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as though there were no tomorrow

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“It’s not much further.”

Alex looks up from the crudely drawn map she had been studying to where her traveling companion is looking out over the horizon.

“I think it’s about forty-five to fifty miles, give or take,” Maggie continues, handing Alex a worn pair of binoculars, the lenses scratched almost to the point of being useless.

Alex peers off into the distance and what do you know, there it is - the rebuilt National City standing as a beacon of hope among the waste. If there ever was a city that reminded Alex of her sister, National City would be it. Optimistic and shining, despite circumstance.

Alex lowers the binoculars and turns back to Maggie, now kneeling down to fill a cracked bowl with some clean water for Sergeant. The german shepherd licks Maggie’s face in gratitude and Alex finds herself smiling at the sight.

She takes a sip from her own canteen, leans up against the side of what used to be a convenience store, and sighs. “That’s still probably a ten hour walk. And that’s if we keep this pace and don’t stop.”

What was supposed to just be a quick scouting mission to collect supplies had turned into a five day journey from Midvale to National City after Kara decided to take more than one “quick” detour. Alex loves her sister, but every time she sees someone in need she has to stop and play the hero.

Alex takes a box of Fancy Lad Snack Cakes from her bag and pops one in her mouth before offering one to Maggie. “D’you think Kara and James will be there by the time we get in? We shouldn’t have split up.”

“It’s hard to say,” Maggie shrugs, taking the snack. “Junktown is pretty far up there. I say if they’re there, great. If not, we meet up with my contact and fill them in whenever they decide to show up.”

“Good call. I hope this intel we’ve been promised checks out. I’ve been waiting for a lead on the Cadmus Institute for years...”

“Your father, right?”

Alex stares out into the wasteland. “Yeah. I just… I woke up one morning and he was gone.”

It wasn’t just her father either. Every week it was someone else. Reports were coming in from Sactown, Madera, Newberry Springs - from all over the New California Republic. And no one knew a thing. Occasionally they’d pop up again months later in neighboring towns, but they were never the same. Not mentally. Certainly not physically. And the only word any of them ever uttered again was Cadmus.

Maggie places a comforting hand on her arm. “We’ll find him, Danvers. We’ll find him and we’ll take those bastards down.”

“Maggie I-” Alex is interrupted by a low growl from Sergeant, whose fur is standing on end.

Maggie slowly takes her shotgun from where it is strapped to her back. “What do you hear, boy?”

Alex quickly packs up their gear, readying her own weapon. “There’s something out there. We have to find cover.”

A shot rings out, and Maggie curses, opening the break-action of her gun, loading in new shells, and snapping the barrel closed, “We’ve got company.”

Alex clenches her jaw. “Raiders, you think?”

“I don’t know. I can’t tell where they’re coming from.”

Another bullet ricochets off of a streetlamp and into a brick wall to Maggie’s left. Maggie grabs Alex’s arm, pulling her towards an old car by the side of the street. “Come on, I think they’re coming from the alley.”

Maggie pokes out from cover to take a look, shotgun raised to look out of the modified scope and - BANG - she hisses, ducking back behind the car. “Fuck. Fuck, fuck.”

Sergeant barks wildly and Alex’s eyes widen. “Maggie are you ok?”

Maggie winces, one hand holding her shoulder. “Yeah. Just a graze I think… Shit this is more than just some scavvers. These guys are Disciples. I caught the insignia.”

“Fuck,” Alex breathes out. A group of scavvers could be taken out easily. They were usually inexperienced and couldn’t shoot straight if their life depended on it. Disciples are bloodthirsty and most importantly well-trained. She grits her teeth. “Do you think we can take them out? You ok to shoot?”

Maggie grimaces. “Ride or die, Danvers. Give me your pistol.”

Alex nods, “Alright. I’ll smoke them out and we’ll pick them off one by one.”

Alex lobs a frag grenade into the alley and waits, rifle at the ready.

Three.

Two.

One.

The grenade explodes and then it is pure mayhem - Raiders limping out of the alley, firing wildly in their direction. Alex fires from behind cover, clipping one in the leg. Another one is shot through the head. She pauses to reload and a bullet whizzes by her ear. If she had been even just two inches to the right… She doesn’t want to think about that.

Fifteen frantic minutes of firefighting later, the dust clears and Alex and Maggie carefully creep out from behind the car. Sergeant sniffs around before giving Maggie a short bark, wagging his tail.

“We’re good.” Maggie lets out a sigh of relief, wincing as she straps her shotgun onto her back.

Alex looks over at her companion, who is gingerly poking at her wound. “Stop, you’ll irritate it. Here, let me.”

She examines the wound, carefully moving Maggie’s shredded shirt out of the way. It doesn’t look too bad -  definitely not the worst one she had ever seen - it was just a graze after all. But she needs to sterilize it before it becomes infected. As she pulls a bottle of vodka out of her bag, another crack sounds out. Not Raiders this time. No. Alex recognizes that sound. The sound of-

“Radiation storm,” Maggie murmurs.

Alex puts the bottle back in her bag. She will just have to patch Maggie up once they found shelter. There’s no time to waste.

She helps Maggie lift her pack and then hoists her own up and onto her shoulders. Maggie grabs her hand, pulling her towards the edge of town. “Come on, I know of a place we can hide out for a bit.”

The storm is right on their heels as they trek through the Wasteland at a blistering pace. Sergeant begins to whine, looking behind and barking worriedly as it looms ever closer.

“It’s okay boy, the safehouse is right here.” Maggie stops in front of a small house - well, more of a shack than a house really, with its windows boarded up and its walls reinforced with metal panels. She pulls a few bobby pins from the strap of her shotgun and sets to work at picking the lock.

The door swings open and Alex enters first, pistol at the ready in case the safehouse is already occupied. The small living room is empty save for a worn trunk and a two chairs. Cleared. The kitchen is also quickly cleared - nothing there but an empty box of Sugar Bombs Cereal. What used to be the bathroom is being used instead for storage. A broken typewriter lay on the floor. Maybe she could fix it up and bring it to Kara… She peers into the small bedroom at the back. One small mattress, nothing else of note. All clear.

Satisfied with her check, she heads back to the living room where Sergeant is curled up on the floor softly snoozing. Maggie is sitting on one of the chairs, trying to light a lantern on the trunk. It flickers to life and Maggie sits back, groaning as she rotates her shoulder.

“You’re still in pain,” Alex comments, grabbing the vodka bottle and medkit out of her bag again. “Is it sore or stiff?”

Maggie nods, eying the bottle greedily. “Is that for me?

“In a manner of speaking,” Alex chuckles. She wets a small piece of cloth with the vodka and slowly cleans the dirt from the wound.

Maggie hisses in pain and Sergeant looks up from his place on the floor in concern, head tilted to the side.

“It’s okay Sarge, Maggie’s okay,” Alex soothes the worried dog, who trots over to rest his head on his master’s leg. “She’s getting fixed up now.”

“Dr. Danvers is gonna take good care of me, huh?” Maggie smirks.

“Oh shush. You know Dr. Danvers is my mother.”

Alex takes a stimpak and injects it into Maggie’s shoulder. The woman sighs in relief, slumping back into the chair as the medicine works its way through her body, numbing the pain. “That’s the stuff.”

Alex quickly stitches it up and then pulls a bandage out of the medkit, wrapping Maggie’s shoulder tightly. “And you. Are. Done.”

“You’re good at this,” Maggie comments, looking at Alex with soft eyes.

“I’ve had a lot of practice,” Alex shrugs, hoping her face isn’t as red as it feels. “In Midvale, at the clinic. I’d get to help out. Treat radiation poisoning, change bandages. Simple things.”

Maggie stands. They’re face to face and Maggie’s head is tilted in that maddening way that makes Alex’s stomach flip. She smiles and Alex can feel her heart in her throat.

“You’re a remarkable woman, Alex Danvers,” she says as she moves towards the kitchen.

Alex exhales shakily once Maggie’s back is turned. Some badass, unshakable mercenary she is. Can’t even keep it together around a pretty girl.

Sergeant comes over to her and whimpers, nudging her hand with his nose. She smiles and squats down to the dog’s level and is rewarded with a lick. “You’re a good boy, aren’t you Sarge? You’ll keep watch for us yes?” She scratches him behind the ear, handing him a piece of crispy squirrel bits from her pack. He barks happily, tail wagging.

“You know, sometimes I think he likes you more than me.” Maggie leans against the wall by the kitchen, a bottle of whiskey in one hand. “You fancy a drink? We might be here a while.”

“Well don’t you know how to treat a lady well,” Alex teases, taking the bottle from Maggie and heading towards the bedroom.

Maggie turns on the radio, twisting the dials until she settles on a station playing soft jazz music. They sit side by side on the mattress, passing the bottle back and forth and Alex tries to quell the butterflies in her stomach that resurface each time their fingers brush. She doesn’t quite know what to say.

Instead she picks at the fading label on the whiskey bottle. Imported. Single-malt. Alex wonders briefly if the distillery is even still there. She takes a sip from the bottle and it burns all the way down. She’ll probably never know. The Great War happened long before she was born and it’s not likely she’ll ever find her way across the country and then across the ocean to the European Commonwealth ever in her lifetime. She has responsibilities here. Her mother. Kara. And…

She tries not to look at Maggie. At how beautiful she looks in these quiet moments, when they’re not staring down the barrel of a gun or running from Super Mutants. These are the moments she cherishes the most. When she can appreciate the curve of her neck or how good her arms look in her sleeveless top, without all of the extra combat armor.

Alex bites her lip and sighs, handing the bottle back. She shouldn’t be indulging herself like this with Maggie when Kara could be out there needing her help...

Maggie turns her head to look at her. “You ok, Alex?”

“Yeah I just… I don’t know.”

“Worried about your sister?”

Alex looks up in surprise. “How did you…?”

“I’m a private detective, Danvers,” Maggie shrugs. “I detect.”

“This is the first time she’s been out in the wasteland without me to protect her.”

“She’s not alone though, James is a good guy. They’ll keep each other out of trouble.”

“I know. It’s just… You should have seen her when I found her.” Alex runs a hand through her hair. “A thirteen-year-old girl in a blue and yellow jumpsuit, sobbing on the floor of a ruined house.”

“Hm. I suspected she was a vault dweller. Pip-Boy is a dead giveaway. Still, I wasn’t one-hundred percent sure.”

“Yeah… She doesn’t like to talk about it. She survived cryo.”

“Shit,” Maggie whistles.

Alex takes another sip from the bottle. “You know, sometimes I just look at her… And even though she’s been my sister for years, all I can see is that young girl crying out for her mother. She’s still so naive sometimes. So trusting. God I’m terrified that she’ll be so occupied running errands for everyone with a sad story in the wasteland that she’ll miss the signs of the radiation storm and won’t be able to get to shelter quick enough. And what if I didn’t give her enough food?”

Maggie places a comforting hand on Alex’s arm. “Alex. Your sister is a smart, resourceful young woman who was taught to survive by the best, most badass mercenary I’ve ever met. You. She’ll be fine.”

Alex leans her head back onto the wall and takes a deep breath, exhaling slowly. “You know. It’s been a long time since I’ve been without her as well.”

“Yeah?”

“I mean… I never pictured myself traveling with anyone other than Kara either. It’s hard to trust people out here. So many are in it only for themselves. They’ll befriend you and then turn around and shoot you in the back the very next day.” Alex turns towards Maggie. The liquid courage from the whiskey spurring her on. She’s never this verbose. “I don’t… I don’t feel like that with you Maggie. I don’t… With you I feel safe. I trust you. I trust you with my life - with my sister’s life. And god that terrifies me.”

Maggie shifts her entire body to face Alex on the mattress, her gaze intense as she takes Alex’s hand. “Alex Danvers, I promise you will always be safe with me. You and your sister.”

Alex isn’t sure if it’s the whiskey, the way Maggie’s voice shakes when she says her name, or the tension that has been steadily building between them for months but Alex knows that she needs to kiss Maggie Sawyer. She needs it like she needs air. Because Maggie Sawyer didn’t only pledge to protect her, but her sister as well and god if Alex isn’t just a little bit in love with her right now.

So, she does the one thing she’s been wanting to do since Maggie came into her life with her shotgun and her dimples and that cocky swagger - she takes Maggie’s face between her hands and kisses her. She kisses her and her heart swells when Maggie melts into her, dropping the now empty whiskey bottle onto the floor and returning the kiss with as much fervor. She only pulls away when her lungs protest the lack of air, her eyes still closed, heart pounding with excitement. She’s never been so out of breath. Not even after escaping a Deathclaw nest.

“I-I’ve been wanting to do that,” she mumbles.

“I can tell.” Maggie’s voice is teasing, but it’s so soft and Alex almost can’t bear it.

“Yeah…?”

Maggie tucks her hair behind her ear, lightly brushing the tip with her thumb, before pulling Alex back in, capturing her lips in a another soft kiss. They make out slowly, taking their time as the storm rages. Maggie bites her lip and she can’t help but let out a low moan that only serves to spur Maggie on.

“I’ve been wanting to do that too,” Maggie whispers, in between kisses. “For so long.”

Alex’s entire body is thrumming with desire. And they’re so close, but Alex needs to be closer. She moves to straddle Maggie, tangling her fingers into her long, dark hair, bringing their lips together once more. Maggie allows her hands to roam, mapping out the curves of Alex’s body. Ghosting up her sides, making her shiver with anticipation. Sliding up inside of her shirt and scratching her back lightly with her nails. Holding her hips tightly, keeping Alex steady as she presses heated, open mouthed kisses down the column of Alex’s neck that will surely leave marks. Maggie bites down on her collarbone - hard - and Alex sees stars.

She’s imagined this. On the rare occasions she has had alone time in the small house she shares with her mother and Kara, she often thought about what it would be like to be touched like this. Specifically by Maggie. She’d even gotten herself off dreaming of those teasing dimpled smirks and those strong, nimble fingers. But none of her fantasies could have prepared her for this. Her entire body aches with need and she can feel the heat flooding to her core.

Alex guides Maggie’s hands to the hem of her shirt. “Take it off,” she whimpers. “Please, Maggie… just. Please.”

“Wait, wait.” Maggie pulls away suddenly, panting. “We- We should stop. We should stop before…”

Alex feels a wave of humiliation and dread wash over her. “You… Are you not… Are you not enjoying this?”

Maggie caresses Alex’s side, her fingers tracing patterns that fill Alex’s belly with want. “Alex, look at me. Does it look like I’m not enjoying this? God… I’m. I’m enjoying this too much. But if we don’t stop now I don’t think I’ll have the willpower later.”

“Maggie… I want this. I want you.” Alex rests a shaky hand on Maggie’s cheek. “I’ve never done this before, but I’ve never been so sure of anything.”

“Alex… Are you saying…?” Maggie trails off, her eyes growing soft as she looks up at Alex.

“I’m saying I want you to be my first.”

Maggie’s eyes slide closed and she shudders. “Jesus, Alex. Are you sure?”

“Please,” Alex begs. “I want it to be you. I want it so badly.”

Maggie kisses her so softly, so sweetly as she guides Alex to lay down on the mattress. She kisses the space below Alex’s ear and Alex can’t control the way she trembles in Maggie’s embrace.

“It’s okay, Alex.” Maggie whispers. “I’m going to take care of you.”

The radiation storm outside intensifies, energy crackling through the air, the crooning of the radio filling in the quiet space. The wind violently rattles the metal paneling of the walls, a cacophony of sound, drowning out the soft moans of the shack's occupants. The sky takes on a eerie glow, tingeing everything green. Lightning flashes and thunder crashes, closer and closer together. Louder and more intense. Everything seems to be happening all at once until at last the clouds roll past, taking the storm with them. And as the thunder slows to a low rumble, the world seems to settle, and the tinny recording of Nat King Cole is the only sound remaining.

They lie there on the mattress for what seems like hours afterwards, limbs entwined, both sweaty and satiated. Maggie lies on her back with Alex half on top of her, her head resting in the crook of Maggie’s neck and her arm slung around Maggie’s waist. Alex hums contentedly as Maggie draws lazy circles on her shoulder blade. She isn’t sure she’s ever felt this peaceful in her entire life.

“Maggie?” She presses a kiss to her lover’s breastbone and Maggie shifts to look at her.

“Yeah?”

Alex nuzzles into Maggie’s neck, taking pleasure in the feeling of Maggie’s naked body pressed against her own. She’s softer. Much softer than any woman has the right to be. “Thank you,” she murmurs quietly into Maggie’s skin, enjoying the steady thumping of her heart.

“For what?”

“I’m just… I’m glad it was you, Maggie. I mean. I know this isn’t a big deal for you. Being someone’s first. You probably do it all the time. And you have so many notches in your bedpost, but…” She pauses, biting the inside of her cheek. “Well… It was really special for me. Even if it wasn’t for you. I get it. But, I just wanted you to know that it was for me. Special.”

Maggie is quiet for a moment and Alex is worried that she’s ruined everything completely with her rambling.

“Oh, Danvers... Alex. No.” Maggie shifts so that she’s facing her. “Alex, I… I may have done… This before, but never with you. It was special for me too because it was you.”

“So… Um… I was good then?” Alex nervously tucks her hair behind her ear, shying away Maggie’s gaze. “I mean. Was it… Okay for you?”

Maggie practically beams, “It was more than okay. It was amazing. In fact, I want to do it again soon.”

“You’d… This isn’t a one-time thing?”

“God, no.” Maggie shakes her head. “I want to be with you.”

She must be dreaming. This is a dream. Because this is too good to be true.

She opens her mouth to respond, but Maggie interrupts, “Please, Alex. I just. Just listen. I have to say this, okay?”

Alex nods. She’s never seen Maggie like this. So open. So vulnerable.

Maggie runs a hand through Alex’s hair and presses a kiss to her head. “Alex, you are the most remarkable woman I have ever met. I feel more alive when I’m with you that I ever have and I just. Listen. I don’t have a lot. I mean. You know that. You know me. All I have is my gun and my dog and a handful of caps. But. It’s yours. It’s all yours. Is that… Do you understand?”

Maggie’s eyes are sparkling and Alex’s heart is so full it could burst.

She smiles.

“So you’re saying you like me then? That’s… That’s what I’m getting here.”

Maggie laughs, flipping Alex over and kissing her deeply. “Yeah, Alex. I really do.”