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All is Foul, No Love is Fair.

Chapter Text

Miranda Blake’s morning routine had more or less been the same since she made the decision to stay in Mallorca.

Wake up at 6, if it was a run day go for a run, if not then do some yoga. Have a shower and get ready for work. Almost never did she grab a decent breakfast, it was usually a breakfast bar or a biscuit or two.

Most days she had a tea in the morning, although on the rare occasions they had an early brief she had a coffee. Usually with Max.

If Max had any dry cleaning for her to pick up she did that before work. If she was feeling kind she stopped by her local independent deli, Marco’s Deli, and bought a café con leche for her and an espresso for Max. She always made sure to put a tip in Marco’s jar, before heading into work.

Today though, today was different.

Miranda woke up to a knock on her front door. She looked at her alarm clock and saw it hadn’t gone off yet, it was just gone half past 5.

“Who the hell?” she groaned and sat up. She rubbed her head and grabbed her dressing gown. Yawning, she moved downstairs and opened her front door.

“Inés?”

Inés nodded at her, “Detective Blake…can I come in?”

Miranda nodded and stepped back, “sure…uh why are you here at half 5?”

“I think you should sit down Miranda”.

Miranda noted the change of Inés’ voice, “why? What’s happened?”

“Please, sit down”.

Miranda nodded and moved to her sofa, she sat as Inés sat beside her.

“Late last night we were called to a report of gunshots out in the Old Town. An officer was shot in the head at point blank range. It was a nasty and calculated attack and he died. We are treating it as murder”.

“Oh god” Miranda muttered.

Inés looked at Miranda and sighed, “I am so sorry Miranda…the officer killed, was Max”.

“w-What?” Miranda whispered, breath leaving her as her pulse starting to race. Her eyes grew wet with tears as her hands shook, “no n-no no n-no no no it can’t be Max no! y-You must’ve made a mistake, no!”

“Detective” Inés said as Miranda stood and began to pace.

“No cause Max can’t be dead no n-no no no he can’t be. He has no business being out over there a-and there’s a lot of guys who are tall a-and have and have no! It’s not Max there must be some mistake!”

Inés sighed, “Miranda there is no mistake. I had Roberto triple check the DNA evidence”.

“No” Miranda said.

Inés sighed and approached Miranda, “I am sorry Miranda. Truly I am” she squeezed Miranda’s shoulder as she stood there. Her eyes full with tears ready to be shed.

“No” Miranda repeated before sniffing and rubbing her eyes, “I want to see his body. I-I want to see him”.

“Are you quite sure you can handle it? His head was…there was not a lot to go on”.

Miranda felt sick at the thought, “he told me once he had a scar on his arm from an accident. I want to see him Inés. I owe it to him. I need to see him”.

Inés nodded, “okay then, if you are sure”.

“I am… and then I am going to find whoever did this to him and make them pay”.


 

Miranda wasn’t sure what she had let herself in for when she approached the mortuary a few hours later. Inés had made her have a large sugary tea which she made. Surprisingly it hadn’t tasted as bad as she had thought.

She hadn’t bothered to get ready as she normally would, make up seemed arbitrary when her best friend was lying dead on a cold metal slab.

Everyone in the office had given her looks of sympathy and she hated them for it.

Max wasn’t dead.

This was all some big misunderstanding.

She told herself, convinced herself that Max had lost his phone and had slept in, that was what had really happened. He couldn't be- wouldn't be dead. This was some elaborate ruse, a nasty joke.

Even still, as Roberto appeared at the door to his lab, she felt on edge.

She looked at Inés for guidance.

“You don’t have to do this” she said, “I have confirmed it is Detective Winter already”.

“I want to see him” she replied softly.

Inés nodded.

Roberto opened the door and led her towards a covered-up body. The feet were sticking out of the end of the sheet and Miranda gulped. She’d seen dead bodies before, been in the mortuary before. But this was Max. Max’s body.

“I am not going to show you his head” Roberto said, “but you said he had a scar on his arm?”

“The left one” Miranda said, “he broke both his arms when he was younger a-and the left arm took longer to heal. Still bugged him”.

On reflex she touched her own arm.

Roberto looked at Inés for confirmation before he lifted the covers over Max’s left arm.

Miranda willed herself to be brave and looked.

A thin white scar decorated his arm. Starting at the elbow and continuing down for two inches.

Miranda moved to trace the scar and paused. Her hand fell down and she sniffed.

“It’s Max”.

Inés patted Miranda’s back.

“I’m sorry Miranda” Inés said softly.

“I think I’m going to be sick” Miranda replied and ran.


Inés found Miranda curled against the door in the toilets. She looked haggard and worn out. Yet there was a fire in her eyes that Inés had never seen before.

“I’m going to find who did this to Max” Miranda said.

“I’m going to find them and make them pay for what they did to him. You said it was calculated? That means they knew him. They must’ve dealt with him before”.

Miranda looked at Inés and stood slowly.

“I am going to find them” she repeated.

Inés nodded, “I understand you are upset Detective. And do not think that I am not upset that Detective Winter has been –“

“Max. His name is- was Max. Don’t call him Detective Winter like he wasn’t a friend to you!”

Inés nodded, “even still, Miranda. You were very close to him. I can’t trust that your relationship with Max will not hinder the investigation”.

“It won’t” Miranda said, “I won’t let it. Max – I- I won’t let my relationship with Max get in the way of solving his murder”.

Inés sighed, “is there any point in me telling you no?”

Miranda shook her head.

“Then fine fine you can assist. But if you start to lose it, I will not hesitate in pulling you off the case. Understood?”

Miranda nodded.

“Good. Now go home, sleep. You will not help him by looking such a mess-“

“I’m staying” Miranda stated, “I’m fine. I just need to be here. Be at work”. Be close to Max’s body, Miranda thought.

Inés sighed, “ugh fine. Whatever. But have some water, freshen up”.

Miranda nodded and moved to the basin. Conscious Inés was watching her she splashed her face with water and looked at her reflection.

Her eyes were red. Face puffy. An outsider would view her as a victim, and she supposed in a way she was.

The man she loved with every fibre of her being had been murdered.

And she never even got to tell him how she felt.

Inés sighed and moved to Miranda as her hands shook.

“Come on” Inés said gently dried Miranda's hands with a paper towel before she took Miranda’s shaking hands into hers.

“Look at me… novio” Inés said, “look at me”.

Miranda looked at Inés.

“That’s it. Breathe. Just breathe with me. In…. and out…. In… and out. That’s it, in…. and out. You are a very strong woman Miranda”.

“I’m not” Miranda muttered, “I should’ve told Max”.

“Told him?”

Miranda shook her head and sniffed; “hardly matters now”.

Inés nodded, “okay well, I will leave you to finish freshening up and then I will expect you in my office for your brief”.

Miranda nodded and felt a sudden loss as Inés let her hands go.

Her boss left her alone and Miranda got out her phone. Trying Max’s number once more.

When his voicemail clicked in, she shut her eyes and tried to picture his face as she listened to him speak. She could picture his smiling face. His dopey grin. His bright blue eyes. Miranda hung up and looked at herself again.

Gone was the victim. A woman she barely remembered had replaced her. The fierce and determined Miranda Blake now replaced her.

The one who stopped at nothing to get results.

She would find Max’s killer, even if it killed her.

Chapter Text

After seeing Max’s body, she sat in his chair, she couldn’t bear to sit in her own chair, staring at Max’s empty one. It broke her heart to not have him cracking a joke, smiling at her.

She looked at his computer and turned it on. She knew his password so there was no wait in guessing.

Compan3r0s

She flew through his e-mails and half-finished reports, hoping to find a reason as to why Max was at the Old Town at that time of night.

Miranda looked at his half finished notes. He’d mostly written in English but a few notes were in German. She put them to one side to translate later.

Roberto hovered beside her.

“What?”

“I have the report o-on Max”.

Miranda snatched the report up and read through it.

Maximus Ansel Winter

35

H-6ft 4

W 11 st 3

Head wound, fractured skull. No toxins found. Close range.

 

Wallet, phone, ring found on body.

 

Scar on left elbow.

 

“What’s this?” Miranda asked and pointed to a blurred smudge on the report. Roberto leaned close.

“Chocolate”.

Miranda huffed, “you got chocolate on Max’s autopsy report?!”

“Yes” Roberto answered slowly, looking at Inés for help.

Miranda stood and grabbed his shirt, pulling him close, “why are you eating chocolate over something as important as this?! Max was your friend wasn’t he? Or does nobody seem to care that he was murdered last night?!”

Miranda breathed heavy as the office looked at her outburst. Most exchanged a look of fear, but all were glad her anger was directed at Roberto and not them.

“Wow” Roberto said and slowly covered Miranda’s hands.

“Firstly, this is vintage. Very rare. Secondly, I am sorry for getting chocolate on the report. I get nervous writing in English and I have a habit of having chocolate to reward it”.

Miranda let Roberto go.

“If you have quite finished throttling Roberto” Inés said, “if you have an outburst like that again Miranda, I will not hesitate to take you off this case. We all know you and Max had a close relationship. And none of us can imagine just how you are feeling right now. But, you told me you wanted to help. Throttling Roberto will not”.

Inés looked at the report and then at the smudge that had made Miranda lose control.

“Dios” she muttered, “Roberto can you not eat chocolate over every report you do?”

Roberto nodded, “si, sorry Señoras”.

Miranda’s shoulders sank, “no...I’m sorry”.

“I do not blame you” Roberto said, “he was my friend too. I can write a fresh report if you would like?”

Miranda shook her head, “n-no it’s fine…it’s fine”.

Miranda sighed and sat back down, she rubbed her head and Inés eyed her, “have you eaten any food yet?”

“I’m not really that hungry” Miranda replied and pulled up an old report Max had started but not finished.

“Miranda you need to eat”.

“I’ll be fine” she replied and looked at the familiar scribble, Jose Rey. Despite it being nearly a month since their little Wild West excursion, Max still hadn’t finished his side of the report.

She traced his writing and smiled as she came to the bit about Javier saving her. How quickly Max had moved when he thought her life was in danger. Speeding off.

 

Detective Blake had a knife thrown at her, initially I thought it was an attempt on her life, so I sprang into action, ready to make an arrest. But Javier was directing his aim to a snake. He saved her life, proving how well he knew the outback, we realised that he was our best chance of finding Jose.

Javier revealed that night that Jose was like a son to him, he cared for the man despite initial thoughts to suggest otherwise. Jose’s horse arrived and he urged us to sleep. It was a good plan, neither one of us knew the grounds and did not want to risk the horses.

Detective Blake went to sleep first, it was a cold night and when Javier offered to stay awake whilst I kept Detective Blake warm, I lay beside her and drifted off to sleep.

 

At some point, someone, probably Roberto, had placed a bar of chocolate beside her. And someone else, most likely Inés, had placed a hot drink.

She replaced the report and broke a piece of chocolate off and ate it before sipping the coffee.

She brought up a file Max had recently finished as she sipped the coffee.

 

Detective Blake and I were called to investigate a robbery gone wrong. Detective Blake found the bullet lodged into the wall and further investigations allowed us to find small traces of DNA evidence which put Philippe Frank into the frame for murder.

We went to question him and he took Detective Blake hostage. With a gun to her head she told me to leave her. Frank made her kneel and cocked his gun back.

I didn’t leave, I shot Frank in the arm which allowed Detective Blake to arrest him for murder and attempted murder. He confessed and Detective Blake and I were told off by Inés.

She took the blame for Franks’ shooting and got suspended for a week- sorry Inés!

 

Miranda smiled softly, Max had always been saving her life or getting himself into a situation that required her lying or helping him.

And now she couldn’t repay that favour, she couldn’t save his life because it was already gone.

Miranda put the note away, but a photo fell out of it.

She looked at it and saw it was the one Max had taken of them. A high angle selfie of the pair of them. She had been very reluctant to have her photo taken at first, but Max had said if he couldn’t have a hug then he wanted a photo.

He’d leaned close and smiled at her. She looked at him as the phone camera went off. Both smiling at her.

He’d gotten the photo printed without her knowledge. She smiled, they both looked happy. Very couple-y.

Max had ended things with Carmen shortly before this case and it had made her realise that she might have a chance with Max. A chance of something more with him.

She blinked away tears and pocketed the photo.

She finished her coffee but left most of the chocolate behind as she approached Inés office.

Her boss was on the phone so she hovered outside. From what Miranda could make out the person Inés was speaking to was being told off.

And being told off in Spanish or Catalan.

Miranda entered when Inés nodded at her, “I didn’t find anything in the reports to suggest why Max was there. But he had finished one report” she handed it over to Inés.

“Thank you” Inés said and looked through it quickly.

She nodded and then looked at Miranda, “I have decided to do a memorial here for Max tomorrow. If you would like to say something about him then you should. You knew him better than any of us”.

Miranda nodded.

“o-Okay”.

“Now, go home. You have spent all day hunched over his reports it will do you no good to obsess over trying to find a detail that doesn’t exist”.

Miranda shook her head, “I’m fine. I am, I won’t obsess. There could’ve been a million reasons as to why Max was there from getting his shopping to going for a walk”.

Inés nodded, “I agree. Or maybe some food”.

Miranda half smiled, “yeah”.

“Now, promise me you will eat something more than chocolate and coffee? I do not want to have to add your eating habits to the list of my worries Miranda”.

“I’ll eat something” she promised, “i-I will”.


Miranda walked to her apartment and hesitated to open her apartment. It was here she was told Max was dead.

Here she was told that she would never get the chance to tell Max how she felt about him.

Miranda rested her head against the door. Taking a few deep breaths, she let herself in.

After being told Max was dead, she had moved on autopilot in getting dressed. She hadn’t bothered to even tidy up.

She grabbed her pjs and then sat on her bed.

She looked at the photo of her and Max.

“Max” she sniffed and let the tears fall, “why didn’t I just…why couldn’t I have just told you last night how I felt? W-we could’ve – you might…why didn’t I just say something to make you think to make you stay? I mean I know I’m not the best at feelings but…well I like surprising you…falling in love with you was never what I expected but I-I” Miranda cut off and rubbed her eyes.

It would do her no good to be this way, to be crying over Max’s murder when she could be catching his killer.

She might find more clues at his apartment. She put the photo away again and grabbed her phone. She phoned Max’s number again and listened to his voice as she walked out of her apartment. Hitting end and then redial over and over.

Holaaa this is Max Winter’s answerphone message. I am not here right now probably because I am on a case and fighting crime with the wonderful Miranda- hey Miranda come and say hey! Ow! Miranda! If you need me you know what to do.

Miranda blinked and found herself outside of Max’s apartment. She couldn’t remember walking to Max’s apartment but it had been her goal.

She found his spare key and let herself in.

All at once the smell of Max hit her, overwhelmed her.

She sniffed and wiped her eyes, “Max you idiot why did you have to die”. She leaned against the door and took in his apartment. In front of her was his sofa, bookshelves and clutter. Organised in such a Max way.

To her right was his dining room and kitchen. And to her left, his bedroom.

Memories flooded over her as she shut her eyes.

 

“Dinner is served” Max smiled at her and placed a plate in front of her. He stood back as she looked at the fish dish he had made her.

She grinned up at him, “this is crab”.

“Ja” he replied and smiled, “Happy Birthday no wait, penblwydd Hapus”.

“Max” she smiled, “how did you even know how to cook it this way? It’s my favourite”.

“I pay attention…and I watched a lot of videos”.

Max sat next to her and held up his glass of wine. She clinked her glass against his and smiled.

“Oh before I forget” he said and pulled a present from under the table, “what is a birthday without a present?”

“Max-“

“Open it” he smiled and handed it to her. Miranda wiped her hands before accepting the present from Max.

“What is it?”

“Open it” he laughed.

Miranda huffed and opened the present. She looked quickly up at Max.

He grinned.

“You like it?”

“Max i-I how did you get this?”

“I have my ways…” Max smiled and sipped his wine.

“Thank you” she breathed and touched pendant. It was a gold M in handwriting. She had mentioned months ago that she had one as a teenager and it had upset her when it went missing.

“Here” he smiled and stood, “let me put it on you”.

Miranda nodded and handed him the necklace. He stood behind her and placed it on her neck, “here?”

Miranda touched it and adjusted the position, “there”.

Max nodded and clasped it shut. She smiled.

“Thank you”.

 

Miranda opened her eyes and touched her necklace. She brought the pendant to her lips and kissed it. Shutting her eyes as she did.

“Help me” she murmured to it before she moved to Max’s kitchen.

Maybe he had been running low on food.

She opened his fridge and found nothing untoward. Her stomach growled at her as she saw a dish of leftovers.

She grabbed it and put it on the side and took a fork from Max’s drawers.

She stabbed at it before she heard Max’s cynicism over her culinary skills in her ear.

“Leftovers taste so much better when you actually heat them up Miranda”.

Miranda removed the fork and put the food in the oven and turned it on.

“There happy?” she muttered.

“Very. Getting a good meal into you is very difficult. Now, wine goes very nice with a lasagne, red is the best choice. I always make sure I have a small bottle on hand if I want just a glass”.

Miranda looked at his wine collection and found a small bottle. She opened it and poured herself a glass.

“Nooo Miranda you need to let it breathe!”

“Shut up” she muttered, “I don’t have time to let it breathe”.

Max laughed, “philistine”.

“Wine snob” she replied and drank some of the wine. It was smooth and fruity, but probably did need to be given time to breathe.


Miranda wandered around his apartment with her glass as she looked at Max’s book collection.

“Well you weren’t out getting new books” she said and had a look at the books on Max’s side table.

“Always a Detective story”, she opened up the top book and smiled at the inscription.

“To Max, in a time of fear, you will always do right, Love Papa”.

She sat down and rested her glass to one side as she looked at the book.

“So you made it up with Daddy then” she said and the voice of Max returned.

“Of course. My Dad is all I have in Munich”.

“Maybe I’ll make amends with my Dad”.

“You probably should, you never know when your last conversation will become your actual last”.

“Why are you even here?” she asked with a scowl.

Max laughed, “you know I am just in your head. You are replying to yourself”.

“So why do you sound so much like Max then?”

“Because you know me”.

“Doesn’t explain it”.

Max chuckled, “ja that’s it deny your feelings again Miranda. Foods nearly ready by the way. Please drink and eat at my table?”

“Sure” she replied and grabbed the glass, she looked back towards Max’s book and then the oven timer went off.

“Oh” she chuckled softly, despite being a figment of her imagination, Max was right about the food being nearly ready.


She sat at his dining room table and began to eat.

“You see much better”.

Miranda smiled, “you are not always right Max”.

“I am. You just refuse to admit that someone other than you can be right”.

Miranda sipped her wine, “of course”.

Max laughed.

She knew it was stupid to keep answering the voice in her head, the Max who lived there. He hadn’t even been dead a day and she was acting very stupid already.

“Not stupid, you are just coping the way you cope”.

“And that is?”

“Burying your feelings. I never knew you felt this strongly about me Miranda. It’s very flattering”.

“Don’t” but she felt a grin form on her face.

“Bery bery flattering”.

Miranda shook her head with a small smile, “I wish I could’ve told you”.

“I know”

“And now I’m sat in your apartment eating day old lasagne talking to myself”.

“Well we all have to have a hobby. You enjoying your food?”

“I am…haven’t eaten much today”.

“I know, you are very bad at looking after yourself you know?”

“I know. I-I get focused on things way too quickly. It’s hard for me to not spiral down”.

“You can’t spiral again now you know? You need to find my killer and stay alive”.

“But-“

“No buts Blakey. Even your own very toned one”.

“Oh shut up” she grumbled and finished her wine.

“If you need to think of me to cope then do it. It harms nobody Miranda”.

“It’s not very healthy”.

“No…but I used to eat my weight in cookies as a kid and I turned out okay”.

Miranda finished her lasagne and sighed.

“You are always welcome to stay here. You need to rest if you want to find my killer”.

Miranda nodded and stood.

She felt the ghost of Max’s hands on hers. Shutting her eyes she thought back to the night of her birthday.

 

Miranda stood and grabbed their empty plates. Max stood and carried their now empty glasses to the kitchen with her.

She moved to put them in the sink but Max stopped her. Touching her hands, “no” he smiled, “plates can be washed any day. Today is your birthday”.

“Max they need to soak”.

“I know” Max laughed and squeezed her hand, “but let me do that. Go and relax. I told you earlier that I want to give you a good birthday”.

“I don’t mind washing up” she replied.

“Well then we can do that later. Come on” Max took her hand and dragged her to the living room.

“What is a birthday without a cake?” he smiled and pulled a lid off a box. She grinned as she saw it was from her favourite little deli.

Marco’s.

“Marco said you always pick the blueberry muffin so I had a giant one made”.

Miranda laughed, “Max that’s-“ she looked at him and then at his lips and cut off.

“That’s very thoughtful of you” she settled on and kissed his cheek, “thank you”.

Max smiled and rubbed her arm, “I just want the best for you”.

 

Miranda had fully intended on searching Max’s bedroom for more clues as to why he went out last night, but as soon as her body hit his bed, her eyes grew heavy.

“Oh just get over yourself” Max snorted, “sleep”.

“Fine. Fine”.

She took her shoes and jacket off before getting into his bed, it smelt so strongly of limes, coffee, an inherently Max smell, that she fell asleep within seconds of her head touching the pillow.

Chapter Text

Miranda woke up as the early morning sun streamed and danced against her face. For a moment she was confused as to why she was in Max’s bed. And why she was in his bed and clothed.

“Dirty thoughts about me and it is not even 6”.

Miranda rubbed her head, “shut up”.

Max laughed, “you thought it”.

In her mind he was lying beside her, watching her with childish glee.

“So what if I did. You would’ve said it”.

“I can’t help it if you spend every waking moment thinking about me Schatz”.

Miranda rolled her eyes, “least you’re not speaking Welsh”.

“I don’t know much Welsh. I can speak German to you if you prefer? Only your German is very limited. And Welsh doesn’t fit well on my tongue”.

“Guess we’re sticking with English then”.

“Sounds good to me”.

She got out of bed and looked back at the bed.

At the imprint of the her on his bed.

“Get dressed” Max said, “and have breakfast? Cake, chocolate, anything. Please?”

“Max…”

“For me. Look after yourself for me”.

“I’m fine. And I’m not hungry, I had a really nice meal last night-“

“Leftovers and wine do not count”.

“They do. So shut up, if you are so insistent on staying in my head, behave”.

 


Miranda was sat at Max’s desk an hour later. Coffee in one hand and files in the other. She pulled up reports they had finished. Or rather she had finished, and Max had irritated her to finish.

“Detective Blake…what are you doing here” Inés asked from the doorway.

“I work here” she replied.

Inés nodded, “still in last nights clothes? Did you go home?”

“I did…I uh just didn’t have anything clean to wear”.

“Liar”.

She fought the urge to reply to Max and rubbed her head, “I stayed at Max’s…fell asleep on his sofa”.

Inés nodded, “if you need to go home and shower. I think that might be appreciated”.

“I don’t smell” Miranda said, but subtly sniffed her arm.

She didn’t smell, she smelt of Max. The smell comforted her.

“No, but I would’ve thought you wanted to be in fresher clothes for Max’s memorial. It is at 4”.

“Oh...oh uhm, yeah…I might go back home at lunch then…if it’s okay with you”.

“Of course”.

Inés approached Miranda and patted her shoulder, “we all care about you Miranda. If you need anything then you just need to ask”.

“I’m fine”.

“Liar”

“Shut up” she hissed.

Inés raised an eyebrow, “Detective?”

“Sorry…no I-I was just talking to myself…Max’s notes…he always left breadcrumbs of facts about me in them”.

“Ah yes, Detective Winter was never formal when it came to his work”.

“No no he wasn’t” Miranda agreed with a half-smile. Inés nodded, “I am putting in an order for breakfast. Croque monsieur…would you like one?”

“i-I”

“Yes you would. You are hungry”.

She nodded, “I would…thank you Inés”.

“That’s my Blakey”.

Inés nodded and moved to her office.

She glared at Max who had now decided to appear in her chair, he grinned dopily at her.

“Oh come on I am just looking out for you!”

“You are in my head. You are not doing anything like it!”

“Miranda Efa Blake”.

“Okay that is not – how did you even know my middle name. I’ve never told you”.

“Well okay, one thing, again, in your head. What is in your head is in my words…and the other. I read your file remember?”

“Fine whatever. If you aren’t going to be useful can you at least help me out? You know offer tips?”

“I can. They will just be your tips but I can help”.

“Detective Blake?”

Miranda looked at Inés standing in the doorway, “y-yeah?”

Inés looked at her with a knowledge that suggested she had watched Miranda talk to herself.

“The food is being delivered. Would you go and collect it from the door?”

Miranda nodded.

“Thank you”.

 


Miranda walked to the main entrance.

“I am very proud of you for saying yes to the food you know”.

“Shut up”.

“I am” he laughed, “seriously. It is a big thing for you to accept help I know”.

“Yeah well if I didn’t say yes to Inés I would’ve been given more of Roberto’s chocolate scorpions”.

“He doesn’t eat scorpions Miranda”.

“Yes he does”.

“No he- wait that’s what the crunch was? Well now they are ruined forever for me”.

Miranda rolled her eyes but smiled as she walked to the main entrance as a man with a brown bag appeared. He smiled at her.

“Inés Villegas?”

“No Miranda Blake. But Inés sent me down. Two croque monsieur’s?”

“Sí. And two coffees. One latte and one black americano”.

Miranda accepted the bag and coffee cups with a nod before moving back up towards her boss’ office.


Inés ordered her to sit and eat in her office with her before she was allowed to go and sit back at Max’s desk. Whilst it annoyed to feel as though she was being babied, it put the voice of Max to the back of her mind so she didn’t feel the strong need to reply to him.

It didn’t stop it sifting through every couple of minutes.

“Look at you two. First you couldn’t stand each-other and you are eating breakfast together. Maybe I should’ve died earlier”.

Miranda sipped her coffee as Inés surveyed her.

“Mama Inés is watching, quick hide that smile. You can’t let her know you are a human”.

She finished her breakfast and looked at Inés, “thank you for that Inés…I’ve not had one for a long time…what was the bakery you used?”

“Some deli place…Marcos’ I think”.

“I like Marcos’ he makes good muffins”.

“That is good to know”.

“Max got him to make me a big blueberry one for my birthday a few weeks ago…”.

Inés nodded.

“Ahh the blueberry muffin. That was a really good night”.

“It was a really good night” Miranda echoed, “sorry I-I’m keeping you from your work…I’ll go back over his reports and see if I missed anything”.

“Remember to go home at lunch to change” Inés said and looked as her Detective moved back to Max’s desk. She watched her as she looked up from time to time at her own desk. As though someone was sat there watching her.

It was still early and most of her Detectives were wandering in and out of the workplace. Neither paid any attention to her so neither noticed Miranda, on occasion, talk to herself.


Miranda looked up and willed Max to be stood beside her.

When he failed to appear she huffed, “there must be something in these files”.

“You have been over them three times Miranda. If there was something, you would’ve found out by now”.

“I know but-

“Come on, it’s nearly lunch. You promised Inés you would go home and get changed into something else”.

“I know” she sighed and rubbed her head as Roberto walked in.

“Chocolate?” he offered.

“M’fine thanks Roberto”.

Roberto nodded and put a piece of chocolate down anyway. He looked at the files, “Max did not have good handwriting no?”

“Hey!”

Miranda shot a look at her desk.

Roberto eyed her for a second before changing tact, “but what is messiness for one person is neatness to another”.

“Precisely” Miranda mused.

“He is just being nice to you because he insulted me”.

Miranda took the chocolate, “if you’ll excuse me Roberto I need to go home and get changed”.

Roberto nodded and held up a report, “and I need to go play nice with Inés. Is she in a good mood?”

“Is she ever?”


Roberto moved to Inés office and shut the door, he put down the file on her desk.

“So?”

“Based on her file I would suggest 3 to 4 mg a day”.

“And that means?”

“Two tablets a night before bed”.

Inés nodded, “thank you for doing this. I do not trust Blake to go and get tablets but she has changed in the last 24 hours”.

“I think she is hallucinating Max” Roberto broached.

“You think so too?”

“Mm..I happened to speak about his handwriting and she looked at her chair. As though someone was sat there”.

“We cannot do anything until we are sure she is suffering, like I said when I asked you to prepare medication. Until we know she needs it we cannot act on it”.

“Do you think she’s not sleeping then?”

“I think she slept last night but that was in Max’s apartment. I want to see what she does when she is at her own home. I will say you are busy at his so she cannot go there for a few days”.

Roberto nodded.

“Do you think she is going to have a breakdown?”

“She has been strong so far…but I would not rule it out”.


At her own apartment, Miranda showered and got herself freshened up. She put the photo of her and Max beside her bed as she deliberated on what to wear.

“Blue shirt Blakey…I always thought it looked so much better on you”.

“Than on you?”

“Oh joke all you want” he laughed from her bed and lay back, “your bed is comfy”.

“Yours is comfier”.

“Mmm. Oh and a strip show now! I have been lucky”.

“You’re not getting a strip show” Miranda grumbled and got into her blue shirt and black trousers.

“No” Max said, “no too much like old Blakey…start again. Go with the orange shirt. That’s it. Much more the Blakey I know”.

Miranda looked at herself in her mirror and clutched the pendant resting against her neck.

“Let me be brave” she breathed into it.

“You will be Schatz”.

Miranda looked at Max in her mirror and smiled, “will I?”

“Of course”.

“I love you” she whispered as tears fell.

“I know” he smiled sadly, “be brave Miranda Blake. Do me proud”.

 


 

Despite being dead for only a day, Inés had ordered a memorial service. Max had been a friend to all at the station, most were bereft upon hearing the news that he had been killed.

An empty room, a photo of Max.

Six officers made it, which was understandable given it was 4PM midweek. Life still went on even if a man had been murdered.

Miranda looked at the photo of Max they had chosen.

“That does not get my best side I mean look at me!”

Miranda smirked against her better judgement, “keep quiet would you” she whispered.

“Pfft no chance. Look at the photo they chose!”

Miranda eyed it, “not bad”.

“I look fat!”

Miranda rolled her eyes and approached Inés.

Inés smiled, “beunos tardes Miranda”.

“Beunos Tardes Inés”.

“Max would hate the photo” Inés said and laughed.

“He would” Miranda agreed.

“So why did you pick it Inés!”

Her elbow jerked back, as though hitting Max in the stomach. A gesture that didn’t go unnoticed by Inés.

“Here” Inés said and handed her a cup of red wine.

“We’re at work” Miranda blurted.

“Hey I am dead and you get wine? That’s not fair”.

“It is just the one” Inés said.

“I knew you were her favourite”.

Miranda accepted the cup and glared up at Max.

Max grinned at her, “is it nice?”

She sipped it and shrugged.

Inés eyed Roberto and nodded.

“Did you want to say a few things about Max, Miranda?”

“Oh go on, please say something about me. And you have to be nice too! I wish I could take a video of this moment”.

“Shut up Max” Miranda grumbled and caught herself. She sipped the wine and ignored the concerned look Inés shot her.

Max grinned beside Inés, “go on then” he looked at Inés and pulled a face. One that he’d never pull if he was alive.

Miranda smiled at him, “idiot” she muttered before she looked around at the faces in the small crowd.

Roberto, Inés. Davíd…Luisa, Angelo and Kurt.

“Max uhm, Detective Winter…Max was a very good man…with a very uhm, friendly attitude to things. To people. He never gave up on anyone”.

“Ja not even you”.

“And he was a very good police officer”.

“Pfft the best obviously”.

“When I was first partnered with Max it was tough”.

“Ja no kidding, you were very frosty”.

“But after a while he worked his way into being one of my closest friends”.

“Only friend for a while. Well, actually you got friendly with me and then suddenly my ex and my best mate wanted to be your friend too. And Joan liked you more than me, then Rico…Roberto…Inés. You know for someone who claims nobody likes them you seem to have a lot of friends Miranda”.

“He’s saved my life more times than I – he saved me. And I will regret every day that I couldn’t return the favour and stop him from being shot…I didn’t realise just how much he…Max was a very good friend to me and I failed him”.

“Schatz it wasn’t your fault. You know I probably annoyed the killer into shooting me, you’ve threatened to shoot me a few times. But you never would because you are in love with me”.

“Oh shut up Max!” Miranda snapped, “shut up shut up shut up” she cried and dropped her cup of wine. Roberto moved quick and pulled Miranda into his arms as she sobbed. Inés ordered her officers out as Roberto rubbed Miranda’s back.

“Shh shh” he breathed.

Miranda gripped Roberto’s shirt as she cried.

Inés nodded at Roberto and left the room.

“Max” Miranda tried.

“Easy Schatz…deep breaths”.

“It’s okay” Roberto muttered and pulled back, “would you like some water?”

“i-I I”

“Come on Schatz it’s just water, Roberto cares”.

“Please”.

Roberto nodded and helped to a seat before he moved to the back of the room.

Max sat beside her, “what was all that about huh?”

“I miss you” she sniffed.

“I know, I know you do Schatz. But crying and screaming isn’t going to solve anything”.

“It might”.

Max laughed and nodded, “ja I guess it might”. His hand rested on hers.

“Max” Miranda breathed, “I haven’t a clue where to start, what do I do?”

“Drink this” Roberto said beside her and handed her the water.

Miranda accepted the water and sipped it.

She looked right and Max disappeared once more. She sipped the water again and rubbed her face.

“We all grieve in our own way” Roberto said as he sat beside her, “you loved Max didn’t you?”

Miranda nodded.

“I never told him… I wanted to tell him… I should’ve”.

Roberto shrugged, “I think on some level he knew?”

“Yeah right” Miranda replied and finished the water.

“You know first day I met you two I asked Inés what it was like having two married Detectives working together”.

Miranda shot him a look, “you did?”

“Oh yes. You were very confusing. When she said you weren’t I caught the looks instead. You both stared at each other when the other was not looking. I think Max loved you too”.

Miranda fiddled with her cup.

“Oh Schatz you fell for the oldest trick in the book”.

“I don’t… I-I” Miranda began before she slumped against Roberto’s side.

Chapter Text

Roberto lay Miranda across the seats as Inés walked in.

“Is she finally out of it?”

Roberto nodded, “she was speaking uh talking to herself. Talking to Max”.

Inés nodded.

“I had not realised just how much this would affect her”.

“If Max knew-“

“Max is dead. He knew her better than we do. He knew what might happen to her if he died” Inés stated and stroked Miranda’s hair back.

“Take her to his. I’ve changed my mind she can stay there if it helps her. But give her a prescription of medication. I need her strong. We all need her strong if she's going to solve this”.

Inés stared down at Miranda as her eyes twitched.

“She’ll wake in a few hours. I’ll take her to Max's” Roberto replied and gathered Miranda in his arms. In his opinion she was far too light for her height. He’d be inclined to feed her chocolate and biscuits if he didn’t want to get throttled again by Miranda.

Inés opened the door for him and stopped him, “we have to be careful” she stated.

“Sí”.

“He keeps a spare key under the flowerpot outside his door”.

Roberto nodded.


 

Miranda woke up groggy. Her head felt heavy as though she had tried to outdrink Max and Christian again.

Max.

“Max” she murmured.

“Right here Schatz…I think Roberto drugged you”.

Miranda sat up and realised she was in his apartment. More specifically, in his bed. Again.

“This is starting to be a habit” she murmured. She saw she was in yesterday’s clothes, another habit.

“Not one I mind”.

Miranda rolled her eyes and saw that whoever had put her here, had left water.

She eyed it suspiciously.

A note was underneath the glass.

 

Miranda,

I am sorry for drugging you. It was in your best interests. There is a bottle of sleeping tablets that I think you need to take. 2 a night, no more and do not consume alcohol with them.

We care about you.

Roberto

 

Ps the water is not drugged :P

 

Miranda huffed and sipped the water, “I’m fine. I don’t need tablets”.

“I know you. You do. You only slept well the last two nights because you had a drink and because they drugged you”.

“I’m fine” she repeated.

“That’s why you are having a conversation with a dead guy then is it?”

“No”.

“Oh so totally normal people have conversations with dead people then?”

“Of course. There’s psychics...mediums”.

“Yeah last week you called them phony crooks who are looking for ways to exploit the living when they are most vulnerable”.

“We all have to earn money”.

Max laughed, “Schatz…take the pills…”

“No” she said softly, “no I’m fine”. She looked at him, “I have you don’t I?”

Max nodded, “of course. And I am always by your side. Even in the shower. Speaking of, make your way to the shower”.

Miranda rolled her eyes but made her way to Max’s shower. She turned it on and flinched at her reflection.

“You might not feel you need the tablets Miranda Blake, but you do”.

Miranda nodded, “I’ll keep them” she said softly and unbuttoned her shirt. She looked at Max in the mirror and smiled.

“Strip show”.

“Strip show” he grinned back.

 “If you were really here I’d say join me”.

“Schatz if you were stripping naked in front of me we wouldn’t be showering”.


 

Miranda drove Max’s car to work. Feeling suddenly sorry for the car who had lost an owner. She stroked the wheel as she looked up at the station.

“Family heirloom…suppose you’ll be going back to Munich…maybe I’ll ask Max’s Dad if I can keep you”.

Max sat beside her and smiled, “you have nice driving Schatz I am sure my Dad will let you keep her”.

“Thank you”.

“Don’t go over my files again today Schatz. You need to prove you are not obsessive? Maybe ask to go look at the crime scene. Don't give them ideas that you can't cope”.

Miranda nodded, “good idea”.

“They are all yours”.

“That’s why I said it”.

Max laughed and followed her into the station.


Miranda walked to Inés’ office, ignoring the apologetic smile Roberto sent her.

She noticed Inés was on the phone yelling again so she waited.

“Dios you do not know what it is doing to her!”

Miranda frowned.

“I know it has only been a few days but she is crazy! I am warning you, sort your mess out or I will make it worse!”

Inés hung up and looked at Miranda. She nodded for her to enter but Miranda moved towards Max’s desk. Inés was hiding something; she was sure of it.

“Do you have a plan?”

Miranda looked up and nodded, “I do”.

“Blake, can I speak with you a moment”.

“Oo she used Blake. You are in trouble now. Knew I was the favourite”.

“Shut up” she replied and followed Inés into her office.


“I am very concerned with you Miranda”.

“I’m fine Inés”.

“You are very far from fine. Do not try to convince me otherwise. Are you eating?”

“When I don’t get drugged yes”.

Inés nodded, but didn’t deny authorising it happening.

“Are you currently hallucinating Max?”

“What?”

“Max, do you see him right now?”

“No, no what- I’m not hallucinating Max, Inés”.

“Mmhmm”.

“I’m not!”

“You so are” Max grinned in her ear.

Miranda jumped and looked at him, “shut up” she hissed.

“Would you like to change your answer, Detective Blake?”

“I’m fine” Miranda repeated, “i-I sometimes hear his voice. That’s it. Just making Max comments”.

Inés nodded.

“Go away Detective Winter”.

Miranda looked around the room and then at Inés.

“Has he gone?”

Miranda nodded.

“I am going to take you off this case. It is putting you under a lot of pressure too quickly. I have an excellent team of Detectives who will find his killer”.

“No” Miranda said, “no please Inés”.

“You are going to be working in my office. Where I can see you at all times”.

“Inés!”

“It is not up for arguments Blake. You will eat in here, you will work in here. If I catch you anywhere else I will suspend you for a month. If you work on Max’s case in any way I will suspend you for longer. Is that understood?”

“b-But i-“

“Is that understood?”

“Wow she’s grouchy”.

Miranda ignored Max and nodded, “yes ma’am”.


Being escorted to her desk to gather her laptop and notebook was, safe to say, humiliating. She sat in a chair in the corner of Inés room and stared at her case reports from weeks ago. As Max was dead and his reports were still half finished, her job was to finish them as best she could.

At lunch she was escorted to the bathroom and then the canteen to collect food. Her only solace, was Max.

Despite disappearing when Inés yelled, he had soon reappeared again. Sensing she needed a source of comfort.

“Inés is only doing this because she cares. And besides, she doesn’t know what you get up to after work. You can work out who killed me from home”.

Miranda looked at Inés before she returned her eyes to Max.

Raising an eyebrow in answer to his words.

“You can, you are very clever. You know how to break into places, you can easily get in here for any files or notes you need. You have full use of my apartment. I have diaries there. You will find out who Miranda”.

“Detective Blake?”

Miranda looked at Inés, “yes?”

“Where are you going to be staying tonight?”

“My apartment”.

Inés nodded, “so you will be there at 9?”

“I usually go for late night runs on Thursdays”.

“It is Wednesday”.

“Is it? Guess this week feels a lot longer than it is” Miranda replied, “why would I need to be at my apartment at 9?”

Inés shrugged, “in case someone wanted to stop by”.

“I don’t like visitors”.

“You liked me visiting you”.

“You brought wine” she replied.

“Ahh so my wine was what you really wanted to see? Not my charming good looks or conversation? And you call me a wine snob”.

Inés looked at Miranda sadly as she directed her attention to the floor and started to have a conversation with it.

“I’m not a wine snob Max. I appreciate a good vintage”.

Inés placed a hand on her arm, “Detective Blake” she said softly, “novio” she added, “do you need a…tea?”

Miranda looked up at the contact, “I thought you said tea was for outside, and that coffee was the only drink in your station”.

“I can make an exception once or twice…do you like your tea as weak as your coffee?”

Miranda nodded.

“Okay then…I will also see if I cannot steal some of Davíd’s chocolate biscuits”.

“This is so unfair, you get biscuits and tea and I get the floor”.

“Don’t be dead then” she said to him.

Max rolled his eyes, “such a lot of effort”.

“Worth it. We could’ve gone on a date. I would’ve happily sat through you boring me to death about the Munich football team...what are they called again...?”

“Eughh Miranda I don’t support that crappy team!”

Miranda smiled at him.

Max smiled back at her, “you are teasing me!”

“Of course I am”.

Chapter Text

As Miranda conversed with her imagined Max. Inés watched from the doorway. She had initially thought about suspending Miranda but given the woman’s past and her medical records she thought it best not to. It would not do well to lose two Detectives.

Besides, Miranda was smiling.

“Here” Inés said and handed her a mug of weak tea, “Davíd has hidden his biscuits. Sorry”.

Miranda sipped the tea and nodded.

“Thank you”.

Max stroked her leg. Wanting her attention once more.

Miranda smirked at him and looked at Inés, “is there any developments on Max’s killer? Any evidence from the crime scene?”

“Miranda” Inés sighed, “you are too close to this, you just need to focus on the reports. You are the only one who can read Max’s writing”.

She nodded, “I just wanted to as-Max will you stop feeling me up!” Miranda suddenly snapped.

Max laughed, “pay attention to me then”.

“You are so annoying” she grumbled, “like a dog who wants to play”.

“I want to play with you? Ja of course”.

Miranda rolled her eyes and sipped her tea as she continued to type up the reports.

 


Later that day, Miranda took a bag of her clothes and essential items and put them on Max’s bed.

“Moving in already? And so soon in our relationship” Max teased from the doorway. He approached her and wrapped his arms around her waist.

“Totally normal to be felt up by my own head but okay” Miranda muttered and placed a hand on her stomach. Over Max's hands.

Once, a life time ago, they had played husband and wife. Max had hugged her from behind and she hadn’t wanted to punch him. Much.

She could feel the way his beard tickled her neck and she smiled.

“Let me go” she muttered, “I need to eat”.

“Ja you and I need to discuss your eating habits whilst you are here Miranda. Firstly, you eat. Secondly, you drink something other than weak tea”.

“Wine?”

Max let her go and sighed, “Miranda-“.

“Max I really am fine. Look I didn’t bin the tablets Roberto gave me. And I even ate lunch today”.

“You ate half a packet of biscuits with Inés. That is not lunch that is snacking”.

“You are just jealous that I got to eat biscuits with Inés and you didn’t get any”.

“Didn’t get any?”

“Max”.

Max laughed, “ja I am very jealous I didn’t get any”.

Miranda shook her head and smiled, “shut up and make yourself useful would you? Think of all the people who wanted you dead”.

“Won’t take long”.

“Max”.

“I mean it” he laughed, “Schatz you know me” he stroked her cheek and she smiled at him, “how many people do I piss off?”

“Not many”.

“Exactly, now, go to the kitchen. I think you saw some ingredients to make a meal. You know those things that are full of nutrition and make up decent food”.

“Yes yes I know. Red or white?”

“White”.


 

Miranda made enough food for two, choosing to save half for her lunch tomorrow to stop Max from nagging her to eat and poured herself a large glass.

She ate most of the meal and had drank the best part of two bottles of wine before looking at the tablets Roberto had given her.

“Two before bedtime Blakey”.

“I’m not taking them” she grumbled and made her way towards the bedroom, “really Max...I’m fine”.

“Why?”

“I don’t need them. I’m sleeping fine”.

“Ja for now” Max sighed and rubbed her back, “don’t take them if you do not want…save them”.

“Save them?”

“Mm…bed Blake. If you aren’t going to take the tablets now you will need to hide them in case they check up on you”.

“I have a secret pocket in my blazer”.

Max smiled and nodded, “good”.

“Max?”

“Ja?”

“How can I feel you touching me? Y-You don’t exist. You are just in my head”.

Max smiled sadly, “because you are lost in your dreams Schatz”.

“What?”

“You are dreaming, this isn’t me…I am close though. Promise…remember Inés’ phone calls? She said she is crazy…sort your mess out”.

“But Inés would- Max? a-They wouldn’t let me see your head. Your face…nothing more than your elbow”.

“Ja because you could tell who I was with something other than my elbow? Nobody else knows I have that scar.”

“Max be serious! I-I don’t think you’re dead. Max? Max!”


Miranda shot up awake, “Max!” she cried out and clutched her chest.

She breathed hard and fumbled to turn on the light. The tablets crashed to the floor as she did. Miranda sighed and picked them up. Looking at the label she held it up underneath the lamplight.

“Do not exceed recommended dosage…2 a night…do not drink alcohol whilst taking…” she replaced the bottle and rubbed her face.

She couldn’t remember how she got into bed, the last thing she remembered was eating dinner.

“Max?”

When Max didn’t appear instantly she shrugged, maybe her mind was giving her a few hours without his babble.

She buried herself back into the covers, clutching Max’s pillow tightly before she heard the sound.

The knocking.

“Miranda?!”

“Max?”

Miranda got out of bed and approached the door as it went again.

“Max?”

“Miranda!”

She fumbled with the key and opened it. Max smiled at her, “did you miss me so much you decided to camp out in my bed?”

“m-Max?” Miranda breathed, not daring to move. Her eyes filled with tears.

“Max” she repeated and cried, “god dammit where the hell have you been?!”

“Someone wanted to kill me. I had to lie low, sorry. When Inés told me you haven’t been coping. That you keep talking to yourself…I had to come back”.

“Well actually, I mean strictly speaking…”

Max chuckled, “well can I come in?”

Miranda nodded and let him in.

“Coffee?”

“That does sound good but maybe later, I want to talk to you”.

“Okay” she smiled, “make it quick though I am fighting off many urges to both slap you and pin you to that wall and kiss you”.

“Which wall that wall?” Max asked and pointed to the one behind him.

“Any wall” Miranda replied, “nearest one”.

“You should use that wall, it’s my favourite” Max grinned.

“Max!”

Max laughed, “okay okay…have you been eating?”

“Yes”.

“Really?”

“Yes really! I reheated that lasagne and I made myself something tonight. I’m eating Max”.

“Good. You need to stay healthy you know?”

“I know…are you back then?”

“I’m not leaving your side” Max nodded and stroked her face.

“You uhm, you’re cold” she breathed.

“I am” he said, “why don’t you warm me up”.

Miranda nodded and reached out to touch him, to pull him closer to her lips. She reached for his shirt and her hand fell through the air, like a knife cutting snow. Max disappeared before her eyes and she fell to her knees in despair.

Chapter Text

Miranda watched the sun rise from the floor of Max’s apartment. Her heart was ripped to shreds and so she couldn’t bring herself to move. She sniffed as the sun caught her face.

The door was still open. As though Max had just popped out for a walk.

His neighbours would be up soon, although none would see his door open. He had the top floor. She could stay here for the rest of her life and she doubted anyone would know.

She did not know how long she sat on the floor. She couldn’t remember the time she had woken up. A warm hand touched her shoulder and she shivered.

She was brought to stand up and guided gently towards the sofa.

“I might be just a figment of your imagination Miranda Blake. But you know how much Max cared. He cared very much about you”.

Miranda nodded at Max’s false words.

He knelt before her, “you won’t cope without me huh?”

“n-No”.

“Won’t or can’t? There’s a big difference”.

“Can’t” Miranda whispered, “Max” she sniffed.

Max nodded, “then you know what you need to do”.

Miranda nodded, “I do”.

Max smiled then, before he spoke, “in a time of fear, you will always do right”.

“Papa Winter”.

“A very wise man”.

Miranda nodded and hugged herself, “that was a mean trick you pulled on me last night”.

“I know. But I thought it might cheer you up”.

“What? Making me believe you are real and not dead wa-“ Miranda cut off and Max smiled at her.

“Are your gears spinning?”

“They are” Miranda said, “Inés knows something I am sure of it. Why didn’t they let me see your head?”

Max smiled and nodded, “go on”.

“Because you aren’t actually dead!”

Max’s smile fell a fraction, “Miranda-“

“No no think about it. Please” she smiled, “it makes a lot of sense really if you think about it”.

“It really doesn’t”.

“It does. Now, I am going to have a very long, very hot shower. Are you joining me or are you going to mope in self pity out here?”

“I can’t do anything to you” he reminded her.

“No…but I have a very vivid imagination and a pair of hands. You wanna direct?”

 


Miranda sipped her coffee from the chair in Inés room and smiled. Despite the crazy night she had, she was at work early. Early enough to snoop in Inés' office. To her credit, she found various notes in Max’s scribble as well as a password to an e-mail account she didn’t recognise.

“Find anything Schatz?”

“Mmm an email account and some German. Translate for me?” she held them up to him and he pouted.

“I am not Google Miranda”.

Miranda grinned wickedly at him, “well I hope not. Google doesn’t get me going like you do”.

Max chuckled and shook his head, “very nice. Like your face when you –

“Detective Blake?”

Miranda looked up at Inés.

“Uhh”

“What are you doing?”

“I uhm, I’m looking for some post its…I want to try and focus on the main areas of Max’s scribbled notes…see if I can speed up translating all of his mess”.

Inés nodded and approached her. She opened the drawer beneath Miranda’s hands and handed her a wad of pink post its.

“Is that all?”

Miranda nodded and moved back to her seat, “I uhm, I sent Roberto off to go get us a breakfast”.

Inés nodded, “thank you Detective”.

Miranda nodded and opened up the reports and began to write on the post its.

“Does Inés know you can speak Welsh?” Max grinned beside her.

Miranda kept writing and carefully looked at him with a grin that matched his.

 


Roberto knocked and entered with their breakfast, he smiled at Inés before looking wary at Miranda.

“I’m not going to throttle you” she said.

“You did”.

“Yeah that’s because he drugged me Max”.

Roberto nodded and nervously laughed as he handed her breakfast over. He didn’t quite know how to deal with this new Miranda. The one who spoke to the phantom Max that only she could see.

Inés had told him to let her speak to this Max. That once the investigation was over she’d be better. Back to normal.

“Uh so how is Max today?” he asked carefully.

Miranda ignored his question and sipped her coffee, “was Marco busy?”

Roberto looked at Inés who shrugged.

“Uh sí. But he made time when I said it was for you”.

Miranda smiled.

“That is very creepy of him”

“What? Roberto?”

“No Marco. Ever wondered if someone else has a favourite?”

Miranda shrugged, “Marco’s just friendly Max. Like you”.

“He’s creepy friendly. I am nice friendly”.

Roberto rolled his eyes, “this is getting weird even for me” he said, “I am going to go back to the mortuary”.


Miranda sipped her coffee and checked on the translations she had found on Inés’ desk.

“Soo…keep hidden. Lie low? What?”

“Did you say something Detective?”

Miranda looked at Inés, “uh no sorry…just going over his reports. Max made a few mistakes”.

Inés nodded.

She eyed the notes and typed quickly. Going from translations of keep hidden and lie low to she cannot suspect a thing or she dies.

“You know, this could be all a mess of translations”.

“Could be…”

“But?”

“But why in this” she whispered low, “why in German…why did you write it Max?”

“Why indeed?”

“I have to go out for a few hours Detective. Roberto said he needs a hand in the mortuary, Luisa is ill”.

Miranda looked up, “what? The mortuary?”

“Well that is where Roberto works” Inés replied dryly.

“Come on Miranda time to play with dead bodies. And hey you might even see more reports on my body”.

Miranda brightened at that thought, but scowled at Inés, “so he’s babysitting me?”

“Sí”.

“I really am fine Inés. I don’t need to be babysat”.

“Your inclination to talk to Max makes me doubt otherwise. Speaking of, make sure to take Max with you. I don’t want him in my office”.

Miranda looked at the space Max had been occupying.

Max shrugged, “you reply to me...she's accepted that I exist to you. She’s just humouring you, so Schatz, play along”.

“Where Max goes I go”.

Inés nodded.


Max sat on one of the tables, swinging his legs as he made faces at Roberto.

Miranda fought to not laugh as he imitated Roberto.

“And this is where I store the dead bodies….I cut open holes in their chests to store my chocolate”.

Miranda smirked, “Stop it” she hissed.

“And that is where I put my eyeliner” Max said, “I always keep a spare because I want to look my best for the bodies…the only people who will look at me the way I want…cold dead eyes. Very sexy”.

Miranda let out a laugh. Roberto looked at her, “something funny?”

“No no nothing” she glared at Max, “nobody funny here”.

“You laughed. I was being very funny. Some of my best stuff actually”.

Roberto nodded, “okay. Well, I do need some help. Put some gloves on” he passed the box across the body, offering a set to her.

“Ewww you have to touch that mans chest”.

Miranda grabbed the gloves, “what did he die of?”

“Overdose”.

Miranda nodded and put the gloves on.

"Why did he take one?"

“He had a lot of debts, took a bottle of wine and a lot of pills”.

“How many?”

“It’s not possible to say at the moment…maybe the entire bottle maybe more. Enough to not wake up”.

“Why do we have his body then? If it's a suicide” Miranda asked.

“He donated it” Roberto said.

“Oh…uh what did you need me to do?”

“Just hold the instruments”.

Miranda nodded and held up the tray of instruments.

“At least you don’t have to stick your hands in that mans stomach. Gross”.

“Max I’m trying to concentrate. Pack it in. What’s wrong with Luisa?”

“Stomach bug apparently. Personally, I think she felt threatened because I turned off her ditsy music last week”.

Miranda nodded, “well if it’s not Mahler there’s really no point”.

“Exactly”.

“Mahler? Questionable choice there Detective. I do not listen to that sort of music, I just listen to rock or heavier music. Dulls the mind”.

“Certainly makes him dull” Max grumbled, “Mahler is an exceptional composer!”

“He’s one of many” Miranda said.

“We all have our tastes” Roberto stated, “none more right than the other”.

Miranda nodded, “would that have hurt him?”

“What?”

“The overdose”

Roberto shook his head, “he would’ve just fell asleep. No pain”.

“Would Max have felt pain?”

Roberto paused and looked at Miranda. She looked at the instruments, “i-I just keep thinking about it. His last moments…would he have been in pain?”

“There have been no accurate studies to see if someone getting shot in the head would feel any pain. But I have no reason to believe he would’ve been in pain…he was shot Miranda, dead before he hit the floor, if he did feel pain it would’ve been for a fraction of a second”.

Miranda nodded, “the evidence you found…his uhm, the DNA…can I see the full report? Inés told me you only gave me the basics and that it might help me work things through”.

Roberto nodded, “if you would like”.

“I would. I-I think if I knew more about Max’s death, I would feel better…maybe stop me from seeing him so much”.

Roberto seemed to brighten at this, “of course. I’ll get everything I have for you”.

Max nodded at her, “you have a plan?”

Miranda smiled, “thank you”.


Miranda sat on one of the empty slabs beside Max and found it was comfier than she expected. Albeit just as cold as she thought it would be.

Roberto was making them both a coffee and Miranda had been left alone with Max’s report.

“So it looks like they found a body, probably knelt down. That’s why the head exploded”

“Don’t” she grumbled.

“Okay, not exploded…just not as pretty as I once was”.

“Better”.

“I knew my killer. That is why I didn’t put up a fight”.

“You would’ve. You would never have not fought for your life Max”.

“Maybe I was scared…my phone was on me, last person to call was you. Wallet left there, no money taken. A receipt for a very overpriced muffin”.

“Wait” Miranda muttered and hovered her hand over Max’s leg, “my birthday muffin?”

“Probably”.

Miranda got off the table and looked at Max, “I’m suddenly hungry”.

Max got off the table and smiled, “Marco?”

“Marco”.

Miranda took a few photos of the report and left the mortuary. As she did she nearly bumped into Roberto.

“Dios. Sorry” he chuckled, “going somewhere?”

“Toilet” Miranda said, “was going to wait for you to get back but well...time of the month...”.

Roberto stood to one side, “okay…don’t be long, I have more need of your assistance. This overdose man had a few scars on his lungs that I would like to dissect”.

“Thank god I am dead. I want to be sick”.

Miranda nodded and turned around. As she got to the end of the corridor she looked in the silver steel of the door to see if Roberto was still watching her. He wasn’t, so she grinned and turned right towards the stairs. Towards the exit.


“What do you mean you have lost her?!” Inés screeched.

Roberto gulped, “I uh uhm, she said she needed the toilet”.

“This is Miranda, Roberto. She is grieving Max and is not a stable woman!”

“Sí…I uh she –“

“What did you show her that made her do this?!”

“Well uhm, nothing we were working on…we looked at a man who had an overdose. Then she asked to see the notes that I made for Max. Said you thought it would be a good idea”.

Inés narrowed her eyes, “you think I wanted her to torture herself over Max?!”

“Well I did think that maybe she might be lying but she was…she just…she looked like she needed it”.

“Sí and now she is missing, of course she needed it” Inés replied sarcastically.

“Inés?”

Inés looked at the doorway and saw Miranda holding a box of cakes.

“Miranda!”

“I thought I told Roberto I was getting us some cakes…to say thank you for looking out for me. Sorry I forgot” she smiled at Roberto, “I hope it didn’t make you panic”.

“Is that chocolate?”

Miranda nodded, “Mhmm” she opened the box.

Roberto groaned, “okay I take it all back you can be grumpy every day if you get cakes” he took one and bit into it. Getting chocolate sauce all down his chin. He moaned at the taste, “thank you Miranda”.

Inés eyed Miranda suspiciously as she held the box out to her.

“Thank you Detective” Inés said and picked the cream filled cake.

“I should be thanking you…I know I haven’t been coping well”.

Inés nodded, “you have suffered a big loss. It is understandable”.

Miranda nodded and took the last cake. Roberto licked his fingers and then wiped them on his trousers, “how come Marco never has those cakes on show when I go in”.

“I don’t think he’s Marco’s type…even if he does wear eyeliner”.

“I don’t think you’re his type even if you do wear eyeliner”.

 Max looked at the empty box and then shot a look at her, “you said you were getting one for me”.

Inés chuckled, “it is true”.

Miranda bit into the cake and smiled softly. She licked the lemon curd from her finger and heard Max chuckle behind her ear.

“Ever so dainty Blakey”.

“Well at least you are back now. So, Roberto if you are done with Miranda we can get on with work”.

“Actually if it’s okay with you Inés, I want to finish off helping Roberto”.


Miranda put her food in the oven and looked at Max smirking at her.

“What?”

“You lied to Inés”.

“I always lie to Inés”.

“Jaaa but she never believes you”.

“She does” Miranda retorted and sipped her wine, “besides. We got what we wanted didn’t we?”

“Ja very dangerous of you to go speak with Marco”.

“Oh will you give it a rest? He’s harmless and today proved that. He just overcharges you and undercharges me”.

“He stared at your boobs!”

“Problem with that have you?”

“Uh ja?”

Miranda rolled her eyes and approached him, “Max Winter the jealous type, well I never”.

Max smiled at her, “well when you look as beautiful as you do of course I get jealous”.

Miranda smiled sadly, “Max would never say that. Try again”.

Max huffed, “fine. When you look very nice and respectable of course I get jealous. I thought you only had eyes for me?”

Miranda smiled, “better. And I do. It’s only you Max”.

Max nodded, “maybe some more wine? Then you can go over the day, see if you can remember anything else that Marco told you. There is something there Schatz I can feel it”.

Miranda nodded and grabbed her wine glass. She sat at his table and spread her notes out.

All of the translations she had found, the email address, the password. The receipts Max had from Marco and a menu from Marco.

Max leaned close and kissed her head, “very nice”.

“You want your murder solved? Stop kissing me”.

Max pressed his lips to her neck and chuckled, “distracted?”

“Pleasantly so, but lets save that behaviour for later”.

Max laughed and sat beside her, “I am always down for Blake on Blake action”.

Miranda sipped her wine and smiled, “Max” she blushed.

“You thought it” he reminded her.

“Mm but now I’m picturing it” she muttered and rubbed her head, “I need to focus on you Max not me”.

Max nodded, “okay well start looking at what that email address is for”.

Miranda nodded and grabbed the post it, pulling up the website it connected to, she logged in.

There wasn’t many emails in the inbox, so she checked junk before checking the sent box. A few emails had been left undeleted. Both addressed to Inés.

 

TO I.Villegas@ME.COM

FROM: amw@icloud.com

This has to work Inés. She cannot find out.

 

“Who?” she mumbled and clicked on the latest email, it was sent earlier in the day. After she had been to Marco’s.

 

TO: I.Villegas@ME.COM

FROM: amw@icloud.com

 

I need to see her. I don't care how. But I need to see her.

 

“Who?” Miranda groaned.

“Well lets think logically. You know there is someone Inés is hiding, or something. Let’s say she has a daughter?”

“Inés hasn’t got kids Max”.

“Oh?”

“No it’s someone she’s worried about clearly. And it’s someone this person is worried about too”.

“Someone who created a new email account just to e-mail Inés…check the deleted folder”.

Miranda clicked the deleted folder and saw two emails. Both dated the day before Max had died.

 

FROM: I.Villegas@ME.COM

TO: amw@icloud.com

 

 

For this to work, you cannot see her. I mean it. You take responsibility for the actions. I will help, so will Roberto.

 

But do you trust her abilities?

 

FROM: I.Villegas@ME.COM

TO: amw@icloud.com

 

Understood. Everything is in place, say goodbye to her.

 

“Something has been planned” Miranda muttered, “Roberto knows…Inés knows…”

“Someone has planned a goodbye” Max added.

“Exactly…hmm, maybe…maybe it’s-“ Miranda groaned as the oven timer went off.

She huffed and glared at Max.

“What?”

“I could’ve had a chance to crack it”.

“Oh please, you need to eat”.

“I need to find your killer”.

“Ja but if you collapse because you have starved yourself…”

Miranda rolled her eyes, “oh shut up” she moved to the oven and turned the timer off and paused.

“Miranda?”

Getting out her phone she stood, Max had phoned her late the night he had died.

She’d missed his phone call and had tried to phone him back but got his voice mail.

Her fingers hovered over the one he had left her. She pressed play and put it on loud speaker.

 

“Hey uh Miranda…hi…I was just…I just phoned to talk to you. Uhm, not really sure of what to say now, wish you had answered but you are probably busy running.

I’m sorry for not picking you up more you know? I mean I know you like walking but, I wish I did…Schatz…maybe one day I can teach you more German.

I have to go now, I’ll see you tomorrow though?”

 

Miranda rested against his cupboards and sniffed.

“Now why did you listen to that?” Max asked and sat beside her, “you’ve just made yourself cry”.

Miranda pulled her knees to her chest and chucked her phone away from her body, “oh shut up Max!”

She cried into her knees, “dammit why can’t you not be dead! Why did you- why were you in the Old Town!”

Max sighed, “Schatz…just go eat something…we can do this. We can discover my killer”.

Miranda glared at him.

“And you should check on your phone, you don’t want to have broken it”.

“Oh shut up” she grumbled and stood up.

She grabbed a cloth and got her reheated food out. She dumped it on the side and stabbed it with her fork.

“You know what the real question is Miranda? The one you are denying asking?”

“What?”

“Who is Inés e-mailing. You can work out who the she is by working out who the e-mailer is”.

“Oh”.

Max smiled, “exactly”.

Miranda smiled at him.

“Any ideas?”

“Someone called A”.

“Not necessarily…it’s just letters, A M W”.

“Could be initials”.

“Who do you know that’s A M W? Nobody”.

Miranda shrugged, “well then what?”

Max shrugged, “why don’t you e-mail them?”

“What?”

“E-mail them”.

“They’ll know my e-mail address”.

“Will they?”

“Well…I mean…” she trailed off and grabbed her phone. She grabbed it and brought up her e-mail account.

“So what do I say?”

“Start with hi” Max offered.

Miranda shook her head and typed.

 

TO: amw@icloud.com

FROM: M.Blake@Gmail.com

 

I know your secret. Meet me at 8 on the beach outside Heren Tapas.

 

She pressed send and looked at the e-mail account, her e-mail appeared. She waited, sipping her wine. She refreshed the page constantly until it appeared as read.

She looked at the time and then looked at Max.

“Guess you need to go”.

Miranda nodded and left the mess of her notes before she walked out of his apartment.

Chapter Text

Keeping an eye on her phone Miranda made her way towards the beach near her favourite Tapas restaurant. Max had taken her to it after a nasty case had left a bitter taste in both of their mouths and she had discovered she liked it.

Nobody was about so she leaned against the rails. She checked her emails and still saw no reply.

“I mean just because they saw your email doesn’t mean they are going to come?”

“They will Max”.

“Miranda, they might not”.

“They will Max. Whoever is behind all this will show”.

“You should have finished your dinner first at least. You are still not eating properly”.

“I’m eating enough”.

“You are certainly drinking more than enough”.

“Oh shut up” she grumbled, “I’m fine”.

She waited for half an hour before an email arrived in her inbox.

 

FROM: amw@icloud.com

TO: M.Blake@Gmail.com

 

I’m sorry

 

Attached was a picture of herself, taken from behind. She turned around and looked for the person who had taken it.

“They’ll be long gone by now”.

“I know” Miranda whispered, but it didn’t stop her from replying to the e-mail.

 

TO: amw@icloud.com

FROM: M.Blake@Gmail.com

 

Are you?

 

Almost in answer, her phone vibrated with a call from an unknown number. She answered it with some hesitation.

“Stop looking for clues, Max is dead”.

The voice was disguised, she couldn’t gather anything from it.

“I’m looking for justice”.

“You are looking in all the wrong places, your notes are good. But who would want Max dead?”

“Someone he has pissed off”.

“Think better Miranda Blake. You are very clever”.

“I know”.

“Ask him who he is?”

“Shut up Max” Miranda hissed, “I’m on the phone”.

“What?”

“Nothing”.

“Miranda…are you taking your sleeping tablets?”

Miranda’s heart skipped a beat, this person was in Max’s home. He was there. Someone was in his home.

Miranda darted up the streets towards the apartment, being as quick as she could without alerting this stranger to what she was doing, “we all have our ways of coping”.

“You are talking to Max as though he is still beside you”.

“Like I said, we all cope differently” Miranda snapped.

“That’s not healthy”

“Who are you to judge? You hide behind a voice”.

She sprinted up the stairs and saw Max’s apartment was open.

“I am not wanting people to know my identity. You can understand that surely”.

Miranda stepped into apartment and saw a figure standing in the doorway to the bedroom.

“I can” she said and hung up.

The figure tensed.

“Who are you?”

Miranda grabbed a nearby vase and approached the figure slowly, “who are you?” she asked again.

The figure turned and she saw a white ice- hockey mask, blocking her from seeing who they were. But from the height and build she guessed it was a man.

“Well?” she prompted.

He moved quick towards the door, but Miranda was quicker. Dropping the vase, she darted towards the door, but he grabbed her and turned her around, wrapping an arm around her neck. Keeping her pinned against his chest as she struggled under his weight.

She batted her hands up, struggling to knock the mask aside. She gasped for breath, “no” she groaned.

Kicking legs out, “please!” she cried, “Max help me”. She couldn’t let this man overpower her, she needed to find answers, to search for the murderer.

He tossed her aside and she cried out as her ribs slammed into Max’s table. She moved to attack again but as she tried to stand he raised the vase she had been holding and smashed it down on her head. Knocking her out.


Miranda woke up to find her head was pounding and she had fallen asleep in Max’s bed.

“No” she muttered and rubbed her head, wincing as she did. She looked left and saw a glass of water.

She sat up and cried out as she fell back to the bed, “what the hell” she muttered and pressed a hand to her side. She winced.

“Think Blakey think…you didn’t fall asleep in here…you were attacked out there”.

Miranda looked at Max and he smiled softly at her.

“Remember? You didn’t think you ran into danger. You should check your notes”.

“Oh god” she breathed and forced herself to sit up. She stood and winced as she moved into the kitchen. All of the notes from the night before were still there. Only the ones in German had been rearranged.

She touched them and saw a new post it note had appeared.

It was pressed to the receipts with a question mark on top of them.

Miranda sat down and opened her laptop, she tried to access the e-mail account but found that the password had been changed.

“Dammit” she breathed and then winced as she held her side, “ow”.

“Are you okay?”

“My side really hurts”.

Max nodded, “go look at it in the mirror…you might have broken a rib”.

Miranda nodded and stood, holding her side she made her way to the bathroom and saw the results of last night.

Her hair was matted with dried blood and as she lifted her shirt up she saw a dark bruise forming that was tender to touch.

“Well don’t touch it then”.

“You’re a fine one to talk” Miranda grumbled.

“Go on, bed Miranda”.

“No, they’ll think I’m faking and then come round” Miranda grumbled and splashed her face with water.

“You are hurt”

“I’m fine”.

“Miranda-“

“No! Roberto is in on this as is Inés. They all know something; they are all keeping something from me!”

“What are they keeping from you?”

Miranda touched her reflection. She hadn’t realised how ill she looked. How much Max’s loss had taken out of her. He hadn’t even been dead a week but she looked like she’d aged a decade.

“Shower. Shower, be gentle…you can’t trust any of them. But you can trust me”.

Miranda nodded.

“Someone hurt Max. Someone has hurt you. So it’s someone who has a vendetta against us both…okay?”

“If I solve your murder, will you d-disappear?”

“No, I won’t disappear on you. I’m here”.

Miranda nodded and was about to strip off when there was a knock at the front door.

She gulped and looked at Max.

“Don’t look at me I can’t answer the door”

Miranda huffed and walked towards the door. It knocked again before she could reach it.

“Miranda?”

Miranda hesitated in answering the door.

“Miranda? Are you awake?”

“Inés? What the hell does she want?”

Miranda gulped and heard another voice. Roberto’s.

“He said he hit her head with a vase. She might be unconscious still”.

Miranda knew she didn’t have long before they’d enter the apartment and discover she was still working on Max’s murder.

She moved quickly to the kitchen, grabbing what notes she could before the door opened. She ducked against the wall as they entered the apartment.

“Miranda?” Roberto called out.

Miranda held her breath as she heard them moving towards the bedroom.

“Miranda are you okay?”

Miranda risked a look behind her and saw Inés and Roberto’s back was to her. She saw her chance and ran for the door. Grabbing the keys as she did. She pulled the door shut as Inés saw her. Locking it behind her she backed up. They banged on the door, Inés cursing her as she did.

“No!” Miranda snapped, “you -you are hiding something! I know you are! I know I can solve Max’s murder”.

“Miranda you are not thinking straight! Miranda let Roberto examine you. You need help”.

“I don’t!” Miranda snapped.

“Miranda let us out”.

“Shut up!” Miranda cried out, “you are all liars! You know who did this to Max and you won’t tell me! You won’t let me find justice for Max!”

“By the way you are totally convincing me that you are sane” Max grinned and smiled at her, “they are so mad”.

“I know” Miranda sniffed.

“Miranda, we care about you. Please, open the door and we can explain”.

“No” Miranda said and realised her phone was on the other side of the door, the only thing she had on her was one post it.

The new one. A single question mark. A receipt for Marco’s had attached itself to it.

Marco’s.

She looked at Max.

“You need to run. Not to Marcos’ not yet, you need to gather evidence”.

“I will. I love you” she breathed and ran.

 


Inés looked around Max’s apartment and glared at Roberto.

“Find his spare keys!” she ordered and looked left to Max’s dining table. To all of Miranda’s notes.

She approached them and saw a mess. Miranda’s frantic scribbles, German notes, notes in a language she didn’t know. An e-mail address.

“Oh dios” Inés muttered.

“No sign of any keys but there was blood on a pillow”.

“Look” Inés said and pointed at all of Miranda’s notes, “dios how did she do all this without us knowing”.

“I am more worried about what is going on in her head” Roberto said, “she hasn’t been taking any of the tablets”.

Inés nodded, “and from the looks of the wine bottles in the bin, she has been drinking more”.

Inés got her phone out and pressed her recent caller.

“You need to come back, it’s Miranda, she has locked us in and ran off. No I don’t know where she is going!”

Inés listened to the response, “okay. You look for her. Bring her home. Dios, I do not want her dead!”


Miranda ran down the street, her head in a spin. She knew someone was playing a game with her. Someone either had killed Max or made it look like it.

The man in his apartment last night had wanted her spooked.

But he hadn’t taken her notes, he’d rearranged them. She barely had a chance to read them. She knew Inés and Roberto would escape soon enough and then it would be game over.

She’d be caught and maybe arrested but definitely put under some sort of watch.

“Slow down” Max panted beside her, “I am not as fit as you”.

“Yes you are. You are in my head”.

Max groaned, “ja but humour me. Your side hurts”.

Miranda slowed and rubbed her side. It burned in a rage of fire so she leaned against a wall, taking a few deep breaths. She didn’t have her phone so she couldn’t contact anyone, but then it also meant she couldn’t be contacted or tracked.

She looked around for a sign of familiarity and spotted one for the Old Town.

“That’s where they found my body”.

“I know”

“Miranda…you need to prepare yourself for the worst”.

“Which is?”

“That you will never find my killer”.

Miranda glared and the vision of Max faded.

“There” she muttered, “that shut you up”.

She moved up a hill and then turned right down a side street towards the Old Town. Nobody would tell her where Max had been found so she just had to ask.

“Señora are you okay?”

Miranda turned and saw an old man smiling at her from a bench.

“I-I’m fine…thank you”.

He looked at her bare feet and raised an eyebrow but nodded.

“Actually, you might be able to help me. There was a shooting around here a few days ago. Do you know anything about it?”

“Shooting?”

Miranda nodded.

“I haven’t heard anything about a shooting…sorry”.

Miranda faked a smile, “t-thanks anyway”.


She walked through the Old Town, taking a pride in the fact that nobody had been able to find her. It was still fairly early in the day and she assumed that many places were still yet to open. And that Inés and Roberto were probably still trapped in Max’s apartment.

“Look I know you are annoyed at me, but you need to get some water”.

Miranda looked at Max, “I have no money”.

“Tap water is free. Just go into a café and ask”.

“Okay fine. If it’ll shut you up”.

He smiled at her, “if you hate me so much why do you keep thinking about me”.

“Because you are very insufferable”.

Max grinned and followed her into a café.

She walked up to the counter and the waitress behind it smiled at her, “Beunos dias. What can I get for you?”

“Uh just some water please, tap”.

The waitress looked at Miranda’s appearance and nodded, “sure thing” she nodded to a seat, “you can sit whilst I get it, we have only just opened”.

“Sit down Miranda. You must be exhausted”.

Miranda nodded, “thanks” and rubbed her side with a wince as she moved to the seat. She sat in it and rubbed her head.

Max sat opposite her and held her hands.

“Be brave Schatz, this is all nearly over”

He let her hands go.

Miranda ran her hands through her hair and winced as she caught a knot in her fingers. She teased it free and looked at her reflection in the window.

Blood still stained her head and her neck had a blossom of bruises. She looked at where Max had been sitting and sighed.

“Here you go” the waitress said and placed a glass of water down in front of her before putting a plate of food in front of her. It was only a bacon sandwich, but the waitress smiled softly at her.

“Don’t worry…it is on the house”.

“But i-I-“

She nodded at the bruises, “did a man do that to you?”

Miranda nodded.

“I am sorry” she then looked at Miranda’s shoeless state, “did you know your feet are bleeding?”

“What?” Miranda looked down and saw at some point she had cut her foot, “o-Oh uh n-no I didn’t no uhm, i-I’m sorry”.

“This is a safe place” the waitress said, “eat your food and I will get a first aid kit for you”.

“Oh I really don’t want to be any trouble”.

“It is no trouble” the waitress replied and moved away from her again.

Miranda sipped the water and began to eat. She didn’t release just how hungry she was. She devoured the food and water before the waitress came back. The waitress knelt by her foot and cleaned her cut. She bandaged the foot up before frowning at her head.

“Would you like me to call someone? Only you don’t strike me as having your phone on you.”

“Uhm,” Miranda started before she looked at the seat opposite her. Looking for Max, “no no it’s okay. But maybe you can help me in another way?”

The waitress nodded and wiped the blood from her head, putting a plaster over the wound as she did.

“I am proud of you for letting yourself be looked after Miranda”.

“A few nights ago, my friend…m-my partner was shot and killed near here. Do you know anything about it?”

“A shooting?”

Miranda nodded.

The waitress shook her head, “there hasn’t been any shootings up here. No police either. Word travels fast around here…I am sorry your partner was killed but it wasn’t here”.

“Oh”.

“Anything else I can help you with…?”

Miranda looked around and saw two police cars pulling up, she looked at the waitress in a panic, “do you have a back exit?”

Chapter Text

Inés ordered her men to search any and every place that Miranda could be in the Old Town. If her hunch was correct Miranda would’ve came here to search for the place Max had been found.

Roberto had picked the lock and gotten them out of Max’s apartment before they had to break the door down.

“Miranda!” Inés yelled, she looked across at a café, a woman was stood watching them with a plate and a glass in her hand.

She moved to her, “excuse me, has this woman been here recently?”

The waitress looked at the photo Inés held up.

“No, I do not recognise her”.

Inés nodded, “if you see her please let me know” she handed over her card, “it is important she is a danger to herself”.

The waitress nodded, “I will keep an eye out for her”.

“Thank you”.

Inés left the café and she moved right. The waitress walked towards the counter and put the dirty plate and glass in the sink before looking down at Miranda, hugging her knees on the floor.

“What did you do to have the Palma police think you are a danger?”

Miranda winced as she stood, “nothing…I know they are hiding the truth from me”.

“About your partner?”

Miranda nodded.

“Did he hurt you?”

“What Max? No Max wouldn’t ever…someone else hurt me. But I don’t think they meant to” Miranda winced as she walked.

“You are in no fit state to walk” the waitress stated, “they are still out looking for you”.

“I have to try” Miranda said, “I owe it to Max”.

The waitress nodded, “was he your work partner or something else?”

Miranda remained quiet, but she looked right.

Max stood by the door, “Schatz you need to run. You know Inés will be watching. You don’t have long”.

“I need to go to Marco’s” Miranda said softly.

“Marco’s? That place down in Palma?”

Miranda nodded, “you know it?”

“No, but everybody here knows Marco. He was born in the Old Town. Always talking to himself. He likes a pretty face and gets very jealous of the men. Everyone knows he murdered the husband of Sienna Carberra but he was never found guilty”.

“Sienna Carberra?”

“Sí. He was in love with this woman and she was polite but she was married. He did not like that”.

“Marco was jealous?”

“Yeah. Rumour has it when a pretty girl walks into his shop he cuts his prices. But when a man does, he doubles them”.

Miranda pulled out the post it note and the receipt before finding a photo in her other pocket. The photo of her and Max.

She pulled it out.

“Is that your partner?”

Miranda looked at the waitress and nodded, “yeah…Max”.

“Detective Winter?”

Miranda nodded, “yeah. Did you know him?”

“He came here a few years ago when Mr Carberra was murdered. He suspected Marco but he couldn’t find any evidence to put it to the man”.

“Have you seen him recently?”

“No, not since he rescued his partner from that- wait…that was you!”

Miranda flushed, “yeah uh yeah it was…so Max hasn’t been here then?”

“Not since the murder”.

“And you all suspected Marco of doing it? Despite the lack of evidence?”

“Like I said, he’s a man who likes a pretty woman” the waitress rolled up her sleeve and revealed a large burn on her arm, “and he doesn’t take no for an answer”.


Miranda ran down the streets of the Old Town, past police cars and screaming officers. She heard Inés and knew she’d been seen.

But Max had taught her tricks, back alleys that led to back alleys that led to the centre of Palma.

She darted down one and breathed heavily against the wall.

“Max” she breathed, “Max please…I need you”.

“I’m here”.

She looked left as a police car sped past, sirens wailing, “Marco’s...did you teach me a shortcut?”

Max shook his head, “no…not to that place”.

Miranda nodded and was about to move further into the alley when hand cuffs slammed onto her wrists.

“You are a nuisance do you know that Detective Blake?” Inés said from behind her.

Max shrugged, “don’t look at me like that I can’t see through your skull”.

“Inés what a pleasure”.

“Don’t give me that” Inés grumbled and pulled her out of the alley, “do you know how many officers I have put out there looking for you?”

“Not as many as you have working on the murder of Max. Solved it yet? Because I have!”

Inés looked at her, “you have?”

“Yes” Miranda said shakily, “despite you keeping secrets and sending a man to attack me”.

“I did not send a man to attack you that was-“ Inés cut off, “an accident. He didn’t mean for you to get hurt”.

Miranda stood back, “uncuff me”.

“No”.

“Uncuff me!”

Inés eyes widened at Miranda’s outburst, “no,” she repeated, “I will not Detective. I am very angry with you. I am going to put you into a car and have them take you somewhere safe, ensure you are okay and if you try to escape I will lock you in a cell where you can’t do any harm!”

“No” Miranda breathed, “no Max!” she said, “please Inés. I know I can find the killer! Please let me go!” Miranda cried and struggled against Inés.

“No. Roberto?”

Miranda turned and found herself locked in Inés grip. Roberto shrugged at her as he held up a syringe, “it gives me no pleasure to be doing this” he told her before Inés held her arm out firm. Roberto flicked the syringe and Miranda sobbed, struggling still as he injected her.

“No!” Miranda whimpered and kicked out, “no Max no!”

She went slack in Inés’ grip after a few seconds.

“Dios” Inés groaned, “if I wanted children I would’ve had them”. With Roberto’s help they put her in the back of a car and tapped the roof.

The car drove off and Inés and Roberto stood back.

“We did the right thing yes?” Roberto asked warily.

“She is losing her mind Roberto. Max would not want that”.

Roberto looked at the car in the distance, “where is he taking her? The hospital?”

Inés shook her head, “he’s taking her home”.


The man in the ice-hockey mask stood above Miranda as she slept in Max’s bed. Watching over her.

She whimpered in her sleep and moved. He’d had to handcuff her wrist to the bed. Not trusting that she wouldn’t escape again.

His job was to keep her safe and he was going to do that. He knew in the short few days she had changed. Max’s death had stopped her in her tracks and changed her so completely he didn’t quite know if she would ever recover. Seeing her act as though Max was beside her scared more than just Inés and Roberto.

He stroked her hair, “Schatz” he breathed, “Max is dead. You need to remember that”.

“Max” Miranda murmured.

The man stood back as she opened her eyes.

She flinched as she saw him, tugging against the handcuff.

“M-Marco?” she whispered softly.

He shook his head, “a friend” he replied, “are you hungry?”

“No” she replied, “why am I handcuffed?”

“To protect you”.

“Imprison me you mean, because I’m not coping?”

He nodded, “you are a danger to yourself. Don’t you think Max would want to keep you safe? Want you to be okay?”

“I think Max would want me to solve his murder actually”.

He chuckled, “I am sure you will”.

“Let me go then”.

“I have orders”.

“Disobey them then!”

Miranda sat up and cried out as her side flared in pain. He moved to her quick, “are you okay?”

“My side” Miranda breathed heavily, “hurts”.

He nodded, “I did not mean to hurt you yesterday. I did not mean to hurt you at all. I’m sorry for that”.

Miranda nodded, “it’s fine”.

“It’s not” he replied and stroked her face. She flinched at his touch.

He pulled back, “can I check to see if your rib is not broken? I will be gentle”.

She looked for Max but when she didn’t find him she nodded. Slowly, Miranda rolled onto her side and he raised her shirt, looking at the massive bruise.

“God” he muttered, “I did not…I am so sorry”.

He stroked her bruise and she flinched, “please d-don’t touch me”.

The man nodded and examined her ribs, “does that hurt?”

“y-Yeah”.

He tugged her shirt down, “I think I have broken it…I really am sorry”.

“It’s fine. It was already broken…old injury”.

“Ja that is not reassuring me” he laughed.

Miranda chuckled, “I’ll be fine” but she winced as she sat up. He helped her and she gripped his arm, holding him close. Trying to look behind the mask.

He chuckled, “I know that game. You don’t need to know my face to know I care. To know a lot of people care about you”.

Miranda looked at her sleeping tablets, he followed her gaze, “you aren’t taking them?” he asked.

“No… I have been”.

The man nodded, “good. So why are you seeing Max?”

“He’s a constant presence” Miranda said.

“Do you speak to him?”

“I do”.

“Is he here now?”

Miranda looked around and smiled as Max lay beside her.

“If he is trying to get in on our action Blakey, you and I are going to have words”.

“No”.

“Liar”.

“I’m hardly going to admit to you that I’m having a mental breakdown”.

“There’s a first step in everything Miranda Blake”.

“Stop flirting with my Miranda”.

“Max” Miranda glared to her right, “pack it in”.

Max grinned, “never. You are blushing and it is music to my ears”.

The man with the mask sighed and patted her shoulder, “this is serious Miranda”.

Miranda looked at him, “I love Max. And I never got a chance to tell him. So, if my way of coping is to imagine him by my side and talking to me then let me have it!”

“You uh you love Max?”

“I do”.

The man sat on the edge of the bed and sighed.

“Miranda-“

“If you claim you are here looking after me, go fix me a drink”.

The man nodded, he left her alone and she looked at Max.

Max grinned, “plan?”

“Of course”.

She pulled her hair pin out and worked on the handcuff. Pressing it against the lock, she twisted and tugged.

It sprang up and she slipped free from the bed and hid behind the door. The man appeared in the doorway, “Miranda?”

“This is for knocking me out and busting my rib!” she snapped and pulled the man close. Kneeing him in the crotch. He cried out and fell to the floor. She ran but he grabbed her ankle, yanking her to the floor.

“No!” she screamed as he pulled her close.

“You are a nightmare you know?!” he yelled and straddled her. Trying to grab her hands.

She struggled, “no please! I want to find his killer!”

“Miranda this is pointless!”

Miranda struggled, “please let me go! I know it’s a cover up!”

The man stopped grabbing for her arms, “y-You do?”

Miranda breathed, chest heaving as she did. She nodded, “I know Inés and Roberto are in on this. I know i-I know nothing happened up in the Old Town the other day”.

“And what else?”

“I think Max was onto a man’s murder from a few years ago. And I know he might’ve been kidnapped or killed. But I know who did it”.

“Who did it?”

“Marco”.

“Are you sure Miranda?”

“I am”.

“I can’t follow you not like this…it’s complicated”.

“I don’t want you to. I want to get justice for Max”.

He nodded and got off her, “you have an hour. If you take any longer I will phone Inés and Roberto. They won’t be quite so kind, I’ll say you over powered me”.

Miranda nodded and accepted his help in standing.

“So, you love Max huh?”

“I do”.

“And you are acting so crazy and out of control because of this love?”

“I am”.

The man nodded, “then he is very lucky to have your love…he must’ve been some man”.

“Hell yes I am!”

Miranda smirked at Max on the bed, “he is”.

“You will be reunited with him soon”.

Miranda looked at the man and nodded, “I will”.

 


Miranda approached Marco’s Deli with her police badge and handcuffs. She breathed deeply before entering.

“Miranda! My favourite woman. What is it today? Blueberry muffin?”

Miranda leaned back to let a customer leave.

“What do you know of Señor Caberra?”

“Who?” Marco asked with a smile, “has there been a murder?”

“Well you would know” Miranda asked, “is that why you killed Max?”

“What?”

“Max, my partner. Tall, curly hair. German. My partner Max Winter. Why did you kill him?!”

Marco laughed, “Miranda are you quite alright?”

Miranda leaned close, “you murdered him”.

“Who? Max? Look if Max has been murdered then I am very sorry for your loss but I did not kill him”.

“Arrest him Miranda. Schatz attack him! He killed me!”

“I know you killed Max. And I know you killed Señor Caberra!”

“I did no such thing! Get out of my Deli!”

“No. Marco Rondas, I am arresting you for the murder of Señor Caberra and Detective Max-

“Wait wait!”

Miranda paused.

“Look, I did not kill Señor Carbero-

“Caberra”.

“But I have seen Max pretty recently!”

“W-What?”

“I saw him this morning, he came in for a blueberry muffin, I assumed it was for you”.

“n-No” she whispered, “no you didn’t”.

“I did. I have CCTV” Marco nodded to his staff, “take charge” before leading Miranda out to his office.

His office was decorated with photos of her. Newspaper reports of cases that she had solved with Max. Only any photo that had came with Max, had his face scribbled out.

“Oh” she breathed.

Marco shut and locked the door, “yes...oh” he smirked and attacked.

Chapter Text

Miranda ducked and ran for the door, trying to open it she screamed as he grabbed her from behind.

Pulling her back to his desk he slammed her to it.

“All of you putas are the same” he spat, “all of you!”

Miranda cried out as he slammed her head into the desk. Her vision blurred.

“I wish I did kill that Max” Marco spat and fumbled with his belt.

“No!” Miranda groaned as he kept his weight on her.

“You will wish you were nicer to me!” Marco screamed in her ear. Miranda trembled and elbowed his stomach. Trying to free herself and wishing that she hadn’t come down here alone.

He groaned and let her go. She used this opportunity to slam her weight into him. Pushing him down. He laughed and flipped them over. Wrapping his belt around her neck and he tugged tightly.

Miranda gripped the belt and wheezed. He dragged her back and tied it to the door handle. Miranda struggled to keep herself from being strangled. Kicking out and struggling as Marco approached.

“I did kill Señor Caberra…his wife wouldn’t say yes”.

Miranda’s hands flailed behind her, she tried to free herself. Kicking out he laughed at her.

“You have a choice now Miranda, say yes and I won’t kill you”.

Miranda spat, “no” before struggling once more.

Marco laughed and ripped open her shirt. He stroked the bruise on her side and chuckled.

She groaned and kicked at his head.

He grabbed her leg and yanked, tightening the belt’s grip on her. Miranda gasped out and her head spun. She was close to passing out.

“Miranda stay with me” Max said from behind Marco, “remember the man said an hour. He’d give you an hour…hold on”.

“Wait” she gasped out as he unzipped his trousers.

Marco paused, “is that a yes Detective?”

Miranda looked at Max.

Max nodded.

“Yes”.

Marco smiled, “I knew you would come round eventually” he undid the belt and she coughed and breathed hard. Rubbing her throat.

Marco took her distraction at getting her breath back and tugged her shirt off her shoulders.

Miranda shivered and Marco covered her body with hers.

“That was a yes Detective”.

Miranda nodded and let Marco’s hands cover her body. Fighting desperately to remember her training techniques from VICE. She let his lips press against hers before they moved to her neck. His hands unzipped her trousers and she broke. Holding them up she trembled.

“Oh? It wasn’t a yes?”

Miranda shook. Crying as Marco pressed his body to hers.

“p-Please don’t”.

“No no Schatz. Be brave and strong!”

“Max” she cried.

Marco slapped her and shoved her back to his desk.

“I don’t need a yes from you. I have you no matter what”.


Inés kicked down the office door and saw Miranda sat against the wall. Marco was beside her, unconscious and half dressed. His arms handcuffed behind his back. She looked at Miranda again, she was sat in her bra and her trousers looked ripped.

A bruise decorated her cheek and a larger one decorated her side.

Inés raised her hand to the officers behind her and she pocketed her gun. Looking around for Miranda’s shirt she grabbed it and approached Miranda.

“Miranda?”

“Max” Miranda whispered softly. Her hands shook and she looked right, “m-Max?” she seemed blind to Inés’ existence as though she couldn’t process that she was safe.

“Inés” Roberto said beside her and looked at the scene. A million thoughts flew through his head before he approached Miranda, with a police jacket. Slowly, to not startle her he placed the jacket over her shoulders.

Roberto looked at the injuries on Miranda’s body and then at Inés.

“Was she?”

Roberto shook his head before helping Miranda to stand.

“Max” Miranda repeated, looking around for him.

“I’m sure he’s here” Roberto said softly, “can’t you see?”

Miranda focused on another area of the room and nodded, “I-I Max”.

Roberto helped Miranda out of the room.

Inés looked at Marco’s body and then at the pictures and articles that decorated the mans’ walls. All photos of Miranda and articles of cases Max and Miranda had solved.

Tothom” she breathed.


Miranda sat on the hospital bed, she didn’t know how she had got there, or who had put the jacket over her. She had shorts and a new shirt on. In the back of her mind she knew she didn’t have either on earlier. Someone had put more clothes on her.

“Max” she said softly.

“Hey” he smiled in the doorway.

“I told you I could solve it” she breathed.

“I never doubted you” he smiled and approached her.

“I did”.

Max smiled and sat beside her; his hand laced into hers.

“I’m tired” she said softly, “and I miss you very much”.

“You’ll see me soon remember?”

Miranda nodded and looked up as Roberto appeared from the doorway.

“I have gotten the medication they prescribed for you”.

“You see”.

Miranda nodded and eyed them.

“You can have one now if you are in pain but only one? They are very strong”.

Miranda nodded.

Roberto loosened the bottle and handed her one tablet. She took it with the water beside her bed.

“How are you feeling?”

“Tired” Miranda said. As Roberto went over her injuries, she gave up on interrupting him, her throat was sore and after scans had shown bruising, she knew she shouldn’t push it.

Roberto nodded, “nobody will blame you if you wanted to sleep here”.

“I just want to be alone” she breathed.

“Miranda-“

“Please” she whimpered and sniffed, “leave me alone”.

Roberto nodded, “do you need me to take you home?”

Miranda shook her head, “I’ll be fine”.

“Okay…I’m here though. You know that? I’ll be here until Inés takes over”

“Really Roberto” Miranda half smiled at him, “I’ll be fine”.

Roberto nodded, “well okay, i-I know Max would be very proud of you”.

Miranda half smiled, “I miss him so much”.

Roberto nodded, “he’s a good man”.

“Yeah…saved him once on some cliffs… against all the odds…stupid man”.

Roberto patted her shoulder, “you know I am going to see if I can get you discharged early then I can take you to Max’s. You’ll be happier at his”.

As Roberto left Miranda looked at the tablets and then at Max.

“Are you sure?”

“I am” Miranda sniffed, “It hurts to think about you being gone”.

Max nodded and stroked her face.

She smiled softly and stood. Pocketing the tablets she found no officer was watching her room, Roberto was down the hallway and picking a chocolate bar from the vending machine as he waited for her Doctor to be free. She walked down the corridor and towards the exit. She didn’t know where Max’s car was, but she didn’t care anymore. She had one thing left to do.

She walked with her Max by her side, hand in his hand. She felt calm once more.

“I’m with you Schatz”.

For the first time in a few days she didn’t feel so sad. She knew her destination.

To the cliffs she saved Max’s life on.


“You lost her again?!” Inés yelled, “Roberto!”

“She said she wanted to be alone! I just went to get a snack, I wasn’t going to leave her. She must have snuck out!”

“She’s not at Max’s I have no idea where she could be”.

“Her place?”

“No he’s checked. He’s got the car so he might find her but I have no idea where she could be”.

Roberto gasped, “no wait I know!”

“What?”

“She was talking about how she had saved him once. I read in her file that they let that suspect go on some cliffs?”

Inés raised her phone, “did you get that? I’ll follow. Keep texting her Roberto. You need to annoy her into answering”.


Her phone vibrated and vibrated. Message after message was left for her. But she ignored it all.

The walk was long and it was nearly nightfall when she got to her destination. She shivered and hugged the jacket closer to herself.

“Cold?”

“Very” she replied.

“You won’t be for long”

“I know” she smiled at him.

Max smiled at her, “may I have this dance?”

“I can’t dance” she replied.

“You can” he smiled and took her hands.

She rolled her eyes and let herself be spun, she smiled as Max pulled her close, dancing with her.

She smiled at Max.

Max smiled down at her, “it is such a beautiful night Miranda Blake. One for reuniting with a lost love”.

Miranda’s hands found the tablets, she looked at them and then at Max.

“Just like falling asleep” he smiled, “that’s it. Take them and you are gone”.

Miranda looked at them again and opened the bottle, she looked at Max again and he nodded.

“I’m with you remember? All the way. Take them all”.

She emptied the pills into her hand and shoved them into her mouth. Swallowing them dry she reached out for Max.

“That’s it Schatz,” Max smiled and shook his head as he disappeared.

“M-Max?”

She looked around for him and stumbled. The moon was bright in the sky, shining down on the sea. She made her way towards the edge of the cliff and sat down near it. She smiled up at the sky. By the time the sun appeared she’d be with Max. She was so tired, her body no longer hurt. Her eyes drifted shut once before they opened as she heard a noise.

A car pulled up. A noise that was so familiar to her, she turned and looked to see Bertha, Max’s BMW.

She smiled as Max got out of the car.

“Miranda?!” 

“Max” she smiled and stood, stumbling as she moved to him. Max ran across to her. He smiled at her, “h-hi”.

She looked at the moon, “isn’t the night beautiful?”

“It is” he agreed and he moved to her, “Miranda i-I I am so sorry for lying to you. For –“

“Shush” Miranda smiled at him, “it’s enough you are here…I thought you had disappeared again but you just went to get Bertha”.

“Miranda-“

“Shush” Miranda chuckled, “I guess the pills worked a lot quicker than I thought…Roberto was right it’s just like falling asleep”.

“What? Miranda what pills?”

“My pills” Miranda smiled, “the ones you said I should take”.

Max pulled her close, placing his hands on her cheeks, “Miranda, look at me. Miranda I am alive, can’t you feel me? Miranda?!”

Miranda stroked his face and smiled, “we’re both dead”.

“No no no no no Schatz. We aren’t dead” he kissed her, “see? Alive. 100% alive” he kissed her again and pulled back to find her frowning.

“m-Max?”

“I’m here” he breathed and placed her hand on his heart, “I am here and I am alive Miranda. How many tablets did you take?”

“w-What I i- I don’t understand…all of them” The steady thud of his heartbeat confirming what her heart knew. Max was alive.

“I had to fake my death, Miranda, please, tell me you didn’t take all of these tablets” Max said as he found the bottle of tablets from her jacket.

Miranda nodded and her eyes fluttered shut, her knees gave out on her as she fell into Max’s arms.

“Max” Miranda muttered as he stroked her face.

“Miranda please” he cried, “I-I” he kissed her again, “stay with me” he breathed, “please”.

“Winter!”

Max turned to see Inés running towards them.

“Inés! Miranda has- she’s tablets, i-I don’t know what to do. Miranda i-I help me” he begged.

“What has she done?” Inés asked, although she feared the answer.

“She has taken an overdose” Max said.

“Dios…make her sick”.

“What?”

“Shove your fingers down her throat, make her throw up! Now!”

Max propped Miranda up and kissed her head before he pushed his fingers to the back of her throat. Miranda gave him some resistance before she threw up.

As Inés phoned for an ambulance, Max rubbed Miranda’s back as she threw up again.

“Max” Miranda groaned. Coughing as she threw up once more.

“I’m here Schatz” he said, “Miranda i- oh my love I am here I am never leaving you alone again”.

Miranda groaned and shut her eyes.

“No no no don’t sleep. Miranda stay with me”.

“I’m tired”.

“I know. But if you can stay awake with me just for a bit longer you can sleep. We can sleep together hey?”

Miranda nodded and her eyes rolled back as he shook her to stay awake.

“Miranda? No please, no Miranda!”

 

Chapter Text

Max stared at Miranda in the bed, he had been so sure she had worked it all out. That she had gone up to their cliffs, their spot for a reason. To confront him, yell at him and maybe a quick snog before they would’ve gone back to his.

He never expected to be holding her in his arms as she stopped breathing.

He stroked her hair back as the steady beep of the monitors reminded him she was alive. She’d had her stomach pumped and was under sedation whilst her body recovered.

He hadn’t left her room in the hours she had been in.

He didn’t sleep in case she woke or needed him. He couldn't leave her again.

“Max” Inés said in the doorway, “you will be of no use to her if you do not sleep. I will watch over her”.

Max stroked Miranda’s cheek again, “I did this to her. I-i put her in here. I nearly killed her Inés".

“So let her beat you up when she wakes. But it will be far more entertaining if she does it whilst you are awake and not sleep deprived”.

Max sighed and sat by Miranda’s bed in the incredibly uncomfortable hospital chairs. He looked at Miranda one last time before he shut his eyes.


Inés looked at her two officers, one unconscious by choice, the other by force. Although the lines were blurred as to which was which.

When Max had came to her with his decision, his idea of luring out a sadistic killer. She hadn’t been pleased, the idiot had missed the stares Miranda had sent his way. The looks her Detective had been given.

Any fool could see Miranda was in love with Max. Except the biggest fool of them all. She tugged Miranda’s blanket up to keep the woman warm.

Despite not having children, she had two Detectives who had managed to nestle their way into her heart. More so than she had ever anticipated.

She had no children, but she had a Max and she had a Miranda, which, she supposed, was the same thing.


Miranda was very tired of waking up to realise she hadn’t actively decided to fall asleep.

Max was asleep in the chair beside her and she realised with a grim realisation, she was in hospital. She tried to sit up and winced. 

“Your stomach was pumped” Inés said from the doorway.

“Oh” Miranda said softly and lay back.

“And you have slept a whole 24 hours”.

Miranda looked back at Max.

“i-Inés?”

“Sí?”

“You can see Max right?”

Inés sighed, “yes Detective I can see him. He is snoring very loudly. I am not surprised you woke up, why?”

“I just…I thought he was…not real”

Inés rubbed her arm, “get some more sleep Detective. You need it”.

Miranda nodded as her eyes grew heavy. The exhaustion of the past week catching up to her. She stared once more at Max, keeping her gaze locked on his body in case he disappeared before she succumbed to sleep.


The next thing Miranda knew, she was awake and Max was sat at the edge of her bed. Talking to Roberto in an angry whisper.

“Max?”

Max looked at her and smiled, “hey, you are awake”.

Miranda looked at the wires that had appeared against her hands and nodded.

“It’s just standard procedure. All these wires” Max said, “for someone who has taken an overdose”.

He whispered the word like it was a curse, but Miranda nodded as though it was a blessing.

She cried as Max smiled at her again and stroked her cheek.

“Max are you really here? Really alive?”

“Of course I am” he said and squeezed her hands, “I’m alive”.

“h-How did you…but you-“

“Roberto and Inés helped me…I wanted to involve you but I couldn’t. I am so sorry”.

Miranda nodded and pulled him close. Max smiled at her before Miranda slapped him.

“Ow!” Max cried out and touched his cheek, “Miranda!”

“You made me think you were dead!” she cried and moved to slap him again. Max caught her hands.

“Will you let me explain before you beat me up?”

“No” Miranda said stubbornly and pulled her hands free, “what could possibly have been so important that you had to fake your death and not let me know?” she cried, “do I mean that little to you?”

“No Schatz i-I I didn’t think I meant that much to you” Max sighed and took her hand in his.

“If I thought you loved me I wouldn’t have done it. To even think about how much pain I caused you….w-when I watched you speaking to thin air Miranda…i-I oh it broke me. I wanted to rush over and hold you. To kiss you and never ever stop”.

Miranda sniffed, “so why didn’t you? Why didn’t you end it?! You saw I wasn't coping!”

“Marco hurt so many people Miranda, look at what happened when you confronted him. i-I had to trick him out, i-I am sorry you were used as bait”.

Miranda glared as he moved to stroke her face, “touch me and I will break your nose”.

Max hesitated but half smiled, “but it would hurt to kiss you if you broke my nose”.

“I don’t want your kisses” Miranda grumbled, “I want answers, the fake emails? The man in your apartment? Was that all you?”

“Ja” Max sighed, “I couldn’t use my name you would see through that. I used my middle name, Ansel. A M W, Ansel Max Winter. I knew if I made it M A W you would see through it. Remember that night you found out my initials spelt Maw?”

Miranda smirked slightly, “the gullet of a greedy person”.

Max laughed, “ja. Sorry”.

“Doesn’t explain the man in the mask”.

“Oh uh ja” Max looked nervously at her, “me. I had to see you. I had barely been gone a few days and I ached to see your face. I nearly took my mask off you know?”

Miranda’s smirk died, “you. The man who broke my ribs was you?!”

“I thought you had worked it out? I mean I know I hid my voice but I was still wearing my clothes…I still smelt the same”.

“Ever so sorry I didn’t recognise you I was too busy have a mental breakdown!” Miranda snapped.

Max leaned back as she lurched to grab him, Roberto caught her before she could damage her ribs even more. Holding her back from hitting Max.

“Ja Schatz I am very sorry for that. Really, i-I know you might not accept it now but please I just, I didn’t want you to find out I was alive. I needed your drive to solve the case where I couldn’t. You are the best Detective I know. If anyone could solve this you could and you did”.

Miranda glared and batted Roberto’s arms away, “you deliberately lied and misled me. All of you did. You drugged me, injured me, made me lose the will to live! Max I nearly killed myself!”

“I know” Max said softly, “I know. I never thought i-I didn’t think”.

Max sat back down and handed her the empty pill bottle, “if I thought this would happen, I would have come clean Schatz. If I thought your life was in any danger”.

Miranda put the bottle to one side and sighed, “you are an idiot”.

“I know”.

“A big idiot”.

Max nodded.

“A bratwurst” she added.

Max looked at her and nodded but saw she was slightly smiling.

“I look at you and I think, I should be mad, but instead i-I i-I’m just relieved”.

“Relieved?”

“Relieved you aren’t dead…relieved I’m not dead” Miranda said and held his hand, “Max...will you just kiss me already? I’d pull you close but my side really hurts”.

Max smiled and moved closer, stroking her face before he laughed as Miranda got irritated and grabbed his shirt, pulling him into a kiss. Letting her tears mingle against his cheeks. Her nose brushed against his as he held her in the kiss.

“Very cross at you just so you know” she grumbled as he peppered kisses to her lips.

“I know…I know my love I am so sorry” he murmured and stroked her face, “please forgive me? I will spend a thousand lifetimes begging for your love”.

Miranda nodded, “i-I will i-I I can’t believe you are here” she said and kissed him again.

“I wish I brought popcorn. You two are more entertaining than the latest LEGO movie…and I loved that movie”, Roberto murmured as Inés approached. Max and Miranda were oblivious to the fact that two people were watching them kissing.

They only pulled apart when Miranda let out an involuntary gasp of pain as Max’s hand touched her side.

“Thank god you are not a Doctor, Detective Winter. You do remember Miranda has a broken rib?” Inés stated.


 

ONE WEEK LATER

 

Max looked at Miranda sitting like a scared animal on his sofa. Since being discharged a week ago, he had barely left her side. Her eyes followed him and if he was out of the room for more than a few minutes she grew panicky and anxious that he'd left her. Max didn’t mind spending his days with Miranda at all, but he was worried about her.

He anticipated Miranda going a little bit driven if he was out of the way, but he never expected or even thought she would have a breakdown.

Or react the way she had. Her memory was in tatters more so than he had ever anticipated.

When he had disguised himself as the masked man, he had watched her talk to herself. Make passing comments and laugh at thin air. Laugh at a version of him in her head. He could see why Inés and Roberto were so worried about her. Why they had urged him to see her.

He’d felt pain slice through his heart when she confessed that she loved him.

If he knew that he might’ve done things differently.

“m-Max?”

“Ja?”

Miranda stood in the doorway, hands shaking, “you uhm y-you are real. Aren’t you?”

“Of course” he smiled.

“Only cause uhm well, y-you said that before a-and I thought you were real and then you made me smile and we were going to kiss and then you-“

“Breathe Miranda, breathe” Max said softly and approached her, “then what happened?”

“You disappeared a-and then you were here a-and…I’m so confused”.

Max pulled her into his arms, rubbing her side, “have you had your tablets?”

Miranda nodded, “I woke up…you made me a mug of tea a-and then I had them”.

Max nodded, “open your mouth”.

Miranda obeyed with no resistance.

“Tongue” he said and he looked to see if she was tricking him.

The first few days of Miranda being under his care, he found she had been hiding taking her tablets. Now he made sure to check every time. He couldn’t risk losing her. Inés had ordered her to have therapy but until they could see her, it was his job to make sure she took her medication.

“Good” he smiled and kissed her, “see. I’m real. Your imagined version of me never kissed you that much right?”

“No…we did other stuff” Miranda muttered.

“What?!”

“Other stuff…hand stuff”.

Max flushed, “you- you mean to you” he groaned, “that’s not fair why did he get all the action”.

“He was…it was all in my head” she reminded him, “just what I believed and we actually have done hand stuff in the shower”.

“I can’t believe you made out with fake me before you made out with actual me” Max mumbled and hugged her waist. Pulling her against his hips.

“You were busy playing dead” Miranda countered.

“I know” Max said and stroked her cheek, his hand slipped down to her shirt and she stopped him from unbuttoning any buttons.

“Sorry” she muttered, “I’m just still…still a bit shaky”.

Max nodded, “that’s okay” he freed her pendant and stroked that instead. He kissed her head, “I made breakfast. Banana pancakes”.

“I’m not really that hungry…my medication, it makes me feel sick”.

Max nodded, “well these can be eaten cold so let’s save them. In fact why don’t you go back to bed? You look really tired”.

Miranda nodded and Max smiled as she kept her hand in his, smiling coyly at him, “will you hold me?”

“For a thousand lifetimes” he promised and followed her into the bedroom.


Miranda slept in his arms, hand resting on his chest as one rested under her head. Months ago he had held her in his sleep for the first time and now he held her every night.

His phone vibrated beside his head and he slowly reached for it, not wanting Miranda to wake. Glancing at the caller ID he saw it was their boss.

“Winter?”

“How is she?”

Max looked at Miranda. She looked content to be asleep, smiling as Max’s hand rested against her skin.

“I would say coping but…I don’t know Inés. She’s taking her medication but she’s barely eating. Panics when I’m not in the room”.

“I had thought you weren’t leaving the bed”.

“Well we uh we actually haven’t…”

“I did not ask for details”

Max chuckled and rubbed Miranda’s back as she grumbled in her sleep. He stroked his finger against her skin and smiled as she squirmed.

“We’re taking things slow. I love her Inés. I don’t want to hurt her ever again”.

“Max?”

Max looked at Miranda who was now awake and glaring at the phone.

Max laughed, “I’ll speak later Inés” he hung up and pulled Miranda into a kiss.

“Jaaaa” he grinned but then frowned at her hesitation to kiss back.

“Good” she muttered and sat up, “you know..." she sighed, "we never discussed Marco? i-I well, he never…” she started.

“You don’t have to talk about this” Max said, “not if it’s a struggle for you”.

“It needs saying. You look at me sometimes like…l-like you are scared of what happened”.

“I am scared. I sent you to that man and didn’t follow. I-I could’ve prevented it-“

“He attacked me yes, but that was it. I really don’t know how I got him unconscious or arrested but I flipped. He was laughing about you I think. But he didn’t do that. He attempted it, then he was mocking you. Next thing I knew he was on his front and unconscious. If you hadn’t of sent me he would’ve kept his cool, Marco would still be out there…he mocked you i-I can’t remember what he said but I was crying for you and he mocked that”.

Max nodded.

Miranda looked at him, “nobody mocks you”.

“No”.

“I mean it” she muttered and straddled him, “nobody hurts you, mocks you or dares lay a finger” she stroked her fingers down his cheek.

Max nodded, not trusting his voice.

“Did you say the pancakes can be eaten cold?”

Max nodded once more.

“That’s good” she muttered and looked at him, “Max Winter silent. I never thought that could happen”.

Max laughed and stroked her cheek, “I am enjoying you. Enjoying you on my lap”.

“Oh yeah?” Miranda chuckled, “well…what if we had a lot less clothes on. Would you enjoy that?”

Max nodded, “but I don’t want you to feel like-“

“Max” Miranda huffed and unbuttoned her shirt, “I am trying to have sex with you. Don’t tell me you are suddenly shy?”

“I am not shy” he laughed and took his shirt off, “see. Get your shorts off Blakey”.

Miranda yelped as he flipped them. Taking her shorts off before she could.

He groaned, “every time I see you naked I fall more and more in love with you”.

“Yeah?”

Max nodded and kissed her, “I am all yours Schatz”.


Max traced the fading bruise on her side and she batted his hand away, “stop it”.

“But-

Miranda pulled him into a kiss, “every time you keep overthinking that night, is one less handsy time you can expect from me”.

“Miranda-“

“I mean it” she grumbled, “you were trying to protect me. I broke my ribs years ago this is just painful, but not unmanageable”.

“When did you break your ribs?”

“I was about 22 maybe? Newly trained police officer and I was on the beat…my colleague smashed his baton against my side”.

“That wasn’t very nice. Why did he do that?” Max asked and stroked his hand up to her chest. Distracting her with his lips, he kissed her neck as she fought off a smile.

“Because I caught him doing a deal”.

“Has trouble always followed you or do just have an exceptional taste for it?” he murmured against her ear and slipped his hand between her legs.

“That depends”.

“On?”

“Well,” she smirked and shifted their bodies, bringing his hands to hold her body against his, “are you trouble?”

“Ja big time, big trouble, arrest me Detective” he growled and laughed into her mouth as they pulled each other close once more.

“Oh I will” she growled back, “I found my file under your bed”.

Max gulped as she locked her legs around his waist, “i-I”

“My unedited file”.

“Ja well I uhm, i-I there is no way I can answer this without pissing you off is there?”

Miranda cupped his face, “no” but she kissed him anyway and sank into his embrace. Content for the moment, to ignore the bad and focusing only on the good.


Max woke up alone and instantly feared the worst, “Miranda?”

When she didn’t answer he began to panic, checking that she hadn’t taken more of her tablets than she should’ve.

“Miranda?!”

He looked in the bathroom and spotted her sitting against the wall happily chatting to herself.

“Mm well we can deal with that another day” she smiled and patted the space beside her, “of course”.

Max’s shoulders fell, “no” he breathed, “Miranda?” he moved to her and knelt before her, “hey Schatz?” he touched her knee and she made no hint that she felt it.

Miranda laughed, “you know what your tongue does to me Winter”.

“Miranda look at me?”

She smiled and looked around the room, “I’m not taking an overdose again Max. Promise”.

Max cupped her cheeks and forced her to look at him, “schatz!”

Miranda blinked and then settled on him, “m-Max?”

“Schatz a-are you okay?”

“I was just…” she looked left and then at him, “i-I don’t…which one of you is my Max?”

Max stroked her face, “oh Schatz” he breathed, “come on. Stand up…what were you doing in the bathroom?”

“You called me in…thought we were having a shower together”.

“Miranda” Max breathed and helped her stand, “I thought you hadn’t seen him for a while…the other me the one in your head?”

Miranda looked left and laughed, “will you pack that in!” she shrieked and tore free from Max and ran out of the room, laughing as she did.

Max watched her go and rubbed his head.

 

He found Miranda sat on the bed looking scared. She snapped her gaze to him and crushed her body into his.

Max held her tightly as she cried, “I thought you were dead!”

He kissed her head and rubbed her back, “no Schatz no I was just…washing” he settled on and held her as she sobbed, “stop leaving me”.

Max held her and sighed, kissing her head as Miranda cried herself into a restless sleep. He needed help, he couldn't go to sleep holding her content and wake up to have her mind in bits. Making sure she was asleep, he picked up the phone and called Inés. He untangled himself from Miranda and paced, Inés usually picked up straight away. 

He stood over the bed as she answered.

“Winter?”

“She still sees him”.

“What?”

“Max the other Max I mean…she still sees him a-and I don’t know what to do” he whispered softly, his eyes growing warm with tears.

“She needs therapy Max”.

“I know but she…she doesn’t she –“

“Dios, breathe. Idiota, she was unstable before you died on her. You knew she got obsessed with things and yet you let her believe she had lost you”.

“Inés-

“She took an overdose a week ago Max. You cannot expect her to snap back to normal so quickly. It took months for her to adjust to life out here and now she cannot even spend more than a few minutes without you”.

“Please just…can you see if you can get her an early appointment? Today maybe? I am scared she’ll try to overdose again”.

“Do you think she will?”

Max looked at Miranda sleeping and sighed, “no…but I don’t know. That’s the problem, she’s good at hiding her feelings and sometimes she looks at me like I am in her head”.

“I will see what I can do. But Max…”

“Ja?”

“Did you read the file I sent you?”

“No she uh distracted me before I could get to it”.

“Read it and I will get her an emergency appointment today”.

As Miranda slept, he made himself a coffee and retrieved the file from under his bed. When Miranda confessed that she had found it he was scared she would bin it or wreck it. It was now or never.

Max sipped his coffee and opened up the unedited version of Miranda’s file.

Chapter Text

Miranda E Blake

Born Aberystwyth 5th June 1985

Next of Kin: Geraint Blake, Father.

 

Active: 2005 – 2007  Hounslow

2007-2008 Southwark

2008- Wandsworth

2008- Hounslow

2008- Wandsworth

2008- Lewisham

2009 – 2011 Scotland Yard

2011-2014 VICE

2015 Wandsworth

2016- Suspended

2017- Trafficking, MET

2018- DC Probationary

2019- Temp secondment to Mallorca, later transferred.

 

Max looked up to check if Miranda was still asleep, when she was he looked at some of the dates, in one year she had been at many different stations, like she was passed around. Unwanted.

“Oh Schatz” he murmured as he read on.

 

In 2005 – 2007, Police Officer Miranda Blake showed remarkable bravery in the face of standing up to discrimination and pressure, recommended for Detective.

In 2008 Officer Blake has displayed signs of O.C.D, depression and anxiety

In 2008, Officer Blake has been sent to many stations in the hopes that she will level out.

In 2009, Officer Blake moved to Scotland Yard where she was kept on watch for 2 years. No indication of any knowledge of this was made by Officer Blake. During this time, Blake’s mother died.

In 2011, Officer Blake volunteered for VICE. Her first case was 2 years undercover.

In 2013, Officer Blake returned to active duty on VICE and pressed charges which were later dropped on her Super Intendant James Peters.

In 2014, Officer Blake was undercover for 6 months in the Freeman Gang. Reports indicate narcotics were taken. Subsequent tests have shown no known addiction.

In 2015, Officer Blake assaulted a superior officer resulting in suspension. And filed a sexual harassment claim against superior officer. Claim withdrawn after two days.

In 2016, Officer Blake returned to active duty and was immediately suspended for 6 months after suspected overdose.

In 2017, Officer Blake was suspended for 3 months after assaulting a suspect. She then took her D.C exams. Passed with 100% result. Recommended for fast track.

In 2018, Detective Blake passed her exams for D.S however no positions are available. Advised move to witness protection and secondment out to Mallorca needed.

In 2019, Detective Blake was successfully seconded to Mallorca. Return was offered and then rejected by Detective Sergeant Blake.

 

MEDICAL HISTORY

 

Miranda Blake has been in therapy since she was 4 after an attack in her home left her mother bed bound. She has no known close relationships and has displayed numerous signs of anxiety, depression and OCD. Recommend for therapy and medication to control varying mental health issues.

 

Miranda Blake has refused help.

 

“Ja no kidding” Max murmured.

 

Miranda Blake has shown to have a reckless way about her, she does not think of her life and goes above and beyond for that of the public. Recommended she works behind a desk for 6 more months.

 

Max gulped as he read on further, hoping to find what had made Inés so insistent that he read her files again.

 

Miranda Blake Test Results for HIV, negative.

Results of blood indicate overdose taken within the 24 hours of test.

Confirmed with patient and help was refused.

 

Max put the file down and looked at Miranda. He approached her and stroked her hair back, “Schatz why didn’t you tell me? I would’ve helped you”.

Miranda stirred against his touch and opened her eyes slowly, she looked at him and squinted.

“I’m real” he said, “it’s me…real Max. I uh I read your file, the unedited one”.

“Oh” she said softly and sat up slowly, “why?”

“You aren’t coping” Max said, “I wanted to see if this had happened before…overdoses…seeing people”.

Miranda rubbed her head, “just ask whatever you want Max. I’m sure you already know the answer”.

“You’ve taken an overdose before”.

Miranda nodded, “once yes”.

“Why?”

“Amy” Miranda said after a while, “i-I…she was 19…and she was braver than me. I was too slow and I got her killed”.

“I am sure-

“I said I was an officer and she was raped and killed in front of me. I was next and then help arrived. I got her killed”.

“Miranda-“

“You wanted to know” Miranda stated, “I got drunk that night and I kept hearing her voice…seeing her. I wanted it all to stop. I wasn’t suicidal but in that moment I was. It was stupid and reckless of me”.

Max nodded.

“Why did you refuse help?”

“I-I…therapy has never helped me Max. My Mam…she was hurt and it was just me and my Dad most of the time. My Mam did what she could but she was bed bound…I dropped out of it when I was able to”.

Max nodded, “were you witness to her attack?”

“I was”.

Max nodded, “are you going to tell me about it? I can’t help you until I know. And if you tell me I might be able to stop Inés from making you go to therapy. Even though you so obviously need it”.

“I don’t” she snapped before sighing, “it was a robbery. I woke up and wanted a drink. I woke my Mam up and made such a fuss about it, threatened to scream and run away unless she got me a drink”.

Max nodded.

“She was tired, worked a lot of nights and this was a rare one she had off. But she got out of bed and went downstairs. I followed and moaned I was hungry…then I saw this man…I screamed and my Mam started to cry. S-She was hurt. The man grabbed me and then my Da hit him with his prized binoculars…broke them. I messed up my family in one night”.

“Miranda you were just a kid-

“She was pregnant Max…my Mam, I was going to have a baby sister and I hated her for it. I might as well of hurt her for all the good I did”.

Max rubbed her back, “like I said, you were a kid. These things do happen, it hurts us yes, but life it challenges us. You are a good person”.

“But?”

Max sighed, “but I really think you need therapy. I can’t help you unless you help yourself. And you do want me to help you right?”

Miranda nodded, “i-I do”.

Max kissed her head, breathing her in, “come on…we need to get some food in you. It’s been days since you ate properly and don’t even think about distracting me with sex”.

“Shame” Miranda grumbled but stood with him.

Max nodded and took her to the kitchen where he made them both a sandwich. Despite an initial reluctance to eat, Miranda ate two sandwiches and sipped some water.

Max smiled at her, “okay. Food eaten, now, I need to take you somewhere”.

“What? Max-“

“I ran out of condoms” Max pointed out, “and since you don’t like me to leave you, you are going to have to come with me”.

“o-Oh…okay”.

Max smiled, “did you want to change or are you okay dressed in just my shirt and well do you even have anything else on?”

Miranda huffed and grabbed her jeans, "I'll get dressed".

 


 

As Max pulled up outside of their workplace, Miranda knew she’d been had. She glared at him.

“Inés texted…you have an appointment with the therapist in ten minutes”.

“Nope”.

“Yes” Max said sternly, “you do. I want to help you Miranda”.

“You helped me enough by faking your death and pushing me into a breakdown” Miranda snapped.

“And so let me really help you now. Let me heal you”.

“No”.

“No? Okay then, if you do not want my help maybe I don’t want you in my apartment”.

“w-What?”

“It’s called tough love” Max snapped, “you need help Miranda. I don’t want you in my bed if you are going to refuse help”.

Miranda went quiet then, bringing her arms around her body. She looked to her right and then nodded.

“Okay” she said softly.

Max nodded and got out of the car. Miranda followed and looked warily up at their workplace before following Max into the building.


Inés greeted them both.

Miranda hadn’t seen Inés since the hospital, since being told she had overdosed.

She had expected a glare from her boss but found only pity in her eyes. She didn’t know which was worse.

“Your therapist is in room 3. Max and I will be outside but nobody will observe it. Okay?”

“Okay” Miranda repeated, looking towards room 3. Seeing no way she could get out of the appointment unless she ran. But that would mean facing time without Max. She hesitated before Max nudged her, “go on” he said firmly.

“i-I” she started before nodding, moving towards the room as she fought to keep her hands from shaking. Every inch of her was raging, she didn’t want this. She did not want to be in a room with a stranger.

Pouring her life out.

If she could just about manage it with Max how could she tell a stranger. She opened the door and saw a woman sat in one of the seats. Her notebook and pen ready.

She smiled at her entrance.

“Hello Miranda”.

Miranda looked back for Max and found his back to her. With a stinging realisation that he really was going for the tough love.

She walked into the room, “hello” before she sat down.

“My name is Rea. Can I call you Miranda?”

Miranda shrugged, “that is my name".

Rea nodded and then put her pen down, “good. From your file I can see that you’ve been recommended for therapy a few times since joining the police. Can I ask why you have refused it up until now?”

Miranda rubbed her wrist and shrugged, “just did”.

“Okay, and you were recently discharged from the hospital after an overdose yes?”

“You’ve read my file. You know the answer”.

“I’m not looking for answers in a file. I am looking for your answers”.

Miranda rolled her eyes, “yes I was discharged after an overdose”.

“Why did you take that overdose?”

Miranda rubbed her wrist again, moving her hand to rub across her other hand, “you figure it out. That is your job isn’t it? To work out why I took it? Not get the cheat sheet”.

Rea nodded, “indeed…so let’s work on something else. Your boss said you suffered from hallucinations of your partner? Max Winter? Do you still suffer from them?”

Miranda shrugged.

“Miranda?”

Miranda leaned back in the chair, “I said I would go to therapy. I didn’t say I would be baring my soul”. 

“So that’s a yes then”.

Miranda glared.

“You were how old when your mother died?”

“What has that got to do with anything?"

Rea nodded, "a lot. How old were you?"

"Can’t you do maths?”

“It is just a question. I know how old you were”.

“Then why ask if you know?”

Rea eyed her, scribbling a note down before she caught Miranda looking to her left.

Rea sat back, “is he here now?”

“What?”

“Your hallucination of Max?”

Miranda shrugged, “maybe”.

“I’ll take that as a yes”.

“No!”

Rea raised her eyebrow, “no?”

“No he’s not… h-he’s not here right now”.

Rea nodded, “good. Men are useless when it comes to feelings”.

Miranda smirked slightly before she caught herself, “that kind of reasoning won’t work with me. Max is very much a feeling sharing man. He’s not at all useless”.

Rea nodded, “that is why he wanted you to have this session so urgently then? Because he cares a lot about you”.

“You’d have to ask him that question. I’m not a therapist and I don't know what goes on Max's head”.

“No you are not” Rea said, “when you last had therapy. Back in Wales, why did you stop?”

“Doesn’t it tell you in your precious file?”

“No, it states that you didn’t turn up one day and then didn’t return despite calls”.

Miranda shrugged, “then it stopped because I didn’t turn up one day despite calls. If this is all your therapy is going to be-“

“Oh no not at all. I’m getting to know who you are Miranda. A woman with a very strong exterior but incredibly fragile inside. Despite your frosty exterior Detective, you just want to be wanted, like we all do”.

“What?”

“Max‘s supposed death made you believe quite strongly that you would never be wanted again. All the efforts and progress you had made on yourself was wiped out with a few lies”.

“No-“

“You saw yourself as a small child again. Wanting affection and love but never getting it-“

“My parents loved me-“

“And yet your mother had you banned from her funeral and you were written out of her will. Your father refused to visit you when you were in London and you last went home when you were 19?”

Miranda gripped her seat tightly.

“That’s not true”.

“No? Because it’s what your father said”.

“My father didn’- he- “

“Your boss spoke with him on the phone to inform him of your situation in the hospital. When it wasn’t clear you would wake up and he refused to have any dealings with you. The only people who care about you Miranda Blake are your boss and Max Winter”.

Miranda blinked back angry tears, “that’s not true! My Da does care!”

Rea raised an eyebrow, “so why didn’t he accept the flight over here?”

“He doesn’t like flying” Miranda stated.

“Are you sure about that?”

“Yes. We never went any further than Brecon”.

Rea nodded and pushed a photo in front of her.

Miranda looked at it and then to her left before looking back at Rea, “you’re trying to trick me. That’s faked”.

“Is that what Max told you?”

“What?”

“Max, the man you just looked at”.

Miranda cursed and looked at the photo, “it’s faked”.

“It’s not” Rea said and handed her two more photos. Both of the same man but this time with a much younger woman.

They were outside the Grand Canyon.

Miranda touched the photo and then wiped her eyes, “whatever”.

Rea sighed, “I want to help you Miranda”.

“And showing me photos of my Da in America is going to do what exactly? Make me realise he never cared about me? I got that when I was 16!”

“When you stopped going to therapy”.

“Yes” Miranda snapped.

Rea nodded, “you find it hard to trust men then. That they aren’t going to hurt you. Abandon you at some point?”

Miranda nodded once.

“That is why you have created this version of Max. Because he won’t hurt you. Or leave you”.

Miranda wiped her eyes, “aren’t these sessions meant to be an hour? Only that clock says 5 and I started at 3. Wouldn’t want to think I was wasting your precious time” Miranda said and stood up. “You’ve uncovered I have issues about men. Well done. Afraid I’m out of gold stars for your precious notebook. Sorry”.

Miranda walked out of the room and saw Max sat against the wall. He smiled at her warily.

“You okay?”

She nodded once before walking fast down the hallway.

Max followed, having to run to keep up, “Miranda? I-I are you really okay? You are not mad at me?”

Miranda stopped walking and looked at him, “oh no Max. I’m not mad”.

Max laughed nervously, “heh well uh you say that but you are pulling your mad at me face”.

“Of course I’m mad Max!” Miranda exploded, “I told you no therapy. I told you I don’t want it and you manipulated me into having it!”

“Ja ‘cause I care about you! You need it even if you don’t think you do”.

“Oh I know I do Max. But I don’t want it. There’s a clear difference”.

“Not to me” Max replied and took her hands in his, “please Schatz. I know it is scary, I do…but please, for me keep trying?”

Miranda pulled her hands free and looked him coldly in the eyes, “I’m staying at my place tonight”.

“Okay well I’ll pick up a few things of mine and head-

“Alone. I want to be alone”.

“Miranda-“

“Thought you said I needed tough love” she replied and walked out of the building.

“Ah Scheisse” Max groaned and followed, “Miranda! Hey Miranda! Will you quit walking so fast! Some of us aren’t very fit!”

Miranda stopped quickly and shoved him against a wall, gripping his shirt in her hands, “stop following me! I need you to go! I need you to stop this please!”

“Miranda?” Max said carefully and covered her hands with his.

“Please stop appearing and making your snide jokes and comments! You need to stop because I need to look sane. I need to look completely fine so that they stop watching me and stop pushing me to have therapy!”

Max nodded, “my love” he said softly, “breathe and put your hand over my chest”.

Miranda glared, “not falling for it”.

“Come on…I thought you liked feeling me up”.

“I like the real you. The one who holds me at night and isn’t a figment of my imagination”.

Max nodded, “I know” and moved her hands to his chest. Letting her feel his heartbeat.

He noticed her defeat before she let him go. He stroked her face and pulled her into a hug, “I know it’s tough…I know” he said and kissed her head as he held him tightly, “but me and you have got this okay? I’m not leaving you ever again”

Miranda nodded.

“If you want to stay at your place tonight then okay, but not alone? Please? You might think you can do it but I really would miss waking up to you moaning that I have cold feet or kicking me out of the bed to make coffee”.

Miranda chuckled and sniffed before she looked at him.

“I don’t want to go home alone…h-home is where Inés told me you were dead”.

“She told you at home?”

Miranda nodded, “I’ve barely been back since”.

“That woman” Max grumbled, “I told her to let you know in the office”.

Miranda slipped her hands around his waist and hugged him again, “I know you care about me Max. But you need to know just how hard it is for me to accept that”.

“I won’t stop trying” Max promised.


Max watched from the doorway as Miranda took her tablets and then sipped her water. He trusted her to take them but he was concerned how easily she was mistaking him for the fake him.

He was wracked with guilt over being the catalyst for her breakdown, and he was going to stop at nothing to help get her back to where she was before she thought she’d lost him.

Max approached her and she looked at him.

“Real” he said and held up a bowl of strawberries, “I thought maybe we could eat some strawberries in bed? Roberto gave me some ruby chocolate earlier and well we could melt it and dip the strawberries in”.

Miranda nodded, “sounds nice”.

Max nodded and set the bowl down on her bedside table. They’d gone back to hers, Max sensed that despite the bad memories of her apartment, she wanted to be back surrounded by familiar things. Her clothes, her views, her bed.

“Or we could christen your bed” he said casually.

“What?”

“Well” he said and looked at her, “have you had sex in this bed?”

“Well no-“

Max grinned and kissed her, she put up half a fight before slipping away from his lips, letting him fall to the bed alone.

“I’m not in a sex mood Max”.

Max nodded, “strawberries it is then. Balcony?”

Miranda sighed and nodded, “sure”.

Max grabbed the bowl and moved to it, when he saw she wasn’t following but just staring at him sadly he moved to her.

“Miranda?”

“I keep thinking what if”.

“What?”

“Well, what if you hadn’t got to me in time. What if you didn’t make me throw up-

“Don’t torture yourself” Max said, “you are here and we are alive. Now do you know to melt chocolate or do I-“

“I can melt chocolate” Miranda huffed, “why did he give you ruby chocolate?”

“Said he bought it by mistake. I’ve never had it have you?”

“Mmm it’s sweet” she squeezed his hands and nodded to herself, “real”.

“100% you can squeeze other things if you need to check” Max said.

“Tempting as you are, I just need to reaffirm it in my head. The other you is…he keeps appearing out of the blue. I thought I had a control of it… that the tablets were helping but they’re not”.

Max nodded, “we’ll get through this Schatz”.

“I know” Miranda agreed and kissed him, “both of you feel so real”.

“Is there any way other than my heart beat to tell us apart?”

“You’re a better kisser” Miranda said.

Max laughed and nodded, “good to know”.


After melting the chocolate and dipping the strawberries into it, Max saw his chance as he looked at the left over chocolate. As Miranda looked out onto the mountains he swiped the chocolate across her cheek.

“Max!”

Max grinned wolfishly at her, “yes?”

She moved to remove the chocolate but then paused at his grin, “oh no”.

He swiped more chocolate over her face and then held up the bowl. Teasing it away from her.

“Max” Miranda huffed.

“Now you need a shower” Max grinned and pulled her close. Licking the chocolate off one cheek Miranda squirmed in his arms.

“Max stop” she whined, “Max!”

“You taste delicious” he growled against her ear and nibbled gently. Miranda gripped his side and shivered.

“You can’t keep doing this” she muttered and backed them into her bedroom.

“Can” he grinned, “I know it gets you horny”.

“It gets me annoyed” Miranda countered but she was smiling.

“Horny, annoyed. Same difference with you” he grinned and tipped her so she fell onto the bed. Max lifted her shirt up and smeared the remaining chocolate across her body. Miranda wriggled at the feeling of the chocolate before she realised it was futile to deny Max, she pulled her shirt off. Looking down at Max as he removed her shorts.

“Have you ever had anyone eat food off you before?”

“Nope”.

“Well” Max grinned, “that’s another thing you can have that tells your Max’s apart” he leaned close to her and murmured, “I’m better at the foreplay”.


Miranda jolted awake and saw Max standing above her bed. She looked to one and saw another Max in her bed.

She breathed slowly and slowly placed a hand over the Max in her bed’s heart. The steady thud made her breathe a sigh of relief as she looked back to the other Max only to find him gone.

“One day at a time Blakey” she murmured before falling asleep, her hand still on Max’s chest.

Chapter Text

Max woke up and saw Miranda had her hand on his chest. He smiled and stroked her face, brushing her hair back.

“Schatz” he breathed, realising she must’ve woken up in the night and thought he wasn’t real.

Leaving her sleeping, he turned their bodies over so she was resting on the pillows and kissed her.

Max saw her smile.

“Max?”

Max removed her covers, “shush….let me”.

She eyed him for a second before nodding.

Max stroked a hand up her thighs and kissed all the way up them.

“What’s the occasion?”

“I am very proud of you for going into the session yesterday Miranda” Max stated, “it is the first step in recovering”.

“So, you’re saying this is a reward for being a good girl?”

“Oh no” Max said, “this is your reward for knowing this is the real me”.

Miranda smiled slightly, “y-yeah?”

“Oh yeah big time Blakey” he growled.


Miranda sat outside Rea's room and rubbed her arm. Max had been told to go back to work for the day whilst she had her session. After yesterday’s one had turned to two, the therapist offered her daily two hour sessions. Starting right away.

Inés had an officer watching her at all times, making sure she didn’t escape. It felt like she was a prisoner and the way that everyone had been looking at her as they passed made her on edge. Like she was on display, her life up for them to peer into.

“Schatz?”

“Go away” she muttered and turned her head, not giving in to Max.

“Oh come on, I’m entertaining you”.

“No. You are not real” she snapped and dug her nail into her palm, she glared at him, “not real”.

Max disappeared and she breathed a sigh of relief, relaxing against the wall. She looked at her hand and saw a red mark on her palm.

She stroked it and then looked at the time, her appointment was in a few minutes. She glanced at the officer who was watching her carefully.

“I’m not mad” she stated.

The officer shrugged, “not my opinion”.

“Oh?”

“I do not agree with what they did. Lying to you”.

Miranda nodded.

He moved to sit beside her, “these sessions will help”.

Miranda shrugged, stiffening up, “I’m fine”.

The officer nodded and as the door opened, he stood.

“Miranda?”

Miranda glared at Rea and followed her in.

 


“I honestly didn’t expect to see you here today, or even accept the sessions”.

“I’m under house arrest, had to be here if I want my boyfriend to have sex with me”.

Rea nodded, “and that’s Max Winter?”

Miranda nodded and sat down.

“Today I am going to do some quick word associations with you. Nothing harmful, just say the first word that comes to your head. Then we are going to colour”.

Miranda snorted, “what?”

“Colour. You do know how to do that; little children know how to colour in Detective. You take a pencil and shade in the areas”.

Miranda bristled as Rea held up a pack of colouring pencils and two books to colour in.

She nodded, “I know how to colour”.

“Good”.

“Why the change of technique?”

“You are a tough woman to speak to” Rea stated, “maybe if you colour in nicely your boyfriend might sleep with you as a reward”.

Miranda flushed but glared, “me doing these sessions is not for sex. I’m doing them so they’ll back off and leave me be. The sex part is a bonus”.

Rea nodded, “you see? Progress”.

Miranda opened her mouth to say something but chose to keep quiet.

“Good. So, you understand at least, how to do word associations then?”

“Yes” Miranda bit out.

“Good…okay, so this is just a practise run. Day?”

“Night”.

Rea nodded, “moon?”

“Sun”.

“Okay then. I’m going to begin now. If there is any word you find distressing, tap the table”.

Miranda nodded.

“Name?”

“Miranda”.

“Job?”

“Detective”.

“Morning?”.

“Afternoon”.

“Love?”

“Max”.

“Country?”

“Mallorca”.

Rea paused, “Geraint?”

“Geraint” Miranda corrected softly, “pain” she then added.

“Family?”.

“Alone”.

“Alone?”.

“Me”.

Rea nodded, “Wales?”

Miranda tapped the table and Rea nodded.

“Dance?”

“Passion”.

“Sex?”.

“Max”.

“Trust?”.

“Max”.

“Safety?”.

“Max”.

“Max?”

“Home”.

Rea nodded, “okay, that’s all for now. Now you have a choice, flowers or kittens?”

“Flowers” Miranda said and sat up as Rea handed her the book.

Rea put the colours in the middle and Miranda opened up the book and began to colour one of the petals.

“Are you exclusive to this station or do you work in town?” Miranda asked after a while.

“Exclusive to the station. Whoever comes in here, it is kept quiet. Only those who need to know, know”.

Miranda nodded and coloured in again.

“In London I was moved around a lot, never had the stability of someone before” Miranda found herself admitting.

“I noticed in one year you were moved around quite a lot”.

Miranda nodded, “I did”.

“Must’ve been tough”.

“I didn’t get on with people…or they didn’t get on with my way of working”.

Rea nodded.

“At least you are here now. Slightly warmer here than in London”.

Miranda chuckled and nodded, “it is”.

“What made you pick being an officer? You’re a good one but I never saw the appeal”.

“I wanted to help people”.

“As do I…we are not much different than you would believe”.

“I guess not” Miranda replied and set the pencil down. She looked at her finished flower and smiled at it.

“In your association, when I asked about trust and safety…you answered Max for both”.

“Max is a lot of things”.

“Good at sex?”

Miranda blushed, “well I mean he-“

“Knows where to put his hands unlike most men”.

“Yeah”.

“When you are having sex with him, do you ever see the Max in your head?”

“No he uh he doesn’t appear. He usually appears when I’m not expecting it”.

Rea nodded, “now I can’t prescribe simply just having sex with Max. That won’t work”.

Miranda nodded.

“Is this your first sexual relationship?”

“I’ve had sex before. I mean if that is what you are asking?”

“I am asking if this is your first boyfriend? First serious relationship”.

Miranda nodded, “oh, uh yeah he is”.

“So there is a lot of pressure to get it right?”

“Well I mean…” Miranda sighed and nodded, “I don’t want to lose Max again”.

Rea nodded, “he cares. I can see that”.

“He’s an emotive man. Carries his heart on his sleeve”.

“He loves you”.

“He does”.

“And how does that make you feel? Having that love”.

Miranda picked up the pencils and moved to colour again before she answered, “good”.

Rea nodded, “at least that is one man who loves you. The most important one I would say”.

Miranda sighed, “I can see what you are doing”.

“Can you?”

“You are trying to make me talk about my lack of love growing up. A-And how that family isn’t made from blood but it’s the people who are there for you. That surround me. People like Inés, Max and Roberto…even Christian. That they all care about me”.

Rea nodded.

“And I can see that. I know that. It doesn’t mean it’s fair that I got to grow up with parents who wanted me to grow up and get out the house quickly. So quickly they pushed me into therapy to discuss everything wrong with me and then proceeded to tell me how wrong I was every day!”

Rea nodded, “families are difficult”.

“They are”.

“You are a strong woman Miranda. Everything you have been through most would have broken. You have not”.

“Until now”.

“No…I think your actions were that of a woman in great distress yes, but not broken. You believed the man you loved was dead and saw no way out”.

Miranda nodded.

“That’s all for today, but I would like to add Miranda, that you are strong. Very resilient, and it wouldn’t hurt if you told yourself that a few times a day. Maybe in front of the mirror?”

Miranda nodded and then looked at the colouring book.

“You can take it with you if you would like”.

Miranda accepted it and half smiled, “same time tomorrow I guess?”

“Same time tomorrow” Rea agreed, “I want you to write a letter, it can be to anyone but nobody will read it. It is for your eyes only”.

Miranda nodded, “okay”.

“And Miranda?”

“Yes?”

“Well done”.


Miranda hesitated before she moved into the office room. Max looked up at her and smiled wide.

“Miranda!”

He got out of his chair and smiled at her.

“How did it go?”

“Good” Miranda said softly and placed a hand on his chest, “I behaved”.

Max grinned and squeezed her butt, “then I definitely won’t”.

“Winter!” Inés snapped, “can you stop feeling your partner up?”

“Total flirt” Max grumbled as Miranda pressed her body up against his. Miranda grinned at him.

“Am I now?”

“Miranda can I speak to you in my office. Now”.

Miranda glanced at Max who grinned back before she moved into Inés’ office.


“So, you have had two of the mandated therapy sessions”.

“I have”.

“And you are attending. Which is good. I want to go over a plan of slowly bringing you back to work. Desk work with Winter only”.

“Okay”.

“Besides. If you are at home all day with Winter you might come back with more than a healthy mind”.

Miranda flushed, “we don’t spend all day having sex” she replied.

“Mmm. Sure”.

“We don’t!” Miranda protested.

Inés chuckled, “Miranda. You can have sex. I am not your mother telling you off. I’ll be more inclined to tell Max off for getting you pregnant should that ever happen”.

Miranda looked back at Max and half smiled.

“He uses condoms” Miranda replied, “I can’t take the pill at the moment because of my medication but he does- we do have sex safely…mostly”.

Inés nodded, “I would like to have you back at work next month. I am giving you another month off because I think you need it. However, I will let you work on reports at home starting from Monday. I expect you here for your therapy every day Max is working. And I expect Detective, a pretty picture”.

Miranda crunched her brow in confusion.

Inés nodded to her colouring book and she rolled her eyes.

“I’ll make sure it’s very pretty Inés”.

 


Max huffed as Miranda banned him from the bathroom that evening.

“You know I am very pleased you are making progress on not needing me in every room. But do I really have to miss out on naked times?”

Miranda stuck her head out of the door and glared, “not naked. Shut up” before she went back into it.

Max rolled his eyes, “so what are you doing?”

“If you keep interrupting me you won’t find out” Miranda replied.

“Fine fine. I’m behaving” Max laughed, “lasagne just went in by the way. It’ll be an hour or so but it’ll need the cheese added towards the end if you want it crispy”.

“Okay” Miranda said and opened the door, he saw that Miranda had been spending her time in the bathroom lighting candles and drawing a bath with rose petals.

He looked at her.

“You need some time” she said softly, “and I need some time. I want you to relax Max” she said and slowly began to strip him. He smiled and stopped her from unzipping his trousers.

“Schatz” he started.

“Mm?”

“I love you”.

Miranda wrinkled her nose, “good”.

Max smiled, “I know you wanted this to be for me” he said and kissed her, “but why don’t we share? I like spending all my time with you.”

Miranda nodded and smiled as he hugged her waist.

“Nice try” she murmured as she felt his hands move south, “but I am colouring in. My – the woman, Rea, told me I should”.

Max nodded and kissed her again, “I’m very proud of you”.

Miranda pulled back, “relax Max…you need to”.

“You are the one who had the breakdown”.

“So, I know the signs” she reminded him, “strip. Relax and I will be on the sofa thinking of you naked”.

 

As Max relaxed in the bath, Miranda wrote a letter.

 

Max,

 

This feel so stupid to write this. I mean you won’t see it. It hurt me. When you were dead I felt my world crumble and I didn’t know how to stop it. I knew I wasn’t coping and I let myself fall. Didn’t want to be saved, not this time.

I love you

But you lied and I am still processing that. Everyone lied to me and they saw me break and they continued to lie. They were all against me, all against what I was doing. It felt like torture Max.

I’ve overdosed twice in my life but the second time was when I realised I wanted to stay alive. Meeting you has given me a reason to live. A reason to fight and to be happy.

A reason to wake up.

I do love you still, so much. And when I picture my future, there is only ever you. I want to give you everything. I want to be your everything.

Whatever that everything means, I love you.

 

Miranda

 

 

Miranda looked at the clock and realised it wouldn’t be too long before their lasagne would be ready.

She sighed and put the letter to one side and moved to the kitchen. Grabbing the bag of cheese Max had begged her to get, she added it to the still cooking lasagne before yelping as Max stood behind her, a towel wrapped around his waist.

“Max” she laughed, “you scared me”.

“I did” he smiled and stroked her face, “sorry”.

“Mm you better be”.

Max smiled.

Miranda frowned as she heard a noise from the bedroom, she looked at Max and frowned as she realised he wasn’t really there.

“Dammit” she muttered, “I’ve got to get a grip on this” before she moved back to the living room, “Max!”

“Jaaaa”.

“Max can you check if I’ve had my tablets i-I can’t remember”.

“Ja you missed the afternoon dose” Max said and appeared in the doorway with them, “you okay?”

“I just…I saw you again. It’s getting better but you know, hard”.

Max nodded and kissed her head as she took them. He looked and saw her writing, “Max don’t” Miranda muttered, “that’s private”.

“Okay” he said, “did you colour?”

“No…sorry, i-I just needed to do this”.

Max nodded, “the bath was lovely thank you…” he kissed her cheek, “join me next time?”

Miranda nodded.

“Promise?”

Miranda wrapped her arms around his waist, “promise. Especially…” she murmured, “if you’re going to misbehave”.

Max nodded, “did you add the cheese?”

“I did”.

“Definitely misbehaving with you then” he laughed, “now I’m going to get changed. Wine should be ready to breathe”.

“I’m only having water”.

Max nodded and then eyed her with a grin.

Miranda rolled her eyes, “I’m not pregnant. I’m just not wanting alcohol. I used it too much to deal with you being gone”.

“I didn’t even think you were” he said, “it’s good you are recognising the unhealthy habits”.

“Mm” Miranda muttered, “well that and Inés said she’d tell you off if you got me pregnant”.

Max laughed, “I won’t do it on purpose. Not unless we both are ready”.

Miranda rested her head against his chest, listening to his heart beating, “that poor baby”.

Max lifted her onto his waist, “I am sure we would be good with it. I mean you have dealt with me for over a year and you have more than put me in my place when I’ve been annoying”.

“Mm” Miranda said and watched as he carried her to the kitchen, “I’ll think about it”.

Max nodded and sat her down before the oven went off.

“You get dinner out I’ll pour you a drink”.

Max moved to the kitchen and as he did, she prepared their drinks. Eyeing up Max’s towel, as he plated up their food she took his towel off. Max stilled, “Miranda Blake. Unless you are very naked-”.

“Well, I might be”.

Max laughed and looked at her, “take your clothes off”.

Miranda eyed him, “didn’t hear a please”.

“If you think I am going to stand here naked and eating whilst you are fully clothed”.

Miranda shrugged and moved to the table, placing the drinks down she waited until Max appeared with the food before she took her jeans off.

“One item” Miranda stated, “every five minutes”.

“Why?”

“To practise patience” she replied, “and because we both need to eat more”.


 

After two weeks of Miranda attending the sessions, Max thought she was better. It was only when he saw the officer assigned to making sure Miranda entered the sessions, running down the corridor that he knew a problem had arose.

He looked at Inés who nodded and he ran after the man, “Leon? Leon! Where is Miranda?”

“I don’t know! She said she needed to go to the toilet and then she ran”.

“Scheisse…she had a bad night last night i-I thought…” Max trailed off and moved down, “I’ll go check to see if anyone has seen her. Please make sure she doesn't leave the station”.

Chapter Text

Roberto found Miranda leaning against the doors of the mortuary. He hadn’t heard about her going missing so he greeted her with a smile.

“Hola Miranda. Long time no see”.

Miranda looked at him warily and nodded.

“How are your sessions going?”

“Office talk now is it” Miranda muttered before she rubbed her eyes, “she keeps asking me about my past. She won’t drop it and then Max every night wants to talk and “ she cut off and groaned, “I keep seeing the other Max”.

Roberto nodded and his phone vibrated.

“That’ll be Max. They’re looking for me”.

Roberto nodded and didn’t check his phone, “would you like a drink?”

Miranda looked at him and nodded once.

He unlocked the mortuary and led her through, past the slabs and towards his kitchenette area. That Miranda wasn’t sure if Inés knew about.

“These sessions you go to, they are important”.

“I know”.

“But that doesn’t mean you will be good after every one. It is like life, some days are good, some are bad”.

Miranda huffed, “I just want to feel better”.

“And you will” he said and handed her a mug of coffee, “it takes time”.

Miranda shrugged, “will I stop seeing this fake Max?”

“Is he here now?”

“No”.

“You will eventually” Roberto said softly, “it takes time. But you do…when I was a teenager I used to see my girlfriend”.

Miranda raised her eyebrow.

“She was hit by a car when we were 15 and died. For months after all I saw was her. I was very sad for a long time”.

“o-Oh”.

Roberto sipped his own coffee, “I have had therapy every week ever since. A continuous battle but one I face with a strong mind now. It takes time but these things do get better”.

Miranda nodded.

“But what if they don’t”.

“What triggered it today?”

Miranda leaned against the wall and let herself slide to the floor, “I phoned my Da last night. Told him I was living with Max now and that if he wanted to contact me or even come over with his new wife, that I would like to see him”.

Roberto moved to sit beside Miranda.

“He said I think it’s a good idea to leave things alone… that I shouldn’t contact him again”.

Roberto nodded.

“He said I’m not his daughter a-anymore”, Miranda wiped her eyes quickly, “it’s not fair” she cried, “I just wanted to make amends. And he tells me he doesn’t want me in his life”.

Roberto put his mug down and pulled her against his chest as she cried.

He rubbed her back, “nobody here will ever tell you that. We all want you in our lives” he murmured, “dios you are a strong woman and you do make me want to impress you. Even stop eating chocolate over reports”.

Miranda half laughed as she cried, “I just feel so pathetic”.

“You aren’t” Roberto said, “I mean you tried to make peace with your past and when that was refused it hurt yes. But that doesn’t mean you are pathetic. Tell me, if you changed your past would you be here right now? With Max?”

“Well no I uh I guess not”.

“And you love Max”.

“I do. Very much”.

“So there we go” Roberto smiled, “just because you cannot fix the past does not mean you should let it kill your future. And besides, Max is very annoying when you are not at work”.

Miranda chuckled, “he has that effect on people”.

“What is your future with him do you think? Will you stay in Mallorca?”

Miranda sniffed and pulled away from Roberto’s embrace, rubbing her eyes.

“Max is my future”.

Roberto nodded.

“And?”

“And I want to be in Mallorca. Nowhere else has ever felt like home”.

Roberto smiled, “and you will have children?”

Miranda rested her head against the wall, “I will”.

“How many?”

Miranda laughed, “I don’t know…maybe 2?”

“Maybe?”

“Well it depends…I’m nearly 36, I might not be able to have kids. Max and I we didn’t we…the condom split the other day” Miranda admitted, “I lied and said that I’ll get the tablets”.

“And you didn’t?”

“No…I can’t take them with my medication, I just…I don’t know why I didn’t tell Max that. I’m not pregnant I just…I lied to Max…”.

Roberto nodded, “maybe you thought you were speaking to the fake Max”.

“Maybe…”

Miranda pulled her knees up and sighed, “I’m so tired…this therapy, every day it’s killing me. Why can’t I have it every week?”

“I guess they are worried if you do not have something to do all day you will only see Max”.

Miranda nodded, “I can see that. And I know that it’s good”.

“And you are rewarded with sex”.

Miranda laughed, “so my sex life is the talk of the office as well”.

“No just Inés and I. We are both concerned about you. I bet you refuse Max sex when he is annoying, Inés says he annoys you into sex”.

Miranda smiled and rested her head on her knees, “it’s a bit of both”.

“Has the therapist ever asked you for Max to be in your sessions? It might help you both if he knows what triggers you. And it would stop him from asking at night”.

“I-i don’t think he’d…i-I mean…I guess it’s worth a try”.

Roberto patted her back, “fighting for love is always worth it. Did you want another drink?”

Miranda shook her head, “maybe I should go back up and see Max. Apologise for running off”.

“You can stay here. One day off will not harm you”.

“Thank you” Miranda whispered and finished her coffee. She shut her eyes and Roberto stood up. Taking the empty mug away.

He looked at his phone and at the amount of texts and missed calls from Max. He looked at Miranda and then pressed re-dial.

“Roberto!? Please please tell me Miranda is with you?!”

“She is…she needed a day off from therapy”.

“Roberto she needs the help, you don’t see her at nights…nobody does. She thinks I don’t know but I hear her crying”.

Robert looked at Miranda, “maybe you should stop asking her about her past then. Save that for the trained professional. If I relived my life twice a day I would cry at night.”

“But she doesn’t tell me!”

“Then ask to be in the sessions. She might benefit from you being there”.

“I don’t want to know things she doesn’t want me to” Max said.

“So, don’t ask them then” Roberto fired back.

Max appeared in the doorway and Roberto lowered his phone as Max entered.

“Where is she?”

Roberto nodded to Miranda but he grabbed Max’s wrist, “be careful”.

“i-I” Max began to protest but when he looked at Miranda he nodded.

Max sat beside Miranda and took her hand in his, “you gave me a heart attack” Max said softly.

“Sorry”.

“It’s fine. I-it’s my fault. I should not have pushed so hard on you”.

Miranda shrugged, “you want to know…you need to know some of it”.

“Maybe I should sit in on some of your sessions?”

Miranda looked at him, and for the first time Max saw a flicker of hope in her eyes.

“You would?”

“I would” Max said and kissed her, “everything we do. We do together”.

“Well, there are some things I can do on my own”.

“Oh?”

“Well do you know how to put a tampon in?”

Max’s face grew puzzled for a second before he wrinkled his nose in disgust at the idea of trying.

Miranda snorted, “idiot” but she stroked his face, “my insufferable German idiot”.

“All yours Blakey. My Welsh sexy Queen”.

“Queen?”

“Ja” Max growled, “all mine, I am your humble servant”.

Miranda laughed and batted away his wandering hands, “Max pack it in!”

Max pinned her down and smiled at her, “let’s totally skip today. I want to make you laugh more”.

“And just how are you going to do that?”

Max leaned back and grinned at her, “just you wait Blake”.

 


Miranda sat in her usual chair for her sessions, she looked at Rea. She had been expecting hostility from the woman after skipping out on her the previous day but had been met with a smile.

One that had faltered as Max followed Miranda into the room.

Miranda held Max’s hand as Rea put her hands on the table.

“Now before I begin, I want to stress that I am not a couples counsellor. My patient is Miranda and if I feel you are not a good thing to have in this room then you will leave understood?”

Max nodded, “I just want to help. Not hurt”.

Rea nodded.

“In our last session, Miranda brought up her father, Geraint. I broached the idea of reaching out to him”.

Max nodded and looked at Miranda, “did you?”

“I ask the questions” Rea stated, “did you?”

“I did”.

Max felt Miranda’s grip on his hand increase.

“h-He said I’m no longer his daughter…he wanted nothing more to do with me”.

Rea nodded, “then at least you know”.

“Doesn’t stop it hurting”.

Rea shrugged, “do not let him hurt you. If he does not want you that is on him. Do not feel for a man who does not feel for you”.

Max rubbed Miranda’s back and kissed her head, “your Da is a fool” Max murmured.

Rea nodded, “did he say anything else to you?”

“No…nothing else”.

Rea nodded, “I am not going to ask about your Da again unless you bring him up. Okay?”

Miranda nodded.

“Now I would like to discuss Max today. As he is here. When was the last time you saw the Max in your head?”

“Few nights ago…Max and I we had a squabble over what to watch and he just appeared…he’s not been around since”.

“It is progress. He is not around all of the time, only sometimes...briefly but not as much as he once was”.

Miranda nodded.

Rea looked at Max, “does she communicate to him?”

“Uh no…she just grips me and puts her palm on my chest. It calms her and brings her back to me”.

“Good” Rea nodded, “how often are you having sex? Is it every night or most?”

“Most” Max flushed, “how is that relevant?”

“And on the nights you do not have sex. Why is that?”

“Uh well” Max flushed, “we uhm, Miranda she-

Rea nodded, “understood. You are having a lot of sex”.

“Ja”.

“Does it make you both happy?”

Miranda nodded, “I enjoy it. Max definitely enjoys it”.

“And do you both achieve an orgasm?”

Max blushed and Miranda chuckled, “if you are old enough to have sex you are old enough to discuss orgasms’ Winter. Yes we do” she added, “we aren’t addicted to sex. We like having it”.

Rea nodded, “when did you last have sex?”

“Yesterday” Miranda replied.

“And will you have sex tonight?”

“Ye-

“No” Miranda said and offered a shrug of apology at Max, “sorry I just feel a bit exhausted. Don’t want to overdo it”.

Rea nodded, “that is good. As long as sex isn’t used as a reward for good behaviour I do not see a problem with the amount of sex you have. You are both consenting adults, it is your decision and your bodies”.

Rea scribbled a note down against her file and then looked at them both, “you are on desk work at the moment Detective Winter. And Miranda you are still working from home?”

“That’s correct”.

“And how are you finding that?”

“Hard. I-I don’t like being at home too much. I’ve been going for a few more runs and taught myself how to cook carbonara, b-but I really hate being at home”.

Rea nodded, “I do not find any reasons why you cannot work behind your desk here earlier. And if in a few weeks time you feel up to it maybe a couple of interviews that take place outside of the station. I will mention it to your boss”.

Miranda half smiled at Max, and at the thought of being allowed back to work.

“Lastly Detective, I want to ask you about something you mentioned in your first session”.

“Oh?”

“Do you think this Max will hurt you or abandon you?”

Max looked at Miranda and she stroked his face, “no” she said after a while, “I don’t think he will” she stroked his face and smiled slightly, “not intentionally at least”.

Max nodded, “never ever intentionally Schatz” he breathed and held her hand in place, “I love you”.

Rea looked at them before she glanced at her file, “the most important person” she reiterated to Miranda, “is the one who you choose. Max”.

Miranda nodded and Max grinned, “I am very important. Bery” he grinned. Miranda hit his arm and laughed, “stop it”.

Rea looked at Miranda laughing and smiled, “I think for your next session Detective Winter should come along. He brings you out of your shell. I will send you links to do couples tasks together. Please bring an example of something you do together, it can be as simple as a walk along the beach”.


 

Miranda took her shoes off and leaned against Max’s car as he did the same. It was midnight and the moon was glistening off the sea. She smiled at him, “take your time Winter”.

Max laughed, “they are off” he smiled and held her hand, “you ready for that romantic walk along the beach?”

“You mean we aren’t skinny dipping?”

Max paused, “wait. Did you think?”

Miranda hugged him close and smiled, “nooo. But I totally was going to”.

Max laughed and hugged her, “next week. After work we can come here and skinny dip”.

“Sounds good to me Winter”.

“I want your body Blakey” Max grinned, “it is all a ploy to get you naked again”.

Miranda kissed him, “good man” before she looked out at the sea, in the distance she could see the cliffs that had given them the start of so many different journeys. She squeezed Max’s hand, “what do you suppose Niall Taylor is doing right now?”

“Probably lying on a beach somewhere drinking a cocktail. Why?”

“Maybe we need to have a Niall Taylor approach to somethings, live life well, to the fullest you can”.

“Miranda Blake are you trying to be poetic?”

“And failing, yes”.

“But there is beauty in failure” Max said and hugged her before they walked onto the beach.

“How do you make poetry so effortless?” Miranda whined, “when I do it, it just sounds bad”.

“I am the poet because, you my love, are the muse” Max grinned and held her hand.

“Alright Shakespeare, compare me to a midnight dream then”.

Max chuckled, “all of my dreams involve you. Dirty ones mostly…ones where you have your legs -ow!” he laughed and rubbed his arm.

“Don’t tell me the dirty ones, I want some sweet romantic poetry Winter” she smiled.

“Orders from Blakey? Now we are talking” he grinned, “now how can I resist you”.

“You can try, but you never will” Miranda smiled at her and squeezed his hand, “compañeros, remember?”