"We should really try and do this more often," Riley says to Mac as they stand watching some of their friends and family gathered together in the park having a good time and relaxing. It's not often that they all get to just be together out in nature and enjoy life without a new threat interrupting things, so they're soaking it in while they can.
Mac chuckles lightly from beside her. "Well, considering the Fourth of July happens every year, I think there's a high chance we'll be able to."
Riley shakes her head, turning to look at him. "No, Mac, don't jinx it. For all we know, someone could put together some crazy, life-threatening bioweapon that takes us half-way across the world this time next year."
"Okay, I see your point." He steps a little closer and snakes his arms around her waist to pull her close. "So let's just focus on celebrating this Fourth of July the best way that we can."
Riley smiles, looping her arms around her husband's neck and rising on her toes just enough to peck his lips. "I think that's a brilliant plan."
"Well, I'm very glad you think so, Mrs. MacGyver, because I have many wonderful ideas of how to make this a holiday we won't soon be forgetting."
Riley laughs quietly. "Oh yeah? And how's that?"
"First of all, the fireworks that Bozer and I will be setting off later tonight? I made them myself and they're—"
"Wait. You made them?" she asks with a raised brow, leaning back slightly. "Should I be concerned? Hang on. Is that what you've been working on so secretively for the last few weeks?"
Mac grins. "Yeah. And I promise you they are perfectly safe. Ellie's going to love all the colors when they explode in the sky."
"If she can stay up that long to see them. And she's not even a year old yet, so I can almost guarantee she won't be pleased by all the loud noises the fireworks make if she does manage to stay awake."
Mac nods slowly. "True. But she's also a MacGyver and her fascination with all the colors just might outweigh whatever fear she has of the loud noises."
"Potentially. But she's still gonna wear those earmuffs."
Mac lets out a breath. "I won't argue with that. I tried, I really did, but these fireworks are going to be very loud."
Riley laughs and shakes her head at her husband's words. "What on earth am I going to do with you, Angus MacGyver?"
Mac smiles cheekily as he leans down. "Oh, I might have a few ideas."
"Is that so?" She giggles as he captures her lips, carefully dipping her down just a little. She holds onto him tightly, breathing deeply and relishing in the feel of being in his arms. She never gets sick of it.
Reluctantly breaking out of the kiss, Mac and Riley turn in the direction of Bozer's voice, smiling when they see him moving quickly toward them.
"Boze, hey," Mac says, stepping away from Riley to pull his friend into a hug and clap him on the back. "Glad you finally made it."
"Yeah, sorry about that," Bozer responds, pulling out of their hug and then stepping over to hug Riley. "I would have been here on time but I had to pick something up last minute. A little gift, if you will."
Riley smiles. "And it's not even my birthday."
Bozer laughs. "Yeah, well, I don't think you'll mind too much about that. Give me a minute." He turns and walks back across the grass toward the parking lot, an extra skip in his step.
Mac looks down at her with slightly furrowed brows. "Any idea what he picked up?"
Riley breathes deeply and shakes her head, sliding her hands into her pockets. "Not a clue. Knowing Bozer it could be any number of things."
Mac laughs and nods. "That is very true. I just hope he didn't buy another ridiculous toy for Ellie that she doesn't need. Hey, she's fine right now, right?" he asks, glancing around the grassy field in search of their daughter.
"Yeah, I think Jack has her."
"Somehow that doesn't put me at ease," he jokes.
Riley laughs, leaning comfortably against him. "Oh, he's not that incompetent when it comes to childcare. My mom left me alone with him plenty of times when I was a kid."
Mac smiles, snaking an arm around her waist. "But if I remember correctly, you were twelve when you met Jack so you were already very self-sufficient. Ellie's not even a year old yet, still needs us to do almost everything for her." He lets out a heavy breath. "But no, you're right. Jack is surprisingly very good at taking care of our daughter by himself."
"Honestly, I'm not that surprised," Riley says with a smile. She's always known that Jack was good with kids, even if she didn't make it easy for him when she was a kid herself.
Her attention is drawn away when she sees Bozer approaching them again with another person at his side. It takes her a moment to put the pieces together, to let the familiar features register in her brain, but then her eyes go wide in recognition. She lightly hits Mac on the chest with the back of her hand as she stands up straighter. "Babe."
She points ahead of her, her eyes never leaving the scene, the building tears already making it harder for her to see what's in front of her. Even though it's been a few years, she knows that face. She could never forget that face, she's been hoping to see it again for years now.
"Wait. Is that…?"
Riley nods. "I think so. Leanna?"
The other woman laughs, smiling brightly as she gets closer. "Hey, Riley."
"Oh my goodness." Riley moves forward quickly, pulling her friend into a tight hug. She doesn't fight it when the tears start rolling down her cheeks, she's much too excited to have one of her closest friends back. "I can't believe it." She pulls back just enough so she can look Leanna in the eye. "What are you doing here?"
Leanna shrugs with a smile. "I finished my deep cover assignment and got back to town a few days ago. I was offered another one, but I missed you guys too much. And I don't think deep cover is really for me."
"Well, I am not going to complain about that," Riley remarks, wiping the tears off her cheeks. "And from the grin on his face, I don't think Bozer is either."
The man in question steps forward, wrapping an arm securely around Leanna's waist. "No, I am not. Because Leanna's back home with all of us, and that's all that matters right now."
Riley smiles and nods. "Yes, it is. Teen Titans back together again."
Leanna laughs. "I've missed you guys so much. It's really good to be home."
"Well, we're definitely happy to have you back," Mac speaks up with a smile, stepping forward to pull Leanna into a hug. "Your presence was always missed."
"I'm glad to hear it." Leanna takes a deep breath once she and Mac finish hugging, looking between them. "Now, Bozer filled me in on a few things, but not a lot because apparently, he wanted as much of it to be a surprise as possible. But he did say that you guys are having a party for the Fourth of July. Got room for one more?"
Riley scoffs lightly, waving her off. "Like you even need to ask. There's always room for you."
Leanna smiles. "Good. And I am so looking forward to catching up with you guys. It's been too long and I can't even begin to think about everything I've missed out on. Maybe we can—"
Familiar giggling pulls Riley's attention and spins around to be met with the sight of Jack moving toward her with Ellie sitting on his shoulders. His hands are holding securely to the girl's ankles, Ellie's tiny arms wrapped around Jack's forehead with her favorite stuffed dalmatian toy clutched tightly in one hand and hanging down in front of Jack's face.
Riley laughs quietly at the sight. "Hey, baby girl. Are you having fun with Grandpa Jack?"
"Ri, honey, could you tell your kid to be careful?" Jack speaks up with a light chuckle as he pushes the dog out of his face with one hand. "This dog's already gettin' in my way and her arms are inching closer to covering my eyes completely and I don't think any of us wants me to fall while carrying such precious cargo."
"Have you tried asking her yourself?"
"That's the first thing I did!" Jack shrieks. "Girl's as stubborn as her mom, though, won't budge an inch."
Mac chuckles as he steps forward. "Alright, Ellie, let go of Grandpa Jack before he falls over. Come on." He holds his arms up and makes a beckoning motion. A second passes and then Ellie is sliding off Jack's shoulders and resting comfortably in Mac's arms with a smile, a daddy's girl through and through, even at only ten-months-old.
Riley smiles at the sweet sight, running her hand over her daughter's hair and then leaning forward to kiss her cheek. "You, little miss, are very lucky you're so darn cute."
"Whoa. I definitely missed a lot while I was gone."
Jack's eyes go wide. "Leanna?"
"Hey, Jack. Glad to see you're back home too."
He opens and closes his mouth a few times. "Wha...yeah, I got back last year. Get on over here and give me a hug." He moves across the grass to pull Leanna into a tight hug. "Welcome home."
"Thanks," she says as she breaks out of the hug. "It feels really great to be back. And there is so much I have to catch up on, but right now, I think what I need to be filled in on is this." She smiles as she gestures between Mac, Riley, and Ellie. "When did all this happen?"
Riley shifts on her feet, a wide smile taking over her face at the thought of her little family. "Uh, did Bozer tell you about the three of us being in quarantine together during the pandemic?"
"He might have mentioned it."
"Well, that's when Mac and I got together. Little miss Ellen Grace will be a year old at the end of August." She smiles sweetly up at her daughter, brushing some of her dark curls back, and then looks back at her friend while holding up her left hand. "And Mac and I's first wedding anniversary is in just a couple of weeks."
Mac smiles as he shows off his matching band.
Leanna's eyes are wide and then she blinks. "Wow. Congratulations. On all of it. I'm really happy for you guys. I'm just sad I wasn't there for the wedding. Missed it by a year."
"Just be glad you didn't have to be witness to them finally acting on their feelings," Bozer grumbles.
Riley sighs heavily. "Really, Boze? I thought you were over that."
"Hey!" He points an accusatory finger at her. "I was traumatized, okay? I still get nightmares sometimes. Those noises were inhuman."
Leanna's brows furrow tightly as she looks between them. "Do I even want to know?"
Riley shakes her head. "Bozer's just being dramatic. Come on," she reaches out to grab Leanna's hand and pull her across the grass. "Not everyone who's coming is here yet, but that doesn't mean we can't start enjoying the party."
Leanna smiles, curling her arm around Riley's and hugging her. "I like the sound of that."
They fall into easy conversation as they make their way to the picnic table where her mom and Matty are already sitting. She smiles at the sound of her daughter's laughter behind her, followed by Mac, Jack, and Bozer all laughing. This is already shaping up to be an amazing Fourth of July.
Relaxing back in one of the lawn chairs with her half-asleep daughter lying against her chest and a stuffed Dalmatian toy squished between their bodies, Riley lets out a breath as she takes in the view of the beautiful Los Angeles night sky above her. Fireworks are already going off all around them in the distance, but Mac has yet to set off the ones that he built. She knows he's waiting for the perfect moment to set them off.
She just prays that however loud the fireworks are, they don't completely traumatize Ellie. The last thing she wants to deal with is a grumpy baby. Though she's also praying that the earmuffs they purchased, as well as the fact that Ellie just finished nursing, will actually help and allow the baby to sleep through the loud noises.
As much as she knows Mac wants Ellie to see the colors of the fireworks, Riley would much rather have Ellie sleep and miss the fireworks than stay up late and have her entire schedule be shot. So she runs a soothing hand slowly up and down her daughter's back to hopefully lull the baby to sleep and keep her there.
"Mind if I join you?"
Riley looks up and smiles at her friend. "Leanna, hey, of course. I could use the company."
Leanna smiles as she sits, pulling her chair a little closer to Riley. Her eyes drift down to Ellie and her smile softens. "She's so adorable."
Riley smiles proudly down at her daughter. "Yeah, she is pretty cute. And I'm glad that she'll get to grow up knowing her Auntie Leanna."
Riley nods. "Of course. I mean, that's who you would have become eventually now that you and Boze are back together. Well...I'm assuming you are. Are you?"
Leanna lets out a breath and a small smile tugs at her lips. "Yeah, Bozer and I are back together. Or, we're figuring things out. We spent the last few days talking and catching up, and I think he wants to just pick up where we left off. But it's not really that easy or simple. I was gone for a few years and we can't just ignore that. I love him, I really do, and I want to be with him—"
"Then don't waste any more time," Riley cuts her off gently with a smile. "When you know, you know. I knew for a while that I wanted to be with Mac, knew that I wanted him to be my forever, but I was scared. But despite how scared I was, I still took a chance. And now we're happily married with a daughter so I'd say that chance was well worth taking. Even if I didn't know where it would lead, and there was that underlying fear of what would happen to our friendship if things didn't work out, I knew I would always wonder 'what if' if we didn't try."
"That is some sound advice. Very wise."
Riley smiles. "Motherhood has made me wise."
"Oh, you've always been wise, Riley. Motherhood just made it more prominent. Speaking of which, how are you enjoying being a mom?"
Riley's smile widens, glancing down and dropping a kiss to Ellie's head when the baby starts to stir. "Honestly? I love it. When we found out I was pregnant it was quite a surprise and I was still on the fence about if I wanted kids or not. But it didn't take very long for me to realize that I wanted her. And I haven't stopped loving her since." She takes a deep breath. "Motherhood is...an adventure, and a pretty crazy one at that, but it's so worth it if it's something you really want. I mean...I haven't even been a mom for an entire year yet, but I love it so much."
"Well, for what it's worth, it's a great look on you. And I'm glad you and Mac finally figured out what was going on between you two."
Riley's brows furrow together. "What are you talking about?"
Leanna rolls her eyes. "Oh, come on, Riley. I know you said earlier that your mission in Germany is when you realized how you felt about Mac, but before I left I could tell that there was something there between you two. It was just a matter of time."
Riley throws a hand up in your air. "This is ridiculous."
She sighs. "Oh, nothing. Just...after Mac and I got together, everyone we know started telling us how either they knew we were together before we told them, or they knew that we had feelings for each other before we did."
Leanna laughs. "That's amazing. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who picked up on the connection between you two. You seem really happy together."
Riley smiles at the thought of the life she's building with Mac. "We are. He is...the love of my life. And I can say that with complete confidence. We make each other better, and he's always at my side, supporting me through everything, no matter what. And I do the same for him, just like I always have."
"Aww," Leanna says with a smile. "You're too cute."
Riley rolls her eyes, ignoring the blush creeping its way up her neck. "Shut up."
Leanna laughs. "Okay, okay. But there's something I have to know. What does your engagement ring look like? I don't see you wearing it so I need to know. Please tell me you have pictures."
Riley smiles, looking down at her left hand where her wedding band sits comfortably around her finger. "That's uh...he actually proposed to me with a ring he made from paperclips."
Leanna's eyes go wide. "He what?"
Riley laughs at the look on her friend's face. "Trust me, I know how it sounds. But the whole story is actually really sweet." She sees movement out of the corner of her eye, spotting Mac and Bozer gathering a massive amount of fireworks together on the cement pathway in the distance. She looks back at her friend. "A story I will tell you later because I think our boys are about to set the fireworks off."
Leanna sighs. "Oh, come on. You can't just tell me Mac proposed with a paperclip ring that he made and then leave it at that. I need details."
Riley smiles, reaching out to rest a hand on Leanna's arm. "I promise I will tell you. But Mac will look very much like a sad, lost puppy the rest of the night if he finds out I wasn't paying attention to the fireworks he made. He's very proud of them."
"Alright, I'll let you off the hook for now. But I am getting that story out of you."
Riley smiles, holding up a hand. "Hey, it's not a secret. I am more than happy to tell you. After my husband has shown off a little. Speaking of..." she trails off, her head turning when she sees Mac approaching. She smiles up at him. "Hey, babe."
He smiles back. "Hey." His smile drops when he catches sight of Ellie sleeping soundly. "Aw, man."
Riley snickers. "She's ten months old, Mac. She had a very exciting day of playing with all her favorite people, plus meeting Leanna, and you know Ellie falls asleep pretty much right after she nurses. Were you really expecting her to stay up long enough to watch the fireworks?"
"I was hoping she would."
"Well, there's always next year. She'll be almost two by then so there's a greater chance of her staying up to watch them."
Mac lets out a heavy breath. "Yeah, I guess so." He leans down to press a kiss to her lips and then to the top of Ellie's curls before turning around and jogging back over to where Bozer is.
Riley smiles as she watches his retreating form, laughing quietly when he nearly trips over his own feet. When she looks at Leanna again, the other woman is just watching her with a smile. "What?"
Leanna shakes her head. "Nothing. I just love seeing you two interact now that you're together. It's like nothing has even changed from before. And I've really missed being home and being with all of you. So I'm very happy to be back."
Riley reaches out to grab Leanna's hand that's closest to her, squeezing tightly as she smiles. "We're happy to have you back too, Leanna. Things just weren't the same without you."
"And now that I'm home again, we have a lot more catching up to do."
Riley grins. "We most certainly do."