, and the song on Penelope's lips cut off abruptly. She watched Alex appraising her, as if she recognized the song, and Penelope felt the blood drain from her face as she recognized the thought that Alex very well could. "Well?"

"Do you think that we could start over?" Alex ticked her eyebrow up before gesturing towards her with her hand. "Hi, my name is Penelope Garcia, and I do not handle change well. At all. Well, you saw that earlier, with that little display I put on. But, everything seemed to change overnight, and we were in England, and you just seemed to appear out of thin air. Here. I saw that you lived in the District, and that can't be an easy or fun commute."

She held out the tumbler to Alex, willing her to take the gift. "This is nice."

"Nice, huh?"

Alex actually giggled, which relaxed her a little. "Kind, and thoughtful. Exactly how Hotch described you to me when I asked about you and Derek. You're not the only one who doesn't deal with change well. I think that we're all a little hardwired to grow accustomed to our surroundings and not want anything to disrupt our neat little lives. That song you were humming earlier, it's quite lovely."

Somehow, Penelope knew that Alex was trying to dig for information, and she knew that she would have to tread lightly so as not to give anything away. "Thank you. It's just a little ditty that I came up with, I don't know if I'll carry it out further," she replied quietly. "Oh, I forgot to ask. Do you drink tea?"

"Tea, coffee, anything that will keep me awake, honestly. Why?"

"We're getting a proper tea of the month subscription starting next month, and I don't want to be the only one drinking it. Well, I know that Jayje will have some, but she's more of a coffee drinker than tea, so I hope that I've found a kindred spirit." Again, she smiled at Alex, hoping that she would get a smile in return. Slowly, her face relaxed into a soft look, and Penelope knew that that was all she was likely to get.

"I think that I will enjoy getting to taste different types of tea each month. Thank you again for the tumbler, I will put it to good use and think of you while doing so."

"You're welcome. And I'll just leave you alone for the rest of the night. Try not to stay too long, it was a rough case." Penelope resisted the urge to reach out and pat Alex's shoulder before going back up to her office, slumping against the door as she let out a long breath. That conversation had gone a little better than she had thought it might, and she hoped that eventually she might be able to get Alex to thaw a little towards Erin. Pulling out her phone, she texted Erin, asking if she was still in the building. Moments later, she had her reply, and smiling a little, she packed up her purse and hurriedly made her way out of the bullpen and down to Erin's office.

"What did you need?" Erin asked as she closed the door behind her. Penelope shrugged before dropping her purse into the chair in front of Erin's desk and making her way around to Erin's side, looking at her expectantly. "Penelope?"

"A hug might be nice?" Erin nodded quickly before standing and allowing Penelope to wrap her arms around her body. "Alex is going to be a really tough nut to crack."

"Tell me about it. I, I don't think that I'll be trying to reach out again right away. I don't want to push her away before I can get to know who she is now better." Erin pulled away from Penelope to sit back down, and Penelope hesitantly sat on the edge of the desk, wanting to spend more time with her. "So, I have tickets to the symphony in three weeks. They're performing Mahler's Fourth Symphony, and it's one of my favorites, so I thought it might be a great introduction for you."

"Okay. Should I wear anything in particular?"

Erin shook her head. "People come in jeans and a tee shirt, so as long as you don't wear an over the top hat, you'll be fine in what you wear to the office. I will be wearing something a little more relaxed than this, however. Power suits are only good in the office."

"But you make them look so good," she blurted out, feeling her cheeks almost instantly heat up in a blush. "I'm sorry, I just can't turn off the flirting with my good friends. You can ask Jayje how many times my mouth has ran ahead of my brain."

"You're fine, Penny. It's not like you've exactly talked dirty to me yet." She was surprised to hear Erin flirt back a little, but the look on her face was what stole Penelope's breath away, and she nodded jerkily as she tried to calm her suddenly racing heart. "Now, I hate to kick you out, but I do have a bit of work to do before I can head home for the evening. I'll talk to you tomorrow, either by phone or in person?" Penelope nodded as she slipped off the desk, squeezing Erin's shoulder lightly as she left her alone, looking forward to their next chat.