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George was deeply asleep, bare chest slowly rising and falling, framed by the moonlight coming in through the open curtains.

Nancy should have been asleep too. But it was three am and here she was, wide awake and shaking. Trying to understand how she could have let it get this far.

It should never have happened, but she just couldn’t bring herself to regret it.

In hindsight, the entire thing was obvious. She hadn’t been able to take her eyes off George since the first time they’d met, all those years ago when Bess introduced them. Maybe back then it was easier to convince herself that she was just impressed by the athletic girl, who jumped into her mysteries with far more enthusiasm than hesitant Bess. All three of them had gotten into so many scrapes, but George never faltered.

They’d bonded so quickly. And pretty soon it became clear that they both experienced the same rush of energy at the successful closure of a case. Nancy had ridden on that high for years, trying to channel all her energy into finding other mysteries to solve, or diving into a new hobby, even going out, uncharacteristic for her, and dancing with strangers all night – but all of it had been alone.

Ned was a good man. She knew that. He had been so supportive, and so dependable and patient right from the start. Even though she routinely got pulled away on new cases, and even though he’d been caught up in one too many of her scrapes himself. But he’d never quite… understood that high. Never really knew what to make of her when she rode through it.

George knew what to make of it.

It had been a couple of months now since she’d solved that fateful case. Her brainwave had led to her and George finding themselves trapped in an airless attic, left to die while their captors fled across state lines. With so little time left they’d clung to each other for support while Nancy’s breath grew haggard and George’s slowed. When the police had busted down the door and announced that they’d apprehended the suspects, the high stakes of their gamble sent Nancy into a tailspin. It had been the best high yet. She couldn’t possibly ride it out alone.

That was how she’d found herself pushing George up against a wall in their hotel room that night, gasping as George dug her hands into Nancy’s lower back and responded with so much of the same enthusiasm – as if they hadn’t almost asphyxiated earlier that day. Or maybe in spite of that near-death experience. Either way, they’d fucked until the early hours of the morning when the exhaustion became too great and the high was almost over.

Since then it’d happened after every case. Any chance they could get. After their most recent mystery she’d almost run off the road when George stroked a hand up her thigh, and she’d had to skid into the nearest car park in the dead of night to pull George and herself into the backseat. It was always so frantic, and passionate and so instinctive with George. So different from anything she’d experienced before.

But tonight had been different. They were halfway through a case, this time. It was only the two of them – Bess had been too caught up at work, Ned was halfway through finals. It shouldn’t have been a problem.

It wasn’t a problem either until they got to the hotel room late at night after a long, exhausting drive and Nancy had practically slumped into the bed. And had felt the dip as George sat down next to her and pressed her fingers into the tight muscles on Nancy’s back, easing the hours of driving. She’d melted into the touch. And things had gone south so easily from there.

And this time it had been so… intimate. So unlike all the frantic, risky, post-case sex they’d gotten used to having. So slow, and soft but still passionate. Maybe it wasn’t about the high after all.

So this was the crossroads, then. She pulled the bedsheet up over her cold torso, watching George sleep. The way she turned and nuzzled her face into the pillow, the creamy skin on her shoulders glowing faintly against the light coming in, one hand stretched out towards Nancy’s side of the bed. Everything was so silent save for the sound of her breathing and Nancy’s beating heart. Eerily similar to when they’d struggled to breathe in that tight attic.

She almost felt like she couldn’t breathe again, knowing what she had to do. Ned was the obvious choice, wasn’t he? He had to be. He was her chance at a normal life, the kind of life a famous girl detective would be expected to have. The picture-perfect couple who looked so good together, worked so well together. Always so perfect, on the outside.

Except she wasn’t that person, and George had given her everything she’d never realised she was missing out on in the space of just months.

Nancy lay back down and pressed her warm body against George’s slightly cold skin, burying her face in the crook of the other girl’s neck, and listened to the sound of her breathing.