Title: We will not be androids!
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Characters: Penelope Garcia, Dr. Spencer Reid, David Rossi, Aaron Hotchner, Sam
Relationships: Penelope/Sam, Spencer/Rossi
Warnings: Non-Cannon Compliant: Criminal Minds, Ignores current season, Schmoop, Humor, Not Beta Read
Word Count: 1672
Note: Response to the Character Prompt on Rough Trade for Penelope Garcia.
Summary: Garcia has come to believe that she’s lost her flair, and doesn’t like it. Somewhere along the way poor Spencer gets roped into the madness.
We Will Not Be Androids!
Why are you trying so hard to fit in, when you were born to stand out? – Ian Wallace
Penelope Garcia sat in her bat cave at the FBI building in Quantico, VA staring at an old picture of herself with the team at a restaurant years ago. Her hair was pink, and up in pigtails with big flowers around the base. Her clothes were bright and eclectic. Her glasses were fun! Studying the picture, she felt like she had travelled too far from herself.
It was hard to be perky and positive when you worked with a team who chased serial killers and horrible people all of the time. It was even harder to be perky and positive when you worked with a team who chased serial killers and horrible people, and not let it change you into someone else. She’d thought that she was doing ok with that, but lately she wasn’t so sure.
She felt like in her effort to prove that she wasn’t the Black Queen anymore, she’d gotten too far away from herself. She’d worked so hard to gain respect as the Technical Analyst to the BAU that she had lost all of her flair. Her hair was a respectable blond. Her clothes were covered with flowers, but still respectable colors and matching patterns and shades. Hell, even her boyfriend was a respectable investment banker.
He was the kind of guy that she always wanted to be interested in her. Smart, sexy, and respectable. He was someone that people looked at and admired, not looked at and sneered or laughed. In order to catch him… after… Jason Clark Battle had taught her that guys like Sam and Jason didn’t go out with girls like the old Penelope Garcia. So, in order to catch herself a Sam or Jason, she’d changed who she was. Now she wasn’t sure that she recognized the person in the mirror, or if she liked her confirmation to what society considered normal.
Huffing, she placed the picture on her desk, and grabbing her mug, stood to get some hot water for tea. As she stepped out of the hallway her bunker was in, she saw Spencer standing, staring at the glass doors. There were a few light bulbs out in the entranceway behind the doors, which had caused a mirror effect in the glass.
Stopping to stand next to her friend, she sighed seeing that the previously nerdy teacher’s assistant look had been updated to something more respectable as well. It looked like she wasn’t the only one who had gotten respectable. She was pretty sure that one David Rossi was to blame for this one, but still. The incursion of respectable was a thorn in her very sore paw. Reid was wearing dress slacks, with a wrinkle free oxford shirt, a respectable vest and suit coat combination with a tie. Respectable. Acceptable. Normal. The only thing that remained of the old Reid were his converse shoes and mismatched socks.
“I miss your sweater vests and long hair.” She blurted out drawing his attention away from the faux mirror.
“I miss the wild colors that you’d put in your hair, and your funky outfits. What happened to us, Garcia?”
Huffing again, she stomped off, or as much as she could stomp wearing two inch heels. Continuing her way to the break room, she could hear him following. “We got respectable, Reid! We… we conformed. We let the man strip us of our quirks and uniqueness so that we’d fit in with their plain little andriods.”
“Garcia,” Reid called out. Hearing the confusion in his voice, she stopped to look back at him.
“We work for the FBI. I am pretty sure that we are ‘the man’.”
Growling, Garcia turned and continued stomping her way to the break room. “That’s the point, Reid! We’ve become androids!”
Reaching her destination, she stopped and spun to look at Spencer. “I refuse to be an android, Spencer!”
When the genius just carefully nodded at her, she growled once more. Turning back around, she got her hot water, and pulled out a tea bag from the cabinets. As she went to leave, she stopped near the spot her friend had not moved from. His face was carefully blank, and she wondered if that’s what the crazed unsubs saw when he was trying to talk them down.
“We will not be andriods, Reid!” She repeated before stomping out almost running into Rossi. Moving around his lurking figure, she moved down the hall able to hear the two men talking behind her.
“I’m afraid to ask, Tesoro, but I will anyway. What was that all about?”
Reid’s voice was almost too quiet to hear. “I think she’s having a psychotic break. You get to tell Hotch, and oh… we are discussing my sweater vests when we get home.”
Later that same day, she sat at a café with Sam who had come to have lunch with her. She was picking at her Savannah Chop salad, when she heard him speak.
“Is it something that you can talk about?”
Looking up, she saw the concern on her boyfriend’s face and sighed. “Would you still want to be with me if I wasn’t respectable anymore?”
Sam cocked his head to one side, and appeared to be considering her question. Either that or it was his answer that he was thinking over. Whichever it was, he didn’t answer right away.
“I guess it depends on what you mean by not respectable. If you quit the FBI and became a hacker again, or some other kind of criminal, I would not be able to stand by your side. I need some kind of reference to answer your question, Penelope.”
Instead of speaking, she opened her purse, and pulled out the picture from her office that she had been studying earlier. Holding it out, she watched his face as he took it, and studied it. When he smiled, she hoped that it was a good sign. Before he could speak though, she decided to explain further.
“I feel like somewhere I lost who I am, because I was ashamed of who I had been along with the things I had done. I miss dying my hair fun colors, and wearing fun outfits I find at second hand shops. I miss whipped cream and my fuzzy pink handcuffs in the bedroom. I miss deciding to go to Paris on a whim just because I want to, and I can.”
When she realized Sam’s smile had a puzzled tint to it, she got nervous. “What does any of that have to do with you being respectable, Penelope? Neither your hair color, your clothes, our bedroom actions, nor how far in advance you plan your vacations make you respectable.”
Sniffling, she accepted the napkin that he held out, before listening as he continued his explanation.
“What makes you respectable is how dedicated you are to your job. Changing your life to use your skills to help people instead of hurting them. Using your free time to help victims of violent crimes. I would hope by now that you know I am not the type of man who judges you based on your hair color or your fuzzy pink handcuffs.”
Deciding that she didn’t care what the others around them thoughts, Penelope got up, and hurrying around the table, threw herself into Sam’s lap.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are awesome and wonderful and amazing. I am sorry that I doubted you.”
When Sam just laughed and kissed her cheek, Garcia smiled happily.
“I love you too, Penelope.”
She woke up the next morning to a text from Hotch that she needed to be to the jet in an hour or as soon as possible. They had a case, and they needed her onsite with them.
After showering and fixing her hair, she stood in the bathroom studying herself in the mirror. Her previously safe blonde hair was now a two tone pink with a lighter pink on top fading into a hot pink at the bottom. Taking a deep breath, she headed out to get dressed. She didn’t have time for second thoughts. The team was waiting on her.
Climbing the jet steps, she noticed the rest of the team was already there. She’d had to stop at Quantico to get her work computer and other things that she’d need for her part of the case.
Spotting a free seat at the table next to Reid, she slipped into it after stowing her laptop bag. Looking over at Spencer to say good morning, she noticed that he was wearing his purple sweater vest and couldn’t contain her squeal. “You wore my favorite sweater vest!”
“I have four more in my suitcase, and 12 more on order with Dave’s tailor,” Reid admitted grinning shyly. “You dyed your hair.”
Penelope nodded grinning. “We will not be androids, my junior G man!”
Hearing a snort of amusement from the other side of the table, Penelope turned her attention toward it. She blushed at seeing Hotch and Rossi watching the amused. Hotch’s eyebrow was raised, but the smirk on his face told her that he wasn’t really mad. When he spoke, a happy warmth filled her stomach.
“Ms. Garcia and Dr. Reid, it is nice to see you back with us. Penelope, I hope Sam likes the pink. I think that you look lovely. Spencer, I am glad to hear that Dave is losing The Great Sweater Vest War. I hope that you made him pay for the new ones, and that you fill up your side of the closet with them. Now, if you don’t mind working with us lowly androids, we should discuss the case. Again, welcome back. We’ve missed you both.”
Nodding, Garcia pulled out her laptop and began filling in the team on what she could find. It was nice to know that her love interest and her team respected her flair or no flair.