1. there in the shade and hid from the sun we freed our minds and learned
Jen's hair is long now, past her waist. She wears it wound around her head and pinned with a small collection of mismatched bobby pins and barrettes. Each morning she puts it up, tucking each strand in place, and in place it stays as she works, until long past sunset.
Now, in the candle light, she stands in front of the mirror and lets it down as you watch. Matt comes into the room and sits down on your lap, and you wrap your arms around his waist. Jen catches your eye in the mirror and smiles, her hands busy until finally, finally, the pins lay in a pile on the dresser and her hair is a shining mass of waves down her back.
The house you live in is not your house. It had belonged to a widower who, like most, had left this part of the state when the fires came. The three of you have been here long enough that you consider it home, and you have all left enough fingerprints for it to feel like home. Pictures Jen had brought with her and a Red Sox poster Matt had found in an abandoned warehouse are tacked to the walls of the bedroom.
Matt turns his head and leans into you even more. He smells of earth and sun, dust and sweat. "I'm fucking exhausted," he mumbles. "So glad it's your turn tomorrow."
"Yeah, thanks," you say dryly, but you grin into his hair. Jen rolls her eyes and you chuckle. "I guess I should fix my sock before I go."
Matt looks down at your foot, with the gaping hole in the toe of your sock, and snorts. "Yes."
Jen sits down on the bed in her t-shirt and shorts, looking at the two of you. You press a kiss underneath Matt's ear and then shove him off your lap, aiming him in her direction. He half-stumbles across the room and collapses on the bed next to her with a muffled, satisfied groan. You'd tease him about it, except you know exactly how good that soft mattress feels after a long day on the road. Treasure hunting, you call it, but it's more like survival hunting. He'd come back today with some canned goods and a couple old newspapers to be saved for kindling in the winter.
Matt uses Jen's thigh for a pillow, and they both look at you. "You coming to bed or what?" Matt asks, his arms loose around Jen's waist, one of his hands tangling in her hair. You remember how afraid of this they were before, back when she was just your wife and he was just your best friend. Now you're so tangled up in them that to lose one would be like ripping out your heart. You hurt just thinking about it.
"Did you ever notice how he goes off in his own little internal world sometimes?" you hear Jen say to Matt.
"Uhm, only constantly," he replies, and you haul yourself out of the chair and into their embrace.
2. I could not see any wrong in you, and you saw none in me
"Is there ever really any night when it's always dark?" Jen asks, propped up on her elbows, looking out at the stars.
Matt opens his mouth to give what's sure to be a long, scientific explanation on circadian rhythms and the effects of lack of sunlight on a human body, but you shove his thigh with your boot and he closes it again. Jen laughs. "I wasn't really," he says sheepishly.
"You were, too," you reply, chuckling. "Or did you forget that this chip in my head is almost as good as telepathy when it comes to you?"
He grumbles and scoots across the observation deck to curl up next to you. There's a pleasant hum when his skin touches yours, a side effect of the chip in your shoulder tuning into his electrical wavelength. It's strong enough for the first few seconds that Jen, whose thighs your upper body is pillowed on, can feel it too. Her hand twists in your hair, but not hard. "That's always such a weird feeling," she sighs.
You grin up at her. "And you're not the one with the interface."
"No thanks," she says, scrunching up her face. "I can't fly my ship with one of those, it screws up all the panels; you guys know that."
"That's why you're the pilot." Matt wiggles closer as he says it, wrapping his arms around your waist. The hum evens out, low and steady. You wonder if the designers knew this would happen, if they'd programmed it this way. The three of you had speculated before that there was an Original Function for Matt's kind, one that had died out and been lost through the years, but some of the basic wiring remained. Wiring that not only made him fantastic in bed, but funny and gentle and companionable.
"I'd rather have space than Earth anyway," Jen says, returning to her original thought. "More… room."
"You're such a flyjockey," you tell her, making a goofy face in her direction.
She runs her thumb along your forehead, her hair tumbling forward over her shoulders. "You love me anyway."
"We do," you and Matt say in unison, and Jen grins again, shaking her head.
You reach up and press your fingers to her lips. You've been out in space with her for three years now and you wouldn't trade it for any number of worlds, and that feeling has only gotten stronger since you found Matt. He'd been in stasis on New Europa, in a facility that had been abandoned during the protests. Jen had gone to see what supplies she could scavenge, and had come back with a woozy, rumpled Halfer, his joints stiff, his circuitry a little sketchy from a year of hibernation. She hadn't even had to give you the please can we keep him look, because in under five minutes he'd fixed the problem with the ship that had kept you on New Europa for the last week, and you knew that even though you and Jen made a good team, with Matt you'd be even better.
3. to conquer time and space and fight the rivers and the seas
"I don't think I can sleep," Matt groans, collapsing into the wheeled chair front of the bank of monitors. It's an ungainly sprawl and the chair rolls back a little bit, giving the impression that he's going to slide right out of it.
You shake your head at him and kick his foot. "You'd feel more like sleeping if you got out of that thousand-pound suit."
"And took a shower," Jen adds, phasing back into her physical form beside you in her short terrycloth robe, a stack of towels in her arms. "You two are ridiculous. Come on."
You look at Matt and raise your eyebrows. "The lady says move. We're done fighting crime for the night. It's the downslope of the adrenaline curve, Matty, you'll probably pass out in the shower."
With a sigh, he pulls himself out of the chair. You grab his arm. The suit really does weigh quite a bit, and his lean muscles belay the super strength he uses to stomp the darkness out of L.A. while wearing it. Between the two of you, it's wiped down and sealed back in its case, and your own suit is hung up to dry (because it rained, of course; it always rains when there's someone to chase for nearly a mile). There's still rainwater sliding down the back of your neck. Matt rubs it away with his palm as you walk into the shower area; the steam hits you like a wall, but it feels heavenly.
Then Jen's in front of you, her hands on your shoulders, leaning in for a kiss underneath the hot spray. "We did good tonight," she murmurs against your lips.
Matt drops a kiss on her neck from behind. "Yes," he echoes. His hands come around her waist and settle on your hips, holding the three of you together.
You close your eyes and feel the night's tension drain from you, wash away like the mud and the dirty rain. "We'll do good tomorrow, too."
4. my history and future blaze bright in me and all my joy and pain
"-another six months and Casey will be done with school," Matt's saying. You stop contemplating the scotch in your glass and snap back into the present. "And then it'll be Affleck and Affleck."
"Provided he passes the bar," you add, and he chuckles. Even Jen grins at that, and she's usually the one admonishing you for making fun of your brother when he's not around. "And then all I need to do is convince the two of you to leave the DA's office and come work with us."
"Five years from now, I might be ready, but you'll never get Jen to leave," Matt says. "She loves it too much."
She extends a leg over yours to nudge his foot. "Who'd you draw today, anyway?"
"Palinksy. But it was just a prelim."
She makes a noncommittal sort of noise and turns her glass between her palms. "Ben?"
"Jury picking for the Nelson trial."
"Exciting," Matt drawls.
"So exciting I need another drink," you reply, and hold out your glass. He pours. "Jenny, what time is it?"
She's the only one with a view of the clock. "Almost eleven. You leaving us?"
"Not yet." You're comfortable on the oversize leather couch next to Matt, your tie loosened, pleasantly warm from the liquor. His shoulder rubs against yours. Jen's a sleepy-looking vision in the chair closest to you, her hair a messy ponytail, her cheek resting on her hand. She smiles at you. One of these days you're going to get the two of them to come home with you, but not when you've got trial in the morning. Some night when you can take your time, and no one has to be in court at some ridiculous hour.
Jen kicks her pumps off and puts her feet up next to you on the couch. You pull them into your lap, rubbing your thumb against an arch. She sighs and makes a small noise of protest, but you don't let her move. "You never told us whose room you were in," Matt says to her.
"French. I think he fell asleep more than once."
You and Matt both laugh. "That sounds about right," he chuckles. He reaches over with his free hand to rub her other foot, also ignoring her barely audible protestation. You glance at him and he smiles easily. You're pretty sure he's got the same plan you do filed away somewhere, waiting.
5. our greatest reason for being here, our bodies moved and burned
It's late and the house is dark. Even blurry with alcohol, you move to the bedroom without turning on the lights. Jen balances against the wall with one hand and takes her heels off with the other. You loosen your tie, yawn, and then slide it off completely. The silk whispers against the collar of your shirt. Matt takes it from you and lays it over the chair with his.
"I'll check on the kids," Jen says, walking towards the door. "Don't go to bed without me."
You sit down on the bed. "You're not that tired, are you?" Matt asks, his lips brushing your ear. "It's my last night in town; we need to make it memorable."
"You don't need to convince me of that," you reply, and wrap a hand around the back of his neck, pull him in for a kiss. His mouth is warm and he tastes like scotch, a good combination. "I'm a little wiped out, but I think I can still perform," you murmur. Matt laughs and starts to unbutton your shirt.
"Thought I told you not to start without me," you hear Jen say, and Matt laughs again.
"You said not to go to bed without you," he tells her. She reaches for the zipper on her dress, and Matt gestures at her. "Come here, for god's sake."
You lean back on your elbows and watch him unzip her dress. It floats rather than falls to the floor, silently, and Jen steps out of it and climbs onto the bed next to you in her underwear. She kneels between Matt's legs and kisses him, and you catch your breath. "I love you," she whispers against his lips. Your heart swells. You'll never be tired of hearing Jen tell Matt she loves him, nor vice versa. Sometimes you think getting the two of them to fall in love was your greatest accomplishment - apart from getting them to fall in love with you, of course. "I wish you didn't have to leave," she tells him.
"Me, too. But work calls."
You laugh at him for this, since any one of you could quit tomorrow and still live three lifetimes on what you have. Matt and Jen look at you and grin, and suddenly you're flat on your back, Jen's hands on your shoulders, Matt's hands unbuckling your belt. "I love you both so much," you tell them. So much it's overwhelming at times. Everything you ever wanted, needed, hoped for, dreamed of - it's all right here in this house. Sometimes you're disappointed that you can't shout it out, that you can't tell the world. But most of the time you're glad it's a close-kept secret, and you try to keep it closer still, because it's yours.