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Miranda Blake was profoundly unimpressed with her partner, Max Winter. He had spent the last 20 minutes trying on shirt after shirt at the Bodega whilst she had to keep watch for their suspect.

She was playing the annoyed girlfriend and he, the annoying boyfriend. It wasn’t much out of their remit, being able to get under one another’s skin with ease. But today it felt like her nerves were on edge. She’d barely slept, the heat of Mallorca got to her at times, even sleeping in the thin white cotton shirt she’d bought on her first day here.

But with Max taking his time and her lack of sleep, she wasn’t in the mood for small chit chat.

“This is the one!” Max proclaimed as he emerged from the dressing room in a bright orange Hawaiian shirt. Miranda raised an eyebrow, “of all the shirts and you pick that one”.

“Yes” he smiled, oblivious.

“You look like an idiot” she replied and looked back at her phone, “Ines is giving us one more hour”.

“Ah perfect, we can go stop off at the Market. They have Fleischklößchen”.

“Do I even want to know what that means?”

“Meatballs” he grinned, “but they are so much more”.

“I’ll believe it when I see it” she replied half-heartedly, “come on get back into your normal clothes. That orange is giving me a headache”.

Max shrugged and nodded to the cashier, “can I wear this out? I really like it” he held up his wallet and the cashier nodded.

Miranda rolled her eyes but smiled, Max pushing her buttons wasn’t new and she didn’t mind it really.

Not when he turned and smiled with his stupid grin.

“Fine. But we’re not going to the Market”.

“Natürlich sind wir Schatz” he replied and grabbed his old shirt, he tossed at her head and paid for his new shirt.

She shoved his shirt away from her head, noting it smelt of pine and mint. Fresh.

She stood and shoved his shirt in her bag as he turned to her, “come on then, Market time”.

She smiled and held up the car keys, “oh do you think so?” she questioned with a grin and they made a dash to the car.

He towered over her and she put on her best unimpressed face.

“Move” she replied.

“It’s my car” he pointed out.

“I have the keys. So, move or we don’t move and go to that stupid Market”.

Max grinned again, “I told you we’d go” he moved but sneakily sat in the drivers’ seat. He held out his hand and she placed the keys in it, “fine but only because that shirt is practically yelling at me”.

Max smiled, “you love it”.

“I’d love it better if it was off” she replied.

Max laughed, “so you’d prefer me shirtless”.

“Yes! No! Max!” she groaned but laughed, “You know what I meant”.

“I know” he smiled, “Ines wants us to wrap this case up today…something tells me we won’t be seeing our suspect around here anytime soon. So, lets go to the Market and then come back”.

“What if we miss him?”

“We won’t” Max grinned and began driving towards the Market.

“And how do you know that?”

Max laughed and let his arm rest on the side of the car, “because he works at the Meat section of the Market”.

Miranda glared at him, “so we came here for no reason at all?”

“I needed a new shirt” he replied and smiled.

“You’re insufferable” she replied and put his sunglasses on, “what is so special about these… Fleischklößchens”

Max smiled, “excellent pronunciation Blake”.

“I took a few classes” she replied and rubbed her head.

He let a silence linger before he answered, “my mother used to make them for me every Friday night”.

Miranda looked across at Max, lost in a memory.

“My mother couldn’t be trusted with a microwave let alone an oven” she offered.

Max smiled, “explains your love of ready meals then”.

Miranda half smiled, “I can cook. I just don’t have time”.

“Excuses excuses. Tell you what. Be round my place tonight at 7 and I shall cook the FleischklößChen’s”.

Miranda went to pull a face but found she herself agreeing to it, “I’ll even bring a bottle of wine. Red of course”.

Max smiled across at her and pulled up to the Market. For some reason he couldn’t explain but his heart fluttered when Miranda agreed to dinner. It was different from when they were on a job.

It felt different.

“Come on then. Get your FleischklößChen’s. I’m going to check out the sunglasses. Mine broke when we were chasing Juan Freña”.

“Is that why you’ve been wearing mine then?”

“Mmm”.

Max grinned, “be sure to keep your eyes peeled”.

Miranda rolled her eyes, “you know you’re not half a funny as you think you are Max?”

“The point is to make you smile…or laugh. Whichever comes first” he replied.

 


 

Miranda bought her sunglasses quickly, ensuring her time would be best spent looking out for her suspect.

A caucasian male wasn’t exactly going to be easy to spot in Mallorca at the best of times. But it was mid-August, the height of Summer in the UK, and so most of the general public from back home took flight to somewhere even hotter than the occasional 2 week heatwave the UK got.

Her eyes glanced across at the stalls.

Life sprung out from the Market, music and laughter.

The heat of the Mallorcan sun blazed above but the shelter of the Market place offered relief. She spotted Max eating samples of meat at the stall towards the East exit.

Her eyes glanced across the scene, a man in a cap looked at her. He stood staring for a few seconds.

She caught him looking.

He lowered his sunglasses and winked at her.

Her eyes widened and her feet realised who he was before she did. She ran as he ran. Yelling out Max’s name, knowing before she did he was too far away.

“MAX!”

She burst past tourists and locals alike as she darted after the suspect. She was a fast runner, being lithe and a keen runner anyway, she was good at running.

Distantly she could hear Max following.

She could see the suspect ahead, his cap and sunglasses abandoned in the chase. He darted left down a side street and she followed, he ran down steps, darting right suddenly he leapt up onto a bin and jumped for the wall.

She followed suit, jumping over the wall and nearly falling onto her face. Caught up in the momentum she pushed on, she pushed on further still.

She reached out to the man, her hands grabbing his jacket, but he batted her hand back. She used that and with the last of her energy, tackled the man to the floor.

“You are under arrest” she panted, pinning his arms to his back, “for assault, drug running and a whole lot of other charges”.

The man struggled under her as Max panted beside her.

“You caught him then” he breathed as he tried to catch his breath. Breathing heavily as Miranda cuffed the man. It always blew him away at how fast Miranda was, how quickly she could chase a suspect and tackle them to the floor.

He smiled as she caught him staring, "I'll go get the car then" he grinned.

Chapter Text

Max poured out two glasses of wine for them later that night, as Miranda looked out across his balcony.

“You want to have the food out there? It’s a nice night…I’m sure it would be slightly breezey but not too much”.

“Sure” she called back, looking out at the people below, off for their own magical night out.

He turned the oven down and approached her with her glass.

She’d changed out of her clothes from earlier, opting to dress in her trousers and cotton shirt. They were some of the first clothes she bought in Mallorca, opting for comfort over the impractical tight suits she wore in London.

She sipped from the glass and let her eyes shut, listening out at the sounds of Mallorca.

“Mallorca is nicer in the Winter months…colder yes, but there’s still warmth in that evening sun”.

She nodded, “it’s nice. For someone used to two weeks of sunshine…having nearly a year of it has been nice”.

“There’s that word again…nice” Max smiled and sipped his wine, “admit it. You like it here”.

She shrugged, “I’m not hating it” but she smiled slightly.

“Here. Hold this a second” he handed her his wine glass and pulled out his balcony table, pulling up two chairs he grinned at her, “dinner shall be served momentarily Señorita”.

She shook her head and looked at him, he grinned, “or would you prefer madam?”

“Señorita is fine Max” Miranda laughed and sat down, allowing him to push her chair in as she did.

“Good” he took their glasses and placed them on the table before moving back into his apartment for the food.

 


 

Miranda hated to admit it, but Max could cook. And it was nice to actually have a cooked meal for once and not a ready meal.

“You see. I’m not such a bad a cook as you think” he smiled, reading her thoughts.

“You’re full of surprises Max” she agreed and smiled.

“Two smiles in one day” he grinned and refilled her glass, “my lucky day. You have a nice smile Miranda”.

“There’s that word again, nice” she teased.

“Okay then” he filled his own glass and met her eyes, “beautiful”.

She immediately hid her blush with her glass. Max often played her up, but rarely pushed her limits, perhaps the wine was affecting them more than she wanted to admit.

“Take the compliment Miranda” he laughed, “I call you beautiful and you hide behind a glass”.

She sipped her wine and put it down.

“You know it’s been a year since we were partnered together” he said, changing the subject.

“Has it? God that’s… that’s flown by”.

Max nodded and took a gulp of wine, “a year to the day I saved your life”.

Miranda rubbed her arms, “yeah”. The sudden breeze made her conscious that she was only in a cotton shirt. Max radiated warmth, seemingly no matter what the weather. It could be disconcerting to say the least when Max would be in a plain shirt, his jacket strewn across his back seat despite the drop of temperature. Often she'd find that very same jacket draped over her shoulders as the night wore on. 

“Cold?” he asked, breaking through her thoughts.

“A bit yeah”.

Max got out of his seat and grabbed a throw from his sofa, he placed it around her shoulders, her breath hitched slightly as his fingers grazed her neck. He shut his eyes and took a deep breath; their colleagues were right…there was something between them. It was electrical and spine-tingling.

He let his fingers linger on her neck, “better?” he whispered.

Miranda nodded, not trusting her voice. 

“Carmen moved into her new apartment today” he added, his fingers leaving her neck.

Miranda nodded, “d’you miss her?”

Max sat opposite her, “a bit…but we wanted different things. She wanted marriage...babies”.

“And you didn’t? I thought you were all set for it”.

Max shrugged, “I loved Carmen. I just…I don’t know Miranda…I’ve never been quite good at guessing what women want let alone what I want”.

“Oh I don’t know about that Max…I think you do know…I just think other things get in your way”.

“Like?”

“Work for one thing” she replied, “as much as you don’t go by the rules you’re still a workaholic” she didn't add that Max always seemed to know whats she wanted, even if she hadn't realised it herself.

Max shrugged, choosing to finish his glass, “s’not such a bad thing to be a workaholic”.

“You miss out on a lot” Miranda murmured and finished her glass, hugging the blanket close.

Max looked at her, “I get to spend more time with friends”.

Miranda turned away, “you know, back in London nights like this would be a rarity for me. A nice cooked meal, wine…talking. I’d pull extra shifts all the time, I didn’t care about my own sanity or relationships. I don’t think I’ve actually ever had a partner that lasted longer than a month. They’d all ask for transfers…or I’d come to work on a Monday and be magically reassigned a new partner”.

“That’s a bit harsh” he replied, pouring the last of the wine into their glasses.

“I got used to working alone so I didn’t really care”.

“Still, it must’ve hurt”.

Miranda paused before answering, “it did”.

Max reached out and touched her hand, stroking it gently, “I won’t be asking for a new partner… it took me so long to get your British humour”.

Miranda’s lip quirked up, “is that your way of saying you like having me as your compañeros”.

Max grinned wide, “si”.

Miranda finished off her wine as Max finished his, both relishing in their own silence and the life of Mallorca.

Miranda looked up at the stars and smiled softly, “when I was a kid…growing up in Aber, I’d love looking up at the stars”.

“What changed?”

“Life. And it wasn’t exactly a picnic growing up, my Mam practically forced me into going to the sports centre to go to Karate just to get out the house. When the time came for me to go off to Uni I practically jumped on the first train out of Aber”.

“Do you ever go back home?”

“My parents died when I was at Uni” Miranda stated.

“Oh…I’m sorry” Max said, suddenly remembering his hand was still attached to hers. He didn’t pull it back and neither did she, “was it uh quick?”

“I hope so. It was a car accident. A lorry hit their car; they never stood a chance”.

“And so you threw yourself into your work to what? Grieve?”

“Among other things. Sort of had a bit of a breakdown. I became obsessive over everything...it forced me to have 6 months off. It was about a year after I made DC”.

“Ines told me you had to have 6 months off when we first met. She said nobody would work with you…too obsessive”.

“Yet you stayed working”.

“You’ve got good instincts Miranda. You’re a brilliant cop”.

“But at what cost? I have nobody who’d miss me. Nobody Max. That dog of mine would find someone else”.

Max squeezed her hand, “I would miss you Miranda. Very much. And that dog of yours would miss you...he likes you. And so does Rico, Inés, Christian...everyone" he smiled.

Miranda stroked his hand with her thumb, he smiled at her.

“But would you miss me?” he asked, leaving the question hanging in the air, not quite sure if he really wanted to hear the answer.

He let her hand go and then smiled again, “another drink? I think I have half a bottle of Schnapps somewhere”.

“I probably should get home. Early start an’all that” Miranda said and stood up, she shivered and stumbled slightly.

Max laughed, “and now I see why you stick to Gin and Tonics at Joan's…little bit of a lightweight?”

“A bit” she agreed, smiling.

“Want me to walk you back home or…”

“Or?” she questioned.

“Well you could stay here?” he offered, “I mean it’s late…very late” he laughed as he looked at his watch, the face read it was just gone 12.

Miranda looked at his watch, “very late” she agreed.

“Sooo…”

He smiled as she hugged the blanket against her frame, “I’m tired Max”.

Max nodded, “come on then. You can take my bed. Never let Max Winter be seen as anything but a gentleman”.

“Max-“

“Mirandaaa” he laughed, “you really want to sleep on a sofa?”

“It’s your place. Your bed-“ Miranda was cut off as Max lifted her over his shoulder, “anyone tell you, that you talk too much” he laughed as she squealed, “Max put me down!”

Max laughed and carried her through to his bedroom. He tossed her onto the bed and she yelled out.

“Goodnight Mirandaa”.

“Max!” she called as he moved to shut the door, “Max I can’t let you sleep on the sofa!”

“Why not? You’re in my bed, it’s comfier”.

“Can’t you? I could”.

Miranda stood up, offering the blanket to him, “at least take this? You said it yourself the nights can get cold”.

Max moved to her, “why not keep it yourself?”

“Because maybe I don’t want you to get cold?”

“Then maybe we should sleep together”.

Miranda’s eyes went wide.

“I mean in the bed- not sex not uh you know just sleeping. Friend sleeping uh forget it was a stupid-“

“Do you have a side of the bed?”

Max frowned at the question, “a what?”

“A side? You know…like do you like sleeping on the left or the right?”

“Ohh! I uh don’t mind. I like the left”.

Miranda nodded, “okay then, you take left I take right”.

“What?”

“Just get in the bed Max!”

“Ordering me into bed Blake? I would never have guessed” he grinned.

She shoved him lightly with a small smile, “just get in”.

“Of course” he smiled and moved to the left side, “I’m not getting in until you get in”.

“Childish” she replied but approached the bed, her fingers traced the edge of his duvet. She pulled it back, “I won’t get in until you get in”.

“Oh and I’m childish?” he replied, he got half way into the bed, “chicken”.

Miranda raised her eyebrow and got into the bed, “you’re the only chicken I see”.

Max got in and pulled the duvet up, “am I now?”

“Well…we’re both in bed now so that proves it…none of us are chickens”.

“Yes…”

“Goodnight Max”

“Goodnight Miranda” he echoed softly.

They both lay back, her eyes shut as she listened to Max’s breathing. Both conscious of one another’s presence, hoping for the time when sleep took them over.


 

“Are you asleep?”

Miranda stirred, “mmm…what time is it?”

“Just gone 1”.

Miranda turned her head so she was looking at Max, he smiled, “hello”.

She stroked a lock of his hair back without meaning to. He caught her hand and smiled at her, “mein Schatz” he whispered.

“You keep saying that…what does it mean?” Miranda whispered, fearing her gut’s guess.

He smiled softly and kissed her wrist, “sleep Miranda” he moved their hands to rest between them. Keeping them linked. It was comforting, the level of closeness, the small intimacy they shared with one another.

Her eyes grew heavy and she let them close, knowing Max was nearby allowed her body to relax into a deep sleep.

Chapter Text

Max woke first, the bright morning Mallorcan sun shone at his face, waking him up to realise Miranda was in his arms.

Somehow, during their sleep, he had ended up holding her against his chest. Still deep in sleep, her face rested against his chest. Oblivious to their current situation.

He smiled, it was nice to wake up to someone in his bed, it was also nice to see his friend looking so carefree and relaxed.

He stroked her face and smiled as she smiled.

“Scheiße” he breathed, as the sun caught her cheek. All the talks of the office, the jokes, the laughter at their expense.

Everything came at him so heavy, he liked Miranda, he more than liked her even… possibly, loves Miranda. His realisation seemed to awaken something in Miranda, he watched her nose wrinkle and eyes twitch, she was waking up. To her credit, she didn't freak out that she was in his arms.

“Max?” she murmured, “what time is it?” her eyes slowly opened, wincing at the sunlight.

“Just gone 7” he replied.

“Okay” Miranda said and slowly sat up, she rubbed her eyes.

“The uhm bathroom is on the right if you wanted to use it…I’ll stop off at your place before work if you want to change your clothes”.

Miranda nodded and stretched, “thanks…I uh sorry for moving to your side of the bed…not used to sleeping next to someone”.

“It’s fine” he replied, “I mean I didn’t expect you to be so clingy” he grinned.

“I’m not clingy” she protested, “you held my hand and wouldn’t let go”.

“You wouldn’t let go” he laughed.

“You’re impossible Max” she replied, but there was no hint of malice in her words.

 


 

Max stopped off outside of her apartment, letting her run in and get ready for their day of work. Secretly hoping Inés would give them an assignment which would mean they could spend the day together again. Not that they didn’t already do that but, he just wanted an excuse to spend more time with Miranda.

To explore what they were.

Selfishly, he wanted to explore his feelings for her. He knew they were there and had been for sometime, but he had buried them away. Pushed them away in an effort to not scare Miranda off, in an effort to give her a partner who actually cared about her.

And now he was single and Miranda had been displaying levels of comfort around him that she definitely did not do when they met, it was the perfect opportunity to explore what could have been in Cazador.


 

She should never have stayed the night at Max’s. Not that it wasn’t nice. It was. It was really nice to wake up to a warm body, his arms holding her against him, keeping her safe.

Warm.

It felt like home.

Something she hadn’t truly felt in years.

She’d opened up more to Max last night than she had in years. She had felt so comfortable with him that it scared her.

It reminded her of their time in Cazador, they had danced and very nearly kissed. She had certainly wanted to and she was quite sure he had too.

And instead just a few months later there she was, in his bed, content in his arms.

Happy.

She should’ve gone home.

Instead, she’s having to deal with her stupid emotions letting Max Winter into her heart. And he had gone straight for the centre, clinging on for dear life. Urging her into opening up and letting him burrow away at her soul. Chipping at it so that he would remain etched into it forevermore.

She looked across the road at him waiting in his car.

“Schatz” she whispered softly, she wanted to Google what it meant but found she couldn’t really bring herself to do so. She liked that he called it her, letting unknown words of affection surround her and hold her close. They weren’t teasing her or mocking her, but rather letting her know he was there.

He would always be there for her, knowing she needed time to open up.

“Schatz” she smiled and moved across the road towards his car.

 


 

Inés wasn’t the chief of the Palma Police Force for nothing. She noticed people and things more than her officers gave her credit for.

So when her favourite-not favourite officers came in, she instantly knew that Miranda had slept at Max’s but that nothing had happened.

She also knew that Max was seeing Miranda in a new way.

Her lips curved into a smile, pressing the buzzer by her desk she grinned, “Rico you owe me 5€”

Hearing the man curse from behind the glass doors made her chuckle.

All of her team had placed bets on the two foreign cops, all ranging from who would kiss who first, who would sleep over at who’s, to who would propose.

Despite appearances, she liked the two. They worked well together, challenged one another. Got on Inés’ nerves but Max had done that anyway.

Miranda laughed at something Max said, Inés noted how Max’s eyes lit up.

Miranda had come out of her uptight British shell a lot more recently and she knew it was down to Max.

Max had also stopped taking stupid risks that could blow major cases and send them back to square one.

And Ines knew that was down to Miranda.

“Detective Winter, Detective Blake. My office” she said to the pair of them, watching their reactions with glee.

Max looked like a naughty school boy and Miranda, well Miranda just looked like she had been given a lecture from her mother.

Inés smiled wide, this would be fun.

 


 

Miranda sat reading her phone as Max tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, “it says here that Prasco was notorious for having his victims bound, gagged and their well that’s nice”.

Max looked over at her, “what is?”

“Their heads blown apart by a gun…brains scattered everywhere”.

“Remind me not to invite him over for dinner” Max grinned.

Miranda smirked, “I’ll try”.

“So, why do you think Rico owes Inés 5€?”

“Probably a bet on us” Miranda replied.

“Us?” he looked across at her.

Miranda shrugged and lowered her phone, “well, it’s not like they don’t always tease us. Saying you’re my boyfriend…that I’m your girlfriend…I wouldn’t be too surprised if they bet things on us”.

Max grinned, “I wonder what they’ve bet on us” as a blush crept up Miranda’s neck.

“Well…I imagine it’s something…maybe like….” She trailed off and sat up, “Max isn’t that-”

Max looked across, “Prasco” he whispered and slowly backed the car up, hiding it from view.

“I think he saw us” Miranda said.

“Shit”.

Miranda got out of the car, shooting him a look, “trust me?”

He nodded and got out of the car as Miranda stormed away.

“I told you we were lost Max! And now my phone’s dead!”

“We’re not lost!”

She stormed away, eyeing Prasco, “Excuse me where are we?”

Prasco looked at them, “who?”

“Where are we? My idiot boyfriend over there has got us lost! And don’t even try and argue with me I know we are” she snapped at Max.

Max rolled his eyes, “I know where we are we’re just away from.. from..”

Prasco smirked at the two, “you are just south from Palma, where do you need to be?”

“Villa Cas Torrens” Miranda answered quickly.

“Then you are many many kilometres out” Prasco stated, “you want to go back down the hill, left not right at the turn”.

“Told you” Miranda said, folding her arms.

“Can you tell we’ve been together for over a year now” Max smiled through gritted teeth, “and she’s just as delightful as ever”.

Prasco laughed, “she’s fight and fire for sure, but you should listen to her” he added.

Miranda smirked at Max.

Max rolled his eyes, “thank you for your help. I’m sure we won’t get lost again. Right at the turn”.

“Left!” Miranda snapped as he ran back to the car.

Prasco laughed, “guess he wants to vamanos!”

Miranda nodded, “all the time in the world but none to stay still”.

“There’s never time on anyone’s side Señorita. Take it from me”.

Miranda held out her hand, “thanks for helping us…”

“Prasco, Eduardo Ramonéz Prasco”. 

Miranda thought about giving him a fake name, but she’d already used Max’s so what the heck, “Miranda Blake. That idiot over there is Max”.

Prasco nodded, “hmmm…remember it’s left. Something tells me he’ll go right”.

Miranda shrugged, “he’s never good at directions. I remember when we first started going out. I told him where I lived and he still took an hour to arrive. Thought he’d stood me up”.

“A beautiful lady like yourself? You British don’t understand the art of seduction. If you’re wanting a real taste of it, my vineyard is having a soirée tonight. You and your boyfriend are more than welcome to come”.

“That would be lovely” she settled with. He smiled with an indifferent twinkle in his eyes, “I’m sure I can count on you to find it Miranda. 8PM, formal attire…” he got into his car and waved at Max before speeding away down the mountain.

Miranda slowly breathed a sigh of relief. His last gaze at her had been unsettling. Almost like he knew who they were. Or, at least knew who she was.

Max wandered over to her, “so? What did he say?”  

“He’s invited us to his vineyard tonight” she said, still looking after where she’d last seen Prasco’s car, “formal attire. 8PM”.

“Prasco asks two complete strangers to his vineyard” Max wondered aloud, “worried?”

Miranda turned to face Max and thought about attempting a witty response before thinking better, “are you?” she challenged.

Max just laughed, “so now that Prasco is away…shall we explore?”

 


 

Miranda ran her hands through her hair, pinning it up she let stray strands fall down to frame her face.

Max had dropped her off home to change as he went back to his own apartment to change.

She’d washed and let herself have half an hour of relaxing, putting on a touch of make up. If she was, yet again, playing Max’s girlfriend she needed to look good. Not exactly worthy of Max’s attention but enough to show men around her she was taken.

Torn between outfits, a black, low back dress that would have most men gazing at her. Max would be indifferent, most likely more interested in the vintage of the wine than her dress.

The other was dark blue, high backed and tight. It wouldn’t leave anything to the imagination, nor would it allow her to hide anything. So she couldn’t hide her police badge or anything from the crowd or Prasco.

The black dress it was then.

Changing into it she checked her reflection out.

Yes, she would blend in with the society and the people in Prasco’s books.

She looked outside, wanting to wait till she saw Max’s car pull up as opposed to leaving the apartment and waiting.

Her phone buzzed in her clutch.

Answering it she saw it was Max.

“Hola” he greeted, “are you nearly ready?”

“Yes I’m ready, where are you?”

A knock at her door answered her question, “if that’s you” she said and moved to her door.

She unlocked it and he grinned at her.

She hung up, “where’s the car?”

“Round the back” he smiled and pocketed his phone. He was wearing his black suit with no tie, being formal but as formal as someone on holiday would be packing.

“Nice suit”

“Nice dress” he grinned and looked at her back, his mouth going dry, “very nice” he added.

Miranda rubbed her arm, “thanks” unconsciously aware of Max’s gaze.

She hadn’t planned on Max’s eyes on her, not at all.

Chapter Text

Prasco's Vineyard was in the middle of nowhere, up alongside a mountain and off a small winding road. But both Max and Miranda agreed it made for stunning views. Once they had parked up they gave each other a few minutes to compose themselves. Max purposefully not looking at Miranda's dress marvelled at the views and wondered if he would be getting any of Prasco's famous vintages. 

Miranda however, couldn't stop thinking about how much Max's gaze had broken through her. Could he possibly be attracted to her? He had told her once that she was attractive. A passing comment that she had dismissed, but he was like that. It was Max, he flirted. He was a charming, handsome man who seemed to strike chords with everyone he met. Breaking down defences as though they were just building blocks for him to play with.

As they walked up towards the vineyard, Max let his hand rest on her waist, gently touching her exposed skin. It sent sparks up her spine, his hands so usually warm, were oddly cold tonight. But it was thrilling to have his hands on her bare skin. 

She really hadn't anticipated Max's behaviour and what it would do to her at all.

“Ahh Miranda how beautiful you look” Prasco greeted, kissing her cheek, “you are a very lucky man” he told Max.

Max smiled at Miranda, “don’t I know it” he smiled at Miranda. 

Miranda rolled her eyes and then looked back at Max, letting her arm wrap around his waist, “thank you for inviting us Prasco”. Max brought his own arm around her further, playing up their loving couple roles and showing a more protective side to himself. To everyone at this party, Miranda was his. His girlfriend. The thought opened his chest of emotions as he wondered how it would really feel if that was what she was.

His girlfriend. 

Perhaps when this was all over he could ask her.

Miranda had certainly been displaying signs of flirting back at him, of liking him in perhaps the same way he liked her.

Prasco shrugged, breaking him out of his reverie, “the more the merrier! Do feel free to help yourself to the wine. The 2016 Vintage is a special favourite of mine”.

Miranda smiled sweetly, “we will. Thanks again” she said as he wandered off.

“His eyes are on you” Max whispered, “I think you have an admirer”.

Miranda rolled her eyes, “he’s just looking at me because I have half my back out there for the world to see”.

“Not everyone here is looking” Max stated, hiding the fact that he was glaring at any man who had attempted to stare at her.

“Good. Our target is Prasco not them” she replied, before taking two glasses of wine, one for herself and one for Max.

He accepted it and sipped it, “mm…Prasco wasn’t kidding. This is a good vintage”.

Miranda took a gulp and stared out at the sea of people. She noticed one or two men looking at her, but felt Max’s reassuring hand on her waist, almost like he was scaring them off. His predatorial-like behaviour shocked her.

“Jealous?” she asked after another man looked away from her.

“What?”

“Well you claim that none of these men are looking at me but whenever they do all I can feel is your hand getting tighter and tighter on my waist. And keep your fingers out of my dress”.

“We came to this party as a couple. I can only play the devoted lover” he teased but slid his fingers back to touch the fabric of the dress.

He finished off his wine and smiled at her, “come on now Schatz” he whispered, “tell me how we met?”

Miranda rolled her eyes, “you know how we met Max”.

He chuckled and laced his hand in hers, “yes you looked beautiful that day. Blue really brings out your eyes…” he was being coy. Being totally unlike Max.

Miranda cursed silently, Max was being his character, pretending he was her boyfriend. Letting her tell the story, letting her lead their love story because Prasco must have people listening all around them.

Miranda rested her drink beside her on the edge of the walls to the Vineyard. She squeezed Max’s hand as they slow danced. Lot’s of couples were near them, many dancing to the soulful Spanish ballads. It didn’t look out of place so she let herself relax. Let Max’s free hand rest against her back. It felt cold against her back, igniting something deep within her which she immediately buried. It wouldn't do to let her feelings for Max out tonight. Maybe after the case was one she could broach them. Because, she knew it wouldn't stay buried for long, feelings never did. 

She had hid her feelings for Max for so long now that to be playing his girlfriend was making her question where Miranda started and this false Miranda ended. She rested her head against his chest and breathed him in before pulling back to look at him. His eyes had slightly widened, pupils did that when they were looking at something they loved her mind whispered. She swallowed and smiled at him.

“I was late to an office meeting and you were in front of me ordering an obnoxiously sweet coffee” she began.

Max smiled at her as she moved with him, her words spinning a tale about how he had actually been the man she was late to see. Chance and coincidence had then led them to meet again that day. In all of London they’d met twice and fallen for each other.

He had to give it to her, she spun a convincing tale.

Thank God she was working for the police.

Miranda rested her head against his chest, “Max?” she said softly. Bringing her arms to wrap around his waist. Was this her or was it the false Miranda she was playing? Already she could feel the false one slipping as her own guard slipped away. It felt real and everything she had cruelly denied herself for so long. All those decisions she had made had led her to Max.

They had led her to being in love with him.

Shit.

She really was in love with this oversized idiot who upon learning one Welsh word had proceeded to call it her every day for a month before she had told him it had meant cuddle and nothing even remotely close to a nickname.

Scheiße indeed.

“Mm?” he said, shocked at how comfortable she was becoming with him.

“Do you think-“

“Hola mi amigos” Prasco greeted, “I was wondering if I could steal your lovely lady away for a few minutes”.

Miranda looked at Prasco and then at Max, “I think you can” she replied for Max, not really wanting to leave his warmth. The safety he had suddenly represented to her.

“Excellent”

Miranda took Prasco’s hand and he moved her towards a group of his friends, she hoped Max was going to keep watching her back. Not her actual back but just watching out for unforseen incidents. In hindsight, they probably should’ve informed Inés about this part of their undercover work instead of going in headfirst.

“So, Miranda, how long have you been in Mallorca?”

“Only a few days. Max and I rented an apartment on this air BnB site. I came here once as a kid with my parents and I’d always wanted to come back”.

Prasco smiled and offered her a glass, “I know I said 2016 is a good vintage but my truest love is a much older blend. 2000. Only a handful of bottles left in this world and they only get better with age,” he handed her a glass of red and smiled at her.

“Max is more of a wine connoisseur than I am”.

“I think anyone can appreciate a good vintage” Prasco countered, “try it” he pressed.

She looked back at Max who was now lost in conversation with someone else.

She rolled her eyes and sipped the wine, “it’s much smoother” she said.

“Ahaha! I will make a wine connoisseur of you yet” Prasco laughed, “Luis! Carzon! This is Miranda Blake…she’s here with her partner Max. Although I think Max is rather distracted by Angelica”.

Miranda looked at Prasco’s friends and smiled, “show Max a pretty face and he starts to talk. No doubt trying to get her to buy a share of his business”.

“Does he do that often?”

“When he can smell money” Miranda replied, “or if she’s pretty”.

“His words are on her but his eyes are on you” Prasco stated, “very smitten”.

Miranda blushed and sipped her wine, “you think?”

“It’s the look of a man in love” Prasco said.

Miranda looked over at Max one last time and he looked up at her, smiling softly, his eyes on hers.

“Yeah” she replied, her eyes lifting into a smile, a small one, a real one, but Max caught it. Making his own smile become much wider.

“Luis is my financial adviser and Carzon is my fitness instructor” Prasco said, pulling her away from Max, “they both tell me how familiar you look... as though you’ve been on this island for a lot longer than a week…Miranda Blake” he muttered to his friends in Spanish. So fast she couldn't catch it, but she didn't want to her. Her mind was on Max, on what they could be if she let herself be happy for once.

She sipped her wine, it was a good vintage. Really good. What she could understand of Prasco’s words, fell upon her ears as more of a hinderance than a worry, “take the bottle as symbol of friendship” he said, handing her the bottle.

“Prasco i-I couldn’t’ i-I I mean you barely know us”.

“I know love” Prasco said, shrugging, “it seems wrong to rob people of good things”.

“Schatz!”

Miranda could hear Max calling her.

“Ahh your love is calling” Prasco said, “and now I must attend to my party, Carzon and Luis will make sure you are well looked after…should Max forget his way”.

There was a thinly veiled threat disguised underneath Prasco’s words.

Miranda looked at him as he winked at her, “goodnight Ms Blake”.

Max touched her elbow, pulling her back into his warmth, “Schatz…our uhm, the lady is calling”.

Miranda looked at Max’s phone, Inés face lit up the screen. They both had the same photo, she was caught midway between a scowl and a smirk. 

“Scheiße” she muttered and Max laughed.

Chapter Text

Miranda looked around the Vineyard as Max spoke in hushed tones to Inés’ angry ones. The party went on, oblivious to them, but that didn't mean Miranda could relax. 

She kept watch on him, praying that their phone call wouldn’t be overheard.

“Yes….no no I understand” Max replied.

Miranda eyed up one of Prasco’s friends, it wasn’t Carzon or Luis so perhaps another partygoer. They'd been looking out at the views on the balcony and just as quickly as they had appeared, turned their back on them.

“Max” she hissed.

“I understand Inés….we will” he replied waving off Miranda.

“Max!” she hissed again.

“One moment Inés” he pulled his phone away from his ear, “what?” he mouthed at her.

She motioned to the man on the balcony, now hidden to them by the shadows, but Max just shrugged it off, “it’s nothing Miranda”.

Miranda groaned, “for someone so incredibly good at their job you can be so stupid sometimes” she muttered and grabbed his phone, “he’ll call you back Inés” she snapped into it. Ending the phone call.

“What was that for?”

“There’s a man watching us” she hissed.

“What man?” Max asked, looking around, “all I see is someone who is very very angry at me. You” he pointed out, “and ending the call to Inés is only going to get you on the naughty list” he teased.

Miranda felt so sure the man was still watching them. Listening in on their conversation.

“Max will you just listen!” she exploded, irritated by his coolness over the matter.

Max folded his arms, “fine, what is it” he said.

“Someone is watching us” she whispered, “I know they are I can feel it”.

“You’re just cold” he pointed out.

“Well…I’m that too” she snapped, “of course I’m cold my bloody back is exposed!”

Max shrugged off his dinner jacket and held it out to her.

“They’re still watching us” she replied in a softer voice as she put the bottle of wine down and accepted the jacket. Pulling it over her shoulders, she slipped her arms into it. Too many times lately, she had found herself in something of Max's. His jacket smelt so strongly of his aftershave, musky but sweet. His bed smelt the same. Don't think about his bed. Don't think about being in his bed she chided herself.

He shrugged, “so they witness a couple argue. Big deal”.

“What did she want?” Miranda said, rubbing her head.

“Inés? Ah same old. Yelling at me for being irresponsible. Yelling at you for leading me on”.

“I lead you on?!” Miranda exclaimed.

“Apparently so” Max smiled, “did Prasco tell you anything good?” He asked offering up a distraction from Inés.

Miranda huffed but shook her head, not wanting to talk here, “he gave me a bottle of wine…well us. 2000 Vintage. It’s smoother than the one we had earlier. Come on…let’s just go home? My head is pounding and I swear someone is watching us”.

Max rolled his eyes, “fine. But by the way. 2000 isn’t a very good vintage”.

Miranda held up the bottle, “try it. Because I’ve had a glass and it was much better than the 2016”.

Max took the bottle and took a swig out of it, much to Miranda’s distaste.

He spat it out instantly, “this is not 2000 vintage” he remarked and wiped his mouth, “not at all. It’s not even good!”.

“Well I liked it”.

Max frowned, “well maybe you just have bad taste in wine” he stated.

“Oh thanks. Just because I get a gift and you don’t” Miranda rolled her eyes. Max held up the bottle, “this is not good wine and you know it!” he laughed.

“I know good wine” she replied, “that is perfectly good wine you’ve just had too much of the other vintage”.

“It tastes off Miranda. Sure it’s smoother but there’s a tang to it…” he placed the bottle down, "come on you know I know wine".

Miranda rolled her eyes, “anyway. We probably should get back to the party, I’m sure his friends are watching us from a distance”.

Max slipped his hand into hers as they began walking back to the party, “Inés will phone back. You know she will and when she doesss” he grinned, "you are in so much trouble".

“Does she know where we are?” Miranda asked, ignoring his teasing remarks.

“No- well sort of…well she knows we’re at a party together”.

“Mmm” Miranda said, “well then Inés can wait. Look give me the bottle”.

“What?”

“The bottle of wine. Max!”

Max laughed, “It’s probably back in the vineyard…will you relax Miranda” he rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb, “Come on relax. We're supposed to be a couple in love”.

Miranda snapped her gaze to his, “I am relaxing. I was relaxing!”

“People are staring”.

“You said it yourself, couples argue!” she replied and yanked her hand free. Moving into the crowd. Moving quickly away from him.

“Trouble in paradise?”

Max looked at Prasco, “could say that…she is not a fan of my boss”. He was slightly unnerved at how Prasco had managed to sneak up on them, on him. How much had the man heard? 

“I thought you had your own company” Prasco remarked.

“Everyone has got a boss” he muttered. 

“Maybe…I think she is your boss” Prasco said to Miranda’s retreating form.

Max went to protest but just shrugged and with a smile replied, “yeah she is…I don’t mind it so much”. Because he didn't. Sure she was a bit of a stickler for rules and uptight at times, but that was Miranda. He wouldn't really want her any other way. He liked this Miranda...he had fallen for this Miranda. Had feelings for this Miranda.

“She is a strong woman isn’t she” Prasco smiled, “you are very very lucky”.

“Mmm” he smiled, “I probably should find her and apologise. She’s going to bring it up in every argument we have if I don’t”.

Prasco laughed, “I shall bid you goodnight then. Max, a good love like yours is hard to come by”.

“I’m starting to see that more and more” he replied softly, “Miranda!” he called, “Miranda!” chasing over to her. His mind going into overdrive, he had feelings for her and if he was right, she had feelings for him. Snapping at him to keep his distance was her way of showing him how scared she was. How terrified of her emotions she was.

"Miranda please" he said and stroked her arm. He had to let her know that this could no longer be just a game for him, for them.

Miranda turned and glared at him, “what?”

“I’m sorry okay?” he smiled, taking a deep breath he took her hand in his, “really, I am” conscious of Prasco watching them.

She snatched her hand away, “I am relaxed” she scowled.

There it was, many men would run away from the scowl. Not him, she put up such a front that had taken him a long time to crack and now he had, he was going to make sure he'd tear down her walls until he was a permanent fixture.

“I know” he replied, “I know…Schatz”.

“You keep calling me that” she muttered as he leaned closer. Her eyes staring at his lips briefly, before looking back to his eyes, "Max..." she breathed softly, unsure of what direction Max was going in.

“I know” he replied, stroking her wrist, “it means treasure” before brushing their lips together, half ghosting them, half pressing them together.

His lips were softer than she had expected. It was so soft and gentle, so un-Max that she felt sure she was imagining him kissing her. As first kisses went, it was as innocent as a first kiss could be, with all need and want of something more passionate lying beneath.

Screw it all Miranda thought as his lips slowly started to leave hers, Max might've initiated the kiss, but she was damned if she was going to let him back off from it.

Miranda touched his wrist, “Max” she whispered before he deepened the kiss as though that was his plan all along. She brought her hands to rest against his back, pulling him against her as his tongue slipped into her mouth. They really should've been kissing a long time ago if it was like this. His hand slipped against her back, moving up it gently. His other hand strayed to her hip. It slowly edged towards her butt and she found she didn't actually mind where his hand went.

Her own hands seemed to know where they wanted to go, as one hand moved to his chest, gripping his shirt.

Damn Max for being such a good kisser. Damn him for getting past her defences and giving her a place to call home. 

Eventually, their need to survive broke their kiss. Max smiled softly down at her, his hand linking with hers as he held her waist. 

She looked up at him, letting her eyes assess him, assess their kiss. Assess what it could possibly mean for them. 

She swallowed, “i-I uhm,” she started, her voice softer than before. It seemed Max had captured her mind, body and soul.  

“Let’s go back?” he offered, his voice oddly quiet.

Miranda nodded but didn't move. She just kept looking at Max, wondering how much had changed now between them thanks to that kiss.

“I see she has forgiven you?” Prasco said as he approached them.

Miranda eyed Max one last time and he shrugged, “I’m sure I have a lot of grovelling to do later”.

“Yeah like sleeping on the sofa” Miranda replied, “I get the bed” or would they share again? So many possibilities had now opened up that she felt a buzz go through her just thinking about them all.

Max rolled his eyes, “you’d miss me too much Schatz” he smiled.

“Thank you for a lovely night” Miranda said to Prasco, “really…it’s something we never expected to have”.

Prasco shrugged and held up the bottle of wine Max had left behind in the Vineyard, “like I said before, I know love”.

He handed the bottle to her, “adios my friends” he said and walked back into the party. Miranda squeezed Max’s hand, “we’ve both been drinking…we shouldn’t really drive”.

“I’ve had a sip or two Miranda…I’m fine”.

“Does Schatz really mean treasure?”

Max left her question unanswered, instead moving them towards his car.

“Max?” she asked again, putting the bottle on the seat behind her, blocking him from getting into the car, “answer my question”.

“Yes it means treasure…it also means sweetheart…dearest…it depends on what sort of word you like using”.

Miranda nodded, “you've called me that before tonight…lots of times recently”.

“It’s late Miranda, I’ll drop you off at your place if you would like” he stated, moving her aside gently.

“Max?”

He looked at her, “there’s a lot to unpack with us no?”

She nodded and got into the car, holding the wine against her chest, shivering in the night.

 


 

As Max drove down the Mountain, Miranda wondered if he had kissed her out of cover or something more. She certainly hoped it was something more and not just a way to cement their roles as boyfriend and girlfriend. It had felt something more to her. They'd played the couple, danced that dance many times before and never kissed.

She could ask Max why he had chosen tonight to kiss her, but she knew if she brought it up she wouldn’t get a straight answer out of him.

“They might be watching us…I mean I think…when I was with Prasco he and his friends were saying something in Spanish…muttering it so fast I couldn’t catch it. But I think they don’t trust us” she offered instead.

Max nodded, “I shall take a slightly scenic route back then. Just in case”.

Miranda nodded and rubbed her head, “as much as it pains me to admit it Max I think you’re right about the wine”. What had started as a dull ache was now throbbing, making it difficult for her to keep her eyes open.

“Of course I am” he smiled, “but why are you admitting that?”

“Because” she sighed, “You know your wine…i-I’m sorry for going off on one”.

“An apology too” he smiled.

“Don’t get too attached to it” she replied, “they’re following us”.

“I know….”

“I told them we were staying at an Air BnB thing…”

“Scheiße” he whispered, “well…hope you like sleepovers Miranda cause guess where you’re staying”.

“Scheiße” she muttered, “I don’t have any change of clothes Max!”

“Well maybe you should have thought about that before you said where we were staying” he pointed out.

“It hardly matters now though! They’re following us! They would’ve followed us anyway Max”.

“Fine then. We stay at yours”.

“No! My beds hardly big enough for the both of us”. She caught herself far too late and cursed, confessing about wanting to be in bed with him again? And so soon after their kiss?

“Wanting to sleep with me again Miranda?” he teased.

She glared at him, “fine. We stay at yours. But I need clothes, I can’t sleep in this dress! It barely covers anything when I'm standing let alone lying down”.

“So, you sleep in something of mine. I don’t mind”.

They were getting so familiar now, Miranda was almost tempted to nod and agree with him.

“I don’t even have a toothbrush”.

“Excuses” he laughed, “come on. It’s just one more night…I might even be able to rustle up breakfast”.

“Really is a bed and breakfast then” she remarked.

He smiled at her, “any more nights and I might have to start charging”.

Miranda shook her head and shut her eyes, “keep making jokes all you like Max…”

Max turned the corner, they had stopped following them.

“Maybe I can take you back home after-“ he paused as he saw Miranda had fallen asleep, “all” he finished. He chuckled and drove towards his apartment. Miranda slept soundlessly beside him, he smiled as he pulled up outside his apartment, turning the engine off he ran a hand over his face. She had kissed him back. Her hands equally as explorative as his own.

The look she gave him when they parted, as though she was sure he wasn't playing a game and yet, she still didn't want to hope, didn't want to have anything taken away from her. 

“Kissing you was not part of the cover…it was all me Schatz” he confessed to her unconscious body.

 

Chapter Text

Miranda groaned awake, her head pounded as though she’d spent the night with her head in a bowl of gin. 

“Morning”.

Miranda turned her head slowly and saw Max standing by the bed with a glass of water. Her hair flopped over her face and she groaned in response. Max chuckled and placed the water down on the table.

"Sleep well?"

She rubbed her head and found she was still wearing Max’s dinner jacket and her dress. A blanket had been placed on top of her, keeping her warm as she slept.

“I’m in your bed again” she replied.

“Yes you are” he smiled, “but don’t worry. You didn’t use me as a human pillow this time. I slept on the sofa”.

If she seemed disappointed, she didn’t show it. Merely reached for the water, “they follow us back?”

“I think I lost them…but I told Inés about our plan and she’s giving us the day to uh well she told us to be the loved up tourists in Mallorca. They’re watching us in the hopes that Prasco is watching us”.

Miranda nodded and sipped the water, suddenly so grateful that Max had anticipated her needing it. He'd also placed some headache tablets down, she took two and sat up. Being mindful of her dress. 

“I went out early and got some of your clothes…” he placed a bag beside her legs, “I didn’t know what to get so I just went for underwear- it’s a joke” he added upon seeing Miranda’s death glare.

She looked at the contents of the bag, nodding appreciatively at him, “thanks” she whispered.

“I've seen you with a hangover...I've seen you after one drink...how many did you have last night? Because I don’t overly trust the last wine you had, especially if Prasco just handed you over a glass."

“Maybe it was drugged” she muttered and rubbed her head. The pounding was slowing down now, her head less foggy than it was.

Max cocked his head, “just enough so that you would miss out important information…and just enough so that you would pass out. Dead to the world half an hour later. That’s why he was so keen on me going after you. Didn’t want a collapse at his party”.

“I didn’t collapse” she replied softly and ran a hand through her hair, "did I?"

“You feel asleep in my car, I mean it was late” Max countered, “but even still… we should get the wine tested. I can get Rico to get the bottle and test it”.

“You had some” she reminded him, getting worried now that she had allowed Prasco to get so close and under her defences.

“I spat it back out” he replied, “okay uh…get dressed, I’ll get on the phone to Rico to collect the bottle to do some testing”.

Miranda nodded and placed the glass on the side table as Max left her to change.

 


 

To Max’s credit, he had packed everything she probably needed…certainly he had expected their little couple performance might last longer than a day. Another day in Max's home, another full day with him. 

He’d packed her three shirts, two trousers and some shoes. Along with her toiletries, toothbrush and underwear.

How he had found her underwear she didn't want to know but the thoughts of him riffling through it sent an electric spark through her body, suddenly reminding her that they had kissed the night before. Kissed as fervently as two horny teenagers. 

It would kill her if she didn't get to the bottom of it today. She just had to. She'd spent a lifetime of putting her career first and here was a man who was part of her career and someone she found attractive and sweet. 

At the bottom of the bag he had placed her Brogues and her iPad. She smiled at his thoughtfulness. Max really could pull it out of the bag when he thought about it.

She got dressed quickly, freshening herself up before she placed her bag of belongings on the floor in his room.

“Max?”

“Yeah?”

She followed his voice and found him on the balcony outside, “soo…given we have a sort of day off today…was there anything you had in mind? I mean other than going out for meals, what do couples do here?”

Max turned and smiled at her, “they have fun”.

“Fun?” she frowned. 

Max nodded, “well it would look suspicious if we stayed in here all day so maybeee we go to the beach. Relax. It’s a paid day off that is actually work Miranda. Didn’t you ever get that back in the Met? Didn’t you have friends that you relaxed with? Shared wine and danced with?”

“I didn’t have friends in the MET” she replied, looking out at the streets below.

Max frowned, “really?”

“Nobody would work with me so nobody got close enough for that sort of thing. You know what I’m like”.

“I like what you’re like” he replied, “I wouldn’t want you in any other way… so. Let’s go be tourists… a couple in love” he whispered softly.

“And what if Prasco isn’t watching us?”

“Then we’ve had a nice day out, together” he smiled and took her hand in his, “but first. Breakfast I feel like...as you British would say, that I could eat a Cow!”

Miranda shook her head with a smile, "it's horse. I'm so hungry I could eat a horse".

"Why would you want to eat a horse?" Max asked with a serious expression. But she knew his serious looks and she knew his jokes, so instead of replying she punched his arm, "Come on then, I'm hungry. There's that little place...El Perrito".

"El Perrito it is!" he grinned. 

 


 

After breakfast, Miranda and Max walked to the beach, hand in hand. Hoping if any of Prasco’s men watched them they would realise they were just a couple. And no further action was required. But both privately doubted they would ever get that much luck.

“You been to the beach much?” He asked her.

“I grew up by a beach” she replied.

“Back in Aber” he spoke in mock British.

Miranda nodded, “what about you?”

“Eh Munich didn’t really have anything that kept my attention for long enough. My father certainly never had holidays. When I came here I spent my first week off at the beach. Burnt my back”.

Miranda laughed, “didn’t you put sun cream on?”

“I was young! Well youngish- the point is I had a great week off and many good memories at the beach”.

Miranda nodded, “I used to spend my weekends at the beach with my first boyfriend when I was a teenager”

Max nodded.

“It was where he dumped me when I found out he was cheating on me. I was stupid enough to beg him not to leave me”.

Max raised an eyebrow, “you? But you are so-"

“I know… I never let any man get close enough after him. He broke my heart”.

“And ever since then you’ve been distant with everyone or-“

“With partners…people? That happened after uni”.

“Yeah?”

“I don’t wanna talk about it Max” she replied, “god I wish I had my laptop” she groaned.

“Getting you to relax is going to be hard” he laughed, “what about reading a book?”

She glared at him.

“Okay okay no book” he laughed and sat down on the sand, “then we just sit and watch the waves go”.

Miranda looked around and sat down.

“Inés has a team watching us” Max said, “so no doubt whatever we do will be twisted and reported back all over the station...maybe we should at least make the most out of it?”

Miranda nodded, half listening to him and half checking her phone could access her ebooks. She had nearly downloaded an old favourite when it vibrated with a text.

It was from Rico.

“Rico said the wine in the bottle was drugged…enough so if someone had a glass they would pass out dead to the world” she said, almost whispering the last part. She had been drugged. Prasco had wanted to drug her.

She had been...if it weren't for Max being there... she shook her fears from her head by bringing her knees up to her chest. She'd let Prasco get so close, so close to hurting her and she had blindly let him, stupidly let him.

Max placed an arm around her waist, kissing her head, gently placing her phone down, "it's okay...Schatz it's okay. I won't let him get close enough to try that again. Promise on my car's life okay?" He brushed his lips down to her neck, "I promise" he repeated. Miranda looked at him, "Max we...what happened last night...you calling me Schatz-" 

“-Man with giant banana has been staring at us for five minutes” he interrupted, not really wanting to hear her reject him.

Miranda sighed and rested her head against his chest, they could talk about their relationship another time. The case was far too important for them to blow it over a kiss and a night or two in his bed,  “we should go into the town later… take some photos for a scrapbook. I know Rico wants to see photos of Mallorca” she replied louder than normal. Using it to see if the man with the giant inflatable was a random passerby or something more serious.

“You just want to make him jealous” Max replied, “actually on saying that so do I” he laughed, running one hand down her side.

“Max” she warned.

“Oh, ticklish are we?” he laughed as she involuntarily squealed at his fingers tickling her side, she moved to get away from his grip when Max leaned over her and winked. His body blocked out the sun but she could still see the man standing a few feet away.

“He’s still watching” she breathed, sitting up slightly.

Max nodded, "good" and stroked her hair back.

"Why's that good?"

“Because it means I get to kiss you again” he said. His hand rested against her back and she tilted her head up to meet his lips.

This time, Miranda deepened the kiss before he could even start to properly kiss her. Letting all of her pent up feelings for Max out, gripping his shirt in her hands. He slipped his tongue into her mouth and he felt her pull him closer. It was different from last night, full of urgency and need. It felt so right to be kissing him, so right to be pressing against his body in the mid-morning sun.

His hands travelled down her back as one of hers ran through his hair. He moved his hand down her back and rested against her thigh, squeezing it as he pressed closer to her. Deepening the kiss he had initiated but Miranda had taken control of.

He wanted to explore her more than the law would allow in public.

If this wasn't enough to convince her to want more of him he didn't know what else he could do. 

“Max” she whimpered into the kiss. Pulling back he pressed his forehead against hers, she looked tentatively into his eyes, their breathing matched one another's, "y-you I-i... we..." words failed her as the realisation of them kissing like that dawned on her. 

You don't kiss a colleague like that.

You kiss your lover like that.

“Miranda” he breathed, “I-I”

“Shut up” she whispered and kissed him again. Forgetting everything for a few minutes, forgetting they were on a mission. She was content to live in this moment, to live in Max's arms as they kissed. 

Max reciprocated instantly, keeping his hands holding her against him. She wrapped one leg around the back of his and let him adjust their positions for comfort. She lay back into the sand and let him rest above her. 

Miranda slipped her tongue into his mouth as his hand slipped under her shirt. Not moving it up but letting it rest against her hip. Still as ever, the gentleman, and perhaps being the only one of the two who remembered that they were out in the public. 

They pulled away after what seemed like an age but was probably a few minutes.

“I think I like it when feelings get involved", he whispered to her.

Miranda nodded, not daring to speak. Not trusting herself to not pull him back into a kiss that would lead to an arrest or two.

Their phones buzzed simultaneously but Max was the one to reach his phone first.

“Rico said good show” he laughed.

Miranda looked at her text and scowled. All that rush of intimacy was torn from her by a simple text. Bloody Rico

“I have an idea” Max suddenly said, “trust me?”

“Of course” she replied as he took her hand, he pulled them up and smiled. 

She pocketed her phone and laughed as he pulled her into a run.

Chapter Text

Max led her down side street after side street, hardly pausing for breath. Knowing Miranda was fitter than him and could cope with the running. She kept her hand in his the whole time. Locked. Linked.

“Max where are we going!” She yelled.

He pulled her down one road, breathing hard he slowed as they approached the back of someone's home. A spray painted message told them they were at Carrer Bellavista. A place full of gravel and not much else. The walls looked ancient, as though they could crumble at any minute.

"Here seems as good a place" Max smiled, backing her towards the wall.

“And you’ve brought me here to do what exactly?” she replied. Max wrapped his arms around her waist and she wrapped her own around him, knowing what his words would be before he said them.

“Kiss you” he replied, tilting his head. Come on Miranda, I like you, you like me, this is not a game. Not to me...please realise that Mein Schatz. His eyes spoke volumes as Miranda looked at his lips.

“Oh” she replied, smiling softly, she looked up at him, with nothing but adoration and pure wonder shining on his face, "oh” she said again and smiled, "good". Realising that the kiss on the beach wasn't to make Rico jealous or to keep Prasco thinking they were a couple. 

Max smiled, her words being a confirmation that they were good to go on the relationship front. Not needing any more encouragement, he leaned in close as she did.

He smiled, “you have sand in your hair” he said simply, before kissing her.

 


 

Rico looked at Inés, “so who made the first move? Because I’ve lost them and we don’t know where they could be”. Part of him was jealous that Miranda was kissing Max, but working with them, seeing their bond strengthen; he was relieved they’d finally acted on their chemistry. It had certainly been the talk of the office for the best part of the year. Max and Miranda are such idiots. Clueless idiots, definitely in love. She comes in cranky and he gets it sorted within minutes. He comes in moody and she makes him smile and want to joke!

Rico shook his head and smiled, "I bet we don't even want to know where they are or what they are doing".

“Miranda” Inés said suddenly, "she made the first move" she then tapped her phone. Checking the Find my iPhone bit she found Max and Miranda's locators. Inés Villegas had eyes everywhere on this island and she always had eyes on Max and Miranda. The pair were brilliant together, but after that scare involving Miranda being kidnapped and then Max, she couldn't risk losing either of them.

Not that she would tell Rico, or anyone. No, Max and Miranda, they deserved some private time, away from Prasco’s eyes and her own. If only to indulge in what was clearly an overdue and definitely heart shaking kiss.

“But Max-“ Rico started.

“Rico, Max knows her. He wouldn’t push anything on her unless he knew for sure”.

Rico looked at Inés, “sure? So why did he take her away?”

“¿Hacer el amor?” Inés remarked, “don’t you think?”

Rico snorted, “you just want to win the bet. He’s taken her away so we can’t see them making out”.

“¿Que?”

Rico grinned, “Max y Miranda se aman Rico. ¿No estas de acuerdo?”

Inés laughed, “sí. Sí”.

 


 

Miranda laced her hands with Max’s as they walked back down the Arenal. It was a popular place for brits abroad and a perfect place for them to walk and talk without being overheard by Prasco's friends.

“I don’t think Inés is going to be happy with us for running off” Miranda stated.

“No… but it was fun” he smiled.

Miranda looked up at Max and winced at the midday sun, “it was”.

Max grinned at her, “hungry?”

“Very” she replied looking ahead, “so…do you think we should go to a local place or elsewhere?”

“There’s a Tapas bar not too far from here. Bar Andaluz?”

Miranda nodded, “Bar Andaluz it is then”.

 

 

 

On the short walk to the Tapas bar, Miranda noticed three things.

The first; her hand was still in Max’s and she really liked that.

The second; either Rico or Inés were messaging them as her phone kept vibrating in her pocket. So, they would definitely be in trouble when they got around to answering the messages.

And the third, was Prasco. He was sitting outside Bar Andaluz with a glass of wine in hand. How he had found out where they were going was beyond her. Clearly Prasco had more eyes on the Island than Inés did.

“My my this is a lovely surprise” Prasco smiled at them. He was sat a table for three, a cigarette butt lay smouldering in the ash tray beside him. 

“Prasco” Miranda said, her hand squeezing Max’s. Partly for reassurance, but partly because her mind flashed back to the night before and being drugged without knowing it. Could he try the same thing again here? And with Max so close? 

“I see you two have made up properly then” Prasco grinned nodding to Miranda’s hair, looking at little bit more dishevelled than she had realised.

Miranda's cheeks went red, flattening it down with her free hand. Not wanting to give up holding Max’s hand.

“Sit with me” Prasco said, making it seem like an offer when every syllable was an order.

Max nodded and pulled out a chair for Miranda, finally letting their hands go. She looked at him and he pulled a chair out for her, "Schatz" he teased.

She stroked the back of his hand before she sat down. Max pushed her chair in as she did before he sat down, putting himself in between Prasco and Miranda. But Prasco was still opposite her. Prasco smiled at Miranda, “are you enjoying your day so far?”

Miranda nodded, “I am… Max and I had a bit of your wine when we got back to the apartment. It really is a good vintage” promising in the back of her head to not let Prasco get away with drugging or to let him threaten her.

Prasco shrugged, “you are not like most holidaymakers I meet here Miranda. You are una dama que quiero explorar”.

Max chuckled, “tócala y te destruiré. Penosamente.”.

Prasco eyed Max, as if suddenly remembering he was here.

“You speak Spanish?”

“I am German born living in London. Of course I speak many languages”.

“And do you speak Spanish Miranda?”

“Hopeless at languages except my own, well and a bit of Welsh” she replied, “I know hola and adios but that's about it”.

Prasco nodded, “then forgive me, I was merely saying how if you were my love I would not let you out of the hotel bed”.

Miranda eyed Prasco, “what makes you so sure that Max and I have kept it to the bedroom?”

Prasco snorted, his face lighting up in what they both assumed was a genuine grin, “¡Bueno! Love should be celebrated my dear!” he flashed his hand to the waiter, "una botella de casa roja para la pareja. Dos gafas".

 

 

Max felt anger broiling within him as Prasco spoke only to Miranda, intent on spinning webs, intoxicating her into his stories and life. If he didn't know any better, it was almost as though Prasco was teasing her, like he knew she was a Detective but could do nothing about him due to lack of evidence.

He looked across at Miranda who was, true to her nature, baiting Prasco, falsely agreeing and going alone with what he was saying. This time, she was leading him into a false sense of security.

She knew and understood Spanish. Enough of it to know when she was being threatened and when Max was being overprotective.

“So” Max began, interrupting Prasco’s boasting, “how long have you lived on the island?”

“Ten years. My wife is buried here”.

Is she now? Max thought, wonder where you hid her.

“Cancer” Prasco added, looking at Miranda, “she never stood a chance”.

“I’m sorry to hear that” Miranda replied.

“As was I” Prasco said but he didn’t look sorry. He looked glad.

His hand touched Miranda’s knee under the table as she sipped the wine, “I hope you find happiness here Miranda. Max…but for now I must bid you adios”

Prasco stood leaving Miranda feeling cold and exposed. Despite her best efforts he had gotten under her skin. 

“There are nasty people in these parts… those who would do harm upon innocents”.

“Harm you say?” Max asked, “what sort of harm?”

“I don’t think you need to be a Detective to know what kind of harm can befall young lovers out here in Mallorca” Prasco whispered, eyeing Miranda carefully.

“I’m sure we’ll be well looked after if we have your friendship” she rebuffed smiling.

Prasco laughed, “that is true” before he patted Max’s back, “fire and fierce. You are a lucky man” before leaving them alone but even still, they doubted they were truly alone.


 

“Prasco likes you” Max stated as they walked along the beach front, “I mean apart from him trying to drug you and everything. He acts like you are the mouse and he is the cat, caught between trying to catch you and trying to play”.

“Jealous?”

“Of him drugging you? First time you’ve given me some silence” he joked.

Miranda punched his arm, “I’ll remember that”.

“I’m not jealous, I mean…you don’t like him. You like a different kind of person…man. Well at least I hope”.

“Max…” Miranda started but stopped as he cut her off.

“We are different people now, but the truth is still there, under the surface. Nestling against us both. Argue all you like but I want this conversation out in the open so that neither of us can misunderstand, okay?"

Miranda nodded, hands on her hips as she watched him.

He never liked to push her, never wanted to for partly fear of having his head bitten off but mostly out of respect for her. Respect for letting her come out of her comfort zone in her own time.

"Max we didn't just kiss for the sake of Prasco, we ran off and kissed. Away from everyone. What do you think that says?"

"Well I hope it says we are together now, I want us to be, especially if you keep kissing me with your tongue" he grinned.

Max looked at her, bringing his hand to stroke her face, “very good tongue actually”.

Miranda shoved him but smiled, “I have had boyfriends before”.

“Did you break all the boys in England’s heart?”

“Actually, they broke mine” she replied softly.

"I didn't hear you denying us being together" he teased.

“Feelings are a very complicated thing” she replied, “they can change a person”.

“Mm, once feelings are involved it’s never simple is it” he added, smiling, tilting his head slightly. They both laughed, "okay so..." he smiled as Miranda pressed a finger to his lips.

"My turn. I-I've not had a partner, not a serious one where you do couple things like staying over at someone's place...kissing on the beach...having fun. I was always too lost in my work for it. But you...you bloody great big idiot you come along and make me question if I was just waiting for you. Waiting to be sent to Mallorca to be with you. So yes, Max, I want to be together, with you. But I-I can't promise I'll be a good girlfriend. Okay?"

Instead of answering her question with words he captured her lips with his, pulling back before she could reciprocate. 

“So, I was thinking dinner tonight…we could maybe just have dinner at mine?” he said, changing the question, "our first date date. I mean we've been on dates, sort of, but this is a real date. With Max Winter and his girlfriend, Miranda Blake" he emphasised the word girlfriend and it made her shiver. She was someone's. She was his girlfriend.

Miranda nodded, “with a nice bottle of undrugged wine?”

“Of course” he smiled, “I don’t want you falling asleep on me again. I mean you’re not heavy so carrying you to bed isn’t a problem but-“

“You carried me to bed?”

“Well I wasn’t going to drag you” Max laughed, “you can be quite sweet when you’re not insulting me”.

“I’m not always insulting you” Miranda retorted but smiled, “thank you…for uhm, looking after me”.

“Anytime” he replied.

Miranda smiled slightly, “you know you cooked for me….”

“Oh no” he groaned, “you live off of ready meals and eating out I do not trust you have a cooking ability”.

“I can cook Max” Miranda protested, “I didn’t live off of ready meals in London y'know? I made a lot of my own food”.

“You look like you lived off of a single vegetable in London” he replied, “I am not letting you cook”.

“I want to help you, please”.

“Eughh fine. You can help, but…I choose the meal”.

Miranda glared, “fine”.

Max grinned and took her hand, kissing it, “then we need to go to the Market. Fresh food. Fresh vegetables, pasta…tonight we dine in style!”

Chapter Text

Miranda was slowly beginning to regret any offers of helping Max cook.

He had told her early on that they would be cooking Paella, but from the looks of it, it looked less like a paella and more like a spaghetti bolgonese.

“It’s hardly my fault that they had no rice” Max protested as she commented paella doesn't have pasta or mince.

“You said you had rice...and you said you had some fish” she replied and moved around him to grab the sauce off the oventop, “now move, we can add this and it'll add a kick”.

Max lifted his arm up, “you’re small enough to fit” he teased.

“I’ll pour this on your bloody shoes if you make another height joke at me again” she threatened and slowly poured the sauce into the pan of spaghetti.

Max stirred it and laughed as some sauce went onto Miranda’s shirt.

“Max!” she exclaimed, retorting by firing some sauce at his own shirt.

“Heeyyy” he laughed and stepped away from the oven, “mine was by accident”.

“Yeah right, you’ve been trying to get me away from the oven all night!” she accused.

“Well excuuuse me for wanting to eat” he grinned. 

Miranda rolled her eyes and tried to rub at the sauce stain.

“It’ll need to soak” he added helpfully, smiling the whole time.

“Yes I know Max” Miranda huffed, trying herself, not to smile.

Max grinned and looked at her, “why don’t you go get changed into something else and I’ll finish the paella-“

“Not really a paella anymore is it?” She said nodding to the now slightly burning meal.

“Scheiße!” Max cursed and turned to the oven, desperately trying to save their meal. Miranda smirked, “see if you’d’ve moved when I said-“

Max dropped her a deadpan look, “putting your hands on your waist and staring at me like that is doing wonders for me actually cooking the meal”.

Miranda rolled her eyes and folded her arms, “I’m not leaving the kitchen” she replied, “I said I’d help you” she moved to him and as he stirred with one arm she batted his hand away from her waist to wipe away some of the sauce stain on his shirt.

“The uhm, it’s going to take another half hour…did you want to have a shower?” Max said, looking down at her hand on his chest, the other underneath his shirt in an effort to get rid of the stain. Her fingers ghosted his chest and he shivered involuntarily. 

Miranda nodded, “so you can get me away from the sauce?” she said with a smile.

"Well that and you'd be naked in my apartment" he grinned.

Miranda moved her hand out of his shirt and slapped his chest, "Oh behave Max". 

"What" he laughed, "I can't be wanting my girlfriend to have a shower?" he grinned and pinned her with his hips to the counter. He leaned in close and whispered in her ear, "I'm sure you are thinking the same about me".

Miranda slipped her hand down his arm and moved her hand to hold his, "would you like to know what I'm thinking right now?"

"Oh very much" he breathed, he kissed the nape of her neck and then up it. Pausing briefly to kiss along her jaw.

Miranda smiled and looked him in the eyes, "I'm thinking our dinner's burning".

There was a beat before Max cursed and moved back to the oven. Miranda smiled at his frantic attempts to save their meal, "tell you what Max, I'm going to have a shower. Leave you to it".

She looked at his back before remembering, he'd called her his girlfriend. 

The term was endearing and didn't make her want to run for the hills. 

She was Max's girlfriend and he was her boyfriend.

With that thought resting in her head, she slipped off to his shower.

 


Max pulled his phone out once he was sure Miranda was in the shower, he phoned up Inés and didn't have to wait long for her to answer.

“Hola Inés” he grinned.

“Don’t you hola me Max! Where are you two?!”

“We’re home? Inés” he laughed, “were you worried about us?”

“Yes” Inés snapped, “No! No, because of your idiot performance, Prasco has killed two people!”

Max stirred the sauce, “Prasco was with us this afternoon Inés”.

“What did he say?”

Max shrugged, “it was more of a lunch date…he likes Miranda”.

There was a beat, before Inés cooly replied, “we need to take him down Max. As soon as possible. Tonight if not tomorrow”.

To his credit, Max caught on to what she was saying instantly, “no. No Inés she’s not going to be bait!”

“I didn’t even suggest that idea” Inés replied, coyly, “but what a wonderful suggestion. She will go to Prasco claiming you two had a fight. With her being only here on holiday…no friends to call on he will be open to her and open to making mistakes”.

“Inés she’s not- no!”

“It is not up for discussion Max” she replied, “where is Miranda now?”

“She’s in the shower, I got some sauce on her”.

He felt Inés smile down her phone, "finally together then?" 

Max sighed and turned the oven off, ignoring the question, “I’m not happy putting her at risk. I’ve seen what Prasco can do. We’ve both seen. She’s not dying just so you can maybe catch him!”

“Max?”

Max turned around and saw Miranda in one of his shirts, it was oversized on him and so was massive on her. He smiled at her. Gesturing to the phone, “Inés” he mouthed.

She nodded and took the phone from him, hung up and placed his phone on the side, “what did she want?”

“Nothing important. Just uhm another body or two has been found…she wants us to catch Prasco soon. We can’t risk more lives”.

“So she wants me to be bait then?”

Max looked at her, his eyes travelled down her body and she hit his arm, “Max”

“I don’t want to lose you” he admitted, "not now I've just got you".

She looked at him, “so my life is more important than countless others? Max I can do undercover. We’ve been doing undercover all week…how many times have we played the same game. Been boyfriend and girlfriend. Husband and wife. You trust me right? So trust that I can handle myself. We can catch Prasco” she stroked his arm.

Max nodded and rested his one hand on her waist, “if you do this you wear a wire. I’m nearby and if you say our safe word then I will be right in there. Just like we were with Maria. I’m not going to let Prasco hurt you”.

Miranda nodded, “okay” she breathed slowly, "I'll think of a safe word then".

“You know that’s the second time you’ve hung up on her. She is going to kill you when we get back to the office” Max pointed out and began plating up their food.

“Max?”

“Mmm?”

She kissed his cheek, “I’ll be on the balcony...”

He watched her move through his apartment, the shirt hung down her legs, making Max wonder what exactly she had on underneath.

He shook the thought from his head, this thing of theirs whatever it was, was new. He didn’t want to scare her off, he already felt like he'd pushed her too much by making a joke about her being naked in his apartment.

But then again, she was the one in his shirt, leaving little to his imagination. Perhaps she had done that purposefully, he mused.

“Max” she called, “Maax”.

He smiled and moved with the plates, “you yelled” he joked.

She had set up the table and the wine but her back was to the city. He placed the food down on the table and she pulled him close. He held her in his arms as she kissed him, “it looks good…surprisingly”.

Max ran his hand up her thigh, hoping he wasn’t pushing it, “in my shirt yes you do”.

Miranda shook her head but was smiling, “your attitude gets worse and worse”.

“Oh I agree, but you can't blame me when you look like that...besides I don’t see you pushing me away”.

“I’m tired of pushing people away” she whispered and kissed him again, “I don’t care who’s watching us tonight Max or what happens tomorrow” she mumbled, letting his hand get further up the shirt, “I really don’t. I only care about us, this, being in this moment with you”.

“I can’t promise to behave if you keep kissing me” he replied. Letting his hand fall to his side, “I don’t want to behave if you keep kissing me” he admitted, stroking her face. He kissed her again, finding her lips were meeting his just as eagerly.

“Neither do I…but I'm slightly hungry” she said in-between kissing him.

Max smiled and kissed her again, “then tonight we celebrate life…we celebrate us?”

Miranda nodded, “us”.

Max cupped her cheeks and kissed her long and hard, Miranda gripped him as he deepened the kiss. Whimpering as he slipped his tongue into her mouth, challenging her. His hand moved to her waist and he squeezed her butt. Pulling her into his body. He pulled back as he felt her start to reciprocate, her own hands moving to untuck his shirt. He held her hands, letting their lips ghosts one another.

“We should probably eat…then we can continue…this” he whispered, "if you would like".

Miranda nodded but didn’t move, she didn’t want to move. He smiled and tilted his head, “I really wish we had dinner out now” he breathed, “seeing you in this shirt…Miranda” he muttered and shut his eyes, pulling her so that her head rested against his chest, he bent down to kiss the top of her. He pulled back and marvelled at the view.

His arms wrapped around her waist, head resting on her shoulder.

“Remember when we went to Cazador? The dancing” she said, “I wanted to kiss you then”.

Max smiled at her admission, “I was about to kiss you... but that stupid dancer knocked into me”.

Miranda nodded, both ignoring the fact that he was with Carmen at the time and kissing each other then might've been the worst possible thing to do.

She rested her head against his chest, “what would’ve happened if we had?”

“If we had kissed? I don’t know if I would’ve been able to stop myself” Max whispered, “really Miranda”.

Miranda turned in his arms, “I don’t think I would’ve been able to stop you” she replied, “but then…if that dancer hadn’t of done that we might not be here now”.

Max smiled and stroked her face, “are you really wanting dinner?”

She leaned into his touch, “are you?”

“No” he replied and smiled as she brought her lips to meet his before they danced towards his bedroom.

Chapter Text

In the early hours of the next day, Max woke alone. His bed felt cold without Miranda in it and he instantly knew, she had gone to Prasco. Not wanting to wake him because he would have stopped her. He would've convinced her to wait and their timeframe to arrest him would go. 

He shut his eyes and cursed before sitting up, grabbing for his phone, he saw a handwritten note where Miranda had been.

It was addressed to him and written in her handwriting, elegant even when potentially faced with death.

He pretended not to notice where the tears had fallen and smudged the words.

 

Max,

 

You and I both know we can’t let Prasco go on. Please forgive me for leaving in the middle of the night and not facing you.

Inés should’ve pushed for us to go for him last night but I’m glad she didn’t. It gave me time with you. 

Since moving to Mallorca you have been my one constant, you burrowed down deep into my heart. You've made me see and feel things I'd hidden and locked away.  Made me feel content and loved for the first time in my life. You're a bloody brilliant man and I still can't believe you like me. Max I...I hope this letter shows a small amount of my feelings, and just how much last night meant to me. Perhaps we can actually have dinner first next time...yes there's going to be a next time Max. Of course there is. 

I know you said to Inés that you don't want to lose me, but I don’t want to lose you either. So, if you come after me there's a good chance Prasco could see you and kill you. You said it yourself, he's more interested in me and you threatening him didn’t help matters. I hope that by the time you read this we will have caught Prasco and I'll be making my way up to your apartment.

And if we haven’t then you can come after me…just drive safely okay? I don't want to come back to you crashing your car.

You call me Schatz, so until we see each other again;

Eiddot ti yw fy nghalon, cariad. Am byth eich un chi,

Miranda. 

X

 

Max felt his throat go dry, she had gone, possibly hours ago. He tried her phone but it went straight to voicemail. Her sharp and short words of voicemail reminding him of when she had been kidnapped. 

He'd felt terror then. But this was a new level. This was terror mixed with pure fear. He only ever faced that sort of fear whenever Miranda was in trouble.

They had a bond, a link that was closer than anything he had experienced. Being both her work partner and now her actual partner only intensified that link. Miranda was in trouble, and he could feel it.

 

Miranda had arrived at Prasco's at just gone 8. She had gotten a lift halfway and walked up the mountain, using the walk to calm her nerves and to practise what she would say to him. Practise the lies in the hopes he would take pity on her.

"Miranda! Now this is a surprise" Prasco said from the balcony, he had a mug in his hand, "come in...is Max with you?"

"We- uhm, we had a fight. I didn't know where to go" she sniffed, "s-sorry for imposing it's just...well I don't really know Mallorca that well".

Prasco smiled and nodded, "I shall have a coffee poured. I'm in the kitchen".

Miranda nodded and stepped down towards his front door. She registered two cars parked just outside. The highly obnoxious number plate P4A 5SO, declaring the white Alpha Romeo was Prasco's.

So who else was here with him?

She gulped and walked into his house. 

In the daylight, it looked a lot more old fashioned than she had first given him credit for, there was pictures of a family on the walls. Paintings and plants decorated the hallway. A faint smell of coffee and breakfast reminded her that she hadn't eaten since Tapas the day before.

Her stomach gurgled in response and she promised herself that once this was all over, her and Max would go get some Paella from his favourite vendor. 

Prasco smiled at her from the doorway of the room closest to the stairs, "coffee? Food? Carzon and Luis are just outside smoking".

Carzon and Luis were here? she thought, shit.

Prasco smiled again, "Miranda?"

She wiped her eyes and nodded, "Sorry I just...I've been walking around most of the night, m-Max is probably worried".

"Would you like to phone him?"

She sniffed and shook her head, "n-no. I'll let him worry a bit more. He deserves it".

"Any man who crosses you is a man who lacks self preservation".

She smiled slightly as she led her into the kitchen. The doors to the balcony were wide open and she could see Prasco's friends were outside. Coffee was poured into a mug and handed to her.

"o-Oh..uhm, thank you".

Prasco smiled as she sniffed it, "my dear I did not make this. Whilst my talents lie in making drinks, coffee is not one of them. Carzon is the coffee man around here. Though I fear it'll ruin you for coffee. Do you take cream in your coffee?"

"n-No I uhm, I like it black" she replied, not wanting to add anything that Prasco might've laced with a drug. She watched as he topped off his own coffee and sipped it.

Besides, having it black might keep her alert for any possible dangers. She sipped it and blinked slowly, "wow you were right" she said, hating every word, "Carzon does know his coffee".

"You see Carzon! Even Miranda says you are good with coffee!" Prasco yelled and pulled her out to the balcony.

His grip was light, but unrelenting. He was in control for now. And for a while, she would let him be. Let him get comfy and then she'd pull the rug from under him. The only problem was she was with Luis and Carlos.

She should've worn a wire.


 

Max sped over to the station, breaking speed limits that Inés would probably call him out on. He didn't even stop to say hello to David or Marco as he ran up to Inés' office.

"Hola Max" she said as he burst into the room, "where is the fire?"

"Miranda" he panted, "Miranda she's she's gone to Prasco" he breathed shakily, "she went early. Not answering phone" he said.

Inés sprang into action, pressing her intercom she yelled, "all available officers to be ready to take down the Prasco case. Converge on his vineyard and home, we do not know where he will be but we do know, he has DC Miranda Blake. Possible hostage. 5 minutes to get ready" she said.

Max looked shakily at her, "y-you think she's a hostage?"

Inés frowned, "No. She is clever, but he is a very bad man. I know your relationship is new but if you want to be involved I won't stop you. Just like if you don't want to be involved I won't press you".

"I'm going to get her back Inés" Max stated, "I'm not losing her after I've just got her".

"Where do you think she'll be?"

"His vineyard. It's where she would've gone first and she could've gotten a lift halfway and walked up the mountain. It's what I would've done".

Inés nodded, "you go ahead. I will give you an hour, anything more and we storm the buildings okay?"

Max nodded, "yes ma'am".

 


 

Miranda looked out at the views of Mallorca. They were stunning, the sun shone on the city as though it was a jewelled palace, it was breathtaking and she could see why Prasco lived here. She could see why Max had wanted to stay out here. Why was it that the dishonourable and the murderers always got the best houses? She sipped her coffee and looked at Prasco. He had been watching her, for how long she didn't know. 

"You know. Miranda, Carzon told me he spotted you and Max on the beach yesterday...you looked so in love I wonder what changed".

"He got it into his head that you were interested in me" she said plainly, "I think he got a bit jealous".

Prasco laughed, "ahh, a man of ice to match your fire? You look the opposite. And I bet you work the opposite too. I can see him being a fool, a bumbling fool desperate to make people happy. Whereas one look from you could freeze a man. But his deductions are correct. I am fascinated by you. You showed balls walking up to me the other day after spending the morning watching my house with Max...so bold. It's the only reason I haven't killed you yet".

Miranda gulped, feeling her insides freeze up.

"How long did you think you could fool me then? An hour? More? Did you want me to slip up and give you the keys to my life? Let you lock me up? Miranda I will never be arrested, I can assure you of that" he laughed with Carzon and Luis.

Miranda put her mug down, "I don't um, I'm not quite sure what you are-"

"Cut the act DC Blake" Luis smirked, "how you English people say; the gig is up" he smirked with a mock British voice, that sounded slightly more Australian if anything.

"I'm Welsh" she whispered softly, but it seemed stupid. Her mind was going into overdrive, she knew they'd have guns so she couldn't run. The balcony overlooked the roads so they'd fire straight away.

"Welsh but you do understand some Spanish don't you?" Prasco smiled and patted her hand, "Te voy a matar Miranda. Bring her" he said softly.

Before she react, Luis grabbed one arm and Carzon had the other, they lifted her up and manhandled her back through the kitchen. She struggled and kicked out. She struck Luis' shin but he just tightened his grip on her, they slammed her into a chair and held her down as Prasco approached with ties.

“I am terribly sorry to have to do this to you” Prasco said and tied her wrists to the chair. Keeping them secure so that as Carzon and Luis let her go, she couldn't move. 

He didn’t look sorry, he just smirked and patted her cheek, "try anything funny and I will shoot you in the head, and then I will shoot Max in the head. Comprender?".

Miranda nodded once. Watching him the whole time. Prasco drugging her had scared her, but this was another level entirely.

“There are rumours about you two you know, that two partners in the Palma police...so in love and entwined that if you hurt one and the other will come like a bull…fast and ferocious, swift and without mercy. So really thank you my dear. By coming here all on your own only ensures Max will arrive”.

Miranda glared, “and so will the whole of the Palma police. So if you think Max has come here without telling them where I am you're wrong. And you’ll be arrested for holding a police officer hostage”.

Prasco laughed, “darling, if I'm arrested, it'll be for worse than holding you hostage. But for now you should sleep, knock her out Luis. She’s starting to bore me”.

The blow was hard and fast, and Miranda dumbly noted being hit in the head happened to her a lot in Mallorca.

 

Chapter Text

When Miranda woke, her head was throbbing in pain and it hurt to think straight. They had moved her from the chair to the floor, handcuffing her already tied wrists to the gas pipes.

They’d also gagged her.

Great.

Prasco grinned at her, taking a picture of her and smiling, “just to get your little lovers heart racing”.

Miranda blinked slowly, his words were registering panic in her mind but her head ached too much for her to care.

“You hit her too hard” Prasco snapped, “what good is she if she doesn’t understand Luis!”

Luis yanked her gag down and pressed a gun to her head, “she understands…don’t you?”

Miranda eyed him, panic bursting in her eyes, she nodded slightly. He smirked and replaced the gag.

Luis smirked and looked back at Prasco, “besides the more hurt she is the more likely the big one will come in for her”.

Miranda blinked away her fear, she knew Max would ignore everything and come for her. It was Max after all.

He came when she was in danger before. He had her back and like she had his. 

But that didn't mean she would just sit and wait for him to come, if she could help him, she would.


 

Max looked at the text from the unknown number, a picture. A picture of Miranda, bound, gagged and what looked like blood, dried on her shirt.

The worry he had felt was suddenly true, it was a reality. Prasco had Miranda.

A voice messaged followed the picture.

Four words.

“She dies at sunset”.

“Not on my watch” Max whispered and pushed his foot down.

 


 

Carzon was guarding her, watching her in case she did a runner. Which was virtually impossible given she was tied to and cuffed to the pipes.

Her head was still hurting her and given her vision had been blurry when she woke, Miranda assumed she had concussion.

Hurry up Max she thought as Carzon left the room, talking to Luis in Spanish.

She moved her hands and groaned, wishing for her pocket knife. Not that it would get rid of the handcuffs, but it would help with the ties.

“It seems your boyfriend has been causing a little bit of trouble” Prasco announced as he walked into the room, he sat on the chair opposite her, looking down at her.

“He should never have threatened me” Prasco muttered, picking at his nails, he looked at Miranda who was watching him carefully.

“Of course…you understood every word didn’t you”.

She nodded, wishing she could retort something at him.

“Clever clever detective yet you didn’t suspect I was playing you” he replied and smiled sweetly.

Miranda narrowed her eyes at him, she wriggled her hands once more and he laughed.

“I bet you want to wrap your arms around my neck and choke the life from me no? Too bad…your partner will be shot and brought to you. To die beside you. I’m being nice, maybe it’s because I like a pretty face…or love…it’s a funny emotion isn’t it. You love him don’t you?”

Miranda gulped, facing her emotions was never her favourite pastime, and revealing them to a murderer wasn’t perhaps the best time to have a crisis over them so she nodded once.

“I told you. I know love” he whispered and stroked her face, brushing down the gag so she could speak.

“Don’t hurt him” she begged, “please”.

Prasco smirked, “but why would I not? He’s a police officer and he will arrest me if I do not do something. I’ve told them to wound him so he can die here…and you can watch. Die together if you want…like Romeo and Juliet”.

Miranda whimpered as he slapped her before squeezing her face, “don’t you get tired of this? Of playing power? Of hurting people?!”

“Miranda!”

Max.

He was here.

Prasco turned to look at the door as Miranda thought quickly.

“Max! Max run they’re going to shoot you!” she yelled, “Max run!”

Prasco covered her mouth with his hand, holding her tightly, whispering against her ear, “scream again and I’ll shoot him in the head. Bang”.

Miranda felt the cold press of the gun at her ribs.

“So shut up” he whispered and removed his hand, replacing the gag. She twisted and kicked his feet out from under her, struggling to her feet she kicked his gun from his hands and tugged at the pipes. Pulling at them with all of her strength.

She cursed and screamed against her gag, conscious of Prasco scrambling to find the gun. Tears broke from her eyes as she struggled again. She kicked out at Prasco, knocking him to the floor as she cried out. 

“Miranda?”

She turned around, Prasco was unconscious and there was Max. He ran to her, he pulled her gag down and kissed her, “I thought you were dead” he breathed.

“I thought you were dead” she replied and sniffed, letting the tears fall now, “Max” she cried, “they want to shoot you. T-they want to kill you”.

“Won’t be the first time someone has wanted to kill me” he replied and looked at the handcuffs on her wrists, “ah of course how very Titanic. The ship is sinking and you are in cuffs”.

“What?”

Titanic. You know the film with Leonardo DiCaprio…Kate Winslet-“

“Yes I know the film Max! What are you on about it for?”

“Well you are in cuffs” he pointed out.

“Max now is now the time for your popular culture references!” she exclaimed, “I think Prasco has the keys. Try searching him”.

Max nodded and moved to Prasco’s unconscious body as Miranda watched the door.

He checked all of Prasco’s pockets and cursed, “no there’s nothing here”.

Max breathed slowly, “I think I saw some keys downstairs…you need me you yell okay?” he looked at her and moved quickly, stroking her face, “I won’t be long schatz”.

Miranda nodded to Prasco’s body, “hide him from view…a-and put my gag back on…just in case they come back”.

Max nodded and did as she said, noting she looked a lot more scared this time.

He kissed her head gently and left the room.

Miranda felt her knees go weak, but she turned her attention to the hand ties, if she could at least free one hand she had a chance of defending herself.

The ties were tight, burningly so. She could feel and see the ties scratching and cutting open her skin. She winced but pushed through the pain, biting down on the gag she tried to get the ties off.

She sniffed and tried to get the ties off, wishing more than ever she had her knife. She could hear fighting and yelling down stairs. The uncertainty of who urged her to push harder, she brought her foot up and placed it on the pipe, focusing on the ties she pulled her hands apart, wincing before she felt relief.

The plastic ties dropped to the floor and left her with one hand free and the other just attached to the pipe via the handcuff. She quickly tugged the gag down and wiped her eyes.

She pulled open the draws around her, desperately hoping for a weapon or something she could use to defend herself.

Prasco groaned against the floor and she cursed more, cursing herself for not getting Max to put his gun close to her.

“Max hurry up” she whispered, “please” she begged and pulled out papers from the drawers. She cursed and strained to reach another drawer, she pulled it open and smiled as she found a gun.

She pulled it out noting it was cold and heavy. 

She shook as she kept it at her side, she wasn’t going to let them hurt Max. She wasn’t going to let Luis or Carzon hurt Max.

She looked back at the pipes, “come on Max” she whispered.

“Miranda!”

She turned and saw Max, slightly worse for wear, head bleeding.

“Max” she smiled but her joy was short lived as he fell to the floor.

“Max!” she screamed as Carzon appeared behind him.

“What have you done?!” she cried and brandished the gun, “what have you done!”

“Quite feisty” Carzon laughed, “and now you have a gun”.

She trembled but kept the gun raised and trained on Carzon, “if you’ve killed him, I will kill you and I won’t think twice” she sniffed.

“He’s breathing” Carzon said and kicked Max’s body, “for now”.

Miranda looked at Max and saw his chest rise up and down slowly, she let her gun lower.

“Where is Prasco?”

Miranda sniffed as Max was roughly manhandled into the chair they had tied her to. Tied with rope.

Miranda held up her gun again, “where are the keys?”

Carzon laughed, “you want to shoot me? Shoot me” he grabbed Max’s head and made it face Miranda.

“Because the second you do I’ll shoot your boyfriend” Carzon slapped Max’s head, “understand. I’ll shoot him in his pretty head. Put the gun down”.

Miranda nodded and lowered the gun she put it on the floor and stood.

Carzon kicked it aside and saw her ties were on the floor, “clever one aren’t you”.

He grabbed a seat and gestured for her to sit. As she sat she looked at Prasco’s body, “I see Luis has done a runner then? Left you both to take the wrap…killing police officers will get you a lifetime sentence”.

Carzon shrugged, “if they catch me” he cuffed her free hand to the chair and Miranda cursed.

Carzon smirked and stroked her cheek, her then gripped her chin and made her look at Max. “A friend of mine wanted me to tell you in particular something Miranda…” he chuckled, “he said to give you his thanks for letting him go last year…and that he is only sorry he cannot be the one to kill you...said if I was the one to do the deed he'd pay me handsomely...”.

Miranda shivered, knowing full well who Carzon was talking about.

“Well you tell your friend that he’s going to get sloppy…he’ll slip up one day” she bit back.

He laughed, “Prasco was right about you. Fire and fight…”

He stepped back and grabbed the gun from the floor, “I’m almost sorry to see you die. Him? Ha! He is a brash incompetent fool. Death is a mercy for him, whereas yours is a tragedy”.

Miranda looked at him as he moved quick. He fired a shot towards Max and she dove at it. The chair coming with her, the pipe restricted her body somewhat. But as the pain radiated from her side she knew she’d stopped the bullet hitting Max.

“You see I knew you’d do that” he laughed, “you’ll be dead before he wakes…good” Carzon smirked and walked out of the room leaving Miranda to look in horror at the blood steadily staining her shirt.

Chapter Text

Miranda groaned from the floor, the chair had broken as she sprang into action, her arm now slightly free again to press a hand to her side. She looked at her other arm, slack on the floor, still connected to the pipe...but she saw her chance. 

It would be risky but…perhaps worth it. Worth it if it meant she and Max would be free. 

She gripped her chained hand with the free one and looked at it, momentarily fascinated by the blood that had stained it. She'd been hurt before, but never been shot. That was new, shot whilst protecting Max.

She groaned, her vision blacking out for a few seconds.

“Max” she whispered, “Max please I need your help i-I can’t do this on my own”.

She breathed deeply and yanked hard. The pipe burst open and she pulled her arms to her chest, coughing at the sudden burst of gas.

“Always gas” she groaned and covered her mouth, “Max!”

She moved towards him and stroked his face, “Max please wake up” she hissed and patted his face, “come on…come on Max!” she urgently said, “please” she choked and frantically pulled the rope away from him, she tossed it to the floor and gripping the table she stood up.

“Shit” she breathed, holding her side, “shit please Max! For goodness sake wake up!” she ordered, "wake up you giant!"

“Please Max” she coughed and dragged him off the chair. Groaning under his weight, they fell to the floor, Max on top of her. She whimpered and lay against him for a few seconds, contemplating how bad it would be if she did die beside Max. She touched his shoulder and shut her eyes, she so tired. 

She just wanted to sleep. Sleep with Max in his bed, in his arms. She would even book a holiday just to spend it with him. Sleeping with him. Kissing him. 

Her fingers drifted to Max's neck and she felt the warmth of Max. He was still alive.

Alive.

"Max" she breathed and opened her eyes. She coughed hard and shifted their position. Forgoing her side she tucked her hands underneath his arms, she held back a scream as she pulled him towards the door. Her side protested as she moved. “Max! Max wake up! Wake up and please tell me Inés is outside ready to have a go at me! MAX!”

When Max still didn’t respond she cursed and quickly rested him on the floor, coughing hard she collapsed against the wall, “Max please” she whispered, sinking to the floor. The metal of the handcuffs clinked on the cold stone floor. She rubbed her head, her eyes drifted shut again. It was a fight to stay awake, the gas was making her nauseous and she was almost certain that she was bleeding too much.

“Max” she breathed slowly, holding her side and squeezing tightly. The blood covered her hand quickly and she kicked his arm, “Max..” she hissed, "Max...Max deffro os gwelwch yn dda" she whispered and felt herself fall to the floor. Her head lay beside his and she looked at him, smiling softly at his face. She reached up to stroke his face, “I don’t…I don’t want this to be…it…Max…you’re stronger than this…stronger than a blow to the head. You’re the strongest…most brilliant man I know. A-and I love you. I do. You’re a bloody idiot but I love you”. Her hand dropped from his face as her eyes shut.

“Miranda?” he groaned, coughing slightly, “Miranda?”

Her eyes opened slowly, “Hey” she breathed and stroked his face, sitting up as she did, “come on we’ve got to get out of here…please? I don’t know where Carzon and Luis are... but Prasco he-he's close by and I think he's waking up…please…please let’s go”.

Max sat up and rubbed his head, “my head” he breathed, groaning. He held his head in his hands, “Miranda…”.

Miranda moved to him, taking one of his hand in hers, “we need to get out Max. Quickly. I don’t know where Carzon and Luis are”. 

“Luis…I knocked him out”.

“Then he could be waking up! In which case we need to move!”

Max nodded and with Miranda’s help they stood. She cried out in pain, gripping Max’s hand tightly. Leaning into him.

“Hey” he said, holding her, “you hurt?” he looked at her head, there was a dash of blood on her head from where she had touched her head earlier.

“I’m fine” she breathed, “let’s just get out first. You were unconscious for a while”.

Max looked behind him, “that gas?”

She nodded, “pipes…” she said, “old place like this…wouldn’t take much to start it off…”

“Always gas" he breathed, "and with all those wine bottles downstairs…Miranda maybe I’m thinking we should run?”

 “Good idea” she said, gripping his hand tightly.

They leaned on one another as they made their way down the stairs. Being hit on the head was effecting Max more than he cared to admit. Every few steps he took he saw stars, his vision wavered and he felt sure there was two Miranda’s. But he knew she needed him awake.

Needed him.

He smiled at the thought and squeezed her hand, “still with me Schatz?”

“Of course” she breathed, sounding a little pained and looking paler than normal.

“Where did they hurt you?”

“Max we need to get out..." she said, her eyes drifting shut again.

"Miranda? Miranda hey eyes on me" he said and stroked her cheek, "Schatz where are you hurt?"

"M'side" she said, forcing her eyes open.

He nodded and looked at it, her hand was stained red as was her shirt.

“w-Miranda?” he breathed, the ache in his head was suddenly overwhelmed by worry, “what happened!” he exclaimed and touched her hand. Looking at the pain in her face.

“What happened?” he asked.

“I got shot” she replied, “now come on. We’re nearly outside”.

Max gripped her hand tightly, “Miranda…I need to look at your wound okay? I'm going to be quick so as not to make you lose pressure on it. Okay?”

She leaned against the wall and breathed in, slowly, she nodded, “i-it hurts" she said, her voice cracking, making Max's heart break. "A lot actually”.

“It will” he said and as she removed her hand she whimpered. He lifted her shirt slightly and winced, “it looks like the bullet is still there… I mean I’m no expert or anything” he placed his hand on the wound and pressed down hard.

Miranda instantly cried out in pain, “Max!”

“We need to keep strong pressure” he replied.

“That’s what I was doing” she snapped, but her hand covered his, “I don’t want to die” she told him.

“Nobody does” he replied but he stroked her face, “I won’t allow it” he kissed her gently and smiled at her, "So I'm cariad to you then?"

She smiled at him and nodded, shutting her eyes as a wave of pain cascaded over her, "cariad, byd, popeth Max".

Max smiled, "you are going to have to teach me Welsh after all this".

She nodded, “do we have backup?” a few stray tears escaped her eyes.

Max nodded, “Inés is bringing the whole of the force...she gave me an hour...I'm not sure how long it's been” wishing beyond all hopes that Inés had found them already.

“Can you phone them?”

“The gas” he breathed, “any spark”.

Miranda nodded and slowly moved towards the last of the few stairs, “we need to get far away…then phone them”.

Max nodded, conscious his hand had blood covering it. Her wound was deep. Her lack of ability to keep her eyes open for long was worrying him. And the gas wasn't helping. 

He coughed, the gas was stronger. Perhaps someone had cut another pipe, they needed to move fast. Any spark, a shoe scuffling, a small flame, a text, could set it off.

They were close to the door now, it was locked but Max could smell their freedom. He could see the lock would just need to be turned, but it was an old house and would need brute force.

One turn and they would be out.

“Put pressure on it” he told her, letting his hand drop from her side. She held it tightly, using the wall as leverage. Breathing hard.

Max grabbed the door handle and reached for the key, at the same time, Miranda saw Prasco at the top of the stairs. Laughing.

“Scheiße” she breathed as he lit a match and the world went black.

 

Chapter Text

Inés ducked as a room in the Vineyard suddenly exploded. A fireball burst out of the windows and door to the balcony, as parts of the building followed. The roof caved in as though the whole were collapsing after a demolition. Inés knew her officers were at the heart of it. Always at the centre of any trouble in Mallorca. She didn’t think twice as she ran towards it. Apparently running headfirst into danger was something that didn’t just come with Max and Miranda.

Her officers following, one barked a command for the fire department and another an ambulance. In the back of her mind she supposed that unless there was some miracle, Max and Miranda would need one.

She stopped a hundred yards or so away from the building.

“Max! Miranda!” she yelled, fervently hoping that they would emerge from the smoke. When they didn’t, she shakily phoned Max’s number. She had given him more than an hour, knowing he was a good cop but sometimes lost sight when Miranda was in trouble. She hoped she had made the right decision in doing so.

It rang out.

She waited, listening to the dial tone in one ear and for his annoyingly perky song that he had attached to her number with the other.

His phone clicked off and began to belt out his stupidly cheery voicemail message. She hung up, cursing everything that she had not gone in before. Her delay could have meant their deaths.

She had to make a decision, to save Max and Miranda from an already precarious building could mean more officers dead. But to not go in and wait could mean Max and Miranda die.

She stepped back as rubble collapsed down the one side of the building.

She sniffed the air and her eyes widened, “get onto the gas company and turn off this areas gas. We do not want another explosion. Nobody is to go into that building until we are SURE it is secure. I won’t risk another officer. Ambulance. Fire, get them here now!”

She raised her hand to cover it from the sun’s harsh rays, “stay alive. Stay alive” she whispered under her breath.

As the building grumbled again, she stepped backwards to be beside her car, “set up a perimeter. I want eyes everywhere, any place that Max or Miranda could get out. As soon as anyone sees them you let me know. ¿Comprender? ¡Vamanos! ¡AHORA!”

 


 

Max groaned to life. Coughing and spluttering as the rubble of the old Vineyard surrounded him. Daylight blinded him from above, the old building’s infrastructure was weakened, each breath saw more rubble fall. He was oddly aware in his hand was the key to the door. The roof was caving in above, covering him in everything from rubble to dust.

His head hurt even worse now, he could only hope Miranda was in a better position than he was, perhaps in his bed, safe and warm and-

“Scheiße” he groaned, remembering why he had been by the door, why he was here. Miranda had been taken hostage, shot and now no doubt buried in rubble.

“Miranda. Miranda?” he said, “Miranda!” he yelled. His vision coming in and out of focus. Flames licked the remnants of the staircase they’d gone down, smoke surrounded him.

“Miranda!”

He groaned, howling in pain as he moved his arm.

“Miranda! Schatz please answer me!”

He struggled to move the rubble from his body, he freed his one arm and instantly pulled it close. It felt broken or at the very least fractured. The pain reawakened something in him, a need and desire to stay alive. To fight against falling asleep and to find Miranda.

“Miranda? Schatz…answer me! Schatz! Where are you?”

“Max?”

One simple word, but it made him smile wider than he had ever smiled in his life.

“Miranda!”

With renewed energy, he pushed and pulled at the stones and rubble, acutely aware neither of them knew how long they had before the place fell in on itself. He pushed himself to a sitting point, he couldn’t move his legs, but he could see Miranda. A trickle of blood emanating from her skull.

She was barely a metre away. Her body was only partially covered by the rubble, which was comforting, but her silence terrified him.

She looked at him, her eyes full of pain.

“Are you okay?”

She smiled at him, tears traced the dirt on her cheeks, “are you?”

“I asked first” he joked, “can you move? My leg…it’s trapped”.

“Prasco…he lit a match” she answered his unasked question.

“How did you escape the rubble?” he asked.

“Luck” she replied, “or I moved…m’so tired Max”.

“Hey no sleeping now. You are not allowed to sleep unless I’m holding you okay? Miranda? Okay?!” he exclaimed as her eyes shut.

Miranda smiled, her eyes fluttering open, “you’ve made me the happiest I’ve ever been Max…so happy to have…you”.

Max nodded, “can you maybe move to me?” he didn’t want to scare her, but the roof looked dangerously close to caving in. He had to get her closer to him so he could protect her, shield her. The door had its own little area that had stopped any rubble from hitting his head. If he could get her over to him they’d both have some form of protection.

She clutched her side and squeezed it, making her eyes widen in pain, “maybe”.

“Well then DC Blake. That is an order. As my compañeros and my girlfriend”.

She smiled softly and slowly dragged herself to him. Her hand stroked his cheek, “I wish I’d stayed in bed this morning Max…waking up beside you…just being with you”.

Max watched as more tears fell from her eyes, “Schatz if you can move to me you can get out. Go get out and let the fire department deal with me”.

“Not leaving you Max!” she breathed and rested her head against his shoulder, “never”.

“You have to!”

“No” she breathed as rubble fell behind her, crushing where she had been moments before, “never in a million years will I leave you behind Max”. She pulled herself closer to him, whimpering against his body. He held her, hand holding her wound.

She cupped his face in her hands and kissed him, “I’ll stay by your side forever” she breathed.

Max smiled at her, tears mingling with his own, “don’t die for me Schatz…if you can’t get the rubble off me please…get out”.

She didn’t reply but slowly started to get more rubble off of his body. Within seconds he felt his leg free.

She smiled at him, “see…I’m not leaving you. Not now, not ever”.

“When we get out…we are spending the week in bed” he promised and kissed her head. He shoved the last of the rubble from his other leg and felt Miranda’s hand cover his. She was still conscious.

“I’m going to lift us ‘kay? 3…2…1” he squeezed her side and pulled them up. She cried out in pain, leaning against him.

“Max i-I don’t think…” she trailed off.

Max looked around at the crumbling building, he looked up and saw the flames had found the photos and ornaments that once decorated Prasco’s home. They were getting closer and from the rumble below, perhaps had already struck the wine cellar.

Max pushed at the now broken door. Miranda’s hand in his as they kicked at it.

“Open the door! I don’t care just open it!” they heard Inés yelling from behind it, “my detectives are in there! You open the door right now!”

Just as Miranda felt her strength failing her the door broke down.

She leaned into Max as they were dragged out of the burning rubble that was once Prasco’s Vineyard.

Inés was on hand to pull them away as the fire department started to hose down the fire.

“Well…you two don’t do things by halves” Inés greeted, “Miranda I thought you were dead…I am glad that you are not”.

Miranda nodded and her grip on Max lessened, “diolch Inés” she replied.

“What?” Inés looked at her confused as Max looked at Miranda.

“I think she said thanks” he breathed and caught her as she collapsed to the floor. He looked at the red fabric that was her shirt. Miranda stared up at the sky, “fallin’ for me” she smiled and let her eyes shut.

“No no no no Schatz no! Stay with me!” he begged, “Inés get a medic!” he barked, his hand covering the wound. Putting pressure on it, “Miranda please” he whispered, “look at me. Look at me please”.

Her eyes fluttered open, “m’here” she breathed, “m’still here”.

“Good. Now you need to focus on me Schatz okay? Focus on my handsome face”.

Miranda smiled, “won’t be too hard” she breathed, “handsome face” she whispered, “Max”.

Max smiled, “I’m here”.

“I love you”.

Max felt tears fall as her eyes shut again before he could reply, “Miranda? Miranda no no you don’t get to say that without letting me say it back! Miranda please! Miranda!”

Chapter Text

Max was slumped in a hospital chair when Inés arrived at the hospital. They’d been taken to Hospital General de Mallorca as it was the closet one to the Vineyard. Miranda had woken up once in the ambulance, her eyes darting around for Max, but then she’d fallen back unconscious.

Once they had arrived, Miranda had been taken straight up to the theatre rooms with Max virtually being manhandled into getting his own injuries looked at.

He had been lucky, small concussion and a broken arm. He’d had stitches in his head and his arm was now in a sling. As for Miranda he wasn’t being told anything.

He didn’t know how long Inés had been but from the look on her face she had bad news to deliver.

“Carzon is still missing” she greeted, “I have put up officers ready for when Miranda gets out of theatre”.

Max nodded.

“How is she?” Inés asked, sitting beside him.

“They won’t tell me” Max said in a soft voice. In all the years of knowing Max, she had never had him speak so without hope. Without life or character.

Inés nodded, “I’ll get you a coffee…see if I can’t scare them into giving me some information”.

Max nodded again. Choosing to be silent.

Inés frowned and rubbed his back, “she is tough. She’ll be okay Max”.

Max nodded but looked at the doors to the theatre, “but what if she’s not?”


After Inés left to get him a coffee and no doubt terrifying some poor Doctor. Max looked at the photos on his phone, in an effort to distract himself from Miranda’s predicament. During the course of the last few days, he had taken more and more photos of Miranda. Some of them when she was watching him but a few were taken when she wasn’t. When she had been sitting at the Tapas bar and laughing. Being so carefree.

His favourite was her smiling at the camera. Smiling a real smile at him.

He changed his lock screen to it and locked his phone. Hugging his phone close.

“Are you the partner of Miranda Blake?”

Max looked up at the approaching Doctor. The door to theatre swung shut and he caught a glimpse of her on the bed.

“i-I am” he said and stood, “is she-“

“She’s fine. We’ve managed to stabilise her initial injuries and remove the bullet with minimal damage. We are just finishing stitching her side up but a Inés Villegas has been demanding we speak to you”.

Max frowned, “initial injuries? W-What do you mean? Can I- can I see Miranda?”

“Not yet…” the Doctor sighed and pushed open the door besides them, “we need to talk”.


 

Inés was waiting with two black coffees when Max emerged from the room with the Doctor. To say he looked shell shocked was an understatement.

“Max?” Inés said as the Doctor walked back to the theatre. He looked at her and it broke her heart.

“She has internal injuries…her ribs pierced her lung a-and they say she has a bleed on the brain…I should’ve i-I I should be-“ he started but fell apart, “I can’t lose her I can’t Inés!”

Inés placed the coffee’s to one side and pulled Max into her arms, she didn’t often show emotion, but when faced with the sudden prospect of losing Miranda and Max breaking apart beside her… she knew it called for comfort. After a few minutes, Max pulled away and looked at the doors that hid Miranda.

“I’ll call her family” Inés said.

“Her parents are dead” Max said, the realisation that Miranda had been alone for too long before she came to Mallorca suddenly dawned on him, “she listed me as her in case of emergency contact a few months into our partnership…said it was just because I spoke English and had a car”.

Inés frowned and looked at the doors, “so who can I contact for her?”

“i-I uhm, maybe Carmen? Christian?”

“You want your ex-girlfriend here?”

“We’re still friends…and she’s Miranda’s friend too…”

Inés nodded, “okay. If you think of any family, she might have let me know. I’ll be back”.

Max nodded and rested against the wall, straining to see Miranda amongst the sea of green Doctors and Nurses.

“Stay alive Schatz, please".

 


 

He didn’t know just how long he had spent staring at the surgeons working but as a hand rested on his shoulder he knew it had been a while.

“My friend” Christian said.

Max looked at Christian, “you were right”.

“About?”

“I love her” he said and looked through the doors again, “I love her Christian and now she might not wake up…she told me s-she said I love you and I was too slow to say it back”.

“She knows” Carmen’s voice said from his right. He looked across at her. Feeling a pang of guilt over loving another woman when his ex was standing beside him.

“She knows you better than you sometimes…I think she knows. H-How is she?”

“Last I heard she had internal bleeding. A building fell on us”.

“Woah man” Christian breathed, “and your thick skull survived?”

Max smiled slightly, “yeah…figures”.

“Would you like us to go and get some clothes for Miranda…something comforting to have when she wakes up? Or maybe some fresh clothes for you?” Carmen asked, “has Miranda’s family been informed?”

“She hasn’t got anyone” Max stated, “i-I guess it’s just us”.

“Oh”.

Christian patted Max’s back, “She’ll wake up. I know it”.

 


 

Carmen left to get Max some fresh clothes and Miranda something to have for when she woke up.

Christian drove her, leaving Max once again alone as Inés had gone back to the station, to both type up statements and to see if she could find out anymore information about where Carzon might be hiding. His eyes grew heavy, the sudden silence weighing on him.

He was so tired; it was nearly midnight. The words of the voicemail this morning played in his mind.

She dies at sunset

Well, it had gone past that now and she was still here. He rested his head against the wall, he had tried to fight off the sleep that was suddenly overwhelming him.

He shut his eyes, listening to the sounds of the hospital. All those beeps of life lulling him into a gentle sleep.


He jolted awake as a door opened. He rubbed his neck, looking around for the source of the noise. It was the Doctor, he walked through the doors, “Mr Winter?”

“Yeah?”

He smiled softly, “we’ve stopped the bleeding”.

Max smiled and stood up, “can I see her?”

“We’re taking her to a room, but we need to monitor her progress over the next 24 hours. A lot can happen, and we can determine better if she will wake with little to no brain damage afterwards”.

“y-You- brain damage? What?”

“Bleeds on the brain are dangerous Mr Winter, they can cause brain damage and more. These 24 hours will determine what direction we can take afterwards. I have to tell you that she is very strong, we have strong hopes for her waking up within a few days. After that we can see if the bleed has stopped on its own. Most do, but as I gather she is hit in the head a lot?”

Max nodded, “She sort of attracts danger yes”.

The Doctor nodded and smiled, “yet she recovers. I have high hopes for Ms Blake”.

Max smiled as she was wheeled out, covered in a white sheet it made her look like so bright in comparison.

He thanked the Doctor and hurried after Miranda.

 


 

He was given a chair to sit in beside her bed, apparently Inés had used her powers as the chief of Palma Police to give Miranda a room of her own. No distractions. Just him and her, as it should be.

He held her hand tightly in his. Listening to the sounds of her sleeping. He kissed the back of her hand, “mein schatz” he smiled, “by my side. Hand in my hand. Ich liebe dich. Ich liebe dich, ohne zu wissen wie”.

He kissed her cheek, “I’m here for you Miranda” he whispered softly, “always here”. He stayed watching over her as she slept, both the drugs the hospital had pumped into her and her body forcing her into taking some much-needed sleep. He kept his hand in hers, firmly locked.

Miranda remained oblivious to her surroundings, oblivious to the pain in Max’s heart.

Chapter Text

Max jolted awake for the second time that day. He’d felt a pressure in his hand, a squeeze. He winced against the sunlight that was breaking through the room from the blinds. Someone must’ve adjusted them in the night.

He looked at Miranda, “Schatz” he breathed and kissed her hand, “Schatz are you awake?”

Her eyes remained still.

He sighed, “okay maybe not awake” he rested his head against her side, “you know when I said I would like to spend forever by your side I did mean you awake for that” he joked before he quickly kissed her.

“I can never resist a fairy tale Schatz. Sleeping Beauty awaits her handsome prince, with one kiss to break the spell. Had sort of hoped you’d wake up…”

“You might have to use tongue” Miranda murmured softly.

He grinned in disbelief, “Miranda?”

She groaned and squeezed her eyes, slowly opening them to smile at him, “hey”.

“Hey” he breathed, scarcely believing she was awake.

“You’re okay” she smiled, as though it were Max in the hospital bed and not her.

“I am” he smiled, “my Schatz” he kissed her again.

“What did I do to deserve your kisses hey?”

“You deserve all of my kisses Miranda. I love you Schatz”.

Miranda blinked, tears welling in her eyes, “bit early for-“

He kissed her again, “it’s all true Schatz. All of it. I love you. Your freckles, your smile; even though most of the time you scowl at me”.

“Max-“ she smiled and stroked his hand with her thumb.

He grinned at her, “when you are out of the hospital, I am going to take you to meet my parents”.

“That’s uh a bit of development…surely a nice meal is-“

“Oh that’s a given. I just want you to meet my mother…well and my father. But he has issues- I bet you’ll get on” he grinned making her smile again.

“Maybe I’ll take you to Aber” she said and shut her eyes, “Or London…both maybe” she said softer.

“You falling asleep on me again Miranda?”

“Mmm?”

“Okay, I’ll let you off…cariad”.

She smiled, “using Welsh…”

“I’ll use any language you want me to Miranda, if it means I get to be by your side”.

She nodded, “good…”

He kissed her head and squeezed her hand, “I’ll be right by your side.”

“Max?”

“Yeah?”

She smiled at him, “ich liebe dich auch”.

He chuckled, “impressing me with your words as well as your bedroom skills”.

Miranda grinned and opened an eye, “that was just a taste”.

“Oh Schatz” he growled softly, “dirty talk”.

“Of course” she said, “get into bed Max”.

“And now orders? Miranda”.

“Just get in”.

Max paused and let go of her hand, “are you sure?”

“Max”.

Max grinned, knowing that tone meant he was in trouble. He got in, being mindful of the wires.

“So, tell me what’s my diagnosis” she said as he wrapped his arm around her, “I take it I’ve been out for a while”.

He kissed her head and smiled, “well, I don’t know what the Doctor’s are going to prescribe but I prescribe bed rest with Max Winter. Do you know him?”

“Hmm…no I don’t think so. You’ll have to introduce me”.

He grinned, “I’ll be happy to” he kissed her neck and smiled, “Schatz”.

Max, finally in a bed, with Miranda in his arms. Allowed himself to fall contentedly into a warm sleep.

 


 

Miranda remained half awake, not entirely sure if she was asleep and dreaming Max was against her side. Her side was a distant numb pain, reminding her that she was in a hospital for a real reason and not just being struck over the head for the billionth time.

She stroked his chest and smiled. A week ago, they were cruising along the hills in his car laughing and celebrating another case solved, and now she was in bed with him. Albeit it was a hospital bed and it wasn’t the only time that week she’d been in bed with him, but it was real, it was theirs.

She rested her palm on his chest and kissed her chest. She looked at him asleep, and smiled again, choosing to let sleep take her over again as he touched her fingers in his sleep. She linked them and shut her eyes, “Schatz” she smiled.  

 


When Max woke up he realised two things; the first, Miranda was hugging him, pressing her face to his neck. The second was that Inés was in the room watching over them.

“Inés” he smiled and went to rub his eyes but realised his arm was still in a sling.

“Beunos Tardes Max” Inés greeted, “I see Miranda has woken up recently?”

“Yeah” he breathed and looked at her, “she did”.

“Yes well her Doctor will be along in a minute so if you can detangle yourself from Miranda for five minutes he can do his tests…there is also coffee”.

Max nodded and slowly moved Miranda onto the pillow. She stirred, murmuring his name.

“Max?”

“Schatz” he chuckled and kissed her head, “I’m getting coffee…if Doctor Inés lets me you can have one too”.

Miranda nodded but remained clutching him.

He smiled and stayed on the bed, “guess I’m staying” he shrugged and accepted the coffee from Inés.

“Hola Miranda” Inés greeted, “are you feeling okay?”

Miranda opened her eyes slowly as Max sipped his coffee.

“My head is feeling groggy and my side hurts but…I feel okay” she looked at Max. He grinned at her and offered his coffee to her, “want some?”

“I am not surprised, you had quite some injuries. You were in theatre for hours”.

“I was?” she shot a look at Max. He quietly pressed the coffee to her hands.

“I’ll explain…” he said.

She sipped some of the coffee, wincing at the bitterness of it, hospital coffee never was good in her experience.

“Then start” she said, looking at him pointedly.

“Fine…you had a punctured lung and a bleed on your brain. I think the Doctors are going to check it out later, make sure nothing has gotten worse” he stroked her cheek.

“Max. If you could stop touching Miranda for five minutes, I will need to take your statements. Carzon has dropped off of the face of the Earth and any detail is vital as I am sure you are aware”.

“c-Carzon is missing?” Miranda asked, feeling dread form in the bottom of her stomach.

“We have officers outside the room, only staff and other authorised personal are allowed to enter this room”.

Miranda nodded but still felt a sense of unease.

“He knows Niall Taylor” she whispered, “he could be anywhere”.

Inés nodded, “would you like to be alone for your statement Miranda? I’m sure Max would-“

“I want him here” she stated, not wanting Max to be away and out of her sight. Especially now she knew Carzon was out there.

“Okay then…” Inés said, “so then DC Blake. If you could go from when you entered the building”.

Miranda nodded and found Max’s hand in hers. She smiled softly at him and began to recount her statement. From trying to fool Prasco to being shot, jumping in front of the bullet meant for Max. At this, Max’s hand squeezed hers tightly.

“You jumped – you you took-“

“Well you were unconscious! I didn’t see you leaping out of the way” she retorted.

“Miranda you could’ve died!” Max replied, “that was stupid and reckless and –“

“Oh will you be quiet!” Inés snapped, “like you wouldn’t have done the same for her Max! Dios mío!”

Miranda looked at Max, “I wasn’t going to sit there and watch you die” she breathed, stroking his face, “cariad”.

Inés rolled her eyes, “yes yes you two have finally realised you love each other. You can both have holidays together blah blah blah; did Carzon say he was going anywhere?”

“Just that he was off…leaving – getting as far away as possible”.

Inés nodded, “okay then…your Doctor needs to do his tests so Max you will have to get out of the bed. Maybe go home and get changed”.

“Christian and Carmen brought us some stuff…” Max said softly and regrettably got out of the bed.

“I want good health from you Blake” he teased, “remember Dr Winter’s orders”.

Miranda rolled her eyes but smiled, “don’t be long”.

“I won’t if you won’t” he retorted but stood with Inés as the Doctor came to take her away from the room.

Chapter Text

If Inés wasn’t so fond of Miranda, she would’ve murdered Max and buried the body in the short half an hour that she was gone.

To say he was awful and unbearable was an understatement. How she had coped before Miranda was one of her officers, was a mystery to her. She was even contemplating keeping the two off whilst Miranda healed.

Once Miranda was brought back into the room, Max jumped up out of his seat, he had since changed and now had a cast over his wrist as opposed to the sling. He smiled at her.

“Soooo what’s the news?”

“Max-“

“She’s fine. We are going to keep her till tomorrow just to be sure but after that we can discharge her as long as though she has someone to keep a close eye on her”.

“I’m sure I can manage that” he grinned.

“No strenuous activity. She needs to relax to let the stitches heal”.

Max pouted, “not even a little?”

“I knew you wouldn’t like it” Miranda smiled, “you can teach me German and I can teach you Welsh. Very cultural”.

Max groaned, “I would rather-“

“Yes. I think we all know what you would rather do” Inés stated.

Max flushed, “I was just going to say look after her. Get your mind out of the gutter Inés” he smiled but winked at Miranda who grinned in response.

“So, as I was saying, I am going to prescribe heavy pain relief for Ms Blake so she may be a little-

“High” Miranda finished with a smile.

“Ahh I see they have kicked in already Schatz” Max grinned at her. She looked up at him and furrowed her brow.

“Don’t try and get anything outta Max” she smirked.

“Oh yes this will be fun. Say bye bye to the Doctor and Inés, Miranda” he grinned and ushered Inés and the Doctor out of the room. He smiled over at her as he shut the door behind them.  

She looked unimpressed at his scene, but her smile told a different story.

“I don’t want to be on bedrest”.

“No but you have a bullet wound in your side, a healing lung and a head injury”.

“So? I’ve been in hospital before Maaxx” she whined.

Max snorted, Miranda on drugs was a sight he had never thought he needed to see.

“Have you now? Is that before Mallorca or-“

“Before” she smiled and ran a hand through her hair, “I need a shower. Will you help?”

Max chuckled and nodded, “more than happy to. When we are home”.

Miranda frowned, “you are no fun Max Winter. Where is your sense of adventure! Flout the rules! Sneak me away!”

“Flout the rules?” Max raised an eyebrow and approached her, “Drugged Miranda is a little different from my regular one”.

“She’s in here” Miranda said and took his hand in hers, “she’s soo cranky. I’m saying all the stuff she wants to hold back”.

Max laughed, “like?”

“Liiike how handsome you look. How much I want to kiss you, it is very unfair that all you have to do is just look at me with that smile and boom! I want to kiss you”.

Max smiled and pulled the seat closer to him, he sat down holding her hand as she listed off how long she had liked him; definitely signs of liking him when they had been investigating Karl’s murder. Doubly knowing her feelings for him were compromised in Cazador. 100% sure she was in love with him at the thought of him marrying Carmen.

She had also started telling him about her life back in Aber.

“-and so my Mam had to drive me all the way back from Aber to London because I had an exam and I was broke so I couldn’t pay for a coach trip and she didn't want me to miss it. I miss her”.

Max grinned, “you know for five minutes I forgot it was my Miranda talking, hearing you be so open with me” he smiled, “I like it”.

“I have plenty more stories…like how when I was held hostage by Jens and saw you coming along I was relieved and overwhelmed you had come to my rescue-“

He cut her off with a kiss, “Miranda, I love you with no filter. But I somehow think that you won’t be too happy knowing how much you’ve told me tomorrow. So before you confess you want to marry me and have 8 babies and live in a cabin growing old till we die. I’m going to get us some lunch okay?”

Miranda held his shirt in one hand, keeping him close to her lips, “2 babies” she replied with a wry grin.

Max’s face crinkled, “for now” he smiled, “once we start, I might not want to stop” he teased.

Miranda thought about it for a second and shrugged, “okay”.

Max kissed her again, “you think of their names then Schatz and I’ll go get food. I don’t really want to meet hungry Miranda if she’s like hungover Miranda”.

Miranda smiled at him and nodded, “m’kay. But don’t be long. I might forget what you look like”.

“Who knew Miranda Blake was such a romantic”.

“Only for my giant German. Hey! Giant German!” she grinned, and Max sighed with a smile, looking at her being pleased with her alliteration. Schatz summed her up in every possible way. He left the room quickly, fearing if he stayed longer neither would eat till they left the hospital.

 


Miranda knew the drugs had dulled her mind. They had also stopped her from feeling the pain of her injuries so that was a bonus. She had probably told Max far too much, even down to the story of how she had been chased by a heard of sheep as a child.

She would never live that one down.

Lying back in the bed she realised though, that she didn’t really mind Max knowing her life story or her intimate memormjies. He was her boyfriend now; they hadn’t exactly hidden that fact from anyone. She also liked the way Max smiled at her and called her Schatz. Carmen had brought her some clothes that she would definitely need Max’s help getting into. Although with his broken arm she might just have to wear something easy to get into for now.

The door opened and she grinned at the ceiling, “back so quickly? I knew you’d-“

“Hola Miranda”

Miranda had little time to react as hands clamped around her throat. Squeezing hard, as Carzon’s face came into view.

Chapter Text

Max heard the running before he realised the officers had ran in the direction of Miranda’s room. 

“Schieße”

He dropped their food and ran after the officers. Fearing the worst.


Miranda struggled under Carzon’s weight. His grip was too hard, too tight for her to get him off. She scratched and struggled but he moved his face away from her hands, smirking down at her, “Niall won’t pay me unless you’re dead…you must’ve really ticked him off Miranda. You and that stupid German idiot boyfriend of yours. He's offered me a cool million”.

Miranda wheezed and could see dark spots at the edge of her eyes.

No, no this couldn’t be it.

Not now!

She had to stay alive, just had to.

“No” she croaked out, “Max”.

Carzon laughed, “I’ll kill him too. Niall said I’d get extra if I did. And what’s one more body ey? You and him killed Luis and Prasco. Make it even. An eye for an eye and all that”.

Miranda’s grip on his arms weakened as he pushed down on her throat. His face contorting into a manic grin.

“I’ll tell your boyfriend he was your last words” Carzon smirked as her arms dropped from his, her eyes closing.

A shot fired into the air.

Carzon lost his grip on Miranda’s throat and slumped to the floor as she coughed and spluttered.

Wheezing as Max ran to her side.

“Hey, it’s okay…it’s okay” he said and held her against his chest, blinking away tears as she clutched him tightly. He kissed her head and sniffed, “It's over. It's all over, I’m here. I’m here now Schatz”. He held her tightly and kept repeating the same words over and over, "I'm here Schatz. I'm here", fearful if he stopped, she'd disappear entirely.


Max had taken the gun from the nearest officer, snatching it before the man could react. Upon bursting into Miranda’s room he saw her bed looking dishevelled and her arms fall down. Carzon loomed over her, hands tight around her throat.

He didn't have to think twice.

He fired once at Carzon’s head. Wincing at the blood that hit the stark white wall, before he tossed the gun aside and ran to Miranda’s side. Now curled and spluttering on the bed. He held her close, feeling so scared that if he let go he would lose her for real this time.


They remained held against one another until Inés gently informed them that Miranda’s throat needed a scan to make sure nothing else had been damaged, her voice was hoarse as she put up feeble protests. Max had been moved to silence, but he’d held her hand and kissed the top of her head.

The protests died on her lips as Max looked at Inés, “give us a moment alone?”

Inés nodded and left the room.

Someone had taken Carzon’s body away whilst Max and Miranda had been locked in one another’s arms. The blood stain’s were still there and he supposed he’d be on a suspension for killing him. But that was of little consequence to him. Miranda’s safety was paramount and at that moment in time it was compromised.

“Max?” she whispered. Touching his hand.

He looked at her and smiled.

“Yes Schatz?”

“We…we…go…home?”

The question and the way Miranda had struggled to speak saddened him to the point that he couldn’t help but reply, “of course Schatz. Just one test…then we’ll get Inés to pull her strings and we can be at home again. Safe”.

“You…saved…me” she smiled.

Max smiled and stroked her face, “now we’re even”.

She leaned into his touch and kissed his palm, holding it against her cheek she nodded, “home”.

Max’s heart fluttered at the intimacy, “you are my home Schatz” he smiled and kissed her head.

“I can’t promise how much help I’ll be but I’ll help you get dressed so that we can get going straight away. Besides I think they might want to clean this room soon”.

Miranda nodded and looked at the blood on the floor.

“Oops” he shrugged.

She shook her head but was smiling.

“Carmen sent over a bag, I think there are some shorts and a shirt in here. So… I do shorts you do shirt?” he grabbed the bag from the cabinet and placed on her bed. Looking into he saw that Carmen had packed what he had packed for Miranda a few days ago. It seemed like a lifetime since then.

She shook her head and gave him a pointed look.

“I’m helping you dress not undress” he laughed.

She shook her head took the shorts into her own hands.

“Ahh you do shorts, I do shirt yeah?”

She nodded and he took the shorts gently from her, holding them up high as she protested, pointing at her side.

“If you can’t put a shirt on you most definitely cannot bend over to put shorts on”.

“Max” she protested and poked his stomach.

He laughed and leaned in close, “that is cheating” he grinned at her, “I’m helping you. And Boy Scouts honour I won’t peak. Much”.

She shook her head but stroked his face, “fine…no..boy..scout”.

He snorted, “I was too. I didn’t finish any of my badges and I got distracted a lot, but I took part and that is what counts”.

Miranda rolled her eyes but grabbed the shirt from the bag and rested it over her lap as she dangled her legs off the edge of the bed, ready for Max’s help with the shorts.

 


 

Once dressed, and after hitting Max’s shoulder for his hands lingering in certain places for too long, Max called Inés back into the room.

“She’s going to come home with me tonight. I don’t want her staying here any longer and neither does Miranda”.

Inés took one look at Miranda’s backwards cotton shirt and then looked at Max. His eyes alive with a tenderness she had never seen before.

“I will allow it under one condition”.

“Anything” he said.

“You are suspended for one week full pay, and Miranda is on sick leave until she heals, full pay. Comprender?”

Max nodded, “thank you Inés”.

She nodded and looked at Miranda again, “if I see you anywhere near the station before you are fully healed I will not hesitate at putting you both under house arrest. Do you understand DC Blake?”

Miranda nodded and smiled as Max mock saluted her before she left the room.

He grinned across at her, “well that went well”.

She rolled her eyes but got off the bed, wincing as her side protested at the movement. He met her halfway, a thousand worries flew across his face before she pulled him into a kiss.

He smiled into it, deepening it, knowing if was hurting she’d let him know.

She smiled and pulled back, staring at his lovestruck face.

“We need to get you to the test” he said, “then we can continue kissing…in bed- no I know no sex but I can still kiss you” he smiled, “kiss you and hold you; cause now I know you’re a hugger in bed, oh Miranda” he teased, “I won’t ever let you go. Not for anything. We've got time on our side Schatz, time on our side”.