"I'm home," Peggy called out softly, closing the door behind her. "Susan?"
"In here," Susan replied from their bedroom.
Peggy frowned. She sounded strange… hanging her coat up, she hurried over. As she opened the door, the reason became clear - her girlfriend looked up at her with tears streaking her cheeks, and an old photo album in her hands.
"Oh, Su," Peggy said, sitting next to her and pulling her into a gentle hug.
Susan buried her face in Peggy's shoulder for a few moments, then breathed deeply and looked back up at her.
"I'm sorry. Mary wanted to see her father's photographs again before bedtime, and…"
"You don't have anything to be sorry for," Peggy said. "Is she in bed?"
Susan nodded. "Fast asleep, bless her. It was getting late, so I left these out while I put her to bed. I meant to have put them away before you got home, I'm sorry…"
Her voice grew choky again, and a few more tears escaped. Peggy gently brushed them away.
"Susan, you don't have to apologise. I know how important he was to you, and of course Mary wants to see his photos. Do you want me to put them away?"
At Susan's nod, Peggy closed the album and put it back in its place in Susan's wardrobe. She fussed at it needlessly for a few seconds, watching from the corner of her eye as Susan pulled out her handkerchief and dried her face. Once she saw that Susan looked calmer, she joined her on the bed again.
"You know, I used to ask to see Father's photos when I was little, until Nancy started stopping me - she realized it upset Mother before I did."
"So you just… never got to see them?" Susan frowned. "I don't want Mary to feel she can't ask…"
Peggy looked at her quizzically. "How long have you known Nancy and me? We used to sneak them out when Mother wasn't looking, of course!"
As Peggy had hoped, that made Susan laugh - a weak, watery laugh, but a laugh all the same. "Of course you did, you wretched pirates."
With a sigh, Susan leaned against Peggy, taking the hand that wasn't still wrapped around her shoulders and threading their fingers together. Peggy pulled her a little closer, and let her sit in silence. She could tell Susan had something more to say, and was happy to wait quietly until she should find the words.
At last, Susan spoke. "I don't… regret anything, you know. Or… well… I am sorry he died, for his own sake, but… if I hadn't loved him, I wouldn't have little Mary. And if I hadn't lost him, I wouldn't have you. Oh, I don't know how to explain it…"
"It's okay, I understand," Peggy said softly.
"Darling Peggy," Susan said, kissing her. "I don't know what I'd do without you."
“I love you, Susan,” Peggy answered, returning the kiss. “And I have no idea what I’d do without you.”