Actions

Work Header

this is not an exit

Work Text:

Life is a series of before and afters.

Before the after, you think this is the worst moment that's ever happened to you. You don't realize how safe you were until after and by then it's far too late to ever go back to before.

Dexter is intimately aware of this; when the light leaves his prey’s eyes, before death takes them, there's always that cold realization that hits, they've been caught, that there is no rescue, no reasoning, no bargaining.

It's a kind of death in its own in a way. They don't even know how good they had it.

After--

After Debra kills Laguerta, well--Dexter thought everything had already changed, irrevocably, when she caught him in the church, but as it turns out, there's always a lower place to descend.

Dexter won't forget her racking sobs afterwards, her shaking body, the violent way she spat out I hate you.

It's an ugly thing, being born in blood.

But the after is worse; when she goes quiet. When they leave her body to be found, frame job already completed, and Debra just following him mechanically, no more protests or arguing. Her eyes are far away even as she meets his eyes. Her, not present. Him, empty. As usual.

He takes her home, trying to insist, maybe I should stay with you. Something about the empty spaces in her words, about the hollowness of her eyes, worried him. Everything that follows now is unpredictable, out of his control.

“Let me,” he says, reaching out to open the door for her. An outsider would think he's being gentlemanly but Dexter is just grasping for whatever small sense of control he can get, for both their sakes.

When his hand brushes against her shoulder, she fixes him with a stare, eyes wide and dark. He's reminded of a feral animal, and Dexter backs off immediately.

“Don't touch me,” she says, her voice barely above a whisper, dispassionate, her tone not matching the sudden wild-eyed stare. Her eyes are dark and fathomless and Dexter feels dizzy suddenly, like he's falling. “I don't want to see you again.”

Debra closes the door.

There's a pit of dread growing in his guts. Is this how his prey feels, on the table? This gnawing uncertainty?

Harry never prepared him for this.

*

Debra can't bother with a shower that night. Laguerta’s blood is plastered to the skin of her neck, down her chest, ruining her shirt. It'll need to be burned. No one seemed to notice or care, the smell of her, the look at her, the whole time Dexter and her walked around through the New Year’s Festivities.

Outside, fireworks go off, close enough so the sky lights up, turns the black outside into light blue for a moment.

Debra doesn't feel entirely real. She wants to puke. Purge. Scrub herself clean. But she can't drag herself to the shower that night. She takes a Xanax and sleeps caked in Laguerta’s blood, sticking to her skin and down the back of her throat.

Debra dreams about Dexter that night, in her bed, sitting, staring at her. She can't remember the details but he tastes like blood and guts, sharp and metallic, and the blood coats her throats until she can't taste anything else, cloyingly sweet.

*

She quits her job soon after that. How soon, Debra can't tell. Time becomes a nebulous, fuzzy concept. Days blend and blur into a swirling mass of alcohol and Xanax and blood soaked nightmares and suffocating dreams.

Dexter tries to talk her out of it, say all the right things like he's reading from a script; you worked so hard for this. You're a great detective. This is your life's work.Then, when that doesn't work: you're not a bad person. You did what you had to do.

She laughs at him, when he says that. “Do you even know how fucking absurd you sound?”

She could say something cliche here, like she doesn't deserve the badge, or Lieutenant Debra Morgan is dead with Laguerta, something befitting the situation. Something dramatic enough.

Her brother’s face is calm, his words gentle, impassive, like he isn't talking about murdering their friend.

She closes the door in his face.

Truth is, she's glad her brother is safe, more than anything, and how can she face her coworkers, her friends, knowing the only thing that actually matters to her aren't concepts of right and wrong, justice, good and evil, friendship, actual lives--only her fucking brother.

That's not something she ever wanted to know.

*

Dexter should be grateful, he knows. Look what she did for you.

Has anyone else ever loved him that way; that much? Harry, maybe, but not enough--Harry would rather kill himself than live with what he enabled.

Dexter worries Debra would do the same. It'd be easier if she was still screaming that she hated him, yelling at him, even sobbing and throwing things, but this dead eyed version of his sister is strange and foreign and a little terrifying.

He brings over breakfast--donuts and coffee, like he used to bring to her at work. She doesn't answer but he lets himself in.

She would have changed the locks if she really wanted him gone. Right?

Debra’s still asleep, sprawled out on the bed. He thinks about waiting in the kitchen, letting her wake up naturally but he eyes the pill bottle by her bed with a growing sense of unease.

Dexter does what she asked him not to and grabs her shoulder, shaking her awake.

Debra wakes up almost right away, eyes snapping open, mouth hanging open in an aborted shout.

“Jesus, Dex! What the fuck do you want?” She gasps, rubbing her eyes. “You're like the fucking boogeyman.”

There are dark circles under her eyes and her skin had lost some of its Miami tan, turning her sickly pale. There was a gauntness to her face, that went all the way to her eyes.

“I brought you coffee,” he says, smiling his I am not a serial killer, I am your thoughtful big brother smile and handing her the coffee. “And donuts on the kitchen table.”

She stares at it like he's holding a live snake.

“Dexter,” she breathes, “get the fuck out.”

Dexter knows he should, listen to her, respect her wishes. She needs time the Harry in his head says. She's not going to get over this with coffee.

“I'm just trying to help, Debra.”

She bursts out with an ugly laugh, rolling her eyes. “You're so fucked in the head,” she says. “God, how did I never notice? Like you can fix this with donuts.”

Sometimes, Dexter wishes she would killed him instead.

It's not that he's suicidal. It's just a matter of facts. A clean ending, with the only who person could stop him.

“I didn't ask you to do it,” he reminds her, the words bursting out of his skin. “I didn't make you do it. I thought you'd shoot me.”

“Fuck you, Dexter,” she snarls, finally awake, the sudden flash of anger in her voice a physical thing he could almost touch.

“I'm being honest with you,” he says. It's a new thing with Debra. “You should have killed me instead. I wouldn’t have held it against you.”

He paused, waits for her to react. How often has he imagined confessing he's The Bay Harbor Butcher, how many different ways Debra coulda-shoulda-woulda ended him.

“I'm not going to stop.”

Debra makes a noise like a scream before she claps her hands around her mouth, muffling the awful sound, horror and disgust warring in her eyes. Her jaw clenches audibly, before clamping down and her eyes go wide, almost too wide for her face.

“You're so fucking stupid, Dexter,” she says, her words stutter-choking. She gets up, runs past Dexter and straight to the bathroom. “How can someone so smart be so fucking stupid?”

Dexter doesn't know what else to say to that.

*

Dexter won't leave her alone anymore.

“Fuck off,” she tells him when she exits the bathroom. “I'm not gonna crack. I'm not gonna go and turn either of us in.”

Like a crime novel and she's the jittery, weak-ass partner who was never down for murder and now the other criminals gotta keep her quiet. Or else.

She's never read those but she thinks that's how they go.

“I don't think that,” Dexter says, carefully, slowly choosing his words.

Debra cocks her head, mirroring him and his movements, copying the way he looks at her, like she's--

“I'm not fucking fragile,” she says and gives him a shove as if to prove it. It's not a particularly hard shove but Dexter moves backwards dutifully, his eyes still worried when he looks at her. “Haven't I proved that to you by now?”

“Debra, I--”

She holds up her hand. “I don't want to hear it.”

He leaves, at least, but leaves behind the coffee and donuts, like she's still a cop, the world’s weakest apology.

The coffee is good, though.

He hovers after that. He brings over more food. Steaks, like there's anything worth celebrating. Brings over Harrison, has both of them watch him together, play acting Mom and Dad. Brings over bad movies to sit on her couch and watch while she stares into the distance.

She passes out one time and wakes up in bed, still in her clothes but tucked in. Dexter treated her like she's sick or something. Like she's recovering from something and will get better soon.

He doesn't mention Laguerta or murder or the fact that he's still killing anymore. She wishes he would. It no longer brings her any kind of peace, to pretend things are normal. To pretend she's not as bad as Dexter. After all, she doesn't have a dark passenger--just her brother.

No excuses.

*

Dexter’s voice is distant and hazy, far away in the back of her head, muddled and mulled. He is talking about something unimportant and Debra is chopping vegetables--fajita night, Dexter doing his best to make sure she eats. Her hand is on the knife and the motions it makes are slow and dull and far away as well.

Last night she dreamed Dexter cut her into pieces, neat little plastic wrapped pieces, her brother splattered in her blood and that awful black apron. He took her, one by one--arms, legs, torso, head--and carefully, lovingly stroked each part of her before dumping her into the Gulf Stream. As she floated all the way down to Mexico, she whispered thank you.

Dexter watched as she disappears into the murky depths with a serene expression on his face, as if he's found some kind of peace with her death.

You'll always be with me now, Debra.

“Deb. Debra!”

Debra pulls away, startled. “What?” She hisses through a clenched jaw. Her fists are clenched tight, one around the knife’s handle, but shaking, as if she'd been in a fight.

“You're bleeding,” Dexter says to her, pointing to her hand; her fingers are bloody. She cut clean through the skin. The vegetables are ruined, green bell peppers covered in red. He bringing his hand to her hers, a finger carefully around her wrist, then his hand, pulling the knife away from her and--

--she'd thought she'd be repulsed, him touching her; lately all she's been able to think about is blood blood blood and bodies cut to pieces and Dexter’s face in the middle of it, a waking nightmare, a reminder of what she did, but instead that old urge to run to Dexter, run to safety, rears up, and she still wants to run to Dexter, still wants to touch him, and this time not think of anything else again-

She jerks away and Dexter jerks back, hands up, I’m innocent, I swear all over his face.

“You can't do that,” she whispers.

“I'm...sorry,” he says, like he doesn't know what he's apologizing for, like he forgot, already, her awful ill-timed confession of love.

Debra shakes so hard she comes apart.

She throws the knife across the room. It hits the wall with a clang.

Dexter is startled, eyes widening, and it brings her some kind of grim satisfaction, how does it feel, she thinks, while he watches her with a careful sort of nervousness.

“Debra,” he starts, holding himself away, but visibly struggling.

“What, you're going to take me to therapy? Gee doc, I'm having trouble sleeping and getting through the day because I murdered my captain for my serial killer brother.”

Dexter grimaces. Debra shakes her head.

“I don't know what the fuck is wrong with you that you can just go around like nothing happened,” she says, voice cracking. “You're goddamn happy.”

“I--” Dexter starts. “I'm a monster. You're not.”

Debra shakes her head. Her brother has always been an emotionally constipated dickweed. She grabs her purse and leaves, her insides shivering and twisting, her hand still bleeding. She leaves a trail of blood in her wake, droplets from the cut she wouldn't allow Dexter to fix.

*

“Why don't we get out of here?” Dexter offers her, a week later.

He is picturing sunny beaches, far away from the chaos and ugly reminders of Miami, tranquil or tourist free. A good place to get lost. Or to die in.

It's not running, he tells himself, like he should have done that night. It's just a break.

He expects her to fight him. Another snarled declaration of hate, every day getting closer and closer to pushing her to the edge.

But Debra shrugs instead. Her face, blank; her eyes, empty.

“Okay,” she agrees.

*

Debra doesn't speak to him on thedrive. She doesn't even look at him, alternating between staring out the window, flipping mindlessly through a magazine, or drugging herself unconscious with her Xanax.

He hates to admit it, but he's always most comfortable when she's asleep, her mind far away. He can no longer quite read his sister like he thought, though with the drugs, surprise murder and shocking confessions of incestuous love, he's not entirely sure he knows Debra all that well, which is a thought that shakes him damn near off his foundations.

He misses the way she looked at him, though. Debra says that she longs for the moment of peace before the truth was revealed, but he misses the time when he was just Debra’s weird nerd big brother; it was never true but it was simple, easy. Easier than now.

It's in Jacksonville she finally says a word to him, when she buys some beer from a truck stop and he asks if she wants to stay the night here.

She frowns at him and throws a pair of sunglasses on the checkout counter.

“Let's clear the state first,” she says.

He nods. He drives them straight through to Georgia, leaving behind the bright greens of Florida.

*

They spend the night in some cheap, two star motel by the side of the road in Waverly, an even smaller and cheaper roadside town. They can afford better but Debra doesn't particularly care where they sleep.

Dexter takes off his shirt to get into the shower, stinking of sweat and diner grease. Debora has to look away, almost immediately. She doesn’t want her eyes to linger on his chest, the hair on it, his arms. Not terribly well muscled, but not skinny either.

She tried to chase thoughts away, wondering how many bodies those hands have handled; how many dead, how many stabbed, how many many choked, knocked out. She pictures him in his kill clothes, pictures him covered in blood, pictures him with a grim bloody smile, all versions of Dexter more real than the one she thought she knew.

“Your turn,” he says when he's done, putting on an undershirt to sleep in, his hair still wet, spiking it up.

There's something wrong with her, that her gaze lingers too long on him.

Debra lets the shower scald her, like she burn away her thoughts. It doesn't work. The hot water burns and Laguerta is still dead and her brother is a serial killer and she's still in love with him. She should have known better than to agree to this. Being alone with Dexter. Should have slept in the fucking car.

The water makes her ache, deep inside. She bites her lip hard enough to leave a mark, as her hand moves down between her legs, sliding in between her folds. She's wet, already, from the suffocating closeness of Dexter. Feels sick about it but doesn't stop touching herself, spreads her legs wider, braces her hand against the tile wall. She lets out a gasp when she rubs her fingers against her clit, a sound that breaks into a sob, swallowed up by the running water.

It's just stroking an inch and she never brings herself to a crescendo. Just rubs her fingers against her clit and stops before she can completely lose herself. Like it somehow doesn't count, if she doesn't come from it.

There’s something wrong with her. Something maybe worse than what’s wrong with Dexter.

*

Dexter is spread out on the table, ice truck killer style, naked, red lines marked all over him, where the saw will cut through him.

Debra stands over him, stroking his cheek. She looks better now. Color in her cheeks, summer tan making her look alive.

“You should have told me what you were,” she chastises him. She cuts his cheek in some grotesque parody of the blood slide samples he loves so much, that he can no longer do. Takes a sample on the neat little slide and tosses it over her shoulder in the shipping yard container. “Now look at us.”

She leans down and gives him a kiss, sleeping beauty style.

“You're just like Brian,” she whispers, and brings down the knife.

Dexter wakes up with a nauseous lurch, reaching up to feel his throat, possessed by an irrational urge that his head would fall off his body.

His head is still attached though, no scars or marks from an imaginary knife. Debra lies on the bed next to him, asleep, the bottle of Xanax beside her. She's out and in this light, the lack of light, the dark circles under her eyes disappear, like maybe she's at peace again.

Dexter reaches out to her, tentatively grabbing her wrist, fingers around her stable pulse point. She doesn't wake.

“Thank you,” he whispers. Then, before he can think better of it, he says, “I love you.”

Debra doesn't stir.

*

Debra floats in the hotel pool, arms and legs spread out like a starfish, sunglasses hiding her eyes. She got a cheap bikini from a nearby convenience store, and she's already finished two bottles of beer, working on the third in intervals.

Dexter stays out of the water, preferring to keep himself covered in a rickety beach lawn chair. It's a little cold for swimming. They're the only ones out here and maybe, Dexter likes to imagine, the only guests in the hotel.

Dexter used to think paradise would be him alone in the world, the rest of the populace gone in some apocalyptic event. A zombie uprising, an atomic bomb, a rapture, leaving him behind as the sole survivor to inherit the earth, to fully be what he's always been and no performance. The thought used to bring a smile to his face.

“I used to think you were...soft,” Debra says as she floats on by him. She’s drunk. Her words are intelligible but there's a sluggish quality to how she speaks. “My nebbish nerd brother.”

She laughs. “You were never in trouble with dad. You were always so perfect.” She glances at him. With her sunglasses, her stare is hard, cold and empty. Dexter squirms, just a little. He's not quite so used to being under the microscope. It's been a while since Debra brought that up, their adolescence.

“You were never really like that at all, were you?”

“Perfect?”

“Soft.” It's an accusation.

“No,” Dexter says.

Debra laughs, sandpaper rough. “So when dad was telling me I shouldn't have a gun, what was teaching you?”

No. It's an interrogation.

His instinct is to lie, or deflect. Change the topic. Deb we don't need to talk about this.

“He took me hunting,” he says, this foreign honesty winning out, “so I could satisfy my urges.”

Debra scoffs. “Jesus, even then? What a piece of work.” She stops floating, stands in the shallow end near him, staring him down. Dexter's imagined this, her interrogation of him, imagined being caught.

“You were what, sixteen when that started?”

Dexter nods.

“So when did you first kill someone?” She keeps pushing. “After dad died?”

“No,” Dexter shakes his head. The memory is a good one, even if Harry’s last days are bittersweet. “Dad was in the hospital...there was a nurse--”

“Jesus Christ,” she says, laughing to herself with anything but humor. “Did she fit your code?”

Dexter nods. “Dad wanted me to--”

Before he can finish, Debra sucks in a ragged breath, then another, and another and then finally dives deep under the water.

She swims all the way down to the bottom, like a mermaid, desperately trying to escape him. It...hurts, even though he knew she wouldn't react well. Being honest and being met with his sister’s need to get away from him hits harder than he thought he would, throat hurting.

Dexter waits for her to come back up for air but she stays there, on the bottom of the pool, distorted by the water, until a full minute passes and she still won't move.

He thinks vaguely about how he didn't remove his shoes when he jumps down into the water, going after her. It's not particular deep but Debra is heavier than normal when he grabs onto her shoulders and hauls her up, sunglasses left at the bottom of the pool.

“What the fuck, Debra?” He asks when they breach the surface. Deb coughs and spits water and pushes him away

“Let go of me,” is the first thing she says, the strain in her voice palpable, struggling to speak. “Jesus fuck, Dexter, fuck.”

“Debra--”

She gives him a hard shove, two hands, pushing him away, until his back hits the edge of the pool.

“I thought,” she says, words coming in between breaths,”that dad would be ashamed of me. Of us. But no.”

She shakes her head. Her voice is heated but her eyes are wide and dark and filled with horror. Suddenly she doesn't seem that drunk at all.

“No, you're exactly what he wanted, a fucking weapon to point at any serial killer, and I'm just keeping you safe like he wanted.”

He wants to tell her that's not true, that Harry was ashamed of what he created, that he killed himself when he saw what he wrought but he can't get the words out.

Can't have Debra looking at him like he killed their father too.

So he lets her go, crying, back to her room, disgust radiating off her in waves.

*
Later that night, Deb wakes up to Dexter in her bed.

Her first thought is that she's still dreaming, this is another dream about Dexter, but Dexter is fully clothed, and strangely grim.

“Dexter, what are you--”

Dexter brings her hands to his throat, until both of them are pressed against the skin there. The angle is awkward, side to side, can barely get a grip and Debra shifts, up off the bed at first--but Dexter doesn't let her off, holding her hands to him, until she's resting on top of him, sitting on his chest. Better angle for strangulation.

She never realized how large a man’s throat can be; it takes both her hands to wrap completely around them.

“Dexter, what the fu-”

“It's okay,” he reassures her, rubbing a large hand down her back. “It's okay. Just do it.”

A beat, a moment of silence, as something settles deep in Debra’s bones. Her tongue feels heavy, like cotton balls. She feels like she might still be drunk. “You've done it before.”

Debra, for a moment, squeezes down. Dexter’s eyes stays impassive, like it doesn't affect him, his eyes watching her, waiting.

The skin of Dexter’s throat is rough with day old beard growth, coarse against her hands. There's the hint of sweat there, against her palms, coming from her. Squeezing is easy like this, the flutter of a pulse against her hands, her own thunderously loud in her ears. Dexter tries to draw in a breath and makes an awful choked sound and-

She bursts into sobs, slumping on top of Dexter, all the energy going out. Her hands end up on his chest, the beat of his heart against her ear, thump thump thump.

“You fucking idiot,” she manages to make out. “I could never kill you, don't you see that?”

“I thought...I thought you might want to...” he trails off, doesn't add anymore to that horrifying that.

She shakes her head. Dexter’s hand is still on her back. He doesn't say anything more, he's never been good with crying, his response is to leave the room more than anything else.

He stays with her, lacing his hands in hers, intertwined, linked together.

*

They have breakfast parked at a gas station, warmed up burritos and muffins. Tastes like cardboard, he could get better back home but doesn't feel quite ready to return.

“You got,” Debra says, reaches out to brush the corner of his mouth. It startled him, her touching him again, even if it's just to clean him up.

Debra pulls away quickly and falls silence, embarrassed. He shouldn't ask but he has to. Certain things, he can't just leave hanging anymore.

“When did you...” Decide? Notice? “realize...you were in love with me”

Debra stops chewing her muffin, rather dramatically. He almost wishes he hadn't asked but it's out there now.

“What makes you think I'm still in love with you?” She says. “You are the worst mistake I have ever made,” Debra says.

Ouch. There's no bite in her voice right now but it stings anyway. The Harry in his head tells her she has a point but still, he doesn't think she means it.

“You're still here,” he says. Then, more carefully, softly, “I'm still here.”

She shrugs. “Does it matter? It's just some stupid thing my therapist said.”

“Your therapist told you that you were in love with me?”

Debra’s cheek flush. She looks warm, sweat rolling down her temple. Her throats glistens with it. Chemical reactions, all of it. Could be embarrassment. Could be love. Funny how humiliating it is, to so bare and open like that.

“Why the fuck you're asking this, anyway?”

Dexter doesn't entirely know. He doesn't love her the way. Or at least he didn't use to.

“Since we're both being honest about how fucked up we are,” he says.

This is the new normal now.

“Dexter, I really don't wanna talk about how fucked up I am right now.” She presses her palm into her forehead. He can already see her taking another Xanax later, then passing out. Dearly drugged Debra, desperate for some peace and normalcy.

Dexter goes back to his food. They don't say anything again until he's done and driving them down the George coast.

“You said I was the one constant thing once, in each other's lives.” Debra starts. She looks away, staring out the window. A semi passes by but otherwise it's deserted road. Shitty gas station food and the rising sun and empty long stretch of road going nowhere.

“You were the only person I felt safe with,” Debra says. “Now you're the only person, period.” She laughs.

He'd apologize but it'd feel hollow. It wouldn't mean anything to either of them. He's not the one who pulled trigger on Laguerta.

“We’re partners in crime,” he says steadily.

It's what he always wanted, but he never wanted it to be Debra.

Debra scoffs. “God, like fucking Hannah McKay and Wayne Randall.”

He laughs at that, and Debra laughs too, for real this time.

*

In Myrtle Beach, Dexter makes a choice, to do his best to put the pieces of his sister back together.

He waits for her to get out of the shower, emerging in a towel. Dexter looks away for a brief moment, giving her privacy but just for a moment.

She's gotten her underwear and sleep shirt on when he makes his move, getting on his knees before her while she sits at the edge of the bed, entreating--it looks a little like repentance, like a prayer, but they both know better. He's close enough to smell her like this.

Debra doesn't say anything. She stops drying her hair, looks down on him but she doesn't say anything. Dexter thinks that's good enough.

Slowly he reaches down to tug her underwear off and--

“Dexter, what the fuck?”

He looks up at her, fingers on the band of her underwear, frozen in motion.

“You know, you used to be the only person I thought I'd ever feel anything for,” he tells her.

This gets her attention. The hesitation leaves her eyes, replaced with curiosity. He wonders if she finds that flattering. It's not flattery. It's just honesty. He still remembers the days where he wasn't a real boy, how much simpler they were, how even then Debra meant the world to him, as much as he could feel anything.

“Dexter? Used to be?” She whispers. Her voices shakes. Good.

“Not like you,” he clarifies but he reached out for her underwear. “I don't think you and I feel the same way. Not then and not now. But that doesn't mean I don't feel...something. I've always felt things different than others.”

“Dexter, fuck, stop,” she says, hand on his head, pushing him away. “I'm not gonna let my brother give me a, a fucking pity fuck-”

“This isn't pity,” Dexter says. He needs to make that very clear. “I'm rather pitiless, if you haven't noticed yet.”

“Jesus,” Debra breathes.

“I can stop,” he states, “if you want.” He lets that question hang there. His fingers linger on her underwear, ready to tug them down. “I'm okay with this.”

“Is this what you did to Hannah?” She says.

Debra is weirdly fixated on her, constantly comparing and it finally occurs to him she's jealous. He wouldn't have noticed until now. What to do with a jealous woman?

“I saran wrapped her to a table and got my knife ready,” he says, and tugs her underwear down.

Debra lets out a gasp, a high, wounded noise like an animal in her throat. Debra gets comfortable, tentatively opening her legs wider. Dexter decides she likes the way she smells.

“You should have done it,” she whispers. Dexter isn't sure he was meant to hear but there are no spaces between them now, for better or worse. He may not love Debra the way she loves him, and Debra isn't a killer the way he is but it's close enough--they can both share in each other’s darkness now.

“I know,” he says and leans in, dragging his tongue across her cunt. She's wet, warm and musky on his tongue, which shouldn't be surprising, that she was already aroused, wondering if she thought of him in the shower, if talking about nearly killing Hannah turned her on, or something else.

Debra makes a sharp grunting noise, sucks in a breath. She opens her legs wider to him and Dexter places a hand on her thigh, holding her open. He alternates with long licks across and sucking lightly on her clit, until she bucks her hips and moans.

“Jesus, Dex,” she says, stroking his hair, tugging just a little too hard on him; it's nice to hear her say that in a way that isn't with horror or anger. He slides one finger inside her and she sucks in sharp breath that release into a whine, her body beginning to tremble underneath him. He hears a distinctively soft please.

He thought, maybe, this would be hard. That he'd be fighting down repulsion over eating out his sister but Debra’s touching him again, brushing his hair out of his face

Debra comes with two fingers inside her, and his mouth on her clit. It doesn't take long--she's like a live wire, a bomb, ready to go off, and incredibly responsive. When it's over, Dexter doesn't pull away, listening to the sound of Debra’s ragged breaths, her hands clawing at his shoulders, the way her body still shakes long after orgasm, resting his head on her thigh.

It occurs to him, finally, this is a line he can't come back from and now it seems like there's nothing truly off limits.

*

In a rest stop near the North Carolina border, Debra has Dexter pullover into a parking spot, nearly deserted save for a few truckers. As soon as he does, Debra climbs over the console and straddles his lap--a tight fit, a bit of a struggle, getting the seat right and adjusted, but he hard when she straddles his lap. The thought fills Debra with a rush of excitement, a sick thrill coursing down her spine. She's learning all these new terrible things about her brother now.

“Shouldn't there be,” Dexter says in between gasps, as Debra pulls his cock out and awkwardly shimmies her pants off, wishing for once she was a skirt girl, “a condom or something.”

“Fuck it,” Debra says, her smile stretched wide when she looks at his pupil-blown eyes, nearly deranged as she giggles. “Fuck it,” she says and kisses him.

Dexter’s a good kisser. He grabs her face when she does it and his mouth opens wide for her, and it gets a little messy, the rhythm, sliding down on his cock and trying not to accidentally bite him at the same time, but she doesn't care. It's exhilarating and she hasn't felt this vividly alive since she shoot Laguerta in the shipping yard, since maybe even before that.

She kinda hates that. Someone so nerdy, someone so violently murderous shouldn't feel so good inside her, against her, with her.

There's something so wrong with her, that Dexter feels so much more real like this. More human. Him gasping in her ear. His hands on her hips. The bitten off groans he makes and bites down on.

“I wanna hear you,” she says, feeling bold, brave, giddy and drunk. “C’mon Dex, there's no one around.

Dexter comes first, with a low moan. She feels the hot warmth of him pooling in between her legs but he doesn't stop, doesn't pull out. Wraps one arm around her back, hot and sweaty and sticky against her skin, and brings the other one to her clit. Softly asking does this feel good as he rubs and teases with slow strokes and aborted thrusts until she finally does climax, one throaty moan that Dexter kisses out of her mouth.

She feels a little gross after, fucking like teenagers in a car and not the grown ass people they are, sticky and his come on her thighs.

“Jesus,” she whispers.

When she pulls away, there's blood on his mouth. A spot of red on his lip that he licks away.

“I'm sorry,” she pants across his mouth. She hadn't even realized.

Dexter's eyes are dark and unreadable. Suddenly he's somewhere else and Debra is reminded of what he told her, his urge to kill, how it starts with blood and builds and builds.

She leans in to lick it off. Salty. Metallic.

“It's okay,” he says, lips tugged up in a not quite smile. “I've always been quiet.”

She nods, leaning in her forehead against his, staying like that until her heart beat calms.

*

They head east now, but it's just a detour. Debra quit her job but Dexter’s running out of vacation days and there's only so long grief can excuse anything before they're going for too long.

This was never them on the run. The hanging specter of life back in Miami hangs over them both, Debra dreading having to go back, and not knowing where else to go.

Debra keeps waiting to feel different, for the guilt to quell, for her to become something different, more like Dexter or more like herself again but it doesn't happen; Dexter’s still her brother, more or less. They aren't going on dates, or acting like a couple. The motel clerk assumes they're married when he sees Morgan in both their names, and neither of them correct him, not even when he gets them a single king bed.

“I'm sorry,” he tells her suddenly, at a diner in South Carolina, poking at her lukewarm steak. Her thoughts tend to run wild in the empty spaces between them, drifting off into dark places. It takes Dexter on top of her, inside her, around her, to keep her demons at bay.

Debra blinks at him. “For what?” She asks. There's a long list.

“I should have--Harry told me to run if it ever came to what happened.”

Run, not kill Laguerta. She laughs so she doesn't cry.

“Why didn't you?” She asks.

“I couldn't leave you.” He says. It sounds noble, which means it can't be true. Her brother isn't noble. “And I couldn't take you with me. I didn't think you could live like that.”

She stays silent, stabbing at her steak. She lets Dexter eat his food for five minutes before she says, “You're so full of shit.”

Dexter raises his eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

“I think you can't live like that.” She lowers her voice. “I shot Laguerta and that's on me, but don't put that whole fucked up situation on me.”

After all, there's a lot Debra can live with these days.

 

Epilogue

Quinn hasn't seen Debra in a while, not since she walked out of the station and quit on the spot. None of them really expected her to take Laguerta’s death so hard.

He misses her, maybe. The station is different without her--losing both Laguerta and her within the same week, it's a blow Miami Metro hasn't recovered from yet. He half hoped when Morgan came back from his sabbatical, she'd come back with him.

He's not sure what he's doing when he finds himself at Debra’s doorstep, too early for anyone to be up, probably going to wake her up cussing and screaming at him. He'd take it. He could use some of the Morgan bluster right now and he brought coffee as a peace offering.

He doesn't expect Dexter to answer the door, of all people, just seconds after he knocks.

Quinn blinks, his voice dry. “Dexter,” he says blandly, a dry chuckle leaving his mouth. “Do I have the right apartment?”

It's not the surprising; they're siblings, they visit each other, but Dexter is shirtless and in his boxers and he seems just as surprised to see him. His hair is sweaty, strands sticking down to his face, and face flushed, like he interrupted a work out, but that doesn't seem right. Who exercises in boxers?

For a moment, Dexter just looks at him. His stare seems to go right through him, before his brain seems to light up.

“Sorry,” Dexter says with an effacing smile. “You woke me up, I'm sleeping on the couch.”

Quinn doesn't mention this, but the couch doesn't look slept in. Messy, like everything in Debra’s apartment is, sure, but no blanket or pillows, unless Dexter is a weird freak who'd sleep without any of that. He wouldn't put it past him.

“Yeah, okay. Is Debra around?” This is silly, he thinks, feeling like a kid asking for permission. Can Debra come out and play?

“She's asleep,” Dexter says, still smiling, oddly pleasant in the morning. “I can have her call you back?”

Quinn frowns, shakes his head. “I'm sorry, Dexter, just. What are you doing here?”

It's none of your goddamn business, he tells himself. He's intruding, he knows but something is bothering him he can't quite put his finger on.

Dexter looks back behind him, as if he just realized where he was, turning back around. “I've just been staying over a few days,” he says.

“Well, I got some coffee if you wanna give it to her,” Quinn steps inside, if only to set the coffee on the table and leave. He catches glimpses of a file on the table, a bail jumper Quinn recognizes, the file probably from Deb’s new PI job, when--

“Hey Dex, who is it?” Debra emerges out of her room, clad in an oversized buttoned up shirt that clearly wasn't hers, looking like she just rolled out of bed but alert nonetheless. Her hair also had that sticky sweaty quality Dexter’s did, clinging to her skull and her skin has a shiny sheen of someone too warm. The shirt was a light, gentle blue, and Quinn thinks he's seen it before but he can't place it. He just knows if it's not one of Debra’s.

Quinn wondered if the air conditioner was broken.

“Oh fuck, Quinn,” Debra says when sees him, her eyes wide, almost turning back around before thinking better of it. Her face was red with embarrassment. “Jesus, call next time before you drop by.”

Quinn nods, smiling at her. “Don't worry, Morgan, I've seen you straight out of bed before.”

Debra doesn't laugh. So much for fond memories. “I just wanted to stop by. See how you've been.”

“Well, call or text me or some shit before, Christ.”

Debra heads back to her room, presumably to get dressed. “I'll call you later!” She shouts from the bedroom as Quinn heads out.

“See you at work, Quinn,” Dexter says suddenly--Quinn had practically forgotten he was there, quiet enough that he blended in the background--and shuts the door in his face.

Quinn takes a moment to collect himself. He thinks he sees movement in the shudders, someone staring at him but it's only for a split second.

What the fuck?

Quinn gets in his car and leaves, trying to shake out the encourage out from his head but he can't shake the rolling unease in his guts.