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Penelope knows how lucky she is: to be alive, to have a job that she loves and is good at, to have friends who love her as much as they do, in all her crazy glory. She's thrilled to have Derek staying with her, though she hates the reason he feels it's necessary. It's also a little wearing--she loves him dearly and knows he loves her (knew it even before he said it, though it made her heart swell with joy to hear the words), but he's still a man, and even though he's seen her at her worst (and her geekiest), she still feels like she has to be on around him. Otherwise, things might get too serious, which neither of them is ready for, and that would be...awkward. Penelope doesn't like awkward.

So when JJ shows up at her door with Chinese takeout and a bottle of Chardonnay, Penelope relaxes in a way she hasn't in a while.

"Morgan's caught in a blizzard of paperwork," JJ says, "so I figured I'd fill in."

Penelope hugs her and then goes to the kitchen to find a corkscrew.

They sit on the couch and watch her Firefly dvds while they eat, and possibly she shouldn't be drinking wine since she's still taking antibiotics and painkillers, but she's having too much fun to care that she's getting tipsier faster than she normally would.

The food is long gone and JJ is putting the second disc into the dvd player when Penelope splits the last of the wine between their glasses. JJ sits down, closer than she was before, and Penelope lets herself tip sideways, just enough so that her head is resting on JJ's shoulder. JJ smells like the almond-scented soap she buys at Lush, a hint of sweat, and the weirdly sweet chemical odor of dry cleaning. Penelope takes a deep breath and then snuffles against her shoulder.

JJ laughs, loud and giggly and nothing like the badass FBI agent she actually is. It's funny how they all underestimate her, even the ones who should know better, because she looks like the all-American girl and she hardly ever raises her voice or her gun unless it's absolutely necessary. She gets more done with honeyed words and an iron will hidden by a sweet smile, than most people do with threats and bluster. It's one reason she's so good at her job. Sometimes she reminds of Penelope all the girls she'd hated in high school, even the nice ones everybody loved, the ones who took the time to be friendly to the chubby computer geek who just wanted to be liked.

Penelope blinks away her unexpected descent into the maudlin and is about to sit up when JJ moves, lifts her arm to drape it across Penelope's shoulders. Penelope snuggles in and sighs happily. JJ looks down at her and smiles, soft and sweet. She tucks her hair behind her ear, and says, "You okay?"

Penelope hums in contentment. "Never better." She tips her face up and meets JJ's mouth with her own, the kiss soft and warm and familiar. They don't do this very often, but Penelope is always happy when they do. She chooses not to think about the Bureau's anti-fraternization rules; they're friends who occasionally have sex. There shouldn't be rules against that. And it's nobody else's business, anyway.

She shifts, leans back against the arm of the couch, and draws JJ down on top of her, her hands already working at the tiny pearl buttons on JJ's blouse.

"Is this okay?" JJ asks again, her hands on the arm of the couch, holding her weight off Penelope's body. "Your incision--"

"It's fine," Penelope says, willing to accept the occasional twinges of pain. "It's good. Easier this way for me right now, actually." She hasn't been cleared to go back to work yet, and the ache of missing that hurts worse than her injuries.

"Okay." JJ kisses her again, mouth sweet and wet and hot. She tastes like Chardonnay and duck sauce, and Penelope can imagine the four cups of coffee and endless rounds of conversation that made up her day. She wants to be part of it again. Knows she will be, soon enough.

She reluctantly lets JJ pull away, leans up to chase after her mouth, and JJ laughs. She tugs at the hem of Penelope's t-shirt, and Penelope obediently lifts her arms so JJ can pull it off over her head. She mostly isn't self-conscious about her body, hasn't been in years, but JJ doesn't care about the soft convex curve of her belly or the width of her hips. She touches the angry red scar gently with the tips of her fingers and Penelope shivers; she tries to cover it up by pushing JJ's blouse off her shoulders and unhooking her bra so she can palm her breasts. She likes the soft moan JJ rewards her with for thumbing her nipples.

"Thank you," she says against JJ's mouth, letting her kiss express everything words can't. "I'm sorry you had to take the shot, but I'm not sorry he's dead." Maybe that makes her a bad person, but she can't bring herself to care.

JJ presses her forehead against Penelope's. "I know." There's no condemnation in her voice, only affection and desire. She slides one leg between Penelope's and they rock together gently, slow build of heat beneath Penelope's skin, rising up and radiating out. She can see the matching flush on JJ's skin, the light sheen of sweat along her hairline as they start to move faster, more purposefully. Her heart is racing, and she thinks wryly that dry humping is probably as much excitement as she can stand right now.

JJ arches her back and Penelope leans forward, sucks one peaked pink nipple into her mouth, her hands tight on JJ's hips as they thrust against each other. JJ moans again, one hand coming down to cup Penelope's face, thumb outlining the arch of her cheekbone as she shudders and comes.

Penelope is close herself, plants her feet on the squashy couch cushions and surges up against the lean muscle of JJ's thigh, rubbing herself against it, friction so good even with the layers of clothes between them. Another thrust of her hips and she's coming herself, caught up in the hot breathless pulse of it, JJ's tongue curling sweet and teasing in her mouth, stealing whatever nonsense she might be trying to say. It's okay; she's pretty sure JJ understands.

They lie on her couch for a little while, warm and languorous, JJ's head pillowed on Penelope's shoulder. Penelope runs her hand through the soft silky strands of JJ's hair and stops trying to fight sleep. Firefly continues to play in the background.

They don't speak because there's nothing to talk about. In a few days, Penelope will be back at work and they'll act like this never happened, until the next time they have a little too much wine or a case hits a little too close to home.

It's comforting, but never awkward, and that's one more thing Penelope loves about being friends with JJ.

end

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