Penelope glanced at her clock, seeing that it was nearly midnight and Erin hadn't reached out to contact her. It was unusual for her not to text or call or anything, and she sighed a little as she picked up her phone and sent off a quick text to the woman. I missed not talking to you today, and I hope that everything is all right. Hopefully we'll be able to carve out a little time to speak tomorrow. Xoxo
She pressed send before she could second guess herself, and then she turned her phone on silent before slipping into her bed and turning the light off, staring up at the ceiling as she tried to calm her thoughts enough to drift off to sleep. Still, she couldn't help but let her thoughts spin out as she dwelt on Erin's silence. Everything had been all right at work, they hadn't had to go out on a case which allowed her extra time to get caught up on some of the backlog Kevin had left her with. She knew that the reprieve wouldn't last long, since there was most likely going to be a case the next day. Eventually, she managed to drift off, and found her dreams chaotic, jumbled, but filled with their song.
Her alarm broke through their song, waking her up much too early the next morning, and she let out a deep sigh as she reached out to turn it off. Penelope rubbed her temples absently as she tried to fight off the fog of a headache that told her she had had too little sleep, and then went through her morning routine on autopilot, not really registering anything that she did until she was seated at the round table for the briefing. Hotch kept giving her odd looks, and she did her best to smile at him, trying to let him know that everything would be all right once she had woken up a little more. "Wheels up in thirty," he said, and Penelope went to push away from the table, only for him to stop her movement with a heavy hand on her shoulder. "Is this jetlag catching up with you, Garcia?"
"I don't think so, sir. I just had a really cruddy night of sleep, and am trying to kick this headache so I can be in tiptop shape for you all. I'm sorry if I seemed a little spacy, I should be good by the time I've had my third cup of coffee. I was assuming it would be a tea day, but I need the caffeine. Stay safe out there, okay? I'm still trying to get Blake to warm up to Erin, I mean, Strauss."
Hotch gave her a probing look, and she shrugged as she let out a deep breath. "I thought I heard the rumor that you had become close while you were in London. Dave said that you crept up in conversations more and more over the months you were gone."
"Did he tell you anything else?"
"No. Should he have?" She shook her head and gave him a bright smile before getting to her feet and leaning in to hug him tightly. "Garcia?"
"Nothing, I just really missed you, that's all. Give my love to Beth." She let out a deep sigh as she went into her office, taking a seat behind her desk and staring at her monitors, trying to find her focus. She must have zoned out, because the next thing she knew, a soft hand was closing around her shoulder. Looking up, she saw Erin was there, a grim look on her face, and Penelope felt her heart drop into the pit of her stomach. "Yes?"
"We need to talk. I know that you might have to run searches for the team, but I've cleared my morning of meetings so that we could have a heart to heart."
Penelope couldn't stop the tears that prickled her eyes, determined not to wipe them away so that she wouldn't draw attention to her unease. Erin took a seat on the sofa, and Penelope drifted over to her side, sitting next to her. She tried to make herself as small as possible, knowing that this was going to be the moment of reckoning, and she wasn't prepared to be rejected. "What do we need to talk about?" she finally asked, her voice small.
"Do you know who shares your soulmate song?"
The directness of the question didn't surprise Penelope, as Erin had always had a forthright manner. She knew that she couldn't ignore the question, that she couldn't lie to Erin, but this wasn't the way she had thought this conversation would go. She had been hoping to mention something at the concert in a few weeks, since they would be on somewhat neutral ground. Taking a deep breath, she slipped one had off her lap and dropped it close to Erin's thigh, hoping that she would pick it up as she spoke. The fact that she did made her smile a little and she turned her head to look at the woman. "Yes, I do know who shares my song. I've known since the bank incident, when I heard her sing it unconsciously in my ear in an effort to soothe me. This wasn't how I had imagined letting you know about this. I wanted to go out a few times as friends before I broached the topic, since I have no idea how you feel about soulmates, about Fate. And now I have to wonder if this is when our friendship, that I've come to love so much, is over."
A choked sob tore from her lips, and Erin tightened her grip on Penelope's hand so that she couldn't pull away. "I love our friendship, too, Penny. It's been such a balm to my heart as I've dealt with Alan and his bullshit this summer. There are no cameras in your office, correct?" She nodded. "May I kiss you?"
"Yes," she breathed out as she turned her face to look at Erin, seeing the delicate play of emotions that was running over her features. Penelope had the feeling that the same sort of emotions were playing over her face as well, and as they leaned closer to each other, her breathing hitched once more, her eyes fluttering closed as sweet, soft, lips brushed against hers. It felt so right, as if every other pair of lips that she had kissed in the past meant nothing in comparison to hers. "Erin."
"I know. That was so lovely. I didn't expect this, you know. I thought that I was hearing things, because you hum the song, too, without thinking. It sounds so beautiful coming from your lips, and I hope that it sounds at least a little pretty to your ears, too. Alex, well, she also recognized the song dropping from your mouth, since I sang it all the time in the shower when we were at the Academy together. I just wonder why it took so long for us to find each other."
"Maybe we just had to be in the right time and place to recognize it. I won't argue with Fate, because it has brought me something so incredibly beautiful." Reaching up, she caressed Erin's face, smiling through her tears. "I can't say that I'm in love with you, not yet, but I do have tender feelings for you. We just need to date for a while before I say those words. Do you want to go on our first official date?"
"Before we go to the symphony. If I didn't have this case, I'd ask if we could slip away and spend the rest of the day together. I feel like I know so much about you already from our talks, but there's still so much that I want to learn."
"Tonight then? We'll go to Tony's and have Italian food, and head back to my house for a coffee nightcap? I'd offer you something stronger, but we both know why that can't be." Penelope nodded, feeling so much lighter now that the truth was out between them. "I'll stop by your office at five thirty and we can head out?"
She gave Erin another small nod before taking a calming breath. "May I kiss you, this time?" Erin just gave her a tiny smile, her eyes focus on Penelope's lips, and she took that as her cue to lean in and give her a tender kiss, relishing this moment for all that it was worth.