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Get Lost In The Rhythm Of Me

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The first time Alex ever thinks about what it would be like to marry Maggie Sawyer, they aren’t even dating yet.

In fact, Maggie is in the middle stages of dating Emily and Alex is… doing her best with that information.

Which mostly means forcing as much of a smile as she can – even if it probably looks like a grimace because it feels like her heart is being painfully squeezed every single time – when her best friend mentions her girlfriend. Which is thankfully very sparingly.

They’re having one of their movie nights, filled with the horror movies only they enjoy, and they’re both sitting on Maggie’s couch, shoulders leaning into one another. It always tends to happen at least halfway through the first movie.

And Alex gestures to the television, finishing her five minute rant about biology and huffs out a sigh, “I’m just saying, on the scale of realism, Frankenstein’s monster – and his bride – are higher than Dracula.”

“In your scientific opinion?” Maggie asks and she can hear the teasing note in her voice.

But it only serves to make her feel more validated, “Yes! In my scientific opinion – I’m not saying I would, or could at this point in scientific advancements, reanimate a body. But I’m saying I could believe it, given the right circumstances.

She finishes her impassioned ramble and she turns her head just enough to look at Maggie. She expects her to be watching the television throughout her chatter, because it’s not like Alex venting about the science behind a lot of the things they see in movies is something new.

But Maggie isn’t watching the movie. Her eyes are on Alex, and they have that look in them. That one that is full of affection and is so warm and that makes her eyes sparkle in that way only Maggie has, while there’s a dimpled smile playing at her mouth.

Maggie’s look is enough to take the wind out of Alex’s sails, so to speak, and instead, she just feels her cheeks heat up and her heart pound in her chest. It’s a way only Maggie has ever made her feel, and it sends this rush of love through her.

Which hurts , and she turns her attention to the movie, which is winding to an end anyway, to try not to think about it.

Instead of watching the end of the movie, though, her eyes drift downward and she watches the way Maggie’s fingers tap lightly on the couch cushion that they are both leaning into, the way her pinky absentmindedly strokes Alex’s with the movement.

She can feel that light touch like it sends a spark up her arm and she knows Maggie doesn’t feel it the same way she does, which makes the enjoyment she has from the feeling dimmed.

Rather than let herself focus on that, now, her eyes drift to the dvd case sitting on the coffee table, eyes fixating on the word Bride . It’s not like she wants to, but she can’t stop herself from thinking about Maggie… as a bride. Maybe it’s the way she can feel Maggie all soft and warm against her or that she can smell that familiar Maggie-smell all over her apartment. Or maybe it’s just that she is so in love with her that she can’t help it.

And before she can really think about it too much, she asks, “Do you ever… think about it?”

“Reanimating a corpse? I think that’s more your speed, mad scientist Danvers,” Maggie scoffs and nudges her with her shoulder.

Rolling her eyes, she corrects, “I was talking more about the whole, you know.” She wishes she did think about it first, now that she hears it coming out of her mouth, “Bride thing.”

When Maggie’s quiet for a few moments, Alex looks at her and sees the way her eyebrows are furrowed in that slightly serious way, and her heart skips a beat in her chest before Maggie quirks an eyebrow and looks up at her, “Sort of a random thing to bring up, given the fact that the Bride in this movie rejects the Monster as soon as they meet.”

Alex chuckles, “Not exactly what I was thinking about, but never mind.” She shifts, but doesn’t pull away from Maggie, and she’s just – she can’t stop thinking about it, now. Especially because, “I just mean. Well, you’re with Emily now. And that’s – well, you met her family and everything already.”

She doesn’t mean to say it, because she isn’t sure she wants to hear the answer. She’s not sure she can take it.

And she can both hear and feel the sharp intake of breath Maggie takes in before she shakes her head, “Ah. No. No, no, still way too early to even think about that,” she lets out an uncomfortable laugh, before she sinks into the couch and seemingly impossibly closer to Alex, even though she feels like there’s a tension in Maggie right now, even though her face looks relaxed, as she stares straight ahead at the tv. “And I’m not sure it’s something I really saw for myself, anyway.”

It’s wrong to feel so relieved about that. She knows it is. She knows that a good friend shouldn’t feel so utterly relieved about her best friend not feeling as secure as possible in her relationship. Which, ugh, it’s not like she doesn’t want Maggie to be happy and secure and thinking about a future – 

Maggie strokes her finger against Alex’s again and it brings her jumbled thoughts to a pause, before she clears her throat, “Uh. What about you?”

It’s in that moment that she looks down at their hands and she can imagine what it would be like. Having these nights, leaning into each other’s warmth, and not having to stop herself from wanting to be even closer. Being able to act on it.

Having actual rings on their fingers.

It’s a jarring thought, and she feels herself flush even as her heart constricts and she shakes her head, “No. Not – not really.” She rushes out, before taking a moment and – god, okay, maybe she could see herself spending a forever with… “I guess I have thought about it. Maybe one day,” she admits, softly, her throat feeling a little tight.

Maggie’s quiet and she wonders if it’s her imagination that her friend sort of falls more against her, her body solid and warm.

She can feel when Maggie takes in a deep breath, before she murmurs, “I don’t know. I think, with the right person, I could… see it.”

Alex cannot let herself think about the right person for Maggie, because everything inside of her wants it to be her . Even though she knows, based on all evidence, that it’s not.

But she still can’t help but turn her head to look at Maggie. Once again, she’s expecting her to be watching the movie. Instead, they lock eyes for a long moment, and everything inside of her freezes up in the best and worst of ways.

She can’t think of anything to say in response to that, but she can’t focus on a single thing they say throughout the rest of the movie.

//

She thinks about it again three months into their relationship.

Alex wakes up in Maggie’s bed. She knows exactly where she is not just because of the fact that she can smell Maggie all around her, but because in the last three weeks since she and Maggie have started to have sex, she’s become intimately familiar with the feeling of waking up in Maggie’s bed.

She blinks slowly, still a little sleepy, which isn’t surprising when she thinks about how many times Maggie had made her come the night before, watching every release greedily, like it gave Maggie her own pleasure to see Alex orgasm. Which, maybe it did, in a way.

Still, Maggie’s arm is slung over her hips, as she sleeps on her stomach with her head turned in Alex’s direction. It’s not how they always wake up, but it’s not uncommon. She’s grown very used to the familiar weight of her girlfriend’s arm around her in some way.

Like sleeping Maggie likes to have her close, no matter which way they find themselves sleeping that night.

She rubs at her eyes, before she trails them over Maggie’s softly sleeping face.

She loves seeing Maggie like this. Vulnerable and open with her in a way that she knows is something only she gets to see.

Her eyes dip and trace over Maggie’s back. Over the shoulder blades that she’d scratched at last night, the marks only just visible still, now. She’d never truly thought of and appreciated all of the little muscles in someone’s upper back until her girlfriend’s, she thinks idly, slipping her fingertips up and over soft, warm skin.

Even though they’d only been having sex for less than a month, even though their relationship before that was still new , there was no question in her mind that she could get used to this. She was already used to this.

“Are you staring at me while I sleep again?” Maggie’s tired, sleep-rough voice that Alex has been more than used to through the years almost made her jump.

Maggie’s eyes were still closed, but her voice was teasing, and Alex blushed as she settled back against the pillows with an embarrassed huff, “No. That’s – weird. According to you,” she mumbled the last part, mostly to herself.

It wasn’t like she woke up every morning that they spent together and just laid in bed and looked at her. But… it has happened a few times. The first morning after because she couldn’t believe she and Maggie Sawyer were finally together in every way possible; that she had woken up naked, with Maggie. And the last time this had happened, last week, was because she was marveling at the way she could see the exact place on Maggie’s cheek where her dimples would be if she’d been smiling.

She’d never noticed that before.

Maggie let out a sleepy sigh, her arm tightening around Alex’s waist – as if she would be moving away – before she informed her, “A little weird. I never said I didn’t like it.”

She can’t help the smile that tugs at her mouth, as she turns her head against the pillow to actually face Maggie now. Her warm breath hits Alex’s neck before those dark eyes open just a bit, “Good morning.”

“Morning,” she whispers back.

The fingers against her hip stroke against her softly as Maggie inches even closer, “What time is it?”

“Before your alarm,” she answers, because that’s all she knows for sure, and she’s not willing to move at this exact moment.

Maggie hums softly under her breath and the sound of it gives Alex goosebumps, “Works for me.”

Her girlfriend strokes up her side, leaving goosebumps in its wake, before cupping her jaw and turning her head. Their lips connect, and it starts slow. These slow, lazy morning kisses that she’s become familiar with.

Where Maggie’s lips, soft and warm with sleep, rub against hers and Alex swears she can feel the tingle from her lips to fingers, to toes and everywhere in between. And then when she reaches out to stroke her hand up the back her eyes had focused on, Maggie’s mouth slants open against her own, capturing her bottom lip between hers.

Sucking softly, enough that Alex whimpers into her mouth, before she can’t wait more and she licks into Maggie’s mouth. The soft groan Maggie gives her, as she strokes firmly down her back again until her hands land on her ass, make her want to smile and devour her.

She thinks she could quite literally spend forever waking up like this.

Forever .

It’s better this time, when it crosses her mind. Because this time, there is no heart-pounding ache that the thought causes. It’s not daunting. Because Maggie is with her, and that’s all that is necessary to get rid of those aching years of wanting but not having.

But it’s still – it’s only been three months. Which is way too early to have thoughts like that and actually mean them.

And then Maggie shifts to press more firmly against her and she can’t think of anything at all.

//

She does her best to not get ahead of herself and think of marriage possibilities for the next few months.

And it works, for the most part.

It’s not until they’ve been together for eight months that she thinks about marrying Maggie again in any actual capacity, and it’s because of a dog. Their unexpected dog.

Alex grabs her keys and slides them into her jacket pocket as Maggie rinses out her coffee mug, staring at Alex over her shoulder, “Gertrude,” she says, her voice deadpan, “You want to call our dog… Gertrude.”

She brushes her hair out of her face, as she stares back at her girlfriend, “Well, we can’t keep calling her “puppy”,” Alex says, exasperated, as she gestures to the dog in question, who is still a little skittish about affection, but watches them.

They’d found her together, last week, outside of the building that Alex’s lab is in at NCU. Maggie had taken to picking her up on nights that her schedule allows, especially on nights where the weather isn’t all that great.

The sun had just set, the rain was getting heavier, and they’d been about to get into the car when they’d heard the little sound coming from near the stairs. There had been the dog in question – collarless, too skinny, the black, gray, and brown fur damp and dripping, with big dark eyes that neither of them had been able to turn away from.

In the following week, they’d had her checked out by a vet, Alex had walked around the college neighborhoods to check if there were any signs posted for a missing dog. Maggie had even checked around at the precinct to see if there had been a report of a stolen dog.

In that week, they’d subsequently bought food and toys, and a bed, even if she ended up at the foot of theirs more often than not.

In spite of not having a plan to get a dog yet, when all other searches had turned up with the signs pointing to the girl not having a home… all they’d had to do was share a look and know they were going to keep her.

Maggie rolled her eyes, her own voice even more exasperated, “I know we can’t call her puppy. But we aren’t naming her Gertrude! What even is that?”

Alex’s mouth fell open in offense, “It’s a solid name!”

“A dog. Named Gertrude,” Maggie deadpans, dark eyes holding Alex’s and she frowns when she sees the mirth in Maggie’s, “Come on. A solid name for a dog is… Bella. Or Mocha. Or Willow. Daisy,” she ticks off. “Babe, the other dogs in the dog park are going to make fun of her.”

Alex’s frown deepens as she sighs, and looks across the room. Their dog, with her smart dark eyes, is watching them with her head quirked. “I like Gertrude,” she says quietly.

Maggie gives an exaggerated groan as she slips her arms into her own jacket, pulling it up over her shoulders, “Okay, we table this for later when we get home. Little No Name has fresh water, right?”

She nods, “She’ll be all set until you come home at lunch.”

Only a few hours go by before her phone vibrates in her pocket, and she knows Maggie waited until her office hours to text her. That alone gives her a rush of affection, even before she sees the message.

Sawyer – 10:19AM
Okay, why Gertrude?

Danvers – 10:21AM 
Gertrude Elion. She won the Nobel Prize 
the year I was born. She made so many  
advancements in developing medicines. 

 

Danvers – 10:22AM 
Including the first drug used for AIDs  
treatment. Cancer treatments. Malaria… 

She blows out a breath, sort of regretting that message. Because when she reads it over to herself, she can already hear the way Maggie is reading it and calling her a nerd.

Sawyer – 10:24AM
Aw. Nerd.

Sawyer – 10:25AM
You definitely did some book reports
on good old Gertrude, didn’t you?

She rolls her eyes, feeling her cheeks heat up even as she types.

Danvers – 10:27AM 
Shut up. Only once.

Danvers10:28AM 
But still. She just seems like a Gertrude. 
Reserved. Intelligent. Unique. 

Sawyer – 10:30AM
Cute nerd.

The rest of her day goes by quickly, despite a distinct lack of messages from Maggie for the rest of the day. Quickly and busily. And by the time she heads home, it’s after nine at night, her day started before eight, and she’s dragging her feet.

When she opens the door, she can smell immediately that Maggie made dinner; the smell of her homemade pasta sauce is in the air and already warming Alex from the inside out, and easing these dregs of tension from her shoulders.

She tosses her keys into the bowl, shucking her jacket as she walks farther inside. Only to find the kitchen and living room devoid of her girlfriend, and her eyebrows furrow together in confusion, “Maggie?”

“Bathroom!” comes the somewhat muffled reply from down the hall.

Momentarily mollified, she walks closer to the kitchen table. More drawn to the new bright blue collar with silver tags set out. The set of tags that, she realizes, are engraved with Maggie’s phone number and the address of her precinct, and she’s already feeling this warmth settling in her stomach even before she flips the tag around and reads the name.

Gertrude.

She shakes her head, breaking out into an unstoppable smile, as she’s hit with a rush of love so intense it makes her need to see Maggie. Just because.

Clutching the collar in her hand, she makes her way into the bathroom, hearing Maggie speaking in low soft tones to their dog – to Gertrude – as she goes, “I know you don’t like this bath, Gert. I don’t really like having to give it to you. Truth be told, you’re kind of making a mess on the bathroom floor with all that…” she can hear water splashing, as Maggie sighs, “Moving around.”

She quietly turns the corner, seeing her girlfriend kneeling on the floor next to the tub. Her shirt and jeans are soaked through, even as she scrubs at Gertrude, who is panting and looking livelier than she has for most of her time with them. She’s laughing in that soft way she has –

And Alex can feel it, wrapped around her heart, as she leans against the door jamb.

This woman, this strong, ambitious woman, who made her dinner because she had a long day at work, and is willing to name their dog Gertrude for her, is going to be her wife.

It just hits her, in that moment, as she watches Maggie laugh, dimples popping, while her arms are soaked and sudsy from the water as she gives their dog a bath. This is it.

This is going to be the rest of her life. The feeling nearly makes her stumble where she stands, in the good way. The weak in the knees kind of way.

Maggie tosses her hair over her shoulder, her smile impossibly brightening when she sees her, “Your dog got into some of the leftover pasta. Sauce everywhere.”

It’s almost hard to speak with her smile so big, “My dog, huh?”

“Well, I certainly didn’t pick the name,” Maggie teases, groaning when she gets splashed with more water as Gertrude notices Alex.

She pushes herself out of the doorway and makes her way toward her girlfriend, “I’ll deal with the other dogs at the park if they tease her.”

When she gets close enough, she ignores the water on the ground and kneels, capturing Maggie’s smiling mouth with hers. The kiss isn’t that long, but it’s passionate and lingering and wanting, and Alex just needs Maggie to feel how much she loves her.

And when she draws away, Maggie looks kind of dazed for a moment, before she shakes herself out of it and clears her throat, “I, uh… well, I can help. At the dog park.”

“I love you,” she says in response, fervently. What she doesn’t say is that she is going to love her for the rest of their lives. That this, right now, is what she wants for the rest of her life.

But she feels it.

//

She knows that it’s time – that they are there – almost a year into their relationship.

It’s the night of the police banquet that Maggie’s being honored at, with National City’s Medal of Valor. It’s actually for the night a little over a year ago, before they were even together, when Maggie had gotten shot.

The night that she’d gotten a surprising call from the hospital, informing her that she was Detective Sawyer’s emergency contact, that Maggie had sustained a gunshot wound while on duty, and – well, Alex doesn’t remember much from that phone call, because it had also been one of the worst nights of her life, to date.

She didn’t get the full story for another few days afterwards, where Maggie had shrugged and told her that it “wasn’t a huge deal” but that she’d been first on the scene where one of the informants on a case she’d been working on had gotten into a “tough spot” with one of the drug dealers involved in the bust the special crimes unit was working. And, in Maggie’s words, “things went sideways pretty quickly.”

She finds out Maggie’s being honored at the banquet when she mentions it offhandedly as they have dinner the week before. Asking, “Do you have anything going on next Wednesday?”

Alex thinks over her schedule before shaking her head and her eyes catching on the way Maggie’s fingers fidget in that way that she has when she’s nervous or uncomfortable. The concern is already sliding through her before she shakes her head, “No, not that I can think of. Why?”

Maggie takes in a deep breath and blows it out, tapping her fingers against the fork before rolling her eyes at herself, “There’s a banquet that night. The police banquet, where everyone has to wear their dress blues and are on best behavior and fake laughs and everything for the commissioner.”

She knows that her confusion is on her face and she shakes her head slightly, “You usually volunteer to work on that night. You said you hate those things?”

“I do,” her girlfriend is quick to assure, before she shrugs, “But I’m… you remember that night with my heroic injury?” she asks, her dimples flashing quickly, taking to referring to her being shot as her “heroic injury” when she’d noticed how many times Alex would kiss or lightly stroke her scar.

And she rolls her eyes, “Of course.”

“I’m getting an award, I guess, for that night,” she says, biting her lip as she looks up at Alex.

Who has to take a second to process, before she starts to smile, “You are? Babe, that’s – amazing.”

Maggie shrugs, even as the corner of her mouth tilts into a smile, “I mean, I was just doing my job.”

Shaking her head, she leans in and presses her lips to Maggie’s cheek, grinning when she feels the dimple form against her mouth as her girlfriend smiles. She whispers, “You are better at doing your job than anyone else.” She trails her lips to the edge of Maggie’s mouth, “And we’re going, and I don’t want to hear another word about it.”

Maggie turns just enough so that they can kiss for real, and there are no more words.

Which leads her to that night. She’s wearing a dress, black and form-fitting over her chest and abdomen, until it hits her neck, where it ties behind. Her shoulders are bare, and it flows from her waist to her ankles – it’s new, and she bought it just to see the way Maggie’s eyes darken when she sees her in it for the first time.

“I thought you said there was no skipping out on the banquet?” her voice dips, and Alex can feel her gaze like an actual touch.

But – god, Maggie in her dress blues is… Alex feels the desire like a rush through her veins.

“Tonight, your valor will be very much rewarded.”

Maggie’s smirk in response is everything.

Even though they both are people who tend to avoid these kind of events, Alex can’t help but feel a thrum of excitement as they walk through the event hall. She has Maggie’s hand in hers as they pause to say quick hello’s to people Maggie knows.

“I feel like I’m with a celebrity,” she murmurs.

And Maggie runs her eyes up over her body, before their eyes meet, “Yeah, it’s actually you they’re all looking at in that dress, Danvers.”

There’s no way she looks better than Maggie right here, right now.

“If it isn’t the woman of the hour!” Flores’ familiar voice comes from behind them.

And even as Alex rolls her eyes, she gives him a smile as they turn. Ever since he and Maggie had stopped being partners when she’d made detective, she hadn’t seen him as much. But he’s a friendly face, and she can see just in his expression that he’s proud of Maggie.

“I’ve been looking all over for you and the wife,” he says to Maggie in that playful tone he has.

Maggie says something back, but it’s white noise to Alex because she feels that word like a punch to the stomach. Wife. It knocks the air out of her lungs, and it’s not the first time he’s referred to her as Maggie’s wife; he’s been doing it for years.

He first did it before Alex even realized she was in love with Maggie. He jokingly referred to her as “the wife” and Alex, with her crush, before the first time she’d ever even kissed Maggie, blushed and stuttered for a long moment.

He’s done it handfuls of times since then. When Maggie’s been dating other people, and Alex felt like the word was taunting her and it would make her flinch. At the start of their relationship, when it made her stomach flutter with nerves and would make her laugh awkwardly because it just wasn’t time yet .

But she’s frozen.

Because it doesn’t feel like that right now. She doesn’t feel like it’s not the time yet. Here, in this room of people, she wants to be known as The Wife. As Maggie’s wife. She wants – she wants. It feels good to think of that.

It feels like she wants more than anything to buy Maggie a ring.

“You okay?” Maggie’s voice pulls her out of her thoughts.

And she nods, distractedly, and thinks – Maggie’s ring size is a 5.5, before she nods, “Uh, I’m good. Really good.”

The smile she gives is genuine because she is – really good.

Her girlfriend is heart-stoppingly, mouth-wateringly gorgeous, and Alex wants more than anything to say that the woman up on the stage that night as she is given her award is her fiancée.

//

Alex sips on a brandy the night she proposes to Maggie, just over a year after being together.

Her stomach is tangled into nerves and excitement, as she taps her fingers against the bar, and she can feel the ring burning in her pocket, feeling like it weighs at least fifty times more than it actually does.

She can’t not feel it on her.

She’s sitting at their spot in their bar, and M’gann lifts her eyebrow at her from the other side, “You’re stressing me out, and I’m not even the one proposing.”

She shoots her with a glare, that she can feel is weak, before she sips again at the drink she hadn’t ordered but that M’gann had just slid to her to take the edge off of her nerves, after Alex had rambled about the fact that she’d been drinking a brandy right here in this spot the first time she’d ever seen the dark-haired woman with the dimpled smile and eyes that sparkled and knocked her off of her feet before she even knew she was gay.

Groaning, she draws a hand through her hair, and she isn’t sure if she wants to laugh or cry or how to deal with the feelings so tightly intertwined inside of her.

Everything had seemed so easy, in the last couple of weeks.

She’d gone out ring shopping – Kara had gone out with her exuberantly, without being asked – and even her super romantic sister had gotten tired of Alex after going from jewelry store to jewelry store, because Alex didn’t know exactly what she was looking for other than the fact that it had to be perfectly right for Maggie.

And after she’d had the ring, she’d thought for hours about the when and the where and the how.

After she’d done away with the somewhat crazy thoughts she’d had about whisking Maggie away to somewhere secluded and romantic – save that for a honeymoon – and really thought about it…

It had to be here. In their bar. Where she’d first ever seen Maggie, where they’d first met. Where so many of their firsts had happened, where they happened.

Eyebrows furrowing, Alex replayed her sister’s last conversation with her. Well, the highlights –

“This is so exciting!”

“You two are made for each other.”

“Alex, there is no way she will say no!”

It was exciting. And Alex, despite this anxiety, was more worried about the fact that…

“I want it to be perfect,” she says, surprising both herself and M’gann. “I want Maggie to have something perfect.” She bites at her lip, running her finger around the top of her glass, “When I told her I loved her, it wasn’t planned, but it – well, it worked. But I have this whole thing planned and I want it to go so well…”

M’gann gives her a sympathetic little look, but also encouraging and warm, “Well, I can tell you that it’s been an honor to watch it all from this side of the bar.” She leans in with a whisper, “You want to know something?”

Alex takes a deep breath, the nervous excitement inside dimming with the distraction – less than five minutes for Maggie to arrive, if she was accounting for her commute correctly – before she nods.

The woman behind the bar quirks an eyebrow before she dips down and places a bottle of Dom Perignon in front of Alex, unopened, “I’ve had this champagne sitting behind my bar for two years. Since the night you and Maggie drank a bottle together to celebrate your twenty-seventh birthday. You two weren’t even dating, yet, but you sat here together and didn’t even notice the rest of the world for hours ,” she pauses, using the cloth over her shoulder to polish up the bottle, “And I’ve been saving this bottle right here, since that night, for you two to celebrate something special with it. Like a wedding.”

She’s floored, and it takes her a few long moments to really register everything M’gann says, before she flushes, “You’ve really saved that for us? For years?”

“Scouts honor,” M’gann salutes her.

And Alex scoffs, “You were never a scout,” she says softly, reaching out to run her fingertips over the bottle of champagne. “Thank you.”

She means it.

Her friend shrugs, “What is your favorite bartender for?” before she throws her a wink, “Besides, I better be the bartender at your reception.”

“Of course,” the response is easy because – even without the champagne, what other choice did she have? “You serve our favorite drinks, anyway.”

“I know. I can’t get rid of you two,” she throws over her shoulder as she grins and walks to the other side of the bar to the customers who sat down a minute ago.

Alex can’t help but feel this warmth settle inside of her and stay, M’gann’s words dulling her nerves for the most part.

Rolling her shoulders, she can feel her hands shake just the slightest bit as she reaches into her pocket and draws out the ring box, turning it over in her fingers. The white gold, solidly intertwining band, leading into the modestly sized round emerald in the center because she knew Maggie wouldn’t want something too flashy, with small diamonds surrounding it.

This was the ring. Because it was traditional in the band and in the gem cut, but also breaking from traditional. Because Maggie went above and beyond anything traditional. The green was for life. For growth. For the fact that she hadn’t stopped growing since meeting Maggie.

Biting at her cheek, she traces her fingers over the box again, and she can feel her heart beating – solidly but not racing.

“My dad always said that you never really know the moments that will change you when they’re happening,” she says softly, mostly to herself, but – just thinking about everything that she’s been thinking about for the last few weeks. Practicing, almost. Not that she’ll be able to remember it all in the moment, she’s sure. Not when Maggie’s eyes are warm and bright, looking up at her.

She looks at the currently empty seat next to hers, the one that has become Maggie’s seat. She can see perfectly the way Maggie slid in next to her the first time, asking, “ Anyone sitting here?”

“And maybe that’s true for some people,” she murmurs, flexing her hand around the box, “But I knew the moment I saw you…”

The way she’d strut in for the first time, ever, like she could read everything and everyone in the building with one look.

“The moment I saw you, I knew that something was changing, for me. I knew every single time I saw you, all the times we sat here together, that this was something . I felt it. That you were it for me.”

She can perfectly see the dimples flashing. She can see the way Maggie would slide in after a long day at work, resting her head on her hand and giving Alex a small smile. She can see the way Maggie would hop into the seat and nudge her shoulder against Alex’s when something funny or exciting happened.

The image of it stirs all of this warmth and happiness and love inside of her, and she smiles to herself, “I know that we’ve been together for barely a year, and that maybe it’s fast. But I know , Maggie; I know that what you and I have is never going anywhere. I’ve been in love with you for so long now, that it’s as natural as breathing. And I want to make it official. I want to give baths to our sneaky dog with you and go snorkeling on our honeymoon, and do the crossword with you calling me a nerd every single Sunday, even when you know some of the answers I don’t…” her eyes land on the box again and she flips it open, as she murmurs, “I want everything with you. For the rest of our lives."

“I really hope the only person you were expecting to meet here tonight was me,” Maggie’s voice comes from behind her, shocking her, and now her heart is racing, as she jumps.

She knocks her elbow into the bar, and brown eyes are wide as she spins, “I – you’re here. And you heard… how much did you hear?”

“About everything, I think,” she says, her voice so soft, and Alex can see that she has to swallow twice before she manages to get out, “Enough to know that you want to spend the rest of your life with me and that you’ve known it for a long time?”

“Oh,” she sighs, inwardly berating herself, her eyes dipping down to the ring now clutched in her hand, “I just – I was going to do it all for you. Get down on one knee, and be so romantic, and surprise you.”

Maggie’s hand is on her arm, and even though she’d had her affectionately teasing tone at first, when she speaks again, she’s so earnest, and her eyes are shining – it takes Alex a second to realize that there are tears her eyes. She swears her heart is so full it’s ready to explode even before Maggie’s breath catches and she murmurs, “I don’t need you on one knee. I just need you.”

She can feel her own eyes fill with tears and she’s never been someone who cries when something good happens, she’s never understood that, but she thinks that for just this once she might, “Is that – a yes?”

It’s so overwhelming, but in a good way, such a good way, even as she holds her breath waiting for the confirmation.

“It’s a, I’ve never wanted anything more than this, with you,” Maggie says, and her eyes flicker to the ring Alex bought, and hold which –

This is real and it’s happening and Alex shakes her head at herself, before she lifts the box and looks at the ring herself, before she takes it out to hold it between them, “I – I thought it suited you. Just. It’s beautiful but not flashy, and solid but intricate. And if you don’t like it, we can –”

Maggie mercifully stops her ramble by taking Alex’s hand in hers and holds out her finger, “You want to do the honors?” she sounds both teasing and breathless and it’s perfect.

“You changed my life,” she whispers as she readjusts the way their hands are holding onto one another’s, “And I want to spend the rest of it, falling even deeper in love with you.”

She slides the ring on her finger and wow .

Wow .

Her ring, the engagement ring that she bought is on Maggie’s finger. She’s engaged to Maggie Sawyer.

Even though her mind sometimes feels a step ahead of everything going on around her, it’s running in circles right now, and she holds Maggie’s hand in hers and she can feel the ring against her. It sends a rush through her entire system, and she leans in toward Maggie’s warmth.

Her other hand moves up to cup Maggie’s jaw, and Maggie leans in eagerly, meeting her lips. She doesn’t think she’ll ever have enough of her, it’s impossible. And right now, while she can feel her engagement ring on her finger, while they’re standing in their spot, she feels so full that her heart could burst and that she still wants even more.

She strokes her thumb over her fiancée’s cheek and feels her sigh into her mouth, and then shivers when Maggie’s other hand comes up to stroke over her hip, moving even closer to her even as they break off their kiss.

They breathe softly against one another, and Alex can feel the uncontrollable smile starting to take hold.

“For the record… I already knew,” Maggie whispers conspiratorially against her mouth, and then Alex can feel her smile.

She draws back, eyes wide, as she shakes her head. Because – that’s basically impossible. She’d only even had the ring for less than two weeks, “There is no way you knew! How –”

“I’m a detective, Danvers. I detect,” she says, that glint in her eye, before she breaks into a soft laugh, “Also, you hid the ring in your sock drawer and I was putting away some laundry last week.”

Alex draws back enough that she can stare incredulously at her, even as she feels herself blush – another thing to curse at herself for, later, “And you didn’t say anything?”

“I knew you wanted to have your moment,” Maggie’s voice is soft and doesn’t feel placating even though it might have if it was someone else who said it. She tilts her head, and bites her lip in a way that distracts Alex immeasurably, before she says, “I, uh, I’ve been prepared ever since I saw the ring, though.”

Alex shakes her head slowly, trying to take it all in, “What do you mean?”

But Maggie is already reaching into her jacket pocket, pulling out her own box, before she blows out a breath in that uncommonly nervous way she has, her voice a little shaky when she says, “It means, I’ve been carrying this around with me, so that I would be ready.”

The fact that she does it, that she is feeling those nerves, even though she is literally wearing Alex’s engagement ring on her finger, makes Alex smile even as her stomach flip-flops.

“You bought me a ring? I – if that’s like, a keychain, this is the worst time in the word,” the words leave her and she can hear her own breathlessness even in her joke. But even though she’d been prepared to propose and to be engaged… she hadn’t considered this part, yet.

The part where she has her own ring that she can look at and know that Maggie got it for her, that she has a fiancée. That her fiancée is Maggie Sawyer.

Her hands are shaking but not from nerves or anxiety, but from the sheer fact that she’s having trouble believing that this is real life. She reaches out, but only makes it a few inches before Maggie takes her hand lightly in her own.

Warm and soft, but with those particular calluses that Alex is so, so familiar with now. But steady, as she slides the ring onto Alex’s finger. Certain.

And she can’t stop looking at the soft gold vintage cut band, the cushion diamond, with smaller, almost imperceptive ones snuck in throughout the cut of the band. It… “It’s perfect.”

Maggie’s lips tick up, and her thumb strokes over the ring she just slid onto Alex’s finger, sending shivers down her spine with the touch, “I, uh, I’m glad you like it. Because I bought it for you after our third date.”

Her mouth falls open, shock rushing through her, and – even as all the thoughts rush through her mind, she doesn’t know how to find the words to express this feeling. This wonder and surprise and her heart was just beating so hard.

“Maybe it’s only been a year, technically, since we’ve been together. Maybe this is fast, and maybe me buying a ring so early for you, is crazy,” she lets out a scoff of laughter at herself, before she takes a deep breath and those dark, sparkling eyes move from her hand to meet Alex’s, “I’ve been so afraid to ever let myself believe someone was going to stay. But never with you. Not at all in our relationship and not even in our friendship. You became my home without me even realizing it. Maybe it was watching horror movies with you, or winning at game nights, or maybe all of those times you texted me your puns, but I know I’ll never feel this way for anyone else. Not ever.”

The words seem to circle her mind, and she didn’t know it would be possible to fall even more for Maggie than she already has, but somehow, it always seems to happen.

She leans in kisses Maggie again. She can’t help it, and Maggie only moves in closer, her mouth moving with Alex’s slowly, smoothly. Well-practiced and so soft and warm and slow and –

She pulls back when the thought occurs to her, her eyes still closed, “I just… on our third date, we tried that sushi place you wanted to go to. And you didn’t like it.”

Which makes Maggie roll her eyes and huff out a breath, which hits Alex’s kiss-swollen lips and makes her shiver, “Yeah, but then you bought me my favorite vegan ice cream and made plans to get the good sushi the day after. Like you knew just what I needed to make everything feel like the night was completely salvaged.”

Her mouth breaks out into a smile, so big it almost feels like it should hurt, “I try.”

Which makes Maggie chuckle softly again, before she looks behind Alex for the first time since arriving, “Is that champagne?”

She thinks about M’gann’s words from earlier, and she turns just the lightest, not moving away from Maggie at all, but enough to look at their seats and the bottle on the counter between them.

This was inevitable, she thinks. Right from the very beginning.

“It’s for our wedding.”