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They're friends.

 

They're friends until they become something more, something they can't define.







Alex has a girlfriend and she thinks she could love her. They've been together long enough for her to start considering that maybe there could be a future there.

 

Natalie is beautiful. Olive skin and green eyes, her smell sweet and familiar. Her hair is long, straight, dark and it tickles Alex's face when they kiss. They met at some bar, on a night when Alex just wanted to forget.

 

Forget about her job, her responsibilities and her poor excuse of a love life.

 

Forget about Maggie. Especially Maggie.

 

Alex had kissed Maggie and it had felt like everything suddenly made sense, like a new universe had been created behind her eyelids.

 

But she was fresh off the boat and that meant she didn't get to live inside of Maggie's universe and that rejection hurt, more than anything Alex had ever experienced before.

 

So she avoided Maggie, went to different bars, eventually met Natalie.

 

Natalie didn't make sense like Maggie did but she was close. Her smile made Alex's heart beat a little faster and her touch left a warm trace on her skin.

 

They start dating, get to know each other and Alex discovers that she could fall for Natalie. Natalie is a history professor and she's beyond smart and curious and when Alex rambles about some science fact or another, Natalie listens and asks questions.

 

Natalie is art museums, ice cream on sunny afternoons and game of darts at the bar.

 

Natalie is the green-eyed monster Alex recognizes in Maggie's eyes when they meet for the first time.







Maggie and Alex are friends.

 

They reach an understanding two months into Alex's relationship with Natalie.

 

Maggie seeks out Alex and asks her to be friends because she cares about Alex. A lot.

 

It starts with a game of pool the next evening and continues with drinks after they close a case. They work, even after months of sidestepping each other. They find their rhythm again, they play pool and they joke and Alex missed it so much, it gets hard to breathe sometimes.

 

They drink like friends and talk like friends.

 

Except they don't talk like friends, not exactly, because friends talk about their relationships and dating.

 

Maggie and Alex don't.

 

Whenever Alex mentions Natalie, Maggie shuts off, withdraws herself, changes subject, or finds an excuse to leave early.

 

So Alex doesn't mention her anymore.







They kiss and Alex doesn't remember who leaned in first.

 

They're working, going over decades old police files. There's been a series of kidnappings, similar to something that had happened over twenty years ago and they're hoping they can find a link between the two events.

 

They've been at it for hours though, and as Alex's stomach starts growling, she can't remember when she ate for the last time.

 

Maggie looks up and smirks at her.

 

Alex smiles, embarrassed.

 

"How about I run out to get us a couple of greasy burgers? Sounds good?" Maggie is still looking at her with that damn smirk but Alex can't be bothered right now.

 

"Sounds amazing."

 

Maggie gets up to leave and Alex gets up to go get more coffee in the meantime.

 

They're standing face to face, closer than either expected.

 

They kiss.

 

It doesn't last long. Their lips have barely touched when Maggie pulls back and looks at Alex with scared dark brown eyes. Alex doesn't know what she's scared of, wonders if maybe she should be scared too, doesn't wonder for too long because they kiss again.

 

This time it lasts longer.

 

It lasts long enough for Alex to determine that Maggie tastes like coffee and apples, that Maggie's hair doesn't tickle, that Maggie kisses like the world is ending and it takes Alex's breath away.

 

They start slow and tentative but they turn desperate and angry and teeth start grazing lips and leaving marks. Alex's hands find Maggie's waist and brings their hips together and when Maggie moans, it sends a shock through Alex's body.

 

She pulls back, suddenly, quickly, doesn't look at Maggie because she doesn't want to know what Maggie looks like with bruised lips and hungry eyes.

 

She turns around, flees from the old unused office they were using to review cold cases.

 

She can't believe she just did that.

 

She kissed Maggie, or Maggie kissed her, she doesn't really know and doesn't really care because it shouldn't have happened.

 

They were supposed to be working.

 

Alex had canceled date night with Natalie to work.







Natalie tastes like cheap wine and mint.

 

Her hair tickles Alex's face.

 

She kisses like she has all the time in the world.







She doesn't avoid Maggie this time.

 

She shows up at the crime scene determined to be nothing but professional. Then her eyes land on Maggie, and she isn't doing anything, she's just waiting for Alex to approach but god, Alex thinks she's beautiful.

 

Maggie tells her about the dead alien at their feet, shares her theories with her and they finish each other's sentences because that's what they do.

 

They make a good team, they share a connection Alex hasn't shared with anyone except her sister.

 

They don't talk about what happened the last time they saw each other.

 

They close the case three days later.

 

They don't go out for drinks.







Alex doesn't go to Natalie's place. She texts her.

 

Stuck at work with paperwork. Raincheck?

 

Natalie says it's okay, tells her not to work too hard and to try and get some rest.







She knocks on Maggie's door after midnight and when she opens the door, Maggie doesn't look the least bit surprised to see her.

 

She lets her in.

 

"Want a beer, Danvers?"

 

Alex accepts, takes the bottle Maggie offers but quickly sets it down to take Maggie's face in her hands instead.

 

Maggie lets out a small surprised noise before she melts into Alex. She blindly reaches for the table to put her beer down next to Alex's so she can wrap her hands around Alex's back.

 

She runs her hands up Alex's arms and pushes her leather jacket off her shoulders.

 

Alex's shirt follows.







Where Natalie is moaning and loud, Maggie is gasping and quiet. She shuts her eyes tighter with every kiss Alex leaves on her body, from her neck to her hip bone. She bites her lip and Alex wants to know what makes her lose control.

 

She wants Maggie writhing beneath her, she wants Maggie begging, she wants so much , Alex wants so much she doesn't even know where to start.

 

Alex realizes she hasn't moved in too long when Maggie looks down at her, worry in her gaze. She's about to say something, but Alex doesn't let her, lunges forward and presses her lips against Maggie's, hard. Alex doesn't want to think right now, she doesn't want to give Maggie a reason to worry because this ? Maggie completely naked underneath her?

 

Yeah, Alex doesn't want to think about anything else.






Alex bites, bruises Maggie's skin in the best way possible.

 

Maggie doesn't return the favor because Alex isn't hers to mark and that thought feels like a punch to the gut.






Alex wakes up with a start.

 

She feels a body shift next to her and she's only too aware that it isn't her girlfriend's. The ceiling she's staring at isn't her girlfriend's. It's Maggie's. The faint smell of strawberries on the pillow is Maggie and the warm sheets are Maggie's and everything she sees and touches and feels , it's all Maggie.

 

It's overwhelming.

 

Maggie shifts again and Alex feels her eyes on her not a second later.

 

"You're still here," is the first thing Maggie says.

 

It's not angry or reproachful. It's surprised and confused.

 

She expected Alex to sneak out, and maybe Alex should've because she doesn't know what to say or do right now.

 

She's afraid to move, to breath, to say anything because god what they did was wrong.

 

She doesn't want to tell that to Maggie. She does anyway.

 

"This was a mistake."

 

Maggie nods, turns to lay on her back and stares at the ceiling.

 

"Yeah."

 

"I should go."







Maggie gets up an hour after Alex has left.

 

Maggie's shirt from last night is still on her dining table next to the two untouched, warm, bottles of beer.







"Sawyer?"

 

"Hey Danvers. Just got a tip from one of my CIs about a kidnapping. You in?"

 

"Of course."

 

"Okay, I'll pick you up in 10."







They spend the afternoon in an unmarked car, staring at the front entrance of a warehouse near the docks and desperately avoiding looking at each other.

 

The silence is definitely awkward and Alex hates it.

 

Alex hates that they can't talk.

 

She hates the coffee they got on the way. It's too bitter and she grimaces everytime she drinks it. She hates how little leg room she has because her seat is stuck and she tried, and tried, and tried again but she can't push it back.

 

Alex hates a lot of things right now.

 

She hates herself the most.

 

She hates herself because she's at work and they've been hoping for a lead for weeks and now that they've got one, Alex can't focus.

 

She can't focus because of Maggie, sitting next to her, looking all beautiful and focused. She can't focus because she shouldn't be thinking about Maggie that way. She shouldn't be thinking about Maggie gasping her name in the middle of the night, body covered in sweat and lips bruised from kissing.

 

Her mouth is dry and she has to clear her throat.

 

She feels more than she sees Maggie sneak a glance her way.

 

Alex stares at the warehouse harder.

 

She should be thinking about Natalie. Her girlfriend . Alex should be thinking about Natalie in the throes of passion not Maggie .

 

Maggie is her friend, her co-worker, her partner on occasions.

 

Maggie was a mistake.

 

She just needs to remember that.







The warehouse ends up being a bust and Maggie and Alex go their separate ways.

 

They promise to call each other if they find something but it's been four days and they haven't had a reason to call each other.

 

Alex is lying next to Natalie when she realizes she misses Maggie.

 

Natalie had invited her over and she had cooked for Alex and she had lit candles and it was all so sweet and romantic. It was everything Alex thought she'd never like, the intimacy of a candlelit dinner, but with Natalie, it had felt wonderful.

 

Natalie is interesting and smart. She's funny and considerate. Her skin is soft and her nails leave red marks on Alex's back as she moans her name. She leaves a hickey on Alex's neck and her thigh and bites down on her hipbone and Alex's senses are overflowing.

 

Alex comes three times with the wrong name on the tip of her lips.

 

Natalie falls asleep while Alex lays next to her, staring at the ceiling and remembering a different bed, different sheets, apples instead of mint, beer instead of cheap wine.

 

She reaches for her phone on the bedside table and turns the screen lighting down.

 

It's a little after midnight.

 

She unlocks her phone.

 

She stares at the screen, bites her lip, locks her phone, presses it against her chest.

 

She sighs and looks over at Natalie.

 

She unlocks her phone again and types, erases, types again and sends.

 

How have you been? It's been a few days.

 

It sounds a little desperate, Alex knows and she hates it, but she's too tired to think of a better excuse to talk to Maggie.

 

It's been five minutes and Alex is convinced Maggie is either asleep or ignoring her when her phone lights up with a new text and Alex almost drops the phone on her face in her hurry to read it.

 

Busy. You?

 

Alex wasn't expecting such a curt response. She was hoping for a joke, a miss me already, Danvers? , not this monosyllabic answer.

 

It's been a slow week at the DEO.

 

She sends it and Natalie shifts next to her. She sighs contentedly and buries her head in her pillow. Alex stares at her, studies every line of her face, the way her nose is scrunched up, tickled by a strand of long black hair.

 

She's beautiful. She's smart. She's everything Alex could hope for in a woman.

 

I miss you , she texts Maggie because it's late enough for her to not care about consequences.

 

Come over , is Maggie's answer and Alex is out of her girlfriend's apartment in less than five minutes.







Alex has barely made it inside the apartment when Maggie pushes her against her door and clicks it shut.

 

She's kissing Alex's neck when she stops. Her thumb touches the spot her lips were kissing moments ago and Alex remembers the mark Natalie left there not even two hours ago.

 

Maggie doesn't say anything, keeps kissing her.

 

Alex pretends she didn't see the hurt in Maggie's eyes.







"I thought this was a mistake, Danvers."

 

They're staring at the ceiling again.

 

"You asked me to come over."

 

"You could've said no."

 

Alex turns to look at Maggie.

 

Alex could never say no to Maggie.







They barely sleep, too wrapped up in each other to care about how tired they'll be the next day.

 

Maggie pins Alex's hands above her head and doesn't let her touch her.

 

Maggie bites and Maggie leaves a mark on her collarbone.

 

She ignores the little voice reminding her Alex isn't hers.







The Superfriends (as Winn had started to call them) decide to meet for drinks at the alien bar the next day and Alex doesn't think twice about bringing Natalie with her.

 

Natalie is her girlfriend. She has met her friends and they all love her and always have a great time together. They have to be careful about what they say when it comes to Kara because Natalie might be Alex's girlfriend, but she still doesn't know that Kara is Supergirl.

 

They're sitting at a booth, Kara and James in front of Alex and Natalie, with Winn sitting on a chair next to their table. They're joking around, making fun of Kara's lack of sneakiness when Alex feels a shift in the air, something that makes her turn around.

 

Maggie is standing there, skinny black jeans, fitted grey shirt and leather jacket.

 

Their eyes lock and suddenly the arm she has around Natalie's shoulders feels heavy.

 

She's about to get up when she feels a hand squeeze her thigh.

 

"You never told me you could surf!"

 

Alex is confused, realizes she missed the moment the conversation became about her and she tries to awkwardly laugh off Natalie's comment.

 

When she turns back around, Maggie is gone.







Alex gets injured during a mission because she's an idiot who keeps putting herself in danger to protect a bulletproof superhero.

 

Maggie storms into the DEO, ignores the guards who are trying to stop her and keeps walking towards the med bay. Her jaw is clenched and her heart is hammering inside her chest. She can't breath properly, she doesn't remember how to because she's too tense and her mind is going a mile a second.

 

She's worried.

 

She didn't see Alex take a bullet, they were on separate teams, she only saw the aftermath.

 

She saw the dried blood on the ground.

 

When she finds Alex, she's sitting on the bed in a black tank top with her arm bandaged, Supergirl by her side.

 

"What the hell were you thinking, Alex?"

 

Both Supergirl and Alex look taken aback by her outburst. Maggie takes a deep breath, pinches the bridge of her nose, she's about to take step forward when someone comes barging into the room.

 

Natalie has tears in her eyes and hugs Alex so tightly and Maggie can't tear her eyes away. Alex takes Natalie's face in her hands and kisses her forehead and tells her I'm okay, I'm here over and over again.

 

When they kiss, Maggie leaves.

 

She tries to forget the hint of red still present on Alex's collarbone.







"You called me Alex."

 

"What?"

 

"When I got injured, you came to see me. You called me Alex."

 

"Oh, you mean right before your girlfriend got there?"

 

"Maggie…"

 

"You should go, Danvers."







Alex sometimes stops and takes a moment to think about her life.

 

One second she's looking into a microscope and the next she's staring out the large window in the DEO lab. She has a good view of the city from her work station. If she stretches her head to the left a little, she can even see some of the National City University buildings.

 

Somewhere in one of those buildings, her girlfriend is teaching history to a bunch of freshmen.

 

Her girlfriend who she's cheating on with Maggie.

 

Maggie who had rejected her because she was fresh off the boat , Maggie who wanted to be friends because I can't imagine my life without you in it and Alex can't understand how they went from a tentative friendship to sleeping together.

 

They're sleeping together and that makes Alex a liar and a cheater and she can't believe she became this person.

 

She's hurting Natalie and she's hurting Maggie and Alex hates it, hates herself but she can't stop.

 

She can't because Natalie is safe. Natalie is warm baths after stressful days and cheesy romcoms while they cuddle on the couch.

 

Maggie is scary. Maggie is nights of rushed passion and soft skin and feelings that linger even after months of Alex pushing them down.

 

Deep down, Alex knows what she wants to do. What she has to do.







"I slept with Maggie."

 

Kara almost chokes on her slice of pizza. She reaches for the remote and pauses the movie they were watching.

 

Alex doesn't even know what the movie is about.

 

"You slept with Maggie? When? Did you break up with Natalie? Or was it before Natalie? Why didn't you tell me?"

 

Alex looks at the slice of pizza in her hand, puts it down. It doesn't look as good as it did a second ago.

 

"About two weeks ago."

 

"Two weeks," Alex can practically see the gears turning inside her sister's head. She can pinpoint the moment Kara puts all the pieces together because her eyes get soft, but it's not the usual supportive sisterly fondness Alex knows so well.

 

Kara's disappointed.

 

"Alex…"

 

"I know," She does . She knows she's a terrible girlfriend and a terrible person, "I know Natalie deserves so much better but I don't know what to tell her!"

 

Alex gets up and starts pacing in front of the TV.

 

"I mean the first time it just… It just happened!"

 

Kara leans forward, frowning, "What do you mean 'the first time'"

 

Alex can't even look at her sister right now.

 

"Alex, how many times did you- how many times did it happen?"

 

Alex shrugs, looks at the ceiling, the floor, the TV behind her, looks everywhere except at Kara.

 

"Three times?"

 

Kara throws a pillow at her face.

 

"What the hell Alex! I thought you were over Maggie!"

 

"So did I!"

 

"You have a girlfriend!"

 

"I know!"

 

Kara looks at Alex with pity in her eyes. She's sitting on the edge of the sofa, pizza completely forgotten, her focus solely on her sister.

 

"What are you going to do?"

 

Alex shrugs. As much as she hates to admit it, Alex is being a damn coward.

 

"I just- I can't stop thinking about Maggie. I've tried to, but she's so beautiful and she's funny and I thought I was over it- over her, but I'm not. I can't- It's like I'm infected. Everything I do and everything- it just all brings me back to Maggie."

 

Alex stops pacing to look up at Kara. The disappointment is still there but there's a hint of something else, understanding perhaps.

 

"I'm tired," she sighs defeated and Kara nods for her to continue, "because I'm hurting Natalie and I'm hurting Maggie and I- I need to figure out what to do."

 

Kara takes her hand and brings her back to the couch. They're face to face and Alex can't remember the last time Kara looked so intensely at her, "I think you know what you need to do."

 

Yeah. Alex knows.





Alex decides to break things off with Natalie.

 

It's the right thing to do. She hasn't been fair to her, she should've said something right when Maggie had kissed her for the first time instead of pretending nothing had happened.

 

Natalie opens the door to her apartment with a grin and leans in for a kiss.

 

Alex barely lets their lips brush before she pulls away. Natalie's smile falters and a crinkle appears between her eyebrows.

 

"Everything okay?"

 

Alex shakes her head no and Natalie lets her inside.

 

Usually, Alex would take off her jacket and throw it on the armchair in the corner of Natalie's living room. Usually she would join Natalie in the kitchen and help her with whatever she was making.

 

Alex stands still and Natalie crosses her arms on her chest.

 

"Alex, what's going on?"

 

Alex exhales and her palms are sweaty and she wonders if this is the right thing to do.

 

It is. She knows it is.

 

"I think we should, uh…" Alex clears her throat, "I'm not happy."

 

Alex can see Natalie take a step back as if Alex's words had physically hurt her. Which they probably did.

 

"I mean you won't be happy, because I'm-" Alex cuts herself off because Natalie has tears in her eyes and she's hurt and Alex can't believe she just broke her heart.

 

Alex doesn't say anything about Maggie.

 

"I'm not- I can't give you what you deserve."

 

Natalie doesn't say much. She shows Alex to the door and tells her goodbye.

 

Alex stands in the hallway of her girlfriend's- ex -girlfriend's- apartment building staring at the door.

 

She leaves after five minutes of blankly staring at the dark green of the door.

 

She spends the rest of her night with a glass of whiskey.







Maggie hasn't texted her in ten days.

 

She hasn't seen her in twelve.

 

Alex is at the alien bar with her friends and her sister. She keeps glancing around the bar, hoping to maybe catch a glimpse of a certain detective. She knows she's anything but subtle about it but Kara's the only one who's noticed. Winn and James are too busy gushing about the Guardian's exploits to notice.

 

Alex thinks maybe there's something up with that. The way Winn keeps talking about the suit. The way James defends the vigilante's actions.

 

Alex sees Maggie at the bar and she starts making her way over before she can think of a good excuse to give her friends.

 

"Sawyer!"

 

Maggie's shoulders tense before she turns around to give Alex a smile.

 

It's not a real smile. Her eyes aren't shining and her dimples aren't showing.

 

"Danvers, hey. Haven't seen you around here in awhile."

 

There's something scathing in her tone that Alex can't understand. Or doesn't want to.

 

Because it doesn't make any sense. Or maybe it does.

 

Alex is confused.

 

She hesitates before sitting on the empty stool to Maggie's right. She doesn't ask for anything, but M'gann places a beer in front of her and Alex thanks her with a smile.

 

She wants to ask Maggie how she's been but she doesn't know how to. It's like she has forgotten how to act around Maggie in the last twelve days.

 

But then again, Maggie has never been quite this distant before. She's staring at her own beer, scratching at the label with her thumbs.

 

Maggie's always been warm smiles and bright eyes and teasing jokes. Alex isn't used to this silence and the tension between them and she has no idea how to break it.

 

"No girlfriend tonight?"

 

Maggie's eyes are dull when they land on Alex.

 

"No," Alex takes a gulp of her beer, Maggie's eyes lower to rest on her lips as she talks again, "We broke up."

 

There's a spark in Maggie's eyes as her eyebrows shoot up in surprise.

 

"I'm sorry."

 

She's not. Alex almost laughs and Maggie must notice the twitch of her lips because she tilts her head to the side and asks "What?"

 

"Nothing. It's fine."

 

Silence settles between them and Alex watches Maggie process the information. She frowns down at her beer before looking at Alex again.

 

"Why?"

 

"Why did we break up?"

 

Maggie nods. Alex shrugs.

 

"I wasn't exactly being fair to her."







Maggie leaves first.

 

Alex tells Kara, Winn and James that she's heading home.

 

Kara sees right through her.

 

Outside, Maggie's waiting for her with a second helmet and a smirk firmly planted on her lips.






Alex expects to be pushed against the door or a wall or the dining table. She isn't.

 

Maggie takes her hand and leads her to her bedroom. She undresses Alex slowly, takes in every new inch of skin that gets exposed.

 

She kisses her with a reverence that wasn't there before.

 

It used to be rushed, hurried, bruising.

 

Now, it's slow, intimate, soothing.







Alex wakes up with a start.

 

She feels a body shift next to her and she sighs. She turns to look at Maggie, a lazy smile on her face.

 

"Hey."

 

"Hey yourself."

 

Maggie's eyes are shining again and her dimples are showing and Alex can't help herself. She leans in and kisses a dimple and she makes Maggie giggle . She made Maggie Sawyer giggle like a schoolgirl and Alex can't help but look at her in wonder.

 

"I wish we could've done this sooner," Alex admits in a whisper.

 

"I'm sorry."

 

Alex inches back to fully look at Maggie because she doesn't understand why she's apologizing. Maggie smiles sadly and shrugs, "I was stupid, when you first kissed me, I thought you came out for me and it scared me."

 

"You weren't stupid. You're not."

 

Maggie frowns but Alex doesn't let her interrupt, "I did come out for you," she starts picking at the corner of her pillow to avoid Maggie's eyes, "You were right to- to reject me. I wasn't ready to- I mean I didn't- I needed to do it for me. I needed to understand that this was my new normal. Me being gay is my new normal."

 

She looks at Maggie again and she's taken aback by the look in her eyes. There's so much pride and affection, Alex has a hard time breathing.

 

Maggie doesn't say anything, leans forward and kisses her.

 

Maggie is smiling against her lips when Alex says, "I'm sorry," and "I wasn't fair to you either."

 

"You'll just have to make it up to me, Alex."

 

"How does breakfast sound?"

 

Maggie pauses, squints at Alex, "Depends if you're the one making it. I don't really feel like getting food poisoning."

 

Alex slaps Maggie in her arm but Maggie is laughing and Alex decides that it's her favorite sound in the world.

 

"No, Sawyer, I'm not making it. There's a nice little dinner not far from here. Their pancakes are to die for."

 

Maggie nods, dimples still in full display.

 

"It's a date then."