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From the Beginning

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Maya drives them down to the storage unit that she rented for Andrew’s motorcycle. Carina hasn’t been here yet, but Maya told her about it about a week after the memorial service. Maya was only here once. When the bike was dropped off and pushed inside and she locked the padlock and left.

She doesn’t say anything but gets out of the car and leads the way to the unit. They stop hand in hand in front of the door.

“Do you want to do it or should I?” Maya asks.

Carina has the key. She takes a deep breath. They’ve talked about this and worked up to it. “I’ll do it.” She takes a step forward, releasing Maya’s hand. She unlocks the door and pulls it up, open. It’s a little shocking as Carina step inside, not only to see the motorcycle, but for it to be the only thing in the unit.

“What do you want to do?” Maya steps up so she’s standing next to Carina in front of the bike.

Carina answers Maya with a question of her own. “Do you know how to ride?”

“Do you?” Maya asks back and glances over at Carina.

Carina finds Maya looking at her. “Just a scooter.” She smirks.

“You Italians.” Maya shakes her head playfully.

Carina reaches out and wraps her left hand around Maya’s elbow. She pulls them farther into the unit to get a closer look at the bike. “Where’s his helmet?” She doesn’t see it anywhere.

Maya licks her lips before she answers. “It’s in the closet in the spare bedroom.” She wasn’t intentionally hiding it from Carina, just thought that was a good place to store it.

Carina nods, not bothered at what Maya has done with the helmet. “Okay.” She looks down at the bike and runs her finger over the nearest handlebar. “When he first got the motorcycle and told me about it, I yelled at him. Motorcycles are dangerous.”

“They can be.”

“I made him swear that he would always wear a helmet and a leather jacket. Even if it was hot outside.”

“That was good.” Maya comments.

Carina sighs. “If something was going to kill him, I would have bet that it would have been this bike.” The tears sting in the corners of her eyes. Carina thought she could come here, thought she could see the bike, thought she could make it through without crying.

Maya shrugs Carina’s hand from her elbow so she can wrap her arms around the Italian. She rests her chin on Carina’s shoulder, leaning into her.

“Not some sex trafficker-“ Carina shudders. “-with a k-knife.” A few tears fall as she wraps her arms tightly around Maya.

“Do you want to go?”

Carina shakes her head. “No.” She takes a few minutes to compose herself before peeling away from Maya and moving around the bike, appraising it, thinking about what to do with it. “Do you know how to ride?” Maya never answered her question.

“I do. But I’m not very good.” Maya chews on her bottom lip.

“It’s like riding a bike, Maya.”

“I know. I just- don’t have one-“ She points at the motorcycle. “-so it’s like a lack of practice thing. I wouldn’t want to just hop on and go down the highway.”

“I thought you were excellent at everything you did.” Carina teases.

Maya rolls her eyes. “At whatever I put my mind to. If I remember you saying correctly.”

“You remember that?” Carina is astonished.

“Of course I do, love. How could I ever forget when I called you freaking out about delivering a baby and you talked me down.” Maya shrugs and looks away from her girlfriend.

Carina smirks. Anxious, nervous Maya was quite endearing back then. “You were pretty anxious about it.”

“That’s when I knew you would be good for me.” Maya reveals, slowly turning her head to get a glance at Carina’s reaction.

“Really?” Carina’s eyes nearly pop out of her head. “That was like the second or third time we talked.”

Maya shrugs again. “No one else has ever been able to help me calm down as much as you. I don’t know what it is. It’s like you have superpowers when it comes to that.”

Carina hums, finding Maya’s revelations very interesting.

“So what are you going to do with it?” Maya nods at the bike.

“I don’t know.” Carina licks her lips. “We could keep it.”

“Would that be too difficult?” Maya doesn’t miss the fact that Carina uses the word we.

“If you know how to ride.” Carina adds. “We could keep it.”

“Oh.” Maya sees Carina’s train of thoughts. She’s not sure if she likes the idea of keeping Andrew motorcycle so that she, or they, could ride it around though. Maya doesn’t want to force herself on Andrew’s memory. She doesn’t want to replace his memory in Carina’s mind of him and the bike with her and the bike. That doesn’t seem right.

Carina can feel Maya’s apprehension. “Or we could sell it.” She sighs.

“Well, we don’t have to make a decision today.” Maya thinks it best to sit on the idea and make a decision at a later date.

Carina nods. She runs her fingertips over the leather seat.

They stand there for a few minutes in silence. Each stuck in their own thoughts. Carina’s about Andrea and how much he loved his motorcycle. And Maya thinking about what it would be like to ride Andrew’s motorcycle.

Carina pulls Maya back to the car after a little bit. She pushes her up against the driver’s side door when they get there, kissing her hard. Carina runs a hand up the front of Maya’s shirt, cupping a breast. Maya squeaks a little in surprise. “Carina.”

“What?” She tries to play innocent.

“You know what?” Maya asks incredulously. She just can’t believe Carina sometimes. It’s like no place is off limits for a little frisky business. Even the storage unit where her dead brother’s bike resides.

“You’re no fun.” Carina steps back and tugs at the bottom of her shirt as she rounds the car and gets in the other side.

Maya scrambles to get inside the car. “I’m not fun?” She challenges. “It’s the middle of the afternoon. In broad daylight.” She raises her voice a little.

“Yeah.” Carina shrugs.

“Yeah and while I don’t want to say no, I also don’t want an audience or anything.” Maya knows they are in public after all.

“Okay.” Carina is disappointed.

“Hey.” Maya softens, realizing that she’s probably coming on too strong about this. She reaches over and takes Carina’s hand. The woman is all over the places right now. And Maya thinks she is allowed to be, but it’s a little hard to keep up with sometimes. “Let’s go home.”


“Where no one can interrupt us. Where you can kiss me, and I don’t have to worry about losing my job because I got arrested for indecent exposure.” Maya raises an eyebrow.

Carina smirks at that. “You’re always thinking, bambina.”

Maya brings Carina’s hand to her lips and presses a kiss to her knuckles. She starts the car and points them in the direction of home.

Carina sets her hand on Maya’s thigh as they get going. “Ya know.” She licks her lips and looks out the side window. “I was thinking-“

“Hmm.” Maya hums.

“I was thinking if we get you a helmet and a motorcycle jacket and boots and pants and-“ Carina’s hand slips to the inside of Maya’s thigh.

“Carina.” Maya warns.

“That it would be really hot.” She fingers dance against Maya’s thigh.

“Carina.” This time the name comes out more strangled than anything. Maya’s grip on the steering wheel tightens.

The Italian continues with her description. “And if you were riding the bike with your legs wrapped tightly around it- that would be even hotter.”

“What about you?” Maya asks.

“What about me?” Carina plays.

“You’re not going to be a casual observer.” Maya tells her.

“No? What am I going to be?” Carina teases back.

Maya pinches her thighs together, clamping Carina’s hand between them. Such a teases that one. Maya is throbbing and wet already. “You are going to be with me. Your own helmet and leather jacket on. On the back of the bike. Your arms wrapped around my waist, holding on.”

Carina hums. “And my legs wrapped tightly around you from behind.”

Maya moans.

Carina chuckles lightly. “I think we might have to keep the bike.”

Carina is going through her things. The pile of papers that she never sorted out when she moved in with Maya, and some other things, change of address stuff.

That’s when she finds the letter. The letter that she got from immigration the day, or maybe it was two days, before Andrea died. The letter saying that immigration was shutting down. Her heart sinks. Carina forgot about this. With everything that’s been happening at the hospital with Covid and then with Andrea’s death. She forgot. She forgot that she has to leave in a month. She forgot. It seems like a big thing to forget but there’s been so much pain, and so much grief, and so much stress.

Carina tries to get answers. She calls immigration but they are shut down. She goes on the website and that’s not any help either.

She chews on her lip nervously. She doesn’t know how she’s going to tell Maya. So much time has passed since she got the letter. And since immigration is shut down there’s nothing she can even do. Carina runs her hands through her hair. She flips it over to the right side of her head and lays backwards, falling onto her back on the mattress.

Maya is out helping Travis and Vic with something. Carina is not sure what. Maya told her what it was, but she didn’t understand it. Regardless, she’s not home.

When Maya does come home later that day, it’s with a hop in her step and a smile on her face. She told Carina they were doing Covid testing at the station. But, spending time with Travis and Vic this afternoon she has another idea.

“Carina.” She calls into the apartment as soon as she closes the door. She doesn’t spot the Italian in the kitchen or living room. Maya moves towards the bedroom. She comes in as Carina is sweeping up an armful of paper. “What’s all that?”

“Oh, just change of address stuff.” It’s not a complete lie. Just omitting some truth.

“Oh, okay.” Maya comes into the room. “I wanted to ask you something.” She sits down on the end of the bed.

“What?” Carina spits out. She’s on edge and her words are harsher than she wants them to be.

Maya wrinkles her brow at the tone of Carina’s voice but brushes it aside. “You know we have the Covid testing thing tomorrow.”


“I wanted to ask you if you would be willing to help out. I know it’s your day off and you totally don’t have to if you don’t want to. Travis just said it would be nice to have happy, bubbly Carina at the station again.”

Carina grins, genuinely. “He said that?”

Maya shrugs.

“I wasn’t the exact picture of happiness the last time I was there.”

“No, but-“ Maya is about to drop it. She doesn’t want Carina to feel obligated. “You don’t have to-“

“I’ll do it.” Carina says before Maya can change both their minds. She feels terrible agreeing though. She feels guilty for not telling Maya about the immigration stuff. Carina knows she should just tell her right now. She could and then deal with the ramifications and aftermath of that right here and now. But she doesn’t want it hanging over their heads tomorrow for the Covid testing at the station. She’ll just wait until after that is over and tell Maya then.

Carina also feels like she owes the station something. They have taken her in, they have effectively made her one of their own, a part of the fire family. So, she feels grateful for that and like she has to help out. Plus, hearing that Travis wanted her around more didn’t hurt either.

In the morning, Carina wakes up feeling worse and more on edge than yesterday. Maya is just the opposite. Maya is super excited to get to go to work with Carina, or bring Carina to work with her, for them to work together today.

“Thanks for agreeing to do this today. I know you’d probably rather spend your one day off a week not dealing with Covid.”

Carina finds Maya’s hand. “I’m happy that we are doing something together to help the community.”

“It’s pretty cool that our jobs can align sometimes.”

“I think that’s very cool.” Maya leans in and pecks Carina on the cheek. “Let’s go.” She releases her hand and smacks her on the ass lightly. “We can’t be late.”

“I’m never late.” Carina adds.

“Maybe not but you’re never early.” It was something that her father drilled into Maya. To be at least ten minutes early was to be on time. To be on time was to be late.

“I can’t help it if I want to look good when I go to work. I need to look presentable and professional for my patients.” Carina doesn’t want to look like a slouch or that she can’t do her job. She knows how judgmental people can be. It’s not like she’s Maya and gets to wear the same thing everyday at work, a uniform.

Maya rolls her eyes. “Does it matter nowadays. We are covered in masks and shields and googles and protective gowns. No one can even see what you look like or what you might be wearing.” Maya just doesn’t see the fuss.

Carina frowns. Maya does have a point.

“Plus, you always look amazing. No matter what.” It doesn’t really matter in Maya’s mind. Carina will be wearing her scrubs and a gown over the top. Why get all dressed up now just to change into that?

Carina smiles a tiny smile. “Thank you, bambina.” The compliment lifts Carina’s mood for the moment. Her immigration issue still lingers at the back of her mind. She’s trying to think of the best way to tell Maya. She thought about cooking dinner and them sitting in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine. She’s thought about just telling her while they were laying in bed getting ready for sleep. She’s thought about going out for a walk or outdoor activity, maybe even going to the park to watch the sunset and telling Maya that way.

Carina is starting to worry about Maya reaction to the news. When she tells Maya that they are going to have to spend time apart, live in different countries, she’s not sure what that reaction is going to be. But knowing Maya she knows it’s going to likely be a knee-jerk reaction.

Her irritation starts to ramp up when organizing for the testing at the station isn’t going the way she wants it to.

When Maya pulls her aside and asks if she’s okay, Carina knows she can’t keep this from Maya anymore.

“My visa is expiring, and I might have to go back to Italy.”

Maya kind of gives her a blank stare and Carina knows Maya isn’t understanding anything that she’s saying.


 It’s the only thing Maya can think at the moment.

“Next month.”

They say life comes at you fast. Right now, Maya doesn’t think it’s ever come at her any faster. She stands there in the wake of Carina’s words, as Carina returns to the barn to help with Covid testing. Next month, a few short weeks away. She doesn’t know what that means. She doesn’t understand how this is happening. They are in the middle of a pandemic. The world is suffering and her girlfriend, her girlfriend is being deported back to her country of origin.

She tries to remain calm, not let the panic set in. Part of her feels the devastation right away at the thought of her girlfriend leaving her.

Carina sticks her head back in the doorway. “Maya.” She calls her name to get her moving. Maya takes a stutter step before shaking her head, pulling her shoulders back, and returning to captain mode.

It’s funny, because before Carina, when she was at work, she was always in captain mode. Nothing ever threw her out of captain mode. Old Maya would say that Carina was a distraction and that she needed to refocus on being captain and only captain. But now, new Maya, well, she still thinks that to a degree, but the action isn’t there. She knows how and when to hone that in. For the most part. It’s a tricky thing that Maya still has to work on every day. She’s trying to unlearn all the ‘bad habits’ that her father drilled into her to be the best.

The questions swirl in her head about Carina immigration status as she returns to her team. They get called out to a scene and Maya can’t stop thinking about Carina and Italy as they work to get the couple that is stuck inside a car, inside a box truck, out. Should she just go to Italy? It’s a crazy thought. She knows it’s a crazy thought. But Maya keeps thinking it. Her brain keeps returning to that thought. Is it too much? While they’ve been good in recent weeks in their relationship, is it too much? Is it a giant leap that she, or Carina, aren’t ready for? Is it overbearing or presumptuous to think that’s what Carina wants her to do? Part of the problem is Maya doesn’t know what the right thing to do is. Or what Carina would want. She doesn’t want to overstep and force herself on a situation but at the same time she doesn’t want Carina to have to go to Italy alone.

When they get back to the station, Maya raises her concerns with Andy. She tries her crazy thoughts out on Andy first before she’s going to bring them to Carina. “I can’t go to Italy.”

“Why not?”

See, there, Andy thinks Maya should go to Italy.

They talk it through, and Andy suggests she go, just at first, to help Carina settle in. Maya feels a little better with that answer. That could work. She won’t be gone too long. She won’t miss out on everything that happens at the station for a long period of time. Maya isn’t even sure how long Carina is going to be gone for. That’s the part that scares her the most right now.

She tries to leave her apprehension at the door. Maya turns. “Honey, I’m home.”

Carina is feeling better, less stressed now that Maya’s knows about her immigration status, and since she told Maya she has to go back to Italy, to help out, to spread Andrea’s ashes. That burden has been lifted. So, as they walk to the lounge to sit with Jack and Inara and Marcus, she feels better. Not on edge like she was at the beginning of the day. Carina sits in the recliner across from the trio. She fully expects Maya to sit in the chair to her left. Instead, Maya sits at her feet.

Maya had thought about taking the other chair but feels like she needs to be close to Carina right now. For Carina, and for herself. They are going to be separated in a few weeks. Carina had expressed the need for herself to return to Italy, despite the immigration issues. Maya’s not going to stop her. But she is going to soak up every possible minute that she can while she is here. The fear of the unknown is what Maya is uneasy with right now.

But there’s that little voice in her head that keeps telling her to go to Italy. Andy told her to go to Italy. Maybe she should just go to Italy. She sits on the floor, with her back to the front of the recliner, between Carina’s legs.

Maya tilts her head back so she can look up at Carina. The brunette smiles down at her and readjusts herself in the chair so that she has her right leg tucked under herself, allowing Maya a little more room to rest against the chair. Her fingers find the collar of Maya’s uniform shirt, tucking them inside, nails against her skin, holding on there.

It's a quiet, somber feel in the room. They are just waiting on Marsha after being taken off the ventilator. No talking. Until Jack starts chuckling. He tells the story about Marsha and the bird. And then she starts waking up. Which is cause for celebration and joy. Covid has taken so much from so many people that this moment feels momentous for the entire crew.

And then Maya is standing there, turning to Carina, removing her mask. “I’m coming with you.”

Carina can’t believe what she is hearing. She has to ask Maya for clarification and then Maya is nodding. She just can’t help herself, in front of everybody at station, Carina wraps her hand around the back of Maya’s neck and pulls her into a kiss, her arm moves so that it’s hooked around and she can stroke her thumb across Maya’s cheek and jaw. She just stares at Maya for a moment, unbelieving this amazing woman. Not that she doesn’t believe what Maya is saying, but that she can’t believe how amazing she is.

The Covid testing drive thru is long done. Everything has settled down. Jack and Marcus and Inara have left and gone home. Carina is in Maya’s office. She has a headache. The day has been stressful. She just wants to go home and go to sleep. Except she wants Maya more. She needs to be around her right now.

Maya comes in a little while later, bringing two meals with her. “Time to eat.” She sets a bowl in front of Carina. Nari’s spicy beef soup.

Carina can’t help but repeat Maya’s words over and over in her head. I’m coming with you.

“Were you serious?” She hasn’t thought much about it yet. The logistics, a plan, what Maya would even do in Italy.

“About?” Maya lifts a spoonful of soup to her lips.

“Coming with.” Carina ducks her head. She can’t look at Maya when Maya changes her mind after Carina tells her what Italy is actually going to be like. “It’s not going to be glamourous. It’s going to be me working all sorts of hell shifts. It’s going to be very little of us seeing each other. Are you sure?” She doesn’t want Maya to regret her decision or second guess it, but she wants Maya to be well aware of what she is getting herself into.

“I know.” Her voice full of confidence. She knows Carina needs her to be sure and confident, but Maya is having just a little bit of trouble being totally convinced herself.

Carina looks up. “Okay, then.” She starts on her soup. “Oh, this is good.”

“Right?” Maya has some more of her soup. “So, I just wanted to thank you for helping us out today. It is your day off. And you didn’t have to.” Maya wants to make sure that Carina knows she is thankful.

Carina finishes the mouthful of soup and smiles. “I was glad to, bambina. Despite my mood-“ She gives Maya a shy smiles now, she knows it wasn’t good to take her frustration out on everyone at the station today. “-It was fun being able to work here, work with you.”

Maya just grins at her with that dopey lovesick smile of hers. She doesn’t know what’s going to happen. What Italy is going to be like but she’s willing to go and help and do whatever she can. Thoughts of Italy bring her back to something Carina said earlier when she told Maya she had to go.

“I have a question.” Maya mumbles. She’s not sure she should even bring it up. Carina never brought it up before today. The Italian glances over at her with a quirked eyebrow, waiting for Maya to ask the question.

“Earlier, you said, your nonna, your uncles-“ She doesn’t finish with the rest of the sentence. Not needing to bring up that they died. Maya knows that Carina doesn’t need her too. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Carina sighs and hangs her head. She rubs her hand over her forehead, that headache still bothering her. “Maya, I-“ She knows why, it’s just hard to verbalize. “Do you ever get that feeling your problems are too much?” Carina knows Maya does.

“Yeah. But what does that have to do with this?” Maya begins to wonder if she’s the problem here. If she’s the reason that Carina didn’t tell her.

“All the things, everything that’s been going on. With Covid, at the hospital, Andrea, you and the issues with the PD-“

Maya cuts her off. “That’s not your problem.”

“No, but it has an effect. I know it’s happening. I know it’s a problem. Whether it’s mine or yours. Everything that’s been happening. And the immigration stuff.” Carina shakes her head; she feels like what she’s saying isn’t making any sense. “I didn’t want to put more things to worry about on your plate.”

“Carina.” Maya hops to her feet and rounds her desk.

“I know, Maya. I know you can handle it, or you’ll say you can handle it, but I don’t want to be that burden on you. I don’t want my too many problems to be a burden, so I didn’t tell you. I don’t want you worrying about me all the time. I don’t want you to have to think ‘is she okay, is there going to be some sort of breakdown today’. It was this other sad thing that happened. Like all the other sad things that are happening.”

“Come here.” Maya holds out her hands.

Carina furrows her brow. “I don’t need coddling.”

“Who said anything about that?” Maya smirks.

Carina puts her hands in Maya’s palms and lets Maya pull her to her feet. The captain slides her hands up Carina’s arms as soon as she’s standing and pulls her into a hug.

“Maya, I don’t need-“

“Shhhhh.” Maya whispers softly.

They stay like that for a while. Maya with her chin on Carina’s shoulder, pressed tight against her. Carina standing tall, more rigid.

“I know you are the one who has always taken care of everyone else. I know that’s a role you thrive in. I know that you don’t like anyone taking care of you or feeling like anyone has to take care of you.” Maya whispers in her ear.

Carina relaxes against Maya, finally. She’s not going to lie, it’s wonderful being in Maya’s arms, feeling nice and safe, loved, cared for. It’s a feeling that she hasn’t had in her life so it’s still foreign to her, hard to get used to.

“I wish you would have told me. I understand, though, why you didn’t.” Maya leans back a little so she can see Carina’s face. “Will you tell me now?”

“Can we go home?” Carina pouts. She doesn’t want to discuss this in public. Not like they are exposed, they are in Maya’s office, but she doesn’t feel like here is the right place.

“Sure.” Maya pulls back, away, out of the embrace. She reaches back to her desk and grabs the bowls, stacking them in one hand. She stops at Carina’s side as she passes her, tilts her chin up with a finger, and kisses her. “I’ll bring these back and then we can go home.”