The Solitary Man 5x17
Angela: Booth must be cute with his grandpa, huh?
Brennan: His grandfather calls him shrimp. Booth seems to like it, which I don't understand.
Angela: Well, it's because it makes him feel loved, like when he actually was a shrimp.
Brennan: So the moniker is a sign of affection?
Angela: Very good, Brennan. You never had a nickname?
Brennan: Oh, no, just what Booth calls me; just Bones.
It had been a long and tiresome day. Special Agents Derek Morgan and Emily Prentiss arrived in Edgewood early that morning and had begun visiting dump sites and questioning every one they could to get to the bottom of the mystery of who was killing these women. Yet for every lead they attempted to follow, it only ended in more questions, leaving their efforts futile and resulting in an empty-handed return to the police station around 10 o'clock that night. The others on the team were already in for the night and Hotch suggested that they too go to the hotel and get some rest so they could look at the case with a new and fresh perspective tomorrow. Morgan and Prentiss rode along in the Government Issue SUV in a comfortable silence as their exhaustion finally caught up with them.
"You know what we forgot to do today?" asked Morgan as the realization dawned on him.
"What?" Prentiss replied concernedly as she ran through the day's events at a frantic pace in her mind. She was methodical and by-the-book when it came to investigating cases. She understood the importance of paying close attention to each detail as they explored every possible facet of a case in order to find the Unsub they were hunting before they claimed another victim. One small mistake or oversight could mean another life would be lost before they apprehended their killer.
"Whoa, slow down Princess!" Morgan responded with a laugh. "It's not anything to do with the case," he continued. "We didn't eat lunch or dinner."
"Oh," said Prentiss, relief washing over her and calming her nerves. "You're right. After we landed this morning we got right to work. I didn't even realize how hungry I was until you said that."
"Well I thought that would happen. So how do you feel about some food before we go back?" Morgan inquired with a smile.
And that did it. She may have been tired: with sore feet and an aching back begging for relief in a nice warm bed after a long, hot bath. But when she saw that dazzling smile she couldn't resist. Because for her, that was really all she needed so much more than that bath or soft pillow. All the evil they saw on a daily basis drained her emotions, her soul - no matter how much she tried to deny it. She had been great at compartmentalizing her feelings from the job her entire life but they were still there, gnawing away at the container within her heart slowly but ever so surely.
So when Derek Morgan, her partner and many times, her protector, flashed her that smile in the middle of an atmosphere that felt so stifling with its horror filled images and sick mind games, it always rejuvenated her spirits to know she had someone she could count on no matter what, who felt the same way she did even if he didn't like to admit it either.
"Of course," she responded with a sense of renewed enthusiasm. "There's a restaurant up ahead to the left."
"Well actually I had my mind set on a place if you're up for a surprise. I noticed it when we were out earlier and every since then, well I've kind of been craving it."
"Okay, I'm up for anything as long as its food" Prentiss started with a grin. "Except Italian. Anything but Italian."
"Rossi wouldn't like to hear you say that!" Derek replied with an infectious chuckle.
"Well he doesn't have to know" Prentiss whispered along with a chuckle she couldn't resist. "It's just that he talks about all of these different Italian dishes all the time even thinking about it makes me sick of it!"
"I know what you mean. But no worries, this place is definitely not Italian!" As he said his last statement, he pointed through the window with one hand as the other maneuvered the steering wheel into the parking lot of a 24-hour diner. "How do you feel about breakfast for dinner Miss Prentiss?" he added with a wink.
"That sounds amazing!"
Derek parked the car and they both alighted. As they quickly made their way into the nearly empty diner, sounds of thunder resounded in the distance coupled with spontaneous flashes of lightning that illuminated the landscape against the night sky signaling a powerful storm was coming their way, little did they know it wasn't the only storm they would have to face tonight.
Emily couldn't help but smile slightly as Morgan opened the door for her and escorted her into the restaurant with the tiniest touch on the small of her back. Even after years of growing comfortable with one another through their partnership, he had never stopped gentlemanly tendencies like these. She secretly thanked Fran Morgan for instilling these qualities in her only son because she knew she could have just as easily been partnered with a real jerk. Derek may joke around about his supposed playboy lifestyle but Prentiss was one of the only ones who knew the truth about the fact that his playboy image was just a front and just how much of a gentleman Derek Morgan really was. And she was thankful for it every day.
They both slid into a corner booth beside the window that was now being lightly sprinkled with raindrops. They ordered – both avoiding coffee as they anticipated the night of sleep their bodies so craved. As usual, conversation flowed effortlessly. They were familiar and comfortable with one another. They talked about the case, their love of Kurt Vonnegut, Emily asked about a leaky faucet at her apartment and Derek promised to fix it, and when Emily couldn't finish her blueberry pancakes, Derek cleaned her plate in a matter of seconds – earning himself a wide-eyed look of shock and a slight grin from Emily.
But a stifled yawn followed close behind her smile and Derek suggested they go get some sleep. The thunder and lightning resounded close in the distance as they approached the register. Morgan went to pay for his meal first. However, when Emily went to pay for hers, she was informed it had already been taken care of.
"Morgan, you didn't have to do that!" she said with a mix of thankfulness and frustration.
"I know. But it was kind of my fault we didn't stop to eat today and I did eat almost half of your pancakes." Derek retorted with a smile and a wink that made Emily's stomach flutter ever so subtly.
Emily couldn't argue, so she thanked him genuinely. But as she was finishing her statement, Morgan reached for his buzzing phone. "Morgan" he answered. Emily watched intently as his expression changed from one of joy to one of dread. He hung up the phone slowly and looked at her.
"This can't be good" Emily surmised – unsure whether or not she wanted to know the reason for the late call.
"I'm afraid not. We've got another development on the case and Hotch wants us on the scene."
Prentiss released a frustrated breath. "Alright, well in that case I really need to use the Ladies Room first if you don't mind."
"Not at all. I'll go get the car. The rain is coming down pretty hard out there."
Only minutes later, Emily was rushing out the door of the diner where Derek was waiting with the car pulled up front so she could stay as dry as possible. Emily hopped in the passenger seat holding two very large coffee cups.
"If we're going to be up we're going to need some energy. Here you go," she said as she handed him one of the cups and they sped off to the crime scene.
"Mmmm I like the way you think Princess" he said as he took a sip. "Thank you."
"Of course. But you better be careful or Garcia is going to get jealous."
Morgan looked at her quizzically. "What do mean?" he asked, clearly not following.
"Garcia is going to get jealous if she finds out you are calling me by the nicknames you use for her."
"What?" Derek questioned.
"Princess," she emphasized with a smirk.
"Oh," Morgan responded, unsure of how to proceed and a bit embarrassed. The battle within his mind waged at lightning speed. Should he tell her the truth? Or should he just shrug it off?
"Well, yeah… I do have a lot of nicknames for Garcia. And she has plenty for me," he started. He was still thinking about his response but as he looked into his partner's eyes honesty finally won out. He proceeded carefully, "No, Garcia doesn't like to share but Princess is special. I don't call her that; it's on reserve. I only use it for one person" he paused. He took a deep breath and continued softly, "You."
Emily's breath caught in her chest as her stomach began to feel uneasy. She and Derek were both partners and close friends. They shared an extra special connection because knew each other better than most of the team members simply because they trusted one another with their very lives everyday. She never felt uncomfortable around him, she felt safe. But why all of the sudden did she feel flutters rising in her stomach and a tightening in her throat. She tried to keep calm and control her emotions the way she had always been taught. But inside, she felt like she never wanted to stop smiling. Morgan had a nickname for her – for only her. She'd never really had a nickname. She chided herself for getting so excited but she'd never had a nickname and she secretly relished in the attention she so rarely received.
"Oh… really?" she proceeded cautiously, attempting to reign in her emotions.
"I'm sorry… I didn't mean to, I mean…" Derek mumbled.
"Hey, it's ok" Emily responded, brushing her hand against his fingers resting on the coffee cup in its holder. "I've just never had a nickname before. So thank you, really. It means a lot. I've actually never had a nickname before" she finished, sounding a bit more like a giddy school-girl than she had wanted.
This put Derek at ease. Sure he had plenty of nicknames for Garcia. She was one of his best friends. But to him Emily was special and he wanted to make sure she knew it by making sure she felt that way every day.
They rode along, stealing glances and hidden smiles at one another as they casually talked the way they always did, and they knew another stone was being set in the foundation of their relationship tonight, knowing it was growing stronger and delving deeper every day. They both wondered and even secretly hoped the other's feelings ran as deep as their own but the hopes were dashed every time they thought of the confines of their job and it's requirements. But their thoughts were interrupted as they arrived at the rest stop where their Unsub had claimed his next victim.
"Wait, you don't have a your coat and it's freezing out there." Derek sounded his thoughts aloud.
"Oh I left it at the station!" Emily realized.
"No worries. I've got one in the back in my go-bag. Take this one and I'll grab it." Derek pulled off his warm wool coat and handed it to Emily.
"It's alright. You don't have to."
"Don't argue with me Princess" Derek stated with a pointed smile as he reached into the back seat and pulled out his leather jacket for himself. Emily began putting on the wool coat, secretly relishing in the warm feel and familiar smell of the jacket. She wasn't sure if he would ever get it back. Much like the FBI training shirt she still hadn't washed of his that he had given her to sleep in when she had inadvertently stayed with him after Cyrus had beaten her. Though she would never admit it, some nights when Doyle revisited her in her dreams, she would pull it out and inhale the familiar scent of Derek Morgan, and feel safe in the remembrance of her protector. Emily wrapped her arms around herself and smiled inwardly as she once more inhaled the intoxicating smell of Derek Morgan.
"Thank you" she said before descending from the SUV.
"I'll always take care of you Princess. That's a promise." And Derek flashed that smile that could make just about anyone go weak at the knees, but Emily knew – along with the nickname – it was meant just for her. And as his phone began to ring and Morgan answered his 'Baby Girl," Emily knew no matter what nicknames those two threw back and forth, she – and only she - would always be his Princess.