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“See you around, Danvers."

Maggie turns for the door. Alex wants to stop her, to grab her by the arm and spin her around--their first kiss all over again--to explain that it's a mistake, it was all a mistake, they can figure this out. But her legs won't move and the words are drowning in her throat, and Maggie's already gone, the door closing behind her, and Alex is alone. Those last words ringing in her ears.

"See you around, Danvers."

Alex wakes up in tears. Variations on the same dream, every night since That day. Weeks ago. Every morning, just like this, she fights the overwhelming urge to roll over, to reach for the warm body she longs to find still sleeping beside her.

She knows it was the right decision. It has to be. For the ache echoing so painfully within her ribs to be worth something, it has to be.

She forces herself out of bed.


 "Agent Danvers!"

Alex is in the middle of labeling a piece of evidence when Vasquez calls out to her. She turns to see the shorter woman waving her over to the body they're investigating, and her heart catches in her throat; several yards behind Vasquez, Maggie steps out of an NCPD car.

"Danvers!"

Vasquez calls to her again, and Alex watches for Maggie's reaction at the sound of her name. She's surprised (disappointed?) to find none at all: no flinching, no flustered panic, no hurriedly seeking distraction. She simply says something to one of her fellow officers and approaches Vasquez.

Alex, suddenly numb, follows suit.

She doesn't hear a word Vasquez says. She and Maggie converse--something about the case, something Alex should be taking note of--but all she can see is Maggie. For the first time in weeks, they're face to face, and Alex can't tear her eyes away.

God, she’s beautiful, with her hair pulled back and sunglasses resting atop her head. One of her thousands of striped button-ups (Alex has stolen this one before, she realizes) tucked into khakis. She turns to gesture to something – Alex really should be paying attention to something other than the slant of Maggie’s jaw – and Alex catches a whiff of her smell. Not shampoo or deodorant: just Maggie.

Suddenly it’s hard to breathe.

Maggie doesn't even look at her. She speaks directly to Vasquez, who waves over another agent and relays him an order. Vasquez then turns to Alex for confirmation.

"Agent Danvers? Anything to add?"

"Uh, no, no that should--I think that's--we're good, that's great," Alex fumbles. Vasquez shoots her a questioning glance but (thankfully) says nothing. She shares a nod with Maggie and they head their separate ways.

Alex is torn. Does she go after Maggie? Initiate something? She can’t, she’s the one who broke it off, clearly Maggie doesn’t want to talk—

But the realization that if she doesn’t set a standard now, she might never speak to Maggie again even professionally is too much.

"I'll be right there," Alex tells Vasquez hurriedly, and jogs after Maggie.

"Maggie! Hey, Maggie!"

Maggie turns and stuffs her hands in her jacket pockets.

"Agent Danvers," Maggie says politely. 

It's like all the air has been wrenched from Alex's lungs. Agent Danvers. The formality of it violently twists a knot in her stomach. 

"How, uh, how are you?" Alex asks, anxiously folding her arms across her chest. 

"Working a case, business as usual," Maggie answers. Her tone isn't cold, but it's...distant. Unfamiliar. Detached. "I gotta go drop these samples off at the lab, but you know my office number. Give me a call if there's anything my team can help with."

"Yeah! Yeah, totally. Thanks, you uh--you too!" Alex says awkwardly as Maggie turns her back. She watches Maggie get in the squad car and drive away.

The knot in her stomach doesn't dissipate for days.


 

They run into each other on a few cases, and it’s always the same. Maggie is polite and professional and it kills Alex. The lack of acknowledgement, the wall she’s put up. She’s desperate for a glimpse into what Maggie’s thinking, what she’s feeling, what’s happening in her life. Is she resentful? Bitter? Has she moved on?

But Maggie gives her nothing. Alex might as well be any other DEO operative calling for information on a case.

She stops going to the bar, too. Alex still goes once a week at first—usually with Kara and Winn and their friends—but soon she’s there five nights a week, hoping for an appearance. She doesn’t know what she’ll do if she does see Maggie; trip through a drunken apology? Beg Maggie to admit she remembers what they were? It doesn’t matter—she just needs to see her, to hold onto some shred of when their lives overlapped, even if it’s just shared patronage of a shitty dive bar.

But Maggie never shows. 


 Two months after the breakup, Alex breaks down in Kara’s apartment.

They’ve spent the past five days working a kidnapping case: the ten year-old son of two DEO agents.

“I made such a huge mistake,” Alex cries into Kara’s arms. Kara strokes her hair soothingly. “I don’t know what I was thinking, I can’t have kids. How did I think I could put them at risk like that?”

“Alex, it’s okay—” Kara begins.

“I lost her, Kara. I pushed her away for something I know I can never have, she’s gone. She’s gone and it’s all my fault.” The sleeve of Kara's cardigan (Kardigan, Maggie used to call them) is soaked in tears.

“This is about Maggie,” Kara says. Her voice is soft, sympathetic. A strangled sob escapes Alex’s throat.

“I love her so much, and I was so stupid. I can’t believe I was so stupid.”

“Have you reached out to her?” Kara suggests gently. Alex vigorously shakes her head.

“I can’t, she hates me. She has to hate me.”

“Hey, look at me.” Kara takes Alex’s tear-stained face in her hands. Her eyes search Alex's, forcing Alex to focus on her. Grounding her. “Do you love her?”

“Yes,” Alex whispers tearfully.

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life with her?”

“Yes. Yes, more than anything.”

Kara offers a soft, reassuring smile. “Then you have to go get her, okay? You can fix this. Win her back.”

Alex sniffles. “What if I can’t?”

“That’s not an option, okay? If she’s the one, you fight for her.”

Alex nods. “She is. She’s the one, Kara. She’s the one.”

Kara wraps her arms around her sister again as Alex's body is racked with sobs.


Hey, Maggie, it’s um. It’s me. Alex. Which, I’m sure you know, because of caller ID. Sorry, I don’t know if that was too informal, the first-name basis—it’s Agent Danvers. And you’re—hi, Detective Sawyer, it’s me. Shit. I’m sorry, I just—I really need to—I’d really like to talk to you, um, about…stuff. Non-work stuff. But, uh, I know you’re really busy and also, very well just might not want anything to do with me, which I—I get it, I understand. But, um, if you—I’d really like to talk, if you can, and it’s okay if you can’t, but I thought I’d reach out. Sorry.”

“Fuck.” Alex hangs up and tosses her phone onto the couch. She pinches the bridge of her nose. “Sure, who doesn’t want a rambling, year-long voicemail from their ex?” she mutters to herself. 

She spends the entire day on edge. Every buzz of her phone sends her scrambling, heart pounding, hoping against hope to see Sawyer, Maggie lighting up her phone.

Nothing.

The following day is the same: nothing. And the day after that.

By the time the week is over, Alex has all but given up hope. That’s the night she leaves work to find Maggie waiting outside the building.

“Maggie!” she blurts out, surprised, before she can catch herself. 

“Danvers,” Maggie nods. “Got your voicemail.”

“And?” Alex voice wavers. Is Maggie here to chew her out? Tell her to lose her number, never contact her again, never so much as look at her or speak her name or—

“You wanted to talk,” Maggie says carefully. Alex still can’t read her tone, but it doesn’t seem like anger. Maggie shrugs. “Now’s your chance.”

Chapter Text

Alex’s hands are wrapped tightly around her searing-hot cup of coffee. The stinging heat is the only thing grounding her now, as she sits across from Maggie in this coffee shop. Maggie hasn’t touched her own tea yet. It’s lavender, Alex knows. Maggie’s go-to for calming herself down. In this context, Alex doesn’t know how to read that.

“How, um—how, how have you been?” Alex stammers.

“You wanted to talk, Danvers,” Maggie says. Her voice is steady, unreadable. Alex has seen her this way before, around other people—exes, suspects—but has never been on the receiving end.

She hates this.

“I know, I’m sorry, I did—do.” She takes a shaky breath. “I, um…I just, I really miss you, Maggie. And I know I’m the one who called things off, and it was so, so stupid. I do want kids, I really do, but…I’ve been working this case, and I understand now that I can’t do that. I can’t have kids in this line of work, and I cannot give up my job.”

She searches Maggie’s face for a reaction, any kind of reaction, but there’s nothing. Just those big, guarded brown eyes boring into her own. Alex presses on.

“And I can’t stop thinking about you. I can’t sleep, I can’t focus, I can’t—just being in my apartment feels wrong, now. Every part of my life feels so empty without you in it. I miss you.”

Maggie isn’t looking at her anymore. She’s staring at her cup, running a finger along the rim.

“And I know—I know I don’t deserve another chance,” Alex continues. “—and I’m not expecting anything of you, I just…I needed you to hear me. I needed you to know. That I’m sorry, and that not a second goes by that I don’t regret it. More than I’ve ever regretted anything.”

Maggie still isn’t looking at her.

Fifteen, thirty seconds go by, and she hasn’t said anything. Alex doesn’t know what to make of this, doesn’t know what to do.

She’s never seen Maggie like this before, and it terrifies her.

“I never told you,” Maggie begins quietly, still staring at her cup, still refusing to meet Alex’s gaze “—but I was into you right from the start, too. That night in the bar, when I turned you down, I didn’t want to. But I didn’t think I deserved you. I didn’t think it was even really about me; thought I was just there and a convenient first. All that time it took me to come around, it wasn’t because I didn’t like you. I just didn’t know which would hurt more; letting you down then, or giving those feelings a chance until the day you realized you could do better.”

Her lips twitch into that sad half-smile that only appears when she’s upset, and Alex’s heart breaks all over again. She was prepared for anger, resentment, a cold rebuff, but this…this is worse.

“That whole first year, I kept waiting for that day. The day you’d realize I wasn’t as special as you thought, and you'd get up and leave. And then you asked me to marry you.” The sad smile again. “I started to think…it was stupid, but I started thinking maybe I did deserve you. I saw a future—the rest of my life—with you. Never thought I’d have that before.”

Understanding crashes over Alex like a tidal wave. Maggie isn’t angry with her; all that resentment Alex worried Maggie was harboring against her, Maggie has been turning on herself instead. Oh no, no, no—

“I wasn’t what you needed,” Maggie shrugs. She finally raises her gaze to Alex’s face, and the pain Alex sees in her eyes makes her own lungs ache. “I don’t think I’m what you need now.”

“Maggie, I—” Alex’s voice breaks.

“I don’t think you know what you want. The impulsivity, it’s—” she cuts her own sentence short, pauses. Tries again. “You were so sure that was what you wanted, and now that you think it’s off the table, here you are. I don’t think it’s about me, Danvers. It’s…a consolation prize. Better than nothing.”

“No, God no, that’s not it at all.” Alex reaches for Maggie’s hands and Maggie draws back, moving them to her lap. Alex bites her lip, trying to will away the sting of that rebuff. “You’re not second best, none of this is because you weren’t enough, or—or because you don’t deserve me, or happiness. It was me, Maggie; it was my fault. I made a horrible, horrible mistake, and I hurt you, and I am so, unbelievably sorry for that.”

Maggie is quiet. Alex can see the tension in her jaw, in the twinge of the muscles at her temple. She’s choosing her words carefully.

“What do you want from this?” she asks. Alex is puzzled by the question.

“What?”

“Your message. Meeting like this, talking. Why are we here?”

Alex’s mouth is dry. The words stick at the back of her throat, threatening to choke her. They've been echoing in her chest for months, her head for weeks, and Alex is terrified at the prospect of voicing them now. But if not now, she may never get the chance again. She steels herself to prepare for the confession, the raw vulnerability of putting herself out here like this.

“I love you, Maggie. I love you more than anything. I know we can’t jump back into how things were, and I couldn’t—wouldn’t ask that of you, but I’m asking for…a chance that I don’t deserve, to fix things. To prove to you that I’m in this for you, that I’m—I’m serious about this. About us.”

Maggie sighs and runs a hand through her hair. Even like this, Alex notes, lit by the dim lamps of the coffee shop, she’s beautiful. She’s so, so beautiful.

“I don’t know, Danvers. I don’t—I don’t know. I need some time.”

She stands and pulls on her jacket. Alex can’t tell if it’s her ribs collapsing in on her lungs, or the coffee shop collapsing around her ears, or the weight of the entire world collapsing in on itself, but she can’t breathe, can’t move, can’t process anything but Maggie digging in her pocket for something and placing it on the table.

“I’ll see you around,” Maggie says. Distantly, voice muffled, from a thousand miles away.

Alex can only stare, nausea rising in her throat, at the engagement ring sitting before her.


 

Two weeks later, Alex wakes up to her phone vibrating violently against the nightstand. She fumbles for it blindly and picks up with a groggy,

“Yeah?” 

“Danvers, it’s me.” 

Alex is instantly alert.

“Maggie? What—what time is it, are you okay? What’s going on?”

“I’m fine. It’s five—sorry to wake you—but I just caught wind of a case you’ll be interested in. Showtime’s eight tonight.”

The phone vibrates against Alex’s ear, indicating a text.

“I gotta run, but I’ll be in touch.” Maggie hangs up.

Alex, disoriented, stares at her phone for a moment. A dream?

She shakes her head to dispel the drowsiness settled there, and opens up her messages. One (1) new text from contact Sawyer, Maggie.

 She opens it. It’s a picture of a card—navy blue card stock with elaborate, silver calligraphy spelling out You’re Invited at the top. She scans the date, time (tonight at eight, okay) searching for a clue as to why Maggie’s sent her this, why she couldn’t have just said over the phone—oh!

There it is, at the bottom: Contact Maids of Honor Caroline Loachley and Keegan Banks to RSVP

“Banks,” Alex mutters. Keegan Banks, high-profile prosecuting attorney, long suspected of being on Roulette’s payroll. Alex has been trying for months to obtain the evidence to prove Banks is feeding Roulette the names of aliens run through the justice system; petty criminals with low-level offenses who no one will notice go missing. 

She’s covered her tracks well in terms of her digital footprint; Winn had been unable to find anything in her records and correspondence that so much as alluded to Roulette.

A glance at the address listed on the invitation confirms that the event is being held at Banks’ private home estate (one of many). If there’s any physical record of dealings with Roulette, her private office is as good a place as any to store them.

Alex shoots Maggie a quick text back:

thanks for the tip! :)

The reply comes just a few minutes later:

meet up 8:30?
fashionably late

 

Alex is taken aback. She had taken this for a tip, not expecting that Maggie would be joining her. A thrill of hope rushes through Alex—is this the olive branch? Half-mission, half feeling things out again?

Alex bites her lip, hard, trying to stifle the well of joy springing up in her chest. This could be it. Her chance.

She opens the invitation again to check the location, and there at the very bottom, below the address, Maggie Sawyer is printed neatly.

This isn’t a stolen or fabricated invitation like Alex initially had assumed. Maggie is capital i In, and inviting Alex to attend as her Plus One. Alex is helpless to stop the smile spreading across her face.

“What am I going to—oh my God, what do I wear,” Alex says aloud. She scrolls frantically back up to look at what exactly this event is, that will give her a sense of the dress code—

Oh.

Oh.

Her eyes widen as she stares dumbly at the swooping, perfectly-calligraphed letters spelling Wedding.

She’s going to a wedding. With Maggie.

Chapter Text

 When Alex steps into the lobby to find Maggie waiting for her at the entrance to the reception hall, her chest constricts.

Maggie is stunning. The simple, burgundy dress--straight neckline, sleeves that cut off just before the shoulder to reveal the elegant curve of her biceps--fits her so well it causes Alex’s mind to go completely blank.

All she can say as she greets Maggie is, “Wow.”

Maggie flashes her the briefest, flustered smile.

“Here’s the game plan,” she says, breezing past the awe written all over Alex’s face. “There’s a room up there with guarded doors, and it’s the only place locked down by security. Figured that’s a good place to start. We’ll wanna mingle first to avoid coming off as--”

“Have you had a drink?” Alex interjects. Maggie is taken aback by the abrupt segue.

“No, I—uh, no, I just scoped the place out,” she replies.

“Let me buy you a drink?” Alex asks hopefully. “Or, well, open bar, so not buy but--you know, we can--we can get drinks and figure out the next move from there. If--you know, if you want to. Drink.”

“I think I’m going to say hi to some people, make the rounds, but...yeah, come find me after you grab those?”

“Totally! Yeah, will do. I’ll uh, see you soon--in a minute.” Alex fumbles. They walk into the reception hall together and part ways, Maggie weaving smoothly through the crowd to the far side of the room. Alex inhales deeply.

She’s hopeless around Maggie, making a complete ass of herself every time she opens her mouth. “Just be a normal person,” she mutters to herself. “For once.”

She finds her way to the bar and orders two gin and tonics--one straight for herself and one with raspberry flavoring for Maggie, who hates the taste of alcohol more than just about anything--and sets out to find Maggie in the crowd.

After several minutes, Alex finally catches a glimpse from behind; between the dress, stature, and build, she knows it’s Maggie. The little jump her heart gives at the mere sight of Maggie isn’t lost on her.

Hoo boy, she has it so bad.

As she gets closer, she realizes Maggie isn’t alone. She’s talking to someone--a blonde woman in a very sheer, very low-cut black gown.The woman laughs at something Maggie is saying and playfully touches her on the arm.

Alex feels cold. 

She can’t move from her spot, just a few yards away. Can’t tear her eyes from the sight of this woman touching Maggie, looking at her that way, twirling her hair in her fingers as Maggie says something that elicits another laugh.

The way she’s eyeing Maggie screams, “I want to have you undressed in the next ten minutes” and Alex is jolted back into action.

“Maggie!” she calls out as she sidles up to the pair. Maggie turns, smiles at her.

“Danvers, hey.”

It’s not a real smile; it’s convincing, sure, but Alex can tell immediately that something’s up. Maggie gestures to the blonde woman. “This is Tonya, we used to do yoga together. That’s how—we both know one of the brides, Zoe.”

Oh, she wants to do yoga with you now alright, Alex thinks darkly, but offers Tonya a (fake) winning smile all the same.

“So nice to meet you,” Tonya (fake) smiles back. “And how do you know each other?” She gestures between Alex and Maggie, and Alex freezes.

We were in love, Alex thinks. We were engaged, planning to spend the rest of our lives together—

“Friends,” Maggie answers simply. “We met through work.”

“Right!” Alex forces a smile. “Friends. Just friends.”

Are we even that anymore? What happens after tonight?

She hands Maggie the raspberry drink, and thinks she catches a glimpse of something real cross Maggie’s face: softness; appreciation, maybe. 

“Thank you,” Maggie says kindly, accepting the drink. She turns back to Tonya.

“Well, we should make the rounds, say hey to everyone; it was great catching up with you, though!” 

“A pleasure as always, Maggie Sawyer.” Tonya wraps Maggie in an embrace far too close and too long and for Alex’s liking. “Do keep in touch, will you?”

“Of course,” Maggie says, pulling away with another convincing-but-not-to-Alex smile. Then, to Alex, “Shall we?”

“Please!” Alex answers with a little too much enthusiasm. She catches a disdainful side-eye from Tonya as Maggie leads her away.

“I’m glad you showed up when you did,” Maggie tells Alex as soon as they’re out of earshot. “Twenty minutes of feeling like a piece of meat.” The resentment in her voice is clear, and Alex feels guilty for her fit of jealousy; God, of course, she should have known Maggie would be hating it even more.

Alex knows Maggie’s history of abuse and abandonment all too well. She knows how much Maggie loathes being seen as a quick lay, someone hot to fuck for a night or three. She craves companionship, understanding, people who care about her beyond what she’s able to provide for them.

With a start, Alex realizes—aside from their conversation in the coffee shop—how little she’s really thought about how Maggie must be taking the breakup.

“I’m sorry,” she says tenderly. For everything I’ve put you through.

Maggie shrugs it off.

“Just how it goes, I guess. Good news is, I found our way into Banks’ office.” She nods at the winding staircase ahead of them. “Tonya was complaining about the seeming lack of security; there’s just the one guard upstairs. All hands on deck down here tonight. Up for some light breaking and entering?”

Alex wiggles her eyebrows.

“You do know how to give a girl a good time, Detective,” she grins. Maggie smiles—a small smile, but a real one; the first genuine smile Alex has seen from her since the breakup. 

Maggie seems to be becoming more at ease around her—slowly, which is understandable—and it fosters a spring of hope in Alex’s chest. What she wouldn’t give to see that full, radiant Maggie Sawyer smile again, just once. Or every day for the rest of their lives.

Alex casually sticks out a foot, right between the legs of a server passing with a tray of hors d’oeuvres. He’s sent tumbling head-first into a group of people by the bar, taking down five of them and their respective drinks with him.

Maggie takes the opportunity to topple over a nearby ice sculpture—a beautifully carved swan, rest in peace—which elicits a shriek from the poor woman next to whom it shatters.

It’s mayhem from there. People yelling, disoriented; trying to help each other off the ground; others crowding around to see what the commotion is about; slipping on the ice and spilled drinks and each other.

Alex and Maggie lock eyes, and make their way up the winding staircase to the upper floor. A security guard pushes past them on his way down.

“Well played, Danvers” Maggie says, as they come to the massive double doors of Banks’ office. She’s a little out of breath, face flushed from the excitement. She’s having fun.

God, Alex has missed this.

She quickly picks the lock—it’s surprisingly easy to hide a torsion wrench and pick in your bra—and they slip inside the office, shutting the door behind them.

“Any idea what we’re looking for?” Maggie asks, glancing around the room.

It’s warmer and more antiquated than either of them expected. Wood paneled walls, a large oaken desk, and marble busts of Banks herself placed around the room. No computer or phones to be seen; no technology of any kind. Weird.

“Papers, most likely.” Alex is already at the desk, opening drawers, flipping through file folders. Maggie comes around the desk to join her.

Alex flips open a folder to find a photo of M’gann M’orzz looking back at her.

“Have you heard anything on M’gann lately?” she asks Maggie.

“M’orzz? Haven’t heard from her since she left planet,” Maggie says as Alex continues flipping through the folder.

She recognizes a few of the faces here; aliens under DEO protection or on watch lists who have been disappearing from all over the city. J’onn is here too, and Kara--well, Supergirl. Aliens, all of them. The folder is full of files on them.

“Is the NCPD after her?” Alex presses.

“No, she’s not in any trouble. Why would Banks be interested?” Maggie is concerned; Alex knows M’gann was the first friend she made in National City, and the number of people Maggie counts among her friends is limited enough as it is.

“I think this is what we’re looking for,” Alex says. “It’s a start, at least.” She pulls out her phone, quickly snaps a few pictures of the documents within the folder, then returns the folder to its place and shuts the drawer.

“Let’s get out of here before—”

“I’m sorry,” Maggie says quickly, and lunges forward.

Alex finds herself pinned against the desk, one of Maggie’s arms wrapped around her back for support, and Maggie’s mouth hot at her neck. Instinctively Alex’s hand comes up to cup Maggie’s head.

The door swings open.

“Hey, you ladies can’t be in here,” grunts the security guard looming in the doorway. Alex’s head is spinning. Maggie, quick on her feet as ever (how does she do that?) raises her head to look at him over Alex’s shoulder. She smiles disarmingly.

“Sorry, my fault—just trying to get this one someplace private.” Maggie is the picture of innocence, and Alex would be significantly more impressed with the act if she wasn’t so distracted by the lingering sensation of Maggie’s lips on her skin, the heat of Maggie’s hands on her body.

Fuck, she’s missed that.

All too soon, the warmth draws away as Maggie pulls back, away from her. She takes Alex by the hand—Alex’s heart rate picks up frantically—and escorts her from the room, past the frowning security guard.

Alex is enraptured by the sight of Maggie’s hand in hers, their fingers intertwined. They fit together so well, she’s known this from the beginning; since that first night Maggie handed her a masquerade mask and took her by the hand, and Alex was left scrambling to explain to herself why it felt so right.

When they’ve escaped down the hall, back down the staircase to rejoin the party, Maggie lets her fingers slip from between Alex’s.

“Sorry about that,” Maggie says, rubbing her shoulder awkwardly. “I uh, I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I heard him at the door, there wasn’t much time—”

“No, it was—it was brilliant! And I’m always comfortable with you.” The words are out of Alex’s mouth before she can think.

They’re both taken aback by the unfiltered honesty of her words.

“I’m sorry,” Alex’s recovery is hurried. “That was too much, I didn’t mean—actually…actually, yeah…yeah I did..”

Maggie gives her a puzzled glance. Alex inhales deeply, and nods.

“I did mean it. I do. I didn’t mean to say it, out loud, here, but I—it’s true. This night has been amazing. This past—” she glances at the watch on her wrist “—hour is the happiest I’ve been in, God, in months, Maggie. I made the mistake before of not making clear to you what you mean to me, and I won’t make it again.”

The smallest hint of a smile plays at the corners of Maggie’s mouth. Alex holds out her hand.

“Dance with me?” she asks, hopeful.

Maggie’s eyes search hers, and Alex wonders what she’s looking for. What she hopes—or is afraid—to find. After a moment’s hesitation, Maggie places her hand in Alex’s once more.

“Okay.”

Alex isn’t positive, but she thinks—thinks—she catches a flash of warmth in Maggie’s eyes. Alex beams and leads her to the dance floor.

They find a relatively isolated spot (Maggie gets nervous in crowds) and Alex wraps her arms loosely around Maggie’s neck.

“Is this okay?” she asks tentatively. Maggie’s response is a slow nod.

“Yeah…I think so.”

Alex relaxes when she feels Maggie’s hands settle gently on her waist.

The music is slow. They sway together, uncertain; trying to figure out what happens next. Where they go from here.

Alex gazes at Maggie, taking in every detail of this moment. How beautiful Maggie looks, the smell of her cologne, her hands on Alex. Alex wants nothing more than to lean in and kiss her, to revel in the taste of her lips, drown in the sensation of Maggie, Maggie, Maggie.

“Thank you,” she says instead. “For inviting me tonight.”

“I almost didn’t,” Maggie confesses. “I’ve been sitting on that invitation for months. I, uh…I don’t know. I know I should’ve let you know sooner, even just professionally, but…the idea of being here, at a—a wedding, with you, was. Tough pill to swallow.” 

“I’m so sorry, Maggie,” Alex says softly. “All this time I was so sure you hated me for it, that you were angry, I never thought—”

“How could I hate you?” Maggie smiles that sad half-smile.

Standing this close together, face to face, Alex can see the tears forming in her eyes. Maggie bites her lip, averts her gaze to the ceiling, tries to collect herself. When she meets Alex’s eyes again, her voice is soft but steady.

“I was terrified to see you here. I’m terrified right now. Even after everything, at the end of the day, all I want is to come home to you, Alex, and that’s the scariest thing.”

Alex. Alex.

Is it possible for a heart to both break and swell in the same exact moment?

“I can’t have my heart broken by you again. I can’t.” Silent tears roll down her cheek, and it’s all Alex can do not to wipe them away.

“I promise you, Maggie—I swear—it will never happen again. Never. I know building trust again takes time, and I’m prepared for that. I’m prepared for whatever it takes, whatever you need for us to be okay again.

“I believe that you mean it now,” Maggie says, fighting to keep the tremble from her voice. “But what happens the next time it’s hard? The next time we want different things, you change your mind—”

“Maggie.” Alex’s voice is firm. “Never again, okay? I love you, Maggie Sawyer.”

Maggie closes her eyes as the tears continue to fall.

“I love you, and I’m going to prove to you that nothing, nothing in this world is strong enough to make me forfeit that a second time. You’re the one, Maggie. It’s always been you.”

“I’m so scared,” Maggie whispers. It’s a knife between Alex’s ribs, knowing this is her fault. Knowing she’s the source of so much pain for the woman before her. For the love of her life.

“You don’t have to answer now,” Alex says. “And if you want me out of your life for good, that’s—” her voice breaks. She swallows the knot in her throat threatening to choke her. “I’ll respect that. But if you give me a chance, Maggie, just one chance, I will never, ever give up on you again.”

“I, uh…I should—I should go home.” Maggie’s hands fall from Alex’s hips as she steps back. Alex reluctantly lets her go, heart sinking at the gaping chasm of space between them now.

“Yeah, no, that’s—I understand.” Alex tries (and fails) to muster up a smile.

“I’m sorry,” Maggie says, and then she’s gone.

Alex spends the rest of the night at the bar.


 

It’s 3:00AM when Alex unlocks the door to her apartment and stumbles inside, immediately shedding her coat, heels, and dress. She leaves them on the floor and collapses on the couch. 

She doesn’t realize she’s dozed off until the buzzing of her phone wakes her up twenty minutes later.

With a groan, she drags herself to the clothes strewn over the floor and fumbles in all four pockets—why’s there so many pockets?—before finally fishing out her phone.

Two (2) messages from contact Sawyer, Maggie.

 

maybe.

with boundaries

 

Alex reads them over twice, three, five times, making sure she’s read them correctly.

Maybe.  

Maybe.

She crumples to the floor, sobbing.

For the first time in months, they’re tears of joy.

Chapter Text

There are boundaries:

  1. Greeting / farewell hugs are okay. Other physical contact isn’t.
  2. “I love you”s are off the table.
  3. They’ll start with hanging out together in public spaces, then work back up to being alone at each other’s apartments.

These are Maggie’s needs, hard lines written in stone. Alex breaks one or tries to push the limits and that’s it, they’re done.

After laying out her boundaries, Maggie had asked Alex about her own needs. Of course she had. Alex had ruined everything—she was the reason they had to start here from scratch, building up from the ashes—and even so, here was Maggie checking in to make sure Alex’s needs were being met too.

4. Exclusivity.

That was all Alex had to add. Even though they weren’t jumping back into things straight away, even though they weren’t back to girlfriends, they were Something. Alex couldn’t bear the thought of Maggie seeing other people, even casually, even if this thing between them had to be casual.

She thought she’d seen some tension leave Maggie’s jaw when Alex added her condition to the list.


 

They’re at a booth in this tiny vegan pizza shop Maggie loves, and Alex watches, delighted, as Maggie struggles to disentangle herself from a physics-defyingly stringy mass of vegan cheese. No actual pizza attached. The process is made more difficult by the fact that she’s also caught in a fit of giggles.

“Shut up, Danvers,” she laughs around the mouthful of once she finally conquers it.

“I didn’t say anything,” Alex answers innocently, struggling to keep a straight face.

“It’s that look—the eyes say it all,” Maggie says. Her own eyes are bright with laughter, and Alex thinks she could gaze at that dazzling smile for the rest of eternity.

“This is nice,” she says, leaning back against the upholstery of the booth. She gestures between herself and Maggie with her hands. “Hanging out, getting to learn about you all over again. It’s nice.”

Lucky isn’t the right word for it. She’s incredibly grateful that Maggie’s given her this chance, she doesn’t forget that for a second, but there’s something more than that. It’s this, rebuilding their friendship, doing the veiled flirting, feeling things out again; it’s like starting all over. How many couples have the chance to fall in love all over again, fresh from the start? 

It isn’t luck, Alex knows, because it was borne of the biggest mistake of her life. But damn, if she isn’t the luckiest person alive, to be sitting across from Maggie in this hipster pizza joint. Building back up to Something.

“Yeah? ‘Sinner’s cheese’ and all?” Maggie teases, referencing Alex’s renowned distaste for vegan dairy substitutes. She doesn’t reciprocate Alex’s sentiment, but she doesn’t rebuke it either. For Alex, that’s good enough.

“No, no, that’s still exactly as inedible as I remembered,” Alex laughs, “But I can appreciate that for some mysterious, unfathomable, truly ungodly reason, you appreciate it.”

“You’re a team player, Danvers, I’ll give you that.” Maggie shoots her a wink and makes another attempt at the pizza in front of them. As she leans forward, her leg brushes against Alex’s under the table and it’s like electricity shooting through her knee. Alex quickly reaches for her drink, using the cup to mask whatever her face might betray.

That’s proving to be the most difficult of Maggie’s boundaries: no physical contact. Alex understands, of course—it’s a quick, reckless jump from small touches to hands on thighs to mind-blowing sex, and she knows what a mistake that would be this early on—but man, if she doesn’t miss the comfort of having Maggie physically close.

Patience. She can be patient. However long Maggie needs, however long it takes. She won’t fuck this up again.


 

Gradually, over the course of the next few weeks, Alex becomes aware of a tension between them. A good tension. Maggie starts to flirt with her more openly, and Alex catches Maggie’s gaze flicking down more and more to her lips as she talks. Within the month, they’re back to movie nights at their apartments with a bowl of popcorn nestled between them on the couch. Another few weeks and the bowl moves to the coffee table, and Maggie’s arm is draped over the back of the couch behind Alex; not around her shoulders, but so close. So tantalizingly close.

The spark between them is growing again, and it thrills Alex. Her fears about Maggie growing bored, changing her mind, and calling things off for good dissipate; Maggie still wants her, still feels something for her.

The engagement ring Maggie had given back at the coffee shop months ago no longer haunts Alex. It’s not a reminder of a dead, broken thing anymore; it’s an emblem of hope. Of wonderful things to come.

Alex wears both rings—hers and Maggie’s—on a chain around her neck. Under her shirt, of course, invisible to the outside observer, but it’s comforting to her to have them. To feel the cool metal against her skin and remember: patience. They’ll have the rest of their lives together, after all; what’s a few more weeks to her? If that’s what it takes for Maggie to heal, so be it. Alex isn’t going anywhere.


 

Two weeks later, Alex gets shot.

It hurts like a bitch, but it’s nothing fatal; the upside to Maxwell Lord’s patented bullshit laser guns is that there’s no bullet to dig out. She refuses to let any of the other DEO doctors poke at her, just patches herself up and moves on with the day. 

The only problem is that in the chaos of combat, her phone is destroyed, and with the damage control necessary in the aftermath of the mission she loses track of the time.

When Winn radios her over the comms, it’s after 10:00pm.

“Hey, Alex, you have a visitor. It’s, uh—it’s pretty important. Sending her down to you.”

“Can it wait?” Alex whines. “I was about to call it a night—”

The door to the lab swings open and Alex spins around to find Maggie bounding toward her. Alex’s stomach drops.

“Oh my god, movie night. I’m so sorry, Maggie, today’s been—”

“Are you okay? Kara said you were hurt, what happened?” Maggie is borderline frantic, her face clouded with worry. Her eyes latch onto the blood coming through Alex’s shirt—shit, she was supposed to change that dressing an hour ago—and she pulls down the collar to take a look at the wound.

“I’m fine, I promise. I completely lost track of the day, and the time—my phone got shattered, I should have gotten in touch, I’m sorry—”

“Jesus, Alex, an inch lower and it would’ve—your heart—”

Alex catches Maggie’s wrists, drawing Maggie’s eyes to hers.

“I’m okay, Maggie. I promise. Okay? I’m all right,” she says firmly. She offers a reassuring smile. “I’m okay.”

 Maggie takes a deep breath, nods. She pulls her hands away, and with a start Alex realizes she’s broken the first rule. No physical contact.

“I—I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—I wasn’t thinking, I wasn’t trying to—to make a move, or anything, I—”

“I don’t care, Alex. It doesn’t matter anymore.”

At first Alex thinks she means that this doesn’t matter, their Something they’ve been working so hard to rebuild. But Maggie’s voice is soft and desperate (?) and she’s standing so close, and she reaches up to brush Alex’s cheek with her thumb.

“I was so scared,” she says. Alex doesn’t have time to figure out whether she means of her or for her, because the next thing she knows Maggie is kissing her.

For the first time in half a year, Maggie is kissing her, and Alex isn’t aware of anything else in the world.

Maggie’s lips are soft and hungry and god, she tastes even better than Alex remembers. Alex kisses her I’m sorry and I love you and please, forgive me. Everything she hasn’t been able to say. She wills Maggie to feel it through the connection of their lips, to taste it on her tongue.

Maggie kisses her until they’re both breathless. When they finally draw apart, Alex presses her forehead to Maggie’s as they catch their breath together.

“Wow,” she finally whispers.

“Wow,” Maggie agrees with a soft smile. Then, tentatively, “Do you wanna get out of here?”

“Absolutely,” Alex nods. Maggie winds her fingers between Alex’s as they draw apart, and Alex feels lightheaded. Her lips tingle with the ghost of Maggie’s kiss, and here they are, walking hand in hand out the doors of the DEO; Maggie’s warm fingers a reminder that this is real, this is really happening.

Maggie doesn’t let go of her hand the whole drive home.


 

“Maggie, wait,” Alex gasps. Maggie ceases her ministrations at Alex’s neck (fuck, her mouth feels so good there) and sits up to look at Alex. Her brow is creased with worry and Alex runs her hands reassuringly up Maggie’s thighs.

Maggie is straddling her on the bed. First of all: holy shit. Maggie is in her bedroom, on her bed, straddling her hips. It’s like something straight (well, not straight) out of one of Alex’s dreams. She props herself up on her elbows to look up at Maggie.

“I just want to make sure that you’re sure,” she says, breathless. “That this is—you know, that you’re sure you want to do this. I don’t want you to feel pressured, or—or—”

“I’m sure,” Maggie says, shoulders relaxing as she realizes Alex hadn’t stopped her for overstepping. 

“But I mean—like really, really sure?” Alex presses. “I know you want—I mean, presumably. I’m getting the vibe that you want to, but is—are you sure you’re ready? This is okay?” She’s rambling now, she realizes, and she worries Maggie is interpreting this as a rejection—which, god, is the furthest thing from the truth.

“I just…I don’t want to be something you regret.”

Maggie’s face softens at this, and she leans down to press her forehead to Alex’s again.

“I’m sure, Alex,” she says gently. “You’ve could never be a regret.”

Alex exhales, relieved, and nods against Maggie. “Promise?”

“I promise.” Maggie places a long, soft kiss on Alex’s forehead, temple, cheek. She works her way down to Alex’s mouth and captures her in a deep kiss.

The make-up sex is the most tender sex they’ve ever had.

They help each other out of shirts and bras; Maggie is still straddling her, and Alex sits up to run her hands down that beautiful torso. She takes one of Maggie’s nipples in her mouth, reveling in the sighs it elicits. Her hands explore every inch of exposed skin while she worships Maggie’s breasts with her tongue. Maggie’s hands are tangled in Alex’s hair, holding her close.

When Maggie’s nipples are so sensitive that the slightest brush of Alex’s thumb over the buds draws a whine from Maggie’s throat, Alex moves up to her neck. She starts slow, with wet, open-mouthed kisses across her throat. She gets lost in the moment, in the intoxicating taste of Maggie’s skin under her tongue, and doesn’t realize until she pulls her mouth away and sees the angry red welt on Maggie’s skin that she might have gotten a little carried away.

“I’m sorry—” she begins, but Maggie cuts her off with a hungry, passionate kiss.

“Mark me all you want,” she whispers. Her voice is low, and the combination of her tone and her words send a pulse of heat to Alex’s core. She leans forward, redistributing their weight until Maggie is lying flat on her back with Alex on top of her. Alex takes full advantage of Maggie’s words; she sucks at the sensitive skin behind Maggie’s ear, at her jugular, at her throat, under her jaw. She leaves a host of hickeys in her wake, and Maggie’s gasps morph into quiet moans. It’s music to Alex’s ears.

Maggie runs her hands up Alex’s back, over her shoulders, down her sides. Alex can’t get enough of Maggie’s hands on her body. Especially not when those hands skate over Alex’s stomach and up, higher, to knead her chest. She lets Maggie guide her to her mouth, and inhales sharply when Maggie’s lips close around her nipple.

Maggie effortlessly rolls them over so she can be on top, and not for the first time Alex is amazed at the strength contained within such a small stature. She runs her hands over the curve of Maggie’s biceps as she trails a slow line of kisses down Alex’s stomach. Alex’s back arches off the bed.

She’s lost in the feeling of Maggie moving on top of her; Maggie’s lips, tongue teasing her skin; Maggie’s thumbs grazing her hips; Maggie carefully drawing back her waistband to nibble at the flesh just above Alex’s underwear.

She’s never liked sex, not until Maggie. It’s different with her. Every nerve in her body is wired to Maggie’s touch, every point of contact is like fire across Alex’s skin. She needs Maggie, needs to feel her as close as two bodies can get, needs to feel her everywhere at once.

Alex is unraveling under her fingertips, but Maggie continues taking her sweet time—she wants this to last.

She helps Alex out of her jeans and, once those are discarded to the floor, runs her tongue up Alex’s torso, from navel to collar bones. Alex takes Maggie’s face in her hands and draws her in for a kiss. She takes Maggie’s lower lip into her mouth and tugs at it with her teeth before slipping her tongue into Maggie’s mouth.

Maggie’s hand, in the meantime, glides slowly down Alex’s body. Alex whimpers into her mouth as Maggie’s fingers brush over her clit through her underwear.

These are among Alex’s favorite pairs of underwear, and Alex has never resented them more. How dare they stand between her body and Maggie’s touch? The audacity.

Maggie rubs her slowly through the briefs, and Alex rocks against her hand. Their kisses are slow, deep: loving. Maggie kisses her way down Alex’s jaw and across her collarbones before slipping her hand down the front of Alex’s briefs.

They both react to the contact; Alex with a breathy oh, Maggie with a pleased murmur into Alex’s neck. Alex is very, very wet, and Maggie’s fingers (god, those fingers) are immediately slick with her arousal.

Maggie rubs her clit with two fingers, and in a matter of seconds Alex is reduced to whimpering. Alex does her best to hold out, but she’s quickly teetering on the edge, mere seconds away from coming under Maggie’s fingers embarrassingly fast when, blissfully, Maggie withdraws her hand. She brings her fingers to her mouth and tastes them: tastes Alex on them. She hums appreciatively and Alex’s mouth falls open.

This is hot. This is so fucking hot. She can’t tear her eyes from the sight of Maggie licking her wetness off her fingers like it’s the sweetest thing she’s ever tasted.

“You taste incredible,” Maggie whispers in her ear, and that alone is enough to draw a moan from deep in Alex’s throat.

Slowly—agonizingly so—Maggie pulls the briefs down Alex’s legs and tosses them to the floor. Before Maggie can begin her descent back down Alex’s body, Alex tugs at the pants Maggie is still wearing. She needs Maggie a lot closer and a lot more naked as soon as humanly possible. Preferably immediately.

Maggie discards her own pants and boxers as well, and Alex pulls her body flush against her own. Maggie’s thigh is between her legs and Alex grinds against it, slowly, careful not to bring herself to climax too soon. They’re forehead to forehead again, Alex gasping as Maggie rocks into her, providing more friction against Alex’s center. When she slips a hand down between them to find Alex’s clit, Alex is done for; she comes with Maggie’s face buried in the crook of her neck, her fingers digging into Maggie’s back like Maggie is the only thing anchoring her.

Maggie has always anchored her.

Maggie isn’t done, though. When the last ripples of Alex’s orgasm subside, Maggie situates herself between Alex’s legs. She starts at the knee, placing tender kisses from there down to her thighs. With her hands, she kneads the skin of Alex’s hips. Alex closes her eyes, savoring the sensation of Maggie’s mouth tantalizingly close to where she wants her.

Maggie presses her tongue against Alex’s folds, and Alex’s hips buck at the contact.

Alex thinks she could live in this feeling forever; Maggie’s tongue dipping inside her, tasting her, sucking at her clit like Alex is something to be worshipped. Maggie hums into her, and Alex can feel her smile into her slit in response to the moan it evokes.

It’s not long before Alex is writhing beneath her, clutching Maggie’s hair as she brings Alex to climax again. She guides Alex through it, continuing her languid kisses until Alex stops trembling.

As soon as Alex catches her breath—Maggie placing kisses along her thighs does nothing to expedite the process—she sits upright. Maggie crawls up the bed to meet her and Alex pulls her into a long, emotionally charged kiss. She needs Maggie to feel what she makes Alex feel, needs her to understand what it means to Alex, being so close. Being intimate. Being together again.

Alex breaks the kiss and guides Maggie onto her back. She straddles Maggie’s hips, aligning them with her own, and then lowers herself onto Maggie: slit to slit.

Maggie wraps her legs around Alex’s waist as Alex moves against her. Alex’s mouth is at Maggie’s neck, and gradually her kisses devolve into heavy breathing against the skin there.

Maggie is moaning beneath her, gasping with each of Alex’s thrusts; at the sensation of their wetness mixing together, of Alex pressed flush against her.

When Maggie comes, Alex’s name spills from her lips. Over and over and over, until the waves stop racking her body.

Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex.

They’re the most beautiful sounds in the world; Maggie calling her name as she comes, and Maggie whispering “I love you” as soon as she can form words again.

Alex lovingly tucks a loose strand of hair behind Maggie’s ear.

“I love you too,” she says gently. “More than anything.”

Maggie reaches up to tug at the chain around Alex’s neck. The chain from which their former engagement rings dangle. Alex had forgotten she was wearing it.

“You kept them,” Maggie says softly. “I didn’t think…I guess I thought you’d get rid of them.”

Alex brushes a thumb across Maggie’s cheek. Maggie leans into the touch, and Alex can feel the tears starting to well up in her eyes. This is how they used to be; comfortable, warm, at ease with one another. Vulnerable. She never thought she’d have this again.

“I kept them,” she smiles, trying to blink away the tears. Despite her best efforts, one falls anyway, and Maggie kisses it off her cheek. “There’s no rush, and I know there’s still a lot we need to rebuild, but I want to spend my life with you, Maggie.” She tugs at the chain around her neck. “I want to wear these again one day. I mean—if, if you want to. Wear them. With me.”

Maggie smiles affectionately up at her, and pulls Alex into a kiss. When they draw apart she gazes warmly up at Alex’s face.

“I do.”

Chapter Text

Sunlight filters into the room through the slots of Alex’s blinds, falling gently across Maggie’s sleeping form. Her chest rises and falls in a peaceful rhythm; she has one arm flung across Alex’s waist and Alex gazes at her, her own heart so full of fondness it could burst. She doesn’t know how much time passes before Maggie’s face scrunches up that adorable way it does as she’s waking up; then comes the big, catlike stretch before she blinks her eyes open sleepily.

“Watching me sleep, Danvers?” she says warmly, accompanied by another big stretch. “Weirdo.”

“Hey, that’s Mrs. Weirdo to you,” Alex answers, propped up on one elbow. She bites her lip. “Mrs. Danvers,” she says, this time an awed whisper. Maggie beams contentedly up at her.

“Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?” she agrees. She reaches over to pull Alex into a soft good morning kiss; the cool metal of her wedding band against Alex’s cheek sends a huge smile spreading across Alex’s face. The kiss quickly devolves into a fit of giggles from there.

“We’re married,” Alex says incredulously. “We’re—I’m your wife. Your wife!”

Maggie laughs that beautiful, bell-chimey laugh that fills Alex with joy and adoration. Alex laces Maggie’s fingers between her own. “Mrs. and Mrs. Danvers,” Alex says softly. The decision about last names had been an easy one; Maggie felt no emotional tie to her own family name, and was more than happy to trade it for Alex’s.

You’re all the family I need, she’d said, Alex’s face held tenderly in her hands.

None of her blood relatives were invited to the wedding.

“Mmh, Maggie Danvers,” Maggie says with a content smile.

“Maggie Danvers,” Alex repeats. She strokes Maggie’s cheek with her free hand, and Maggie leans into her touch. Maggie raises their intertwined fingers to kiss the back of Alex’s hand.

“So, I have a question for you,” Alex says after a moment. Maggie rolls onto her side to face her.

“Alright, I might have an answer for you.”

“As the professional, longtime lesbian here—” Alex continues, gesturing with their joined hands. Maggie laughs and repeats professional lesbian under her breath. “—how soon after getting married is too soon to get a dog? Where does the UHAULing fit into the timeline? Do we have our cards revoked if we use a different service instead, because I’ve heard UHAUL pricing can be—”

She dissolves into laughter; Maggie’s laugh is infectious, and at this point Maggie can hardly breathe from laughing so hard.

I get to hear that laugh for the rest of my life, Alex thinks. She’s giddy. This is the first day of the rest of their lives together; it’s a happiness Alex thought she would never have. For the first 27 years of her life she’d thought it was something she just wasn’t built for, and after the breakup she’d thought she ruined her chance with the love of her life. The one who got away.

Yet here they are: the Danvers (plural!), wives, the morning after their wedding. And suddenly, Alex can’t believe she ever thought her life could turn out any way but this.

“Yeah, let’s get a dog,” Maggie says once she can breathe again. “But, uh…there’s something I need to tell you first. About us.” Maggie has become very solemn, suddenly. She sits up and takes both of Alex’s hands in hers. She isn’t meeting Alex’s eyes. “Alex, I love you more than anything, you know that. You’re the love of my life. But you should know…” here she takes a deep breath, and Alex’s heart catches in her throat. She doesn’t have the slightest clue where Maggie is going with this, what she could possibly be leading towards—

“…you have absolutely abysmal taste is dog names. I can’t let you name our firstborn Gertrude, it’s just cruel.”

Alex playfully shoves Maggie’s shoulder.

“You almost gave me a heart attack, my god!”

Maggie is laughing, and, evidently, not yet finished with the bit. She holds her fist to her mouth, mimicking a microphone, and puts on her best Alex Trebek voice.

“Contestant number one, your clue is: a name befitting a 90 year-old woman and not a dog, right up there with Irma, Gladys, and Pearl.” She extends the fake microphone to Alex but immediately draws it back. “I’m sorry, that is incorrect. The answer is ‘who is Gertrude?’”

Alex feigns offense, indignant hand on her chest and all. “Oh, I’m sorry, the next time I’m prompted for a dog name while on the verge of imminent death I’ll be sure to put some more time into my answer.”

They’re both giggling again—has she ever laughed as much as she does with Maggie?—and Alex pulls her in for a kiss by the fabric of her oversized pajama shirt. They can’t stop smiling, either of them; this is bliss, pure, unadulterated bliss. No work today. No place to be. Just here, in Maggie’s arms, basking in the soft sunlight, and Maggie’s softer embrace, and the promise of their future together.

It’s everything she could ever want.