"Do you know why I'm still so off kilter? I've had a wonderful evening with your children, and it's helped to take my mind off this jackass, but now that Tabitha's gone to sleep and it's just the two of us, those intrusive thoughts are hurtling back into my brain and I can't get rid of them."
Erin let out a soft sigh as she bundled her close to her side, pressing her head down onto her chest. "What about this case bothers you so much?"
Penelope took a couple of deep breaths, trying to calm the pounding of her heart as she thought of how to answer her soulmate without sounding a little bit overwrought. "It all goes back to the Fisher King case. And George Foyet. And Jason Clarke Battle. And Ian Doyle."
"I'm sorry, I don't follow."
She nodded a little, knowing that what she was saying didn't make much sense yet. "This will be at least the fifth time that some unsub has stalked our team. The Fisher King didn't want to hurt us, but he did shoot Elle, almost killing her. Foyet stalked us and nearly killed Hotch before killing Haley. Emily was very nearly murdered by Ian Doyle after he hunted her down. And I was nearly killed by Battle, because he hunted me down. There are chinks in our armor that I've fought to close. I've tried to bury our personal details so deeply in my system that it would take even someone like Kevin a year to find the most innocuous detail. And yet, and yet, this person that's replicating our previous cases and is stalking us seems to know our every move, professionally and personally. Which leads me to wonder which of us is in the crosshairs, and who might end up hurt. I don't want to lose you before I've even gotten the chance to really know you. So, I'm scared. Truly scared."
"If it bothers you this much, we can work together on gathering more information on this unsub. Will that make you feel a little better about this situation?"
"Yes. Because together, I feel like we can do anything. Including finding out who is after our team this time." Leaning in, she kissed Erin softly before getting to her feet and holding out her hand to her partner. "Can we go up to bed now? It's not that I'm getting tired, but I really want to cuddle with you before we fall asleep."
"That sounds perfect," Erin replied as she took hold of her hand and boosted herself to her feet. Hand in hand, they climbed the stairs up to the bedroom, and she hummed their song to herself as she went over to the closet and shimmied out of her dress and tights.
"Erin? Can we do something a little different tonight? We've slept together already, but I want to be a bit more intimate. And no, not sex, not with your kids here. I just would like to sleep feeling your skin against mine. Please?"
"I think that I'd like that, yes." Erin came over and pecked her cheek lightly before hanging up her blouse and skirt before unhooking her bra and placing it in her lingerie drawer. Penelope drew in a shaky breath as she tried to keep her thoughts as pure as possible, knowing that they couldn't take things to the next level, not yet, though that night was coming soon. "What are you waiting for, darling?"
"I don't know," she quickly replied as she shucked off bra, slipping it in next to Erin's before hurrying over to the bed and crawling in on her side. "I have been thinking of this moment for so long. Maybe I've built it up a little in my head, because seeing you like that, you're so open and soft and lovely and I'm just reminded of my own shortcomings?"
"Penelope," Erin said lowly as she reached out her hand to her. She nodded and drifted over to her side, climbing into the bed and hurriedly pulling the sheets up to her waist as she focused on Erin's face. "You're lovely. I wish that I had all the perfect words to tell you that in my eyes, you're gorgeous, and that I love you so much."
Before Penelope could reply, Erin had leaned in and captured her lips in a bruising kiss, one of her hands sliding into her hair and holding her close as she poured out all of her emotion into the kiss. Penelope groaned lowly against her lips as she sidled closer to her soulmate, wrapping her arm around Erin's waist but taking care to make certain that she kept her hand in an appropriate place, just in case one of the children happened to knock on the door. "I thought that you weren't ready to say that?" she panted out as she finally tore her lips away from Erin, smiling happily into her face.
"Yes, well, if you're right to feel so apprehensive about this replicator, then who knows what will happen in our future? I need to let you know my heart." Erin blinked a few times before starting to hum their song. Penelope nodded as she started to hum along with her, finding the song soothing her frazzled nerves.
"I just don't know how I'm going to make Hotch understand that I am seriously freaked out. I'm certain that he thinks I'm being paranoid, but you can't do the job I do for this long and not feel a bit paranoid at times. It also doesn't help that every time I've had this hinky feeling, something bad has happened. And before you start using that lovely doctorate on me, I am thoroughly aware of the fallacy of correlation not equaling causation, and all that."
"You also learn to trust your instincts when you've done this job as long as we have. Even if it is just the two of us gathering information, a tiny part of your mind can be put at ease. Yes?"
"Yes." For the first time, Penelope recognized how good Erin's skin felt against her own, and she let out a soft sigh as she ran her hand up and down Erin's back, letting her fingertips memorize where the slight scars were there, how her spine felt, just every little facet that she could drink in with her touches. "I love how you feel. I love how you smell. I love how you know just what to say to make me feel right. I know that that's partially the soulmate bond, but I think that this is also part of falling in love?"
"I think so, too. This feels so comfortable, Penny." Erin began to run her fingers through her hair, never taking her eyes off Penelope's as she leaned in and kissed her once more. "I like how our family feels with you in it. It's as if this missing piece has finally fallen into place."
"I love being your missing piece. Are there any concerts that we could pick up this weekend? I really want to go out with you and take my mind off all this crud. Is that selfish of me?"
"No, it's normal to want to think about and do the things that make us happy when we're faced with a situation like this. And I think that there's something that we could go see, yes. We probably wouldn't get the best seats, but we'd be together."
"That's all that matter, Erin. Now, tell me more about your parents. I'm assuming that I'll be getting to meet them at some point, yes?"
"Yes. And my grandmother. Maybe I'll start with her, since she's the one who made me into the woman I am today. Sort of." Penelope grinned and nodded, pulling the sheet up around their chests as she settled in to listen to her partner talk, wanting to know everything about her that she was willing to say.