Derek Morgan's day wasn't going well. Between getting word that a conviction had been overturned for a case he'd consulted, spilling his coffee over a nearly-finished report, and the dismal performance of his latest group of Academy trainees in hand-to-hand, he was ready to go home and do five miles with Clooney and collapse into bed. And it was barely past noon.
As he approached the entrance to the Behavioral Analysis Unit, however, he saw something that brightened things considerably. He smiled broadly, hoping he'd cleaned up all right after the class.
"Is that Jordan Todd? You mean they let you out of Counterterrorism sometimes?"
She turned to look at him and smiled. "Hi, Derek, how are you?" She held out a hand in greeting. He couldn't help but be charmed all over by that knock-em-dead smile of hers.
"I'm great now," he said, letting his smile slip into a grin. "How long has it been? You look fantastic."
She laughed. "Hmm, you always had a knack with compliments, didn't you? It's been a few months. I'm getting back into the swing of things over at Counterterrorism. Must be good to have JJ back."
"It doesn't mean we don't miss you," he protested. He finally let her hand slip free.
"No, you really don't," she said. "It's all right. I was never a good fit for this department, and it didn't take me too long to realize that. I'm just glad you guys are so good at your job."
"So what are you doing down in our neck of the woods?" he asked curiously.
For the first time she looked slightly uncomfortable. "Oh, I was just waiting--"
"Here ya go, kiddo."
Derek had to fight not to roll his eyes. Count on Rossi to interrupt. He'd come out of the BAU, holding out a book. Jordan took it with a smile.
"Oh, good, Derek was keeping you entertained." Dave gave Derek a bland smile that made Derek want to grit his teeth. Instead he just gave a pleasant smile back.
"Yeah, we were having a nice little chat." So why don't you let us get back to it?
"Good, good." Dave kept smiling at him and didn't go anywhere. Derek didn't, either. Whatever Dave was doing giving books to Jordan Todd, Derek wasn't going to be the one to back down first.
In the end Jordan backed down ahead of either of them. She smiled at Derek, then at Dave. "Well. I should be getting back to work. It was great seeing you again, Derek." She put a hand on Dave's arm. "I had a nice time, Dave. I'll talk to you later."
Wait-wait-wait. Full stop. I had a nice time, Dave? What the hell did that mean? Derek turned a hard look on Rossi, but Rossi was smiling charmingly at Jordan. Way too charmingly, for that matter. It suddenly came back to Derek, how solicitous Rossi had always been when Jordan was around.
Damn, she was young enough to be Rossi's daughter! What was he thinking? Derek managed to pull himself together enough to give Jordan another smile, then he turned and headed into the BAU.
In a matter of minutes he was seated at his desk and firing off an email to Garcia.
Just saw Jordan Todd with Rossi. What gives?
She replied a minute later with, Not sure I can tell you, my prince. I'll get back with you on that.
What the hell? Derek glared at his computer screen for so long that Reid finally asked if his computer was working okay. Finally he shook it off and made himself get back to work. It didn't help, though, that when Dave came through the bullpen a few minutes later, he was smirking. Smug bastard.
He tried to put it out of his mind. He really did. But Derek kept thinking about David Rossi taking Jordan to dinner, giving her a bouquet of dark red roses, taking her out dancing until all hours of the night. He thought about Rossi in blue and Jordan in red and that dazzling smile aimed at Rossi. He thought of how Rossi had been through three marriages already, and for God's sake, he was old enough to be Jordan's father! He was fifty-three, and she was just barely thirty. It was ridiculous.
Derek knew he was jealous. It wasn't an emotion he'd experienced often in his adult life, but he was familiar enough with it to recognize it when it hit him. And he hated the fact that he was jealous of David Rossi, of all people.
The guy who'd come back to the BAU just when Derek had been poised to become Lead Profiler to Hotch's Unit Chief. The guy who had history with Hotch, charm for the ladies, and was a hero figure to Reid. The guy who suddenly seemed to be the cool dude on the team, despite being almost fifteen years older than Derek.
What the hell.
A week after running into Jordan, Derek let himself into Penelope's bunker and shut the door behind him. She swung around, staring at him. "If it isn't my favorite hunky profiler," she said, beaming at him. "What can Empress Penelope do for you today?"
He folded his arms across his chest and did his best to look stern. "You can tell me what's going on with Rossi and Jordan, my goddess."
At that, her smile dropped off. "No, uh-uh, sorry, that's one thing I can't do."
"Oh yeah, you can. And you will. Or I swear, mama, I will do bad things to your computer."
She snorted. "Please. You needed me to help you access your email archive from last year. You think you're proficient enough with a keyboard to damage my computer?"
"I don't need a keyboard, mama. All I need is a Louisville Slugger."
Her mouth dropped open, her eyes widening. "You wouldn't dare."
He lifted his chin in challenge. "Try me."
"Derek Morgan, you are the most evil, ruthless--"
"Just tell me, mama, and nothing has to get hurt."
She glowered at him.
"And I'll buy you that purse I saw you eyeing at the mall when you helped me pick out my sister's birthday present."
Her glower vanished. "Dave and Jordan have had a dozen lunch dates since she went back to Counterterrorism. I don't know about evening dates, because when he actually thinks to mark his appointments 'private' I don't hack into them. But ever since Hotch made him start using a PDA and sharing his calendar, he's been totally anal about putting everything into it. I could tell you when his next colonoscopy is, even."
"He didn't mark that private?" Derek said, momentarily distracted. "Dude makes an appointment to get a camera put up his backside and doesn't mark that private? What the hell?"
"Why so preoccupied with Dave's backside?" Penelope said brightly.
"I'm not. So you're tellin' me that Rossi and Jordan are dating?"
"That's not exactly what I said. I said they've had a dozen lunch dates."
"And you don't know about evening dates."
She shrugged. "He marks evening things private sometimes. There are quite a few I don't know what they are, just that he was busy."
He raised his eyebrows. "I'll buy you matching shoes if you find out."
"Derek Morgan, I may be cheap but I'm not easy," she said, giving him a look of outrage. "I only hack for the forces of good, and you are most certainly being evil right now."
"Mama, you wound me," he muttered, but he leaned over and kissed her cheek. "Okay. Thank you for the intel, Penelope. You can be expecting a little red package on your doorstep any day now."
As he went back to his desk, he suddenly had a lot more on his mind.
"Counterterrorism. This is Jordan Todd."
Derek leaned back in his desk chair and grinned, holding the phone to his ear. "Jordan! Derek Morgan. How's it going?"
"Wow, I've been gone for months and you never missed me, but suddenly you can't go two weeks without calling me?" She sounded amused after he identified himself. At least it was the sort of amusement that invited him to share in it, instead of just her laughing at him.
Derek laughed and drummed his fingers soundlessly against his desk. "Aw, you know, I really meant to keep in touch with you. Time just got away from me. We've been run pretty thin here lately, but I was thinking maybe you'd join me for dinner one of these nights. I could come up to the city, if you're interested."
She hummed. "Derek, I'm flattered." She didn't sound surprised, but Derek supposed he'd given away his attraction to her from the moment they'd met. A man who threw out a perfectly good cup of coffee in order to talk to a woman wasn't exactly going to have the upper hand in the courting game.
"Well, my mama's always said that flattering a woman is a good way to start," Derek said. He glanced across the bullpen, hoping none of the team would come in and catch him flirting during work time.
She laughed, as she was supposed to, but then she hummed again. "I really can't. I'm seeing someone, and while we haven't really talked about exclusivity, I think it would be unfair of me to go to dinner with someone else."
"Oh, come on, we're former coworkers," Derek wheedled. Damn David Rossi. Not only was he playing the alpha male here in the BAU, but now he was stealing Derek's girls. "Surely he can't get jealous about that."
She laughed quietly, then said, "Maybe coffee. Next time you're in the city, give me a call and we'll meet up for a brownie and a cup of coffee."
He grinned at the reference to the way they'd met. "I guess that's better than nothing," he said. He wasn't entirely convinced it was better than nothing, considering she was going to lunch and dinner and God knew what else with David Rossi. But it was a start. He could beat Dave out, given time.
"I'll see you then," he promised.