and then she said hello

by templemarker

Notes: For mosca in femslash09. With thanks to marcolette. Angela Montenegro/Penelope Garcia, PG. Set post seasons four for both series.

***

The Federal world is actually pretty tiny. It gets even tinier when it’s just the greater DC metro area, and one department’s boss goes golfing with another department’s boss, and word is on the intranet gen.dc.fbi.us.gov community that showing up to the informal “cocktail party” (read: karaoke night) downtown at the Chinese restaurant the Feds favored was more mandatory than non.

Penelope hadn’t planned to go, but Spencer was excitedly talking up the selection of mid-eighties one-hit wonders available in the songbook, and Morgan and Prentiss looked like they were about to hurt themselves holding back their laughter. When JJ touched her elbow, saying she’d gotten the night off from Will, and wasn’t Garcia going to come too?, Penelope gave in.

She’d been feeling down since Kevin had reconsidered the offer after pressure from higher-ups. They’d had an argument that had turned into some pretty great sex, but as he got more involved in the preparations for his assignment they spent less and less time together. Finally she’d had to admit that it only hurt to prolong something she knew was going to end; they’d broken up last week, and she’d spent every hour she could clocked on overtime. The other hours she spent losing herself in crappy movies from Netflix and sublimating her very sincere desire for truffles into things that wouldn’t make her sick from over-indulgence.

The room wasn’t crowded, but it was pleasantly full, and Garcia scouted a table at the back while Spencer rushed to find a songbook and Emily trailed after him, muffling her laughter with her hand. Derek veered off to get the drinks, and JJ hadn’t arrived yet. They could never get Hotch to come to these things; even before his divorce he hadn’t liked to attend the social gatherings, and it was useless to try and convince him otherwise.

Penelope arranged her things on the table in front of her, resisting the urge to pull out her Blackberry and see if Kevin had emailed her, telling her he’d changed his mind and he didn’t want a promotion and higher security clearance and a clearly defined career path. Her fingers twitched, and she had just convinced herself that checking for a status update on the search algorithm she’d left running was a productive excuse to pull her phone from her purse when someone stood over her and held a drink in front of her face.

“That tequila better be strong, baby, because I think I’m losing the battle against the pathetically lovelorn person within,” she said with a sigh.

“I was just guessing, but maybe making it a double was a good call,” said a warm female voice behind a fall of laughter. Penelope looked up to see a gorgeous woman handing her a drink.

“You’re not Derek,” she said, but she still took the drink and drank half of it down before the woman had even had a chance to contradict her. Instead, Penelope felt eyes on her, on the column of her throat, and it–or the tequila–made her feel warm.

“I’m beginning to think I’d like to be,” the woman said, setting down her own drink and holding out a hand as delicate as she was. “I’m Angela. I work over at the Jeffersonian. And you look like you could use a friendly face and a stiff drink, so here I am.”

Penelope shook her hand. “Penelope Garcia,” she said, resisting the urge to run a hand over her hair to check that all her pins were in place. She hadn’t been looked at that intently in…awhile. Since she and Kevin had started up, probably. They’d fit into each others’ lives so perfectly that she never even noticed when they stopped looking for each other first thing across the room.

Their hands dropped, but Angela’s fingers rested lightly over Penelope’s. “So what’s put that long look on your face? You’re too pretty to look that sad.”

Penelope couldn’t help herself; she started giggling. No one had ever hit on her that hard, with absolutely no pretense. “Does that routine work on all the girls? Buy them a drink, tell them they’re pretty, hold their hands just a little too long?”

Angela’s look got briefly more intense, but then it fell into a slightly goofy grin. “I’m sorry,” she said, sliding her fingers from Penelope’s hand. “I’ve just…I’ve been trying out this whole celibacy thing, but instead of cooling me off it makes me jump at every gorgeous thing I see. ” She smiled wryly. “Case in point.”

Penelope felt a flush touch her face, and she tugged on Angela’s hand before it entirely left her own. “Hey, I’m not protesting. Just, you know, you look like a heartbreaker and I’ve had a couple of those in my life.”

A shadow passed fleetingly over Angela’s face, but before Penelope could even register it the warbling tunes of Seely Booth belting out “Don’t Stop Believin’” blasted through the PA.

“Oh god,” Penelope said, look of horror fixed in place, “why does he always choose Journey?”

“Hell if I know,” Angela said, eyes as round as Penelope’s. “Wait, you know Seely?”

Penelope grinned. “He’s on my bowling team. We have a league going with Our Lady of Perpetual Solemnity over on T Street.”

Angela started laughing, and Penelope smiled into her drink. It was nice to make someone laugh.

There was a slight cough at the other side of the table, and Derek was there, holding up her whiskey sour in one hand and his own beer in another. “Am I interrupting something?” he asked, half-hopeful, half-inquiring.

“Actually, you are, honey,” Penelope said archly, holding up her Sunrise. “Someone beat you to the punch. We’ve been getting on pretty fine without you, though.”

Derek looked back and forth, and back and forth again; he looked like a five year old struggling between a popsicle and a cherry icee. “Uh,” he said intelligently, “I think I’m going to go help Emily pick out a song for Spencer.” He left the drink behind with only a raised eyebrow, which Penelope knew meant, “Oh, we are talking about this later.”

“So,” Angela said, “not that that hot little interlude wasn’t fun, but I want to know more about you, Penelope Garcia. What can you tell me about yourself?”

Penelope smiled again. She could use a little fun in her life.

***

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