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From the Beginning

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“Maybe not.” Maya eyes the woman sitting next to her and smiles.

“So, may I ask why you are drinking alone?” Carina has turned to face Maya, her right elbow resting on the bar top, her hand in a fist underneath her chin. She can feel the hesitancy wafting off of Maya. Carina can already tell that this woman doesn’t talk about her feelings or things that happen in her life. That she tends to keep everything bottled up inside and would rather drink alone at a bar.

She waits for Maya to turn back to her. She watches Maya lick her lips before lifting her glass to them to take another drink.

“What if I said no.”

Carina furrows her brow. “Well, I guess I’d accept that answer, but you just look like maybe something is bothering you. I mean, drinking alone, in a bar.” She shrugs.

“Do you usually go around making assumptions about strangers?” Maya asks quickly. She doesn’t say it with a negative tone, more a curiosity than anything.

“Ah.” Carina raises an eyebrow. “We, as humans, always make assumptions about others. It’s a common thing. Not that assumptions are bad. They can be, but they don’t have to be. What are your assumptions about me, then?” She challenges. “I know you have some.”

Maya watches her. Eyes skimming her face before shifting lower, taking in this mysterious woman that has taken up residence on the bar stool next to her and who appears to not be leaving anytime soon. “You’re nosy. Bold. You get want you want, in general.”

“All true. Though I don’t know if I’d use the word nosy. Inquisitive, maybe.” Carina smirks.

“Smart.” Maya mumbles. She can clearly see that this woman is intelligent.

“Anything else?” Carina wants to know what Maya thinks of her. This little game that they are playing is interesting.

“Well-“ Maya swirls her drink around in its glass. “It’s less of an assumption and more of a fact, I think.”

Carina tilts her chin up waiting for what’s coming next.

“You’re tall and confident. That confidence is evident in the way you carry yourself and in turn makes you seem taller and larger than life. And that combined with your accent- Italian?” Carina nods. “Is super hot and sexy.”

Carina chuckles. “I’d say you’ve got a pretty good read on me, Captain.”

Maya scoffs.

“What?” Carina curls her lips up on one side.

“Captain.” Maya grumbles under her breath.

“Well, that’s how you introduced yourself.”

“And you see where you have all the confidence in the world that’s the one thing that I lack right now. Which usually isn’t a problem for me.” Maya brings her glass to her lips. It bothers her so much that she feels so out of sorts.

“How so?” Carina raises her glass of wine to her lips and takes a sip as well.

“I’m the captain of the fire station but I don’t feel like it. It was a recent promotion, and my team hates me for it. I took them on a camping trip to build team moral and it turned out to be a disaster. That’s how I ended up in the hospital with the nose.”

“I see.”

“It was supposed to help but I think it just made things worse. I just can’t believe it. I’m failing at this and I’ve never failed at anything in my life.” Maya turns to face Carina now, her whole body, not just her head turned to look at her. “I mean-“ She sighs. “I won a gold medal on a sprained ankle. I can do that, but I can’t do this.” She runs a hand through her hair in frustration.

“You won a gold medal? Like the Olympics?”

Maya smirks. “Yeah. Like the Olympics. London. 2012.”

“That’s impressive.” Carina runs her index finger around the rim of her wine glass. “So, why do you feel like your team hates you?”

Maya rolls her eyes. “Andy hates me for sure. She won’t talk to me. She was my roommate and then she moved out and I don’t know where she lives even because she won’t talk to me. She thinks it should’ve been her to get the captain spot. She’s basically lived in the fire station since she was a little girl. Her father was the captain and he stepped down recently and everyone, myself included, thought Andy would get the promotion. See, Andy, and Jack and I were all lieutenants. But they’ve both been lieutenants longer. We all applied to be captain though. I never thought I would get it. Because of all that, but my dad always says if you want something go after it. Plus, you don’t know if you don’t try. But I got it and so they hate me.”

“Wow.” Carina breathes out. “That’s a lot.” She gives Maya a sympathetic smile.

“I guess.” Maya looks out across the bar, deflecting. She feels weird inside. This is not something she does. Share her feelings. With anyone, let alone this strange woman.

“So, that’s why you are drinking alone tonight?”

Maya sighs and looks back at Carina. “Yeah. Are you like a shrink? Is that what kind of doctor you are? Getting me to spill my guts to you.”

“Spill your guts?” Carina furrows her brow.

Maya rolls her eyes playfully, knowing English is this woman’s second language. “Tell you what’s bothering me.”

Carina nods. “Ah. No. I am an OB/GYN.”

Maya grins at that. “So, like, you look at vaginas all day?”

Carina chuckles. “Not all day but, si. I also deliver babies.”

“That come out of vaginas.”

Carina laughs. “Si. Si.”

Maya smiles at Carina’s little laugh. She notices that Carina’s wine is nearly gone. “You want another?” She motions to the glass.

Carina looks at the wine glass in question. It’s decision making time. It’s late but it’s not super late. Carina has a shift tomorrow but it doesn’t start until one in the afternoon. Another glass of wine at this hour won’t hurt anything. “Does that mean you aren’t drinking alone anymore?” She flirts.

Maya rolls her eyes playfully. “I mean, you can sit next to me, if you want. I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do.”

Carina licks her lips and raises an eyebrow. “Promise?”

Maya exhales slowly. She raises her hand for the bartender to come over. She focuses on him and not the sexy Italian woman sitting next to her. “Another round for us.” She tells him. “Put it on my tab.”

Suddenly, there’s a hand on Maya’s thigh and she nearly jumps out of her skin. She slowly collects herself before looking over at Carina, trying to remain cool, calm.

“Thanks.” Carina says and gives her thigh a squeeze.

Maya thinks for a moment about self-care Wednesday. It’s not Wednesday though. She’s extended that to other days of the week before, so this could be the same. But then the hand is gone.

“You’re welcome.” Maya whispers before clearing her throat. “So, what is an Italian doing in Seattle?”

“Ah, originally, I came to do a study here because I couldn’t get it funded where I was working. And because my baby brother is here. He told me about his chief and when I heard about Dr. Bailey, I knew she would fund my study. And I was right.” Carina grins happily.

“I know Dr. Bailey. She’s married to one of my firefighters.”

“Si. Ben.” Carina smiles and nods. “I’ve worked with Ben. Briefly, but, si, yes.”

“We have more in common than I thought.” Maya hums. Their drinks arrive and Maya takes a sip of her whiskey. “I have a little brother too.”

“Is he just as annoying as my brother is?” Carina chuckles.

Maya pinches her lips together before taking another sip of her drink. “I don’t know.”

“What?”

The mood and atmosphere changes between them. More somber and quiet as Maya sets her drink down on the bar top. “I haven’t seen him in a long time. He’s not- he’s not-“ She doesn’t want to really talk about him. She doesn’t know why she even brought him up. Probably because Carina mentioned her brother.

“It’s okay.” Carina’s hand cover’s Maya’s on the bar. “You don’t have to say anything you’re uncomfortable with.”

Maya smiles her thanks as she looks at the hand on top of hers. She rubs her thumb over Carina’s fingers. “How is your brother annoying?”

“I think he thinks I came here to steal his lightning.” Carina looks up at the ceiling before her eyes return to Maya’s.

“Thunder.”

“Si. Thunder. He was cementing his feet at Grey Sloan when I showed up a few years ago but-“

“Oh, so you didn’t just move here?” Maya doesn’t mean to interrupt.

“No. I was here doing my study. I wasn’t even working as a doctor, just doing the study but then one thing led to another and then I had privileges at the hospital and yeah.” Carina shrugs. “But then I had to go back to Italy for a while. But I came back. I want to be around for a while to keep an eye on Andrea.”

“Andrea?”

Carina nods. “My brother. That’s his given name but he goes by Andrew.”

“That’s Andy’s name. Andrea. Though it’s pronounced a little differently. But only slightly now that I think about it.” Maya mentions. Not that it really matters. Just and interesting coincidence.

“Aren’t languages amazing?” Carina taps her finger against Maya’s hand.

Maya flips her hand over and Carina’s fingers tickle her palm. “It’s interesting. I know just a little bit of Spanish from Andy but that’s it. Just a dumb American who only knows English. Do you know any other languages?”

“Si. Italiano, obviously. English.” She runs her middle finger back and forth across Maya’s palm. “Some Spanish, mostly because it’s similar to Italian. And I little bit of French.” She runs her finger over the calluses on Maya’s hand that she knows she’s developed from being a firefighter.

“You’re very worldly.” Maya mumbles. She’s too busy watching Carina’s fingers play over her hand to have complete thoughts.

“If Andrea weren’t here, I don’t know if I would have stuck around this long.” Carina is into her third year in Seattle. Originally, she was just going to come to do the study and check in on Andrew and then see where life took her; but then she was doing more than the study and checking in on Andrew.

Maya hums. “I’ve lived in Seattle my entire life. Boring, I know.”

“That’s not boring. I’m sure you have a real connection to this city. It’s what keeps you rooted. What keeps you here.”

Again, Maya thinks Carina has hit the nail on the head. She’s not wrong with what she’s saying.

“You are a Fire Captain for the city, after all.” Carina reminds her.

The door to the bar opens and a noisy pair of men walk in. Maya flinches and pulls her hand away from Carina’s. In an attempt to recover she grabs her drink and lifts it to her lips taking a bigger gulp than intended. It’s too much and she starts coughing. It turns into a coughing fit.

“Lift your left arm.” Carina instructs.

“Wh-what?” Maya coughs out.

“Mi nonna always says lift your left arm when you are choking but I don’t know if that’s medically proven to do anything.” Carina says quickly.

When Maya doesn’t lift her arm but continues coughing, Carina reaches out and lifts her right arm above her hear, holding onto her wrist gently.

“That not-“ There’s more coughing. “-my left-“

“Stop talking.”

The bartender comes over. “Is she alright?”

“She’s fine. I’m a doctor.” Carina stands and gets behind Maya and raises her left arm too.

“What are you-“ The coughing won’t stop.

“I said stop talking.”

Maya wants to roll her eyes but the pressure on her chest and in her throat is starting to be relieved. The coughing stops after another minute. Carina lets her wrists go. Her hand coming to rest on Maya’s back, rubbing circles there. “That’s better.” She mumbles before sitting back on her bar stool next to Maya.

Maya just stares over at her incredulously.

“What?” Carina asks.

Maya just shakes her head and laugh.

“Mi nonna says raise the left arm but I think it could be either arm or both arms.”

“Aren’t you a doctor?” Maya smirks.

“Si.” Carina takes a sip of her wine.

Maya swivels around nervously on her bar stool. She doesn’t know what to do with all the energy she has all of a sudden. She doesn’t know where it came from. It definitely wasn’t there when she first sat down at the bar, but then neither was the woman next to her.

Maya watches her for a few moments. Openly. She sees Carina glance over at her but then look away again, well aware that Maya is watching her. Maya is trying to think of something to talk about but can’t come up with anything that she doesn’t think sounds too dumb. There’s this worldly Italian sitting next to her and all she can do is stare at her.

“What’s Italy like?” Maya cringes as she asks the question. It sounds so dumb coming out of her mouth.

Carina turns back to her so that they are face to face again. She quirks an eyebrow at Maya. “Why? You thinking of going there?” She teases.

Maya shakes her head. “You hear story, tales, see stuff on tv or in movies. Is it as romantic as people make it out to be?”

Carina brings her wine glass to her lips again. “Depends.”

“On?”

“Where you are, I suppose. Just like every country. There are romantic parts and then there are the parts that no one sees or talks about.”

“That makes sense.” Maya nods.

“Where have you been?”

“What do you mean?” Maya doesn’t understand the question. She’s already told Carina that she’s only ever lived in Seattle.

“Like, visited, in the world.”

Maya nods. That makes more sense. “London. For the Olympics.”

“That’s it?” Carina smirks. She almost can’t believe it.

“Well, all over the United States for track but we would just go and come back. I never got to do any sight seeing or traveling or whatever. I was always busy and had to focus on track.”

“So did you run long distance or are you just super-fast?”

“Super-fast.” Maya smirks.

“Do you still run?”

“Everyday. Unless I don’t get a chance if I’m working a 24 hour shift. But on shift, I usually run on the treadmill. I prefer to run outside though. I can go out and start running and just go. I run for miles and miles. I lose myself in it. But on the track, the event I won my medal in was long distance. So I have lots of stamina.”

“Interessante.”

“It’s all rather boring. Everyone always groans when I ramble on about running.”

“Can I see your medal sometime?” Carina asks.

Maya opens and closes her mouth. She’s not sure what to say. She eyes Carina trying to figure out if she’s really asking or just asking to make conversation. If she’s really asking, what Carina just asked would imply that they will see each other after tonight. See each other again.

Carina sees her hesitancy. “You don’t have to. I was just curious.” She gives Maya an out.

“No, it’s just- that part of my life is over. I don’t show people my medal.”

“And yet you told me about it tonight.” Carina smirks.

Maya bites her bottom lip. This woman sitting with her is really something. Maya can’t exactly put her finger on what it is that has made Maya reveal more than she would to anyone else. Maybe it’s Carina’s confidence or her own openness but Maya thinks it’s something other than that as well.

“I don’t know why I did.” She says honestly.

“Bragging about your accomplishments, maybe?” Carina smirks and raises an eyebrow.

“Maybe.” Maya wrinkles her brow together. Usually, she doesn’t brag. Most people that she’s trying to pick up don’t like a bragger. Actually, most people that she’s trying to pick up she doesn’t talk this much with. That leads to another thought. Is she trying to pick up this woman and bring her home for a quick hook up?

When Maya set up shop at the bar tonight it was supposed to be by herself and for her to drink away her problems for the night and forget about everything. Instead, she’s barely had two drinks and has mostly been talking to the Italian sitting next to her. She wasn’t looking for a hook up. And she’s not really sure if this is turning into that or not. It’s far different from most situations she’s found herself in before.

But then Carina is standing next to her, a hand on the small of her back. Maya just barely prevents herself from openly moaning at the touch. There’s a napkin from the bar being slid in front of her.

“If you ever change your mind about the medal, let me know.” Carina whispers in her ear. “I am curious to see it, but I understand if you don’t want to show me or- anybody.”

The hot breath on her ear and neck tickles. A shiver runs down Maya’s spine. She feels herself nodding. It’s all happening so fast, and she can’t keep up. The hand is gone from her back. The woman that had been sitting within inches of her for nearly two hours is taking a step back. Maya turns. “Wait.” She’s confused. “You’re leaving?”

Carina nods. “I have a shift at the hospital tomorrow. I can’t stay out all night.” She blows a kiss with her hand and adds a little wave. “Ciao.”

Maya sits there and watches Carina back her way to the door. Carina points at the bar top just before turning and pushing the bar door open and disappearing into the night. Maya turns back to the bar and looks down at the napkin with a phone number on it. She looks over her shoulder again at the door.

“What the fuck just happened?” She mumbles to herself. Maya motions the bartender over again. “Another.” She points at her drink.

“Who was that?” He asks of her white wine companion.

“Apparently, Dr. Carina DeLuca.” She lifts the napkin and looks at the numbers on it.

“Never heard of her. And I’ve heard of a lot of doctors.” The bartender shakes his head.

“Neither have I.” Her thumb rubs over the numbers on the napkin.

“She gave you her number.”

Maya nods. “Yeah.” She lets out a long breath. “She wants to see-“ Maya stops herself. “Yeah, she gave me her number.” She leaves it at that.

Maya punches the number into her phone and save the contact as Dr. DeLuca. She puts her phone, along with the bar napkin, in her coat pocket. Maya grips onto her glass and takes a drink, resuming her nights drinking activities to forget about her job and her day and her team.

Except she doesn’t want to forget about what just happened at the bar so Maya finishes that drink and heads home.

Chapter Text

Maya stares at the contact in her phone. The one she saved in the bar last week after she was given a napkin with a phone number on it. The napkin that she tucked into her bedside table that night when she got home for safe keeping. Just in case something would happen to the contact in her phone.

Dr. DeLuca

The name stares back at her.

“Maya, let’s go.” Andy yells for her.

She quickly sends out a text message. I hope I’m not bothering you. But I’ve got a woman at the station that has gone into labor. And with the storm we can’t get her to the hospital. What do I do? This is Maya by the way. Maya Bishop. Captain Maya Bishop.

Maya hits send before she can even reread what she typed out. Too nervous to even second guessing herself. And she doesn’t have time for that. People need here help right now and she doesn’t have time to deal with her own thoughts about whether Carina will want to hear from her or not.

Thankfully, she gets a message back right away.

Just keep the mother calm and as relaxed as possible. Maybe a warm bath or shower. You can call me if you need an tips or help but you just have to let nature take it’s course.

Maya groans. None of that is very helpful, in Maya’s opinion. She flies out of the room to go find Andy and JJ.


She bounces her leg nervously as the phone rings.

“Hello.”

Maya takes a deep breath. “Oh good, I need you.”

Carina chuckles at her. “Well hello to you too.” She says smoothly but sees that Maya isn’t in the mood. “Just try to stay calm.” She can tell that Maya’s not calm just by looking at her through the phone screen.

Maya rolls her eyes at that. “Easier said than done. She wants an epidural, but we can’t do that here. I don’t know what else I can do. It’s not like I’m trained to deliver babies.”

“Ah, but I am. You have EMT training, Maya. Just rely on that and you’ll be fine. And for the mama there’s not much you can do for the pain. There is one thing I can suggest though I don’t know how well that will work in a fire station.”

“What is it? This woman is begging for anything for the pain.”

“Well, it was sort of part of my study. Pain and the effects an orgasm can have on it.” Carina licks her lips.

Maya scrunches up her face. “So you’re saying-“ She wants to make sure she has this right.

Carina nods and smiles. “Si, yes.”

“Does that really work though?” Maya is skeptical.

“It won’t completely eliminate pain or keep it away forever but yes. The pain will subside because the body produces a natural oxytocin.”

“Wow.”

“The female body is fascinating.” Carina tells her.

Maya just nods. She’s busy thinking about everything that Carina has just said.

“If mama is relaxed and if you’re relaxed there is really nothing to be done. Let nature do what it does.”


Once the station is cleared out and everything is cleaned up and they all get something to eat, Maya retires to her office. It’s been a long day. She goes into her bunk and takes her shoes off. It was a wild stressful day and even Maya needs some rest.

She always has a hard time sleeping at the station. She thinks it’s the adrenaline that courses through her veins while she’s at work that keeps her awake most of the time. Maya lays down regardless. She takes her phone from her pocket and looks to see if she has any messages. There’s only one. A text message. She opens it.

How’d it go with the mamma and the bambino?

Before she knows what she is doing, Maya opens up a video call.

“Ciao.” The voice is groggy and Carina rubs her eyes before blinking a few times to get a better view of the person who is calling her.

“Did I wake you?” Maya asks. “I’m sorry.” She just now looks at the time.

“No, actually.” Carina holds a hand over her face, some to prevent the blinding light from the screen from invading her eyes and some from Maya to really be able to see her face. “It’s good to- how’d it go with the mamma and baby?” Carina remembers her conversation with maya earlier that day for maybe the first time since they had it.

It’s been a long day for her. The hospital was crazy and on top of all that Andrew had to go out and risk his life in the middle of the snowstorm and stupidly not wear gloves and get frostbite on his hands in the process. She spent most of the afternoon and evening trying to deal with him and his hands.

Carina is at home now, but not sleeping because she’s worried about her brother. She thinks about telling Maya about her day but decided not to. They don’t know each other that well. Carina doesn’t want to unload her problems on Maya. Better to try to keep the conversation light between them.

“Oh, fine.” Maya shrugs, nonchalantly.

Carina giggles. “You were freaking out the last time I talked with you. And now it’s oh, fine.”

“I was not freaking out.” Maya defends. She stiffens her posture.

Carina hums. “You were, but I digress. The labor went well, I take it. I didn’t get any more panicked calls from you.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “Yeah.” She hates that Carina is calling her out on her lack of calm during the whole birthing process.

“I saw that.” Carina mumbles.

“What?”

She grins. “You rolled your eyes at me.” Carina runs a hand through her hair and sits up in bed with a frustrated sigh.

“What?” Maya asks when she hears the sigh curious as to what the doctor could be frustrated about.

Carina shakes her head with a smile. “It was just a long day.”

“I agree.” Maya hums.

“Listen, Maya. As much as I’ve enjoyed talking to you on video call today, it’s not my thing.”

“Oh.” Maya is disappointed.

Carina can hear it in her voice. “No, not like that. I have enjoyed it, but I prefer to be able to see the person I’m talking with in person, face to face. Video calls are so impersonal. I like to be able to interact with someone in person. It’s more-”

“You can see my medal.” Maya blurts out.

A slow grin spread over Carina’s lips. “I just said that about your medal because I wanted to see you again after the night in the bar.”

Maya slowly realizes what is happening. She smirks. “Is that so?”

Carina nods. “Si. When can I see your medal?” She says instead of when can I see you.

“You can see me right now.” Maya messes with her.

Carina shakes her head. “No, no, no. All I can see is your face. I want to see all of you. In person. Preferably, naked and in bed.”

Maya closes her eyes and sucks in a quick breath. “You can’t do that?”

“Why not?” Carina gets serious. “Did I read this the wrong way? Are you not single? Are you not interested in that? I thought you were.”

“Oh, I am. Just- you can’t tease me like that while you are wherever you are-“

“At home.”

“And while I’m here at the station.” Maya finally opens her eyes to look back at the brunette through the phone.

“Oh.” Carina grins. “When do you get off then?” She bites her bottom lip between her teeth.

Maya shakes her head and takes a deep breath. “For some whose first language isn’t English, you sure know how to flirt in English.”

Carina laughs. “Flirting is just as much about the unspoken words as it is the spoken ones. Body language, touch, being able to look into someone’s eyes. All just as important as what you say verbally.”

Maya hasn’t really thought about it that way, but she tends to agree. “Do you work tomorrow?”

“No.”

“Good. I’m off at eight tomorrow morning.”

“So, in a few hours?” Carina pieces everything together.

“You wanna meet me at the fire station? I can show you my medal. And we can go from there.” Maya is forming a plan in her head.

“Your medal is at the station?” Carina finds that curious.

Maya just nods. She’s not sure what to say.

“Okay. Yeah, that’s good. Go to sleep now, bella. You’ll need your rest before morning.”

Maya wears a soft grin. She’s not sure what the word Carina used means but she knows it’s something in Italian. She also is endeared to the thought of Carina wanting her rested. “It’s going to be super hard to sleep now knowing what’s coming up after my shift.”

Carina laughs. “I’m looking forward to it as well. Close your eyes. Relax. I’ll see you in a few hours. Ciao.” She ends the call.

Maya sighs, staring at the phone screen for a few seconds after Carina’s face has disappeared. She sets the phone on the table and closes her eyes. She knows she probably won’t sleep but tries to relax, like Carina said.


Maya is actually asleep when they get called out to a kitchen fire just before six in the morning. It’s strange because she doesn’t usually sleep well at the station and if she does get any sleep Maya is awake at like five a.m. everyday anyway. So, to be wakened up from a dead sleep for a call is a bit jarring.

She runs to the engine. Everyone is already there and ready to go. Gibson starts to pull the truck out of the station before Maya is inside and has her door closed completely.

“Morning, Captain.” Jack grins, messing with her.

“Shut up.” Maya mumbles.

There are a few chuckles from Miller and Herrera.

“Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed.” Miller mumbles.

“I did not. I was just- asleep.” Maya admits.

There is silence in the cab for a few seconds.

“Are you feeling alright?” Miller adds after a moment.

“I’m fine. Yesterday was just a long day. Let’s get to this call and get it taken care of so we can all go home at some point today.” Maya says as she looks over the details of the building on her tablet. Her mind briefly wanders to the plan she had made for this morning after her shift was over. Maya wonders if she should text Carina and cancel. She has no idea what they are about to roll up on or how long it could take to put the fire out and do overhaul.

Gibson turns the corner, and the destination comes into view. There is smoke coming from a first floor window, but they don’t see any visible flames. Maya’s mind snaps back to the task at hand, her job.


Carina walks through what’s left of the sloppy slushy snow from the storm the day prior. It’s warmed up some and everything has melted to the point where you can drive on the streets or walk to where you need to go, albeit, with wet feet if you don’t have winter boots.

She took a cab most of the way to the station. Carina lives only a few blocks from the hospital. Which is easy for her to walk to work to if she wants. But she looked up the fire station and determined it was too far to walk there. And she didn’t want to drive in the sloppy snow. It’s not something Carina has ever done, and she doesn’t feel comfortable trying to drive on snow today.

She lifts her mittened hand from her coat pocket to pull the door open to the front of the fire station. She steps inside and looks around. Carina has never been in a fire station before.

“Can I help you?” A man from behind the desk, to her right, asks as the door slips closed behind her.

Carina pulls her mittens off. “I think so. She looks around the room, getting a better view now that she is properly inside. “I’m here to see Captain Bishop.”

“Ah, unfortunately she’s not here right now.”

“Oh?” Carina tilts her head to the side slightly. “I’m supposed to meet her here at eight. I know I’m a little early but-“

“They’re out on a call.” The man informs her.

“Ah, si, that makes sense.”

“You didn’t get to go with?” Carina asks. She comes over and leans her forearms on the desktop.

Travis shakes his head. “Someone has to stay behind to greet pretty ladies at the front door.” He smirks, charming.

Carina smiles. “Thank you. But I hope you’re not trying to hit on me. I’m here to see Maya.”

“No. I’m-“ Travis stops. The pieces coming together in his mind. This woman just used Maya’s first name and not Captain Bishop. She’s not here to see Maya in a business manner. “Oh.” He looks Carina up and down. “OH!” He smirks.

Carina smiles and nods.

“I’m Travis. And while I can see that you are very attractive, I’m gay.”

“Ah.” Carina nods. “A pleasure to meet you, Travis. Do you have any idea when Maya will be back?”

“Captain Bishop and the team shouldn’t be that much longer. I heard over the radio that they were doing overhaul. Which means they are almost done. You can wait in Maya’s office, if you’d like.” Travis points across the hall.

“Thank you, Travis. I think I will.” Carina spins on her heels to go over to the office.

“You work at the hospital, don’t you?” Travis’ interest is piqued.

“Si, I do.” Carina turns back to him.

Travis nods. “I heard about you last night. After everything. You gave Bishop tips on what to do with JJ while she was in labor.”

Carina doesn’t know who JJ is, but she knows it’s the pregnant woman that Maya had called her about the day before. “I did. It helps to have OB friends sometimes.”

“Friends, right.” Travis nods knowingly.

Carina winks at him before turning and going into Maya’s office. She looks around the room but there’s not much to see. She doesn’t want to snoop but would like a few clues about Maya. But there’s virtually nothing. She wonders where Maya’s medal is. She did say it was at the station.

She sits in one of the chairs at the desk, opposite the captain’s chair and pulls out her phone and starts a game of Solitaire while she waits.

Eight a.m. comes and goes. Travis knocks on the door to let Carina know that it’s shift change and that he’s going home but that the B crew is here, and they know she’s in Maya’s office. She thanks him.

It’s nearly half past eight when the truck returns to the station. Carina hears the commotion but waits patiently in the office.


Maya is only focused on getting back to her bunk and changing out of her uniform that she doesn’t realize that someone is sitting in her office as she opens the door.

Carina turns to look at her and Maya jumps. “You scared the crap out of me. What are you doing here?” She’s more surprised than anything right now.

“Did you forget?” Carina stands up.

Maya swallows thickly. “N-no.”

“We agreed to meet at eight. When you got done with your shift.” Carina takes a step towards Maya, eyeing her up and down.

“I know.” Maya tries to stand up a little taller.

“Nice uniform.” She smirks.

Maya looks down at her clothing and shrugs. “It’s what I’m required to wear. I can’t say that I hate it, but I also find it rather square, boxy, I don’t know. It’s not like I have a choice.”

Carina closes the distance between them. She runs her index finger over the embroidered lettering that spell Capt. Bishop. “Well, I think you look great, Captain.”

“Uh-“ Maya tries to side step Carina. “-I’m just going to change real quick and then we can get going.” Maya doesn’t do this. She doesn’t hang out with her hook ups. Not before, except to actually pick someone up, and not after. And they both are clear on what’s going to happen so there’s really no point, in Maya’s mind, to dawdle.

Carina blocks her path. “You said you’d show me your medal.”

Maya nods. “Right. Yes. Let me just-“ She slides past Carina. She’s not gone for more than two minutes before she returns.

“You have your own room at the station?” Carina asks with a little glint in her eye.

Maya smirks. “It’s nothing special. Just a bunk.”

“If you say so.” Carina tilts her head towards the door.

Maya nods. “You still want to see my medal?”

Carina smiles, big. “Si, please.”

“Okay.” Maya swipes past her. “Follow me.”

Carina does just that, admiring Maya from behind as they walk out of the captain’s office. They swing around the corner and Maya stops in front of the display case. “There it is.”

“Hmm.” Carina was too focused on watching Maya that she doesn’t realize what she is saying.

She points. “My medal.”

“Oh.”

Maya shoves her hands into her jacket pockets. She thinks back to that day. It had all started out so well. There were nerves sure but Maya had trained and prepared for this day for months, years even. She was ready. And then she rolled her ankle in practice before the big run. But she gutted through it and it was all worth it in the end.

“Can I touch it?” Carina looks over at Maya and licks her lips.

“Oh, um-“ Maya looks around. There’s no one in their vicinity, which Maya is thankful for. She doesn’t want to have to explain to anyone what the situation is between her and Carina. Not that there’s a situation, it’s just easier if things are left unsaid. “No.”

Maya can see the clear disappointment on Carina’s face. “Oh, okay.”

“Let’s go.”

It’s not what Carina wanted. She wanted to see the medal, yes. But she also wanted to touch it and hold it, feel the weight of it in her hands, maybe even wear it around her neck for a moment. But she doesn’t want to press the issue. She remembers what today, right now, is about. And she thinks that’s good. It’s good to spend some of her free time doing something. Something other than worrying about her brother. Carina hasn’t thought about him all morning. And that was the goal of her meet up with Maya. To distract herself from Andrea and what is happening with him.

She follows Maya out of the building. “Did you want to get coffee or something?” Maya asks, pulling Carina from her thoughts.

“We don’t have to but-“ Carina sucks her bottom lip into her mouth. She could really use a coffee. Not that she’s feeling overly down, there’s just a lot going on right now that she’s juggling, and a little boost would help right now. Plus, she didn’t have her usual coffee this morning before she left her apartment because she was excited to go meet Maya.

“We’re getting coffee then. There’s a really good place a block from here.” Maya takes charge, sending a brief smile in Carina’s direction before focusing forward and on walk in the melting slushy snow.

She looks down at her boots and then looks over at Carina’s footwear. “Do you not have boots?” Maya looks up to see Carina shake her head. “Do you want to get a cab or something?” She’s worried about Carina getting wet feet.

“No, this is fine. I’ll be fine.”

Maya isn’t sure it will be fine.

They walk mostly in silence. Maya looks over at her companion every minute or so. It’s a short walk so it’s not too awkward but Maya wishes she knew what to talk about. Anything really, would be better than the silence. But she realizes that Carina hasn’t said anything either and that the silence between them is comfortable.

Maya orders her coffee and then waits for Carina to order hers. She’s about to pay for their drinks when a gentle hand comes down on her arm.

“I’ll get it.” Carina says softly. “You paid for my drink at the bar.”

All Maya can do is nod. Even though she wears a jacket and a shirt underneath it; the hand on her arm feels like it is burning into her skin. “Thanks.” She whispers.

The hand is gone as Carina goes to pay for their coffees.

They wait. “So, I only live another block from here.”

Carina looks at Maya for a second before reaching up and flipping her hair from one side to the other. She watches Maya’s eyes as Maya watches her movement. They flicker between her hair and her hand and her lips. So knows full well what she is doing to Maya.

“Is everything you do sexy?” Maya asks.

Carina giggles and shakes her head.

It’s another minute before they have their drinks and then they leave the coffee shop cups in hand. Maya leads the way down the sidewalk.

A man on a bike approaches them and they move over to one side of the sidewalk to let him through. Some of the sloppy snow splashes up from the bike tires. Maya takes the brunt of the splatter on her winter boots and pants being the closer of the two of them as he passes.

They are tucked close together, side by side, and Carina wraps her palm around the inside of Maya’s elbow. Maya doesn’t acknowledge the change but the corners of her lips twitch wanting to smile.

“I live close to the hospital too.”

“Hmm.” Maya doesn’t quite comprehend what Carina is saying.

“You only live a few blocks from the fire station. I only live like a block and a half from the hospital.”

Maya hums. “Great minds think alike.” She smirks and glances over at Carina. She gives a good glimpse of her profile. The woman is absolutely stunning and has one of the best profiles Maya has ever seen. “I don’t think I could live any further away. I’d have too much anxiety about not being able to be within walking distance to the station.”

“Walking distance can be more than a couple of blocks. But I totally understand. I live near the hospital in case of emergencies or when I’m on call. Need to get there, chop chop.”

Maya comes to a stop. Carina stops with her. She stares at Carina for a moment. “We’re here.” Maya says and looks up at her building. Her stomach does a weird flip. She’s not sure why. This isn’t out of the ordinary. She brings people back to her apartment all the time. Well, not all the time but it happens.

“Oh, good.” Carina approaches the door, leaving Maya standing on the sidewalk by herself for a moment. She immediately misses the warmth of having Carina at her side. She shivers thinking that’s why she’s cold. She looks up to see Carina stands at the door waiting to be let inside. Carina raises any eyebrow at Maya before Maya moves and hurries to unlock the front door.

“I’m on the top floor.” There are only three floors, but Maya will forever be thankful that she is on the top floor and that there is no one above her. She goes to take the stairs like she always does but Carina moves over towards the elevator. “Oh, um- I guess we could take the elevator.” Carina has already pushed the button. Maya moves over to stand next to her as they wait for the elevator doors to open.

They hop inside and Maya pushes the 3 button. As soon as the doors close, Carina steps into Maya’s side and wraps her hand around the back of her neck, pulling her in for a bruising kiss. All heat and tongues and faces smashed together with urgency.

The elevator dings and the doors open and Carina pulls away as if nothing ever happened and steps out of the elevator. Maya has to take a deep breath to collect herself before stepping out. She has her apartment key in her hand, ready to go. The walk to her door is a short one.

Maya unlocks the door and motions for Carina to step inside before her. Which Carina does. She steps inside the apartment and looks around. The living room area and the kitchen are an open floor plan, and she can see both areas at once. There isn’t too much for decoration, but the area is neat, tidy. Nothing seems to be out of place or laying around. Carina walks into the kitchen and sets her coffee cup on the island counter.

For her part, Maya shuts the door and follows Carina. Her coffee cup ends up next to Carina’s on the counter. “So… you want the grand tour?” She’s noticed Carina has taken an interest in her apartment. “You want me to show you around?”

Carina licks her lips, raising her hand and rubbing her thumb along her lower lip. “Just show me your bedroom.” She husks.

Maya reaches out her hand. Carina takes it and she turns and walks them into the bedroom.

As soon as the bedroom door is closed, Maya feels lips on hers again. It all happens so fast. Before she knows it, Maya is on her back on the bed, her pants being pulled down her legs.

Carina stands tall for a moment and wraps Maya’s bed sheet around her body.

It’s not a position Maya finds herself in often. She is a take charge kind of gal, in control, leading the exercise sort. She watches from her back and Carina kneels over her before crouching down with a smirk. Her brain is a jumble and words are scarce as lips kiss up from her knee along the inside of her right thigh.

It’s pure ecstasy when the release comes. Quick, just the thing she needed after a stressful shift.

“That’s one way to get to know me better.”

Carina comes out from under the sheet and flips her hair to one side all in one fluid movement.

“I find it’s the fastest way.” Carina grins into a kiss and Maya rolls them over.

After Maya turns Carina into a moaning mess they lay on the bed quietly. Maya lays on her back staring up at the ceiling. Carina is at her side, laying on her right side, her fingertips running up and down Maya’s left arm.

“I figured you’d be strong.” She squeezes Maya’s bicep gently.

Maya would usually say something snarky about that but all she can think about is how they finished, and Carina is still here. And how she is going to get her to leave. It’s not a usual hook up in a sense that it’s late morning now. It wasn’t some late night thing that just happened. There was some planning and orchestration here.

“I’ve never done this before.” Maya blurts.

Carina stops her gentle touches and looks at Maya in confusion.

“No. Not that.” Maya shakes her head. She debates what to tell Carina, but she’s already opened her stupid mouth, so she continues. “Usually, I just take someone home for the bar or wherever we meet and then I make them leave in the morning.”

Carina looks at her. Like really looks at her. Soft brown eyes staring deep into her soul kind of look. She’s not sure what Maya is trying to say. “It’s morning.”

Maya chuckles. “Yes. Forget I said anything.”

Carina frowns. She’s so confused right now. “Hard to forget but you’re saying you’re going to make me leave when we are done?”

Maya swallows hard and nods. “I just got off a 24 hour shift, I need to sleep.”

Carina thinks it’s just an excuse. She leans into Maya and kisses her. Maybe she can get her to change her mind.

It doesn’t work completely though. They go another round before Maya asks Carina to leave.

Chapter Text

Carina arrives at the station with the Tupperware in hand. She goes in and spot a man behind the front desk and goes over to him.

“How can I help you?” His voice is cold. He isn’t very enthusiastic sounding about helping people.

“I’m here to see Captain Bishop.” Carina smiles brightly.

“Did you have an appointment with her?” He narrows his eyes at her. It’s late in the day for appointments.

“I do not.” She puts the Tupperware on the desktop. “I just brought her something to eat.” Carina tries to keep it simple.

His eyes shift over to Maya’s office. “She’s in her office.” He grunts somewhat rudely.

Carina raises an eyebrow at him. “Thank you.” She turns to go into the office.


‘The lasagna smells almost as good as you.’

‘Does it?’

Maya nods into the next kiss. She’s not sure that she likes Carina just showing up at the station though. A warning would have been nice. She’s about to say something about it when her stomach growls. She chuckles nervously. “I haven’t had anything to eat since this morning.”

Carina turns to grab the lasagna. “Then let’s go heat this up.”

Maya groans. She steps away from Carina. “Can’t we just hide out in my office all evening?” She goes and sits at her desk. “I don’t want to run into anyone upstairs.”

“Are you avoiding them?” Carina comes to sit on the edge of Maya’s desk, right next to her desk chair.

“I think they would be avoiding me. They don’t want to be around me.” Maya looks down at her hands in her lap.

“What happened today?” Carina only knows that it was a hard day. Ben didn’t fill her in on any details. But from Maya’s mood and the man at the front desk she would guess that it was something bad. “That guy out there wasn’t too chipper to see me when I walked in.”

Maya hums. “Jack. No.”

“Jack.” Carina rolls the name over her tongue.

“He might be on desk duty for a while. I suppose he doesn’t want to be around any of the crew right now either.”

Carina nods. Maya isn’t giving her much to go off of. “When I saw Ben-“

“What did he tell you?” Maya is short with her words. “Cuz I don’t need anybody else going around bad mouthing me today.” She runs her hands up and down her thighs, anxiety clawing at her.

“He just said it was a rough day for the station. Who was bad mouthing you?”

“Nobody.” Maya jumps up from her chair. “Nevermind. Forget I said anything.” She walks over to the office door. “Are you coming?”

Carina raises her eyebrows but follows Maya out of the room, container with lasagna in hand.

“We’ll be up in the beanery.” Maya mumbles to Jack.

He nods his head but doesn’t say anything. He watches as Maya takes the stairs two at a time, followed by the tall, lean woman behind her taking them slower, one at a time. Jack wonders who she is as his eyes linger on her backside.

“This is the beanery. It’s where we eat and prepared food.” Maya pushes the button on the microwave to open it. “Here.” She holds her hand out for the container of lasagna.

“You can’t heat this up in there.”

“Why not?” Maya stares at Carina like she just said the silliest thing in the world.

“Because it will lose its integrity.”

Maya snorts out a laugh. “Integrity? I don’t care about its integrity. I just want it hot so I can it eat. And I want to do it fast. We don’t have time to reheat leftovers in the oven here. This is the quickest way.”

Carina hands over the lasagna. “If you insist.”

They go back to Maya’s office with the hot lasagna. They sit opposite each other and Carina watches Maya eat. Maya doesn’t like the eyes on her this time. She’s enjoyed Carina’s eyes on her in their pervious encounters but now she feels like she is being watched, judged. Just another person judging her for her choices.

“Are you going to lecture me?” Maya asks around a mouthful of food.

Carina simply shakes her head.

“So, you’re just going to watch me eat?”

“I can do something else, if you’d like.” Carina stands up and goes to look out the window.

Maya frowns at that. It’s not really any better with her eating and Carina standing there looking out the window.

“Did you really come all the way down here just because Warren said we had a bad day?”

“Si.” Carina says to the window. “I had some lasagna leftover and I thought it would be a nice thing to do.”

“A nice thing to do?” Maya mumbles mostly to herself and ponders what that means. At first, she was mad that Carina had just showed up here out of the blue. But then the lasagna smelled good, and she was hungry. Maya was just going to hide away from everyone in her office the whole night, unless they got a call. Even if that meant starving.

“Did you make this?” Maya asks as she takes the last bite.

Carina looks over her shoulder and nods.

“It’s really good.” Maya smiles. “Like, really really good.”

“Grazie.” Carina bounces a little before turning and coming back over to the desk. She takes the chair opposite Maya again. “Soooo, do you want to talk about today or not?”

Maya sighs. She leans back in her chair, her hands gripping the armrest.

“I screwed up. I shouldn’t have let Jack and Rigo work together today. But they said they could and so I let them. I should have known better. I should have known that two men with big egos who were at odds with each other needed more time, more space. They shouldn’t have worked together. And that’s on me. And now Vasquez is in the hospital in, God knows, what condition.” Maya shakes her head. She doesn’t want to talk about this. She doesn’t want to talk about her feelings and failures.

But she continues. “He could die. And that’s on me. That’s my fault. They are my responsibility. Everything is. I’m the captain. Andy yelled at me.”

“Oh?” Carina raises an eyebrow.

“I yelled back.” Maya scoffs. “She told me that everything falls on me. Everything is my responsibility. Every decision I make. Every call. Good or bad. I take the blame. And Gibson and Vasquez got into it and got themselves blown up and that’s on me.”

Carina looks over her shoulder out into the hall at Jack sitting at the reception desk. Things are starting to make sense now. His mood. Maya’s mood.

“Vasquez took the brunt of it but still. I could have gotten them all killed. And Hughes. Her too. I have no idea what I’m doing.” Maya sighs and rests her elbows on her desk, her hands go on the top of her head. “If he dies, there’ll be a death investigation. I’m sure they’ll ax me right then and there. The shortest-lived captain in fire station history.”

“I’m sure it’s not that bad.” Carina offers. She’s not sure what to say really.

Maya scoffs and looks up and over at her. “It is. And everyone hates me. I told them to get in line or transfer stations if they didn’t like me. I didn’t see any takers, but I doubt they would admit they are transferring to my face.”

Maya smacks her palm against her desktop. “They hate me and don’t respect me.”

“Who has an ego problem now?” Carina tries to tease.

“I don’t have-“ Maya scowls at her. “Is that how I come across to you?”

Carina sighs. She gets up from her seat and rounds the desk. “No.” She takes Maya’s right hand in both her hers, rubbing and massaging her palm. “You do seem to want praise and respect though. But I think that it needs to come with time. You need to earn it, no?”

Maya nods. She knows Carina is right.

“It sounds like it was a difficult day for everyone. Not just you. Or Jack. Or Andy. All of you. Some time and space is probably good. We can hide out in here if you want. I will do that with you. I kind of wanted a tour of the whole station though.”

Maya smiles softly. Here is this incredible woman. She didn’t ask her to come. She didn’t ask her to be here. Carina just showed up. With food just for her. She appreciates it, she realizes. “I’m sorry about earlier. I’m just-“ she shrugs.

“Going through a difficult time.” Carina finishes for Maya.

Maya nods. “Yeah.”

Carina leans against the edge of the desk and watches Maya for a moment. A soft smile on her face. Their eyes linked.

“Thank you.” Maya whispers. She says it so quietly, but the emotion shines brightly through her eyes and smile.

“You are very welcome, bella. Anytime.” Carina tells the captain. They’ve only known each other a short time but Carina feels like she would and could do just about anything to help Maya and make her feel better.

They are quiet for a little bit. Just sharing smiles every now and then. Maya mostly just watches her own hand in Carina’s as the Italian caresses it.

The alarm goes off for a call. Maya’s eyes go wide, her heart rate picks up.

“You’ll do amazing.” Carina encourages her.

“I have to go.” Maya stands and pulls he hand out of Carina’s.

Carina nods. “Go.”

Maya hesitates for a brief second. She takes one step and then stops. She leans in and presses a kiss to the corner of Carina’s mouth. It’s quick and then she’s gone, running off to the fire engine.

Carina stays in Maya’s office for a moment for she hears the engine roll out of the garage with its sirens on. A small smile on her lips. She looks around and finds a notepad. It’s on a clipboard on the corner of Maya’s desk. The top sheet is blank, so she reaches for it and gets a pen. She scratches out a quick note before she leaves. She waves at Jack at the front desk as she exits.

Maya comes back into her office after the call. Nothing terrible happened so she’s going to consider it a success even though there are things she could have improved now that she thinks about it. Maya ponders over the call for a few minutes before something catches her eye.

The items on her desk are out of order. The clipboard with the notebook on the corner of her desk has been moved and now sits dead center. She sees the words there. For a second, she gets irritated that someone used her notepad to write on but then she actually reads what the note says.

Captain,

Thank you for letting me stick around your office tonight. I know it was unexpected. I just wanted to do a nice thing. Remember that. I want to do nice things for you. I want to do lots of nice things for you, if you’ll let me. I hope you enjoyed the lasagna. I can make you some more sometime if you want. (winky face) I hope you have a good rest of your shift.

Carina.

Maya can’t help but smile at the little note. She thinks it’s cute. She reads it a second time before ripping the paper from the notepad and slipping it into her bottom desk drawer, so no one sees it and maybe for safe keeping.

Maya grabs her phone. She checks the time. It’s late but that doesn’t stop her. She types out a text message. I got your note. Thank you. Maya ponders on what else to say but doesn’t know. She hits send and sighs.

She has a strange feeling in her chest. Maya thinks maybe that it’s gratitude. She’s grateful that Carina is a kind enough person to want to check in on her after she’s had a bad day. Appreciation, maybe. Those are similar feelings, though.

The problem isn’t what the feeling is. The problem is that Maya is feeling it. She doesn’t do feelings. That’s the whole part of a one night stand or a short fling, to not have feelings. To not get caught up in something. To not let feelings get in the way and make things messy. She’s got a job to do and she needs to focus on that. If anything, that should be the top priority right now. She’s on the edge of this whole captain thing. She needs to focus on that and figure it out.

But there’s just something about Carina that Maya can’t let go of. It’s something that she doesn’t have a name for. It’s something that maybe doesn’t have a name. But it’s there and its tangible and Maya can feel it and it makes her nervous and hesitant.


Remember that thing about focusing on her job. Yeah, that’s already out the window as Maya leaves the station in the morning.

She’s got her phone to her ear and is listening as it rings.

“Hello.”

“Hi, this is Maya Bishop.”

Carina laughs. “I know who you are. I have your contact saved in my phone.”

“Oh.” Maya stops on the sidewalk. “Right.” She looks left and then right before deciding to cross the road. She’s not at an intersection and she knows she shouldn’t do this but Maya crosses anyway. The fire captain jaywalking isn’t exactly model behavior

“I just wanted to say thank you for the lasagna and last- yesterday. Did you want to- I don’t know if you’ve had breakfast yet. I just got off shift.”

“I would love to have breakfast with you.” Carina completes for her.

Maya sighs. She feels like Carina already knows her so well. It’s a scary thought. “I’ll send you the address.”

“Okay.”

“I’ll be there. Waiting for you.” Maya groans internally as she hears herself say the words. She has no idea where smooth, confident Maya went but she never seems to be around when Maya is talking to Carina.

“See you in a bit.” Carina says cheerily.


She waves Carina over to the table that she is sitting at.

“Did you order yet?”

“No, I said I would wait for you. Just a coffee.” She lifts her mug with both hands.

“Do you come here often?”

“No.” Maya shakes her head. She likes the waffles and pancakes that they have at this restaurant though. She doesn’t come here often but has been here enough times to know about the waffles and pancakes.

The waiter comes over and takes their orders.

“I’ll have two eggs over easy. Three Belgian waffles. Hash browns and two strips of bacon.”

“Someone’s hungry.” Carina comments.

Maya rolls her eyes.

“Just two pieces of French toast, please. Oh, and coffee.” Carina smiles at the waiter.

“I’ll get that into the kitchen and they’ll get started on it.”

“Thank you.” Maya and Carina say at the same time.

“So, how was the rest of your shift?”

“Ah, that’s why I’m so hungry.” Maya narrows her eyes at Carina for calling her out in front of the waiter.

Carina grins. “I was just teasing.”

“The last thing I had to eat was your lasagna.”

Carina hums.

“And I just finished a 24 hour shift.”

Carina hums again.

“And we had three calls between the time you were there last night and now. So, we were busy. Nothing terrible happened. No one got blown up or died or was taken to the hospital. Well, patients but no one from my team.”

“Proof that everything isn’t as terrible as it might seem. Look on the bright side. Now you get to have breakfast with me.” Carina is busy rearranging the sugar packets in their little bowl. “And it sounds like you were busy but that everything went well. Maya, you can do this. You’re the captain. And yes, that’s a lot of responsibility but I know you can handle it.”

“How do you know that?” Maya crosses her arms over her chest.

Carina shrugs. “I just do.” She looks up and smiles over at Maya.

Maya can’t help but chuckle a little. “I got your note.”

“I know you sent me a text in the middle of the night.” Carina smirks.

“Sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s always good to hear from you.” Carina finishes with the sugar packets. “What do you have planned for the day?”

“Sleep.”

Carina nods.

“What about you?” Maya asks.

Carina raises an eyebrow. “Work.”

“Right. Sometimes I forget what day of the week it is or that not everyone works on a firefighter’s schedule. Sorry.”

Carina leans forward and reaches across the table. She puts a hand on top of Maya’s arm. She slips her hand down to Maya’s hand and pry’s it away from her body so she can give it a squeeze. “Don’t apologize.”

Maya nods and looks down at her lap. She lets her hands fall to the sides, on the booth cushion. “I don’t know what else to talk about other than my job. Or running. But I’m sure you don’t want to hear about that.”

“You can talk about whatever you want. Anything. And I’ll listen.” She lets Maya know that no topic is off limits. Maya nods but continues to look down at her lap. “I’ll start. Do you have a favorite place in Seattle?”

Maya looks up at that. “Yeah. There’s this park that looks over the water. I go running there sometimes. It’s so peaceful early in the morning. There’s birds squawking, but other than that it quiet and the trees are beautiful.”

“Sounds lovely.”

“We could go sometime.” Maya offers.

Carina raises a surprised eyebrow at that.

“Not running.” Maya second guesses herself. “Unless you wanted to go running.”

“I do not.” Carina tries to hold back a smile. She has no interest in running or running with Maya.

“Okay. But I meant to the park. Early in the morning. Or we could go some other time, but I think I’ve only been there early in the morning.”

Carina giggles at that. “Where else?

“I don’t know. I used to love the fire station but now it feels tainted or something. I always enjoyed going to work. I enjoyed being there with everyone. We were a family. A station is a family. They are my second family but now everyone is at odds.” Maya sighs. This is only making her feel worse.

“I get off at six today. Let’s go to that park. Watch the sunset.” Carina wants to put Maya in a better mood.

“I don’t know. I’m not very good company right now. I just want to sleep and stay at home today, I think.” Maya mumbles.

The food arrives, interrupting their conversation. The waiter leaves and Maya starts eating. Carina is a little slower and takes her time pouring syrup on her French toast before cutting it up. She clears her throat and takes the first bite. As she does so she looks over at Maya. But that’s not the only things she does.

With her right foot, she reaches out under the table and finds the inside of Maya’s left ankle before running her foot up the inside of her leg.

Maya jumps and looks across at Carina with wide eyes. Carina has a shit eating grin on her face. “What are you doing?” Maya asks incredulously.

“Trying to get a rise out of you.” Carina chuckles. “And it worked.”

“You’re a little shit.” Maya accuses.

Carina just shrugs. “Agree to come to the park tonight and I’ll behave myself for the remainder of our meal.”

“Fine. I’ll meet you there at 6:30. By the front entrance.” Maya isn’t exactly thrilled about going to the park tonight but if it’ll get Carina off her back, then she’ll do it. “What kind of things do you have going on at work today?”

“It’s strangely quiet. Like I don’t have a lot of expecting mother’s right now. Ones that are close to giving birth, at least. I have a scheduled C-section first thing this morning but after that just a few appointments and anything that might pop up.”

“Is that good or bad? It being quiet.”

“Bad.” Carina pops a piece of French toast into her mouth. “This is really good.”

“I’ve never had the French toast here, but they have the best pancakes and waffles though.” Maya tells her.

“And French toast. Here.” Carina stabs a piece of French toast with her fork and holds it across the table to Maya.

Maya raises an eyebrow but leans forward to pull the piece from the fork into her mouth. She chews and swallows.

“Well?”

“You’re right.”

“Though, it’s not as good as the French toast that I make.”

Maya hums thinking she wants to try Carina’s French toast now. She doesn’t mention it though. She knows it will be good, though, if it is anything like the lasagna. Maya thinks anything that Carina makes probably tastes good. Better than good. It’s all probably great or amazing. Maya thinks Carina probably even has a special recipe or twist on regular toast or mundane things like that to spice them up.

They eat in silence for a little bit. It’s a comfortable silence though. Maya doesn’t feel like she has to fill it. They just eat and share glances every now and then.

“I’ll walk you out.” Maya says when they are finished. “Thanks for meeting me this morning. I just wanted to say thank you again for the lasagna last night and stopping by the station and the note.”

“E stato un piacere.” Carina grins.

Maya raises an eyebrow but doesn’t ask for a translation.

They get outside and Carina turns to her. “I’ll see you tonight.”

Maya nods. “I’ll set an alarm to make sure I’m awake.”

“Okay, don’t forget. Cuz I don’t want to get there and be waiting and have people looking at me like a got stood up.” Carina teases.

“I would never stand up a date.” The words slip out of Maya’s mouth before she’s realized she’s said them. Her cheeks heat up.

Carina grins at her.

“Is that what this is?” Maya wonders aloud.

“It doesn’t have to be. It can just be two people hanging out. You said you didn’t want a girlfriend so it can just be us hanging out as friends. I can do that.” Carina says the words, but she isn’t sure if she can just stick to being Maya’s friend. She knows she can’t, actually.

Maya nods. “Okay. I’ll see you later.”

Carina puts a hand on Maya’s elbow and presses a kiss to her cheek. “Ciao.”

“Ciao.” Maya mumbles. She watches as Carina walks away from her. She realizes something know that she is looking at her walking away. “You look great, by the way.” Maya yells after her.

Carina turns around. Maya gestures to her own outfit. “You look great, today.” Carina has looked great every day that Maya has seen her really, but she realizes that she didn’t tell her today when she sat down to eat.

“Thank you, Maya.” Carina winks and turns back around to walk to work.

Maya takes a deep breath. She needs sleep, so she heads for home. She thinks about Carina the entire way home. It’s hard not to. She thinks about the park tonight and what it means. But Carina said it didn’t have to mean anything. Maya knows she’s grumpy and lousy company right now. That’s why she didn’t want to go. She didn’t want to bring Carina’s day down with her mood. She’s just got a lot going on and she doesn’t want Carina to have to deal with it.


Carina gets to the park at 6:25. She had expected to see Maya there already but there is no sign of the fire captain. She hopes something didn’t happen at work. Or with work, because she knows Maya wasn’t working today. But that doesn’t mean something couldn’t have happened at the station or with a call or something.

Maya did say the firefighters were a family.

She sits by the entrance. There is a stone wall there that she perches against and watches the people the mill about. Lots of them leaving now that it’s the end of the day.

A car comes flying into the parking lot and Carina smiles knowing that it’s Maya.

All frantic and running through the parking lot Maya stops at her feet. “Sorry, I’m late.” She huffs a little out of breath. Carina raises an eyebrow waiting for a reason as to why Maya was late, but Maya never gives one. “Shall we go in?”

Carina nods.

They walk side by side into the park. Maya leads the way down the path. Soon the woods break into a bluff that overlooks the water. “Wow.”

“It really is a great view.” Maya comments. “I’ve never seen it at this time of the day though.” She goes to have a seat at the edge of the cliff.

“What are you doing?” Carina says in a panic.

“Sitting.” Maya looks up at her. She pats the spot next to her.

“Is it safe?”

“I’ll make sure nothing happens to you.” Maya smiles.

Carina rolls her eyes. “I know you will but I just meant-“

“You’ll be fine. Come on.” She holds her hand out for Carina to take. Carina puts her hand in Maya’s and sits down gently. Maya lets go of her hand as soon as Carina is seated next to her.

The sun is dipping low in the sky. Just a little bit above the edge of the water. There are a few low clouds in the distance but nothing to obscure the view.

“It is beautiful here. You were right.”

Maya just nods. Her eyes are focused on the horizon, the sunset. She’s trying to not look at Carina. Because she knows if she does, she’ll be distracted and miss the sunset. Because if the sunset is beautiful then the sunset reflected on Carina is going to be one hundred times more beautiful.

There aren’t very many people around. A few couples sitting like they are. Not that they are a couple. Maya reminds herself that they are just two people who are enjoying the sunset together. Enjoying a romantic sunset together. Maya groans.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” She lies.

Carina hums. She reaches over and slips her hand inside Maya’s arm, wrapping her palm around her bicep. “Thanks for telling me about this place.”

“No problem.” Maya sighs. Even though she is wearing a long sleeve shirt she can feel goosebumps on her arm where Carina is holding on to her. Because that’s what Carina is doing. Carina’s other hand wraps on top of the first so that her hands are wrapped around Maya’s bicep.

Carina leans into Maya as the sun starts to dip below the horizon. There is an orange glow to it, basking the entire area in a dim orange light. “Maya?”

Maya hums.

“Can you look at me?”

Maya sighs and turns her head to look at Carina. She tries to smile but she knows it looks strained. “What’s up?”

“Is this about what I said this morning?” Carina can definitely feel a strange energy coming from Maya this evening.

“What did you say this morning?” Maya tries to play dumb.

“About this being a date.” Carina mumbles.

“Well, actually I was the one who said that.” Maya sighs.

“But I implied it.” Carina admits.

Maya looks away from her, back out at the sunset. “Look.” She whispers.

Carina turns and looks. She gasps. “It’s beautiful.” Maya nods at her side and she can feel it. They stay like that for a long time staring out at the water as the sun disappears. Even after it is gone, they stay sitting like that. Everyone else leaves as it starts to get dark.

“It freaked me out a little.” Maya whispers after a long time.

“Okay.” Carina sighs.

“But not because of you.” Maya turns to look at her. “You are amazing. It’s just not something I do. Or have done. Date. Or go on dates.”

“Okay.”

“I almost didn’t come here because of it.” Her apprehension is palpable.

“Oh.” Carina sounds disappointed.

“But not because of you.” Maya tries to get that point across again. “I like you.”

“I like you too, Maya.”

“You’re easy to talk to. A good friend. Good in bed.” Maya shrugs. She doesn’t know where she is going with this.

“Thanks, I think.”

Maya chuckles. “I guess what I’m saying is I feel like dating puts a certain pressure on this.” She motions between the two of them. “And I don’t want that pressure. I’ve got enough going on. So, can we not call it that? Can we not call it anything? I just want to be able to hang out and talk and maybe have some sex sometimes.”

“Okay.” Carina says simply. “But only if you stop talking and kiss me.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “Just tell me to shut up. I know I talk too much.”

“You’re talking to an Italian. The kings and queens of never shutting up.” Carina jokes.

Maya sighs. She reaches up and cradles Carina’s face gently in her hands. She places a soft kiss on her lips. “Better?”

“No.” Carina reaches up and grabs Maya’s collar deepening the kiss. They kiss for a little while. Carina tries to shuffle forward.

“Woah.” Maya’s hands go to her waist. “Remember we are on the side of a bluff. And I’m not working today. And I don’t want to have to be working today. I especially don’t want to have to organize a rescue mission for you.” Maya helps Carina to her feet. “Let’s walk back.” She gets them away from the edge.

Carina nods. All she can think about is how caring Maya is. Maya will probably say it’s just the firefighter in her, but Carina knows it’s more than that. She knows Maya didn’t want her to fall. She wraps her arm around Maya’s lower back. She squeezes the blondes opposite hip. “Thank you.”

“For?”

“Coming here today. For showing me the sunset. For saving me from certain death.” Carina jokes about that last one.

“No problem.” Maya puffs her chest out.

Carina swats at her arm. “Don’t get cocky now.”

“Who said anything about being cocky? I’m just taking credit for saving you from certain death.”

They reach Maya’s car. “Well?”

“Well?” Carina replies.

“Would you like to sit in my car?”

“Is that some kind of euphemism that I don’t understand?” Maya shakes her head. “Okay.” Maya gets the door for Carina and allows her to sit before shutting the door and going around to the other side to get in.

“How was your day?” Carina asks. “Did you sleep?”

“I did. I didn’t do much else. Cleaned the apartment a little. It’s so weird to live by myself now.” Maya is still adjusting to it. “How was your day?”

“Boring.” Carina chuckles. “I think this was the best part of my day.”

Maya smiles. “This was the best part of my day too.” She leans over at kisses Carina.

One short little soft kiss turns into more. Then there are hands in hair and roaming over chests and shoulders and then Maya is climbing over the center console. She reaches down between the seat and the door and reclines Carina’s seat. There is a little squeal from Carina and the seat flops back all the way.

“We can’t do this here.” Carina mumbles as Maya’s lips work their way down her neck. She cranes her neck to give Maya better across.

“Are you going to stop me?” Maya asks before sucking at the dip in the center of Carina’s collarbone that is visible where her shirt comes down to make a V.

“It’s dark.” Carina says.

“And there’s no one around.” Maya adds.

“You are taking the blame if we get caught.”

That stops Maya just as she was about to pop the button open on Carina’s dress pants. “I’m the fire captain. I can’t.”

“You’re the fire captain. I’m sure you can talk yourself out of something if you had to.”

Maya laughs. Carina might have a point there. Maya crashes their lips back together as she undoes the dress pants. Her hand slips in and she is met with wet heat. “Oh god.”

There isn’t a lot of room, so Maya awkwardly straddles Carina, arching her back to get a good angle. She slips two fingers into Carina and is rewards with the breathiest most glorious moan right in her ear. Carina holds onto Maya’s shoulders because of their cramped position as Maya rests her forehead against the back of the seat just over Carina’s right shoulder.

“Maya.” Carina begs.

Maya flicks her thumb over her clit, eliciting another moan from the woman beneath her. “Almost.” Carina pants, trying to arch up into Maya, trying to get that sweet release from the fingers that are buried deep inside her. Maya doubles her pace even though her arms is screaming because of the position. “Ma-“ The rest of Maya’s name gets cuts off with a long groan as Carina reaches her peak. Her fingernails dig into Maya’s shoulders, and she knows she’s going to have two sets of four little half-moons imprinted into her shoulders tomorrow. Maya is more than fine with that.

“Dio mio.” Carina sighs as all of her muscles relax.

Maya picks her forehead off of the seat and finds Carina looks back at her blissfully. She presses a quick kiss to her cheek before taking her lips with her own. “My apologies for being late tonight.”

“If that’s going to happen every time you are late than I don’t think I mind.”

Maya laughs. “Well, then.” She pulls her hand from Carina’s dress slacks. She looks around for something to wipe her fingers off on but there’s nothing in her car. It’s completely free of any items at all.

Carina notices what Maya is doing and before Maya can look back to her she reaches for Maya’s hand, bringing it to her face and sucking Maya’s fingers into her mouth.

Maya moans and closes her eyes.

Just then a car pulls into the parking lot. The lights spook Maya who jumps back into her seat. Carina bites her lip and rolls her head to the side, looking lazily over at Maya.

“We should get going.” Maya mumbles. Her heart is pounding in her chest.

“Not yet.” Carina says. She reaches over and takes Maya’s hand. She brings it to her lap where she wraps the other hand over it too. She raises Maya’s hand to her lips with both of her hands and presses a kiss to the back of it. “I don’t think I can walk back to my car yet.”

Maya bites her lips as her eyes rake over Carina’s body as she stays reclined in the seat. “I’ll drive you over.” Maya assumes that the only other car in the parking lot is Carina. That car that came in and flashed their lights on Maya’s car had left right away.

“Or you could just bring me home and we can continue this.”

Maya debates that. “Don’t you have to work tomorrow?”

Carina sighs. “And you had to just be a joy kill.”

“Killjoy.” Maya grins.

“Sure, that.” Carina licks her lips. “I do, though.” She sighs. “Maya Bishop, you are going to get me in trouble one of these days. I just know it.”

“What can I say? The ladies love me.” She smirks.

“Oh, shut up.” She drops Maya’s hand. “And you better not be seeing any other ladies.”

Maya nods. “I haven’t seen anyone else since that night we met in the bar.”

“Me either.”

They both nod together. On the same page. “So?” Maya mumbles.

“Yeah, I can walk now.” Carina buttons her pants and sits up. She pulls the seat back up too. Maya starts the car and, as promised, drives Carina over near her car.

Carina leans over and plants a strong kiss on Maya. She rests her forehead against Maya’s. “You can text me or call me or whatever.”

“I probably will.” Maya admits. “Even if it’s just to bitch about work.”

“Okay.” Carina licks her lips before kissing Maya again. “I’ll see you.”

“Bye.”

They pull apart and Carina opens the car door. “Ciao.”

“I’ll wait until you pull out and leave behind you.”

Carina smiles and nods. Here Maya is again looking out for her. “Thanks, bella.” She blows her a kiss before shutting the car door.

Maya waits like she said she would as Carina gets into her car, starts it up, and back out of her space before driving off.

Chapter Text

A week has passed since Maya last saw Carina. There have been a number of texts and video calls and even a few phone calls, but they can’t get their schedules to align to see each other in person. But Maya has another bad day at work and the first person she thinks of seeing or talking to is Carina. She calls her as soon as her shift is over that morning.

She calls and asks if she can see her at lunch. Indicates a lunch sex meet up. The thing is that Maya is still struggling with the whole captain thing. She needs Carina. She needs the sex, she thinks. That’s what it’s about, the physical. To release some of the tension. The pressure.

But Maya could get that with anyone. A random hook up. Someone she doesn’t know. But Maya knows somewhere deep down she doesn’t want that. She actually wants something that’s familiar. Something that she knows. A comfort. So, she keeps going back to Carina. She can’t quit her for some reason. Maya knows the reason, but she shoves it down every time it surfaces. Call it denial. Call it trying to remain sane. Call it what you want, but Maya needs Carina. She needs her touch. She needs her soft foreign tongue in her ear. She needs her and she hates to admit it. Because Maya doesn’t need anybody. She never has.

Until now.

And she knows she’s headed down a particularly dangerous path. One with uncertainty and possible twists and turns. One that could disrupt the control she has over her life. And Maya just shrugs at it all. There’s some tiny part of her that is thrilled by the unknown. It’s so unlike Maya to do something that isn’t calculated, planned, that she isn’t in control of.

The problem with the sex is that it brings up all the emotions in Maya. She doesn’t want it to, but this is where she’s at. She sits there. She can feel the tears coming. If it’s just quiet maybe they will pass, and Carina will be none the wiser. Maya doesn’t need this right now. She doesn’t need to fall apart in front of this person.

But then Carina is saying something. Something about going back to work. And Maya can’t hold it in any longer.

‘I’m the truck.’

Maya mumbles her words through tears.

She feels the arms wrap around her and the delicate kiss pressed to her cheek.

Carina holds her as she cries. She would be embarrassed but instead Maya just feels comfort in Carina’s arms. Comfort in the soft Italian that is being spoken into her ear. She doesn’t understand any of what Carina says in her native tongue, but Maya is soothed by it none the less.

After she has calmed down and they are laying on the mattress Maya finds Carina’s hand and gives it a gentle squeeze. “Thanks.”

Carina just hums. She realizes that Maya called her to come over today for more than just sex. And also that maya is too proud to admit that. Carina is glad that she was here and that she could help Maya through a difficult moment. She wonders briefly if that is what they’ve always been about. Maya in a difficult moment or hard time and Carina being there to calm her down and support her and help her through. She realizes that’s probably not the healthiest sort of relationship. It’s not the sort of relationship she wants with Maya. Especially after her father, and mother, and now what Andrew is going through. She doesn’t need another person ‘to take care of’. But there’s something about Maya that makes her want. And that’s the scary part. She finds herself wanting to be there for Maya despite everything else. Carina vows to end things with Maya if this is the only way their relationship is going to be moving forward but for now, in it’s early stages, Carina is fine with being Maya’s support system.

“You can go back to work now.”

“Are you asking me to leave?” Carina sits up a little.

Maya opens and closes her mouth. No words come out. She doesn’t want Carina to leave. She actually wants her to stay but she knows she’s already been a burden on Carina today and that the Italian has a life and a job and work to get back to. If it were up to Maya, they would lay in bed like this all afternoon. She feels exhausted. Maybe gets some sleep, maybe have some more sex. “I’m sure you have to get back to work.”

“I took the afternoon off.”

“When? You said you had to get back to work.” Maya is confused.

Carina smiles softly. “When I went to get you a glass of water after you had calmed down some.” She had gone to the kitchen for the water but made a detour to her bag where her phone is and called into work to take the remainder of the day off. It wasn’t a big deal in Carina’s opinion. She didn’t have a lot going on in the afternoon. Just two appointments with expecting mothers. She just had them rescheduled.

But it’s a big deal in Maya’s mind, though. “You did that for me?” She can’t believe it.

“I did.” Carina hums. “I told you I want to do nice things for you. And it seemed like you needed someone around today. So that’s my nice thing for you for today.” It sounds so simple the way Carina says it.

Maya wants to say that Carina does too many nice things for her, but she doesn’t voice that out loud. “So, what should we do this afternoon?” She asks instead.

“Whatever you want to do.” Carina runs her fingernails up and down Maya’s arm gently.

“I want to sleep. But it seems rude to sleep when you’re here and when you took the afternoon off-“ For me. She leaves that part out.

“Maybe we could have a little nap.” Carina yawns. “You tuckered me out earlier.”

Maya grins at that. “Yeah.” She’s excited about the possibility of sleeping. Or maybe it’s the possibility of sleeping with Carina, sleeping next to Carina. Or maybe it’s the thought of waking up and Carina possibly still being there in her bed when she does. She hopes she is but Maya is too afraid to ask Carina to stay and lay in bed with her so all she can do is hope.

“Get some rest.” Carina says and presses a kiss to Maya’s cheek. Maya blushes. She ducks her head and curls up on her side. Carina mirrors her position except that she wraps her arm around Maya. There’s a moments hesitation before she pulls Maya close, to her chest. Maya shudders unfamiliar with such care and affection from another human being directed at her.

They both sleep. Maya longer than Carina.

Carina wakes up and looks at the fire captain. She looks so calm and peaceful in her sleep. Like she doesn’t have a single worry. Carina knows that’s not true though. Maya worries about a lot of things, she’s found out.

She thinks about getting up and going to make something to eat but this isn’t her house, and she doesn’t know where anything is and she doesn’t want to be accused of snooping around.

Instead, she watches Maya for a while. When Maya shifts in her sleep and wraps an arm over Carina’s waist she can’t help but smile. She leans in and presses her lips softly to Maya’s forehead.

Maya wakes up after a little while, groggy, her eyes sting. She knows it’s from the crying. She has a slight headache. Also, from the crying. But then she opens them and sees Carina. She’s a little surprised at first and she pulls her head back slightly.

“Hey, bella. Did you sleep well?”

All Maya can do is nod. She realizes she has her hand on Carina’s hip. The intimacy isn’t lost on her. She tries to pull it away; but Carina grabs her hand, almost reading her mind, and keeping it in place on her hip.

“I have a headache.”

“Oh.” Carina pouts. “Let me get you something.” She moves to get up.

“No. Wait.” Maya doesn’t want this moment to be over. Even if she just tried to pull her hand away from Carina and distance herself from her. “Stay here.”

Carina nods. “Okay.” She pinches Maya’s chin between her thumb and index finger and leans in for a kiss.

Maya moans softly into the kiss. “I think I like waking up to you in my bed.” She speaks against Carina’s lips.

“You do.” It’s not a question. Carina rubs her nose against Maya’s.

“I do. Yeah.” Maya deepens the kiss, rolling over on top of Carina.

They have little make out before Maya gets up to get some ibuprofen.

“We could do a puzzle.” Maya comes back in and ties her hair back into a ponytail.

“Puzzles are boring.”

“Puzzles are calming. It’s all about the structure and organization of doing it. You separate the pieces first. The edge pieces from everything else. Then you do the edge and then you separate the interior pieces by color or whatever the objects are in the picture and do those accordingly.”

“Wow.” Carina stares at her with wide eyes.

“What?” Maya frowns, feeling like she is being judged.

“That’s a very tactical approach to a puzzle.”

“That’s how I always do them. It’s the easiest way.” Maya doesn’t see any other way.

“And sounds the least fun. I’d rather watch paint dry.” Carina huffs.

Maya furrows her brow. So, they won’t be doing a puzzle anytime soon, or maybe ever. “I have an idea.” Maya licks her lips. Carina brought up paint. “Have your ever used body paint?”

Carina lifts an intrigued eyebrow at that.

“We could literally watch paint dry. If you wanted.” Maya shrugs. “I mean there would also be applying it, so that it could dry. And it would be messy, and I don’t know if I like that idea but- I just thought since you mentioned paint. I just-“ She looks to Carina to see her reaction. Carina is looking at her with a lopsided smile. “What?”

Carina shakes her head. “You are something else, Maya Bishop.”

“I am?” Maya doesn’t know what’s happening. “I was just suggesting an activity. We could just regular paint if you don’t like the idea. It was just an idea. Forget I mentioned it.”

“Your nervous ramblings are so cute.” Carina leans in for a quick kiss. “I very much like the idea of sexy paint time, bella.”

“Oh. Okay. Good.”

“Do you have any?” Carina asks. Maya shakes her head. Carina wonders where the idea came from then.

“I can run out and get some. Or you could come with me. We could go together.” Maya is just saying words at this point. She’s not sure if she’s comfortable with the activity that she suggested. She doesn’t even know why she suggested it.

“Where does one get body paint?”

Maya shrugs. “I’ll google it. Where’s my phone?” She starts looking around the room for her phone.

“I think I saw it in the kitchen when I was out there.” Carina offers. “Si, si. On the counter.”

“Thank you.” Maya presses a kiss to Carina’s shoulder before slipping out of the room. It is right where Carina said it was. Maya stops in the kitchen and looks around the area. She looks around the rest of the apartment that she can see. Nothing has changed or looks different since the last time she was out here, but something definitely feels different. A chill runs down Maya’s shine. She shivers and shakes it off before returning to her bedroom.

“So, looks like craft stores mostly.”

“Wonderful.”

“Did you want to stay here or come with?” Maya almost can’t believe the words as they spill from her lips. She would never willingly leave a person alone in her apartment when she wasn’t there and yet she offers to do just that. Also, she clearly slept, and Carina was ‘alone’ while she was asleep, and Maya was completely fine with that too. She almost doesn’t recognize herself.

She thinks maybe it’s the comfortability that she has with Carina that allows these things to be possible. Maya doesn’t have much time to ponder that though because Carina is tugging on her hand.

The Italian knees on the mattress and gets close to Maya’s ear. “I’ll stay here, bella. You go and come back quickly.” Carina’s tongue pokes out and licks the shell of Maya’s ear.

“You’re not fair.”

Carina laughs. “You’ve said that before.”

“I know. It’s still true.”

“Are you wearing that to the store?” Carina wiggles her eyebrows.

Maya looks down at her tank top and panties. “I’ll have to put something on.” She mumbles and goes over to the dresser.

“Nothing to fancy cuz it’s going to come right off as soon as you get back.” Carina reminds from behind Maya.

Maya just nods, thoughts of body paint on bare skin fill her head.

But as she leaves her apartment, locking the door behind her, Maya wonders if she’s making the right decision. She’s leaving Carina alone in her apartment. She doesn’t know Carina all that well yet. They have been having a good time together, but they haven’t talked about anything too in depth that’s happening in their lives. But the decision has been made and Maya will just have to deal with the consequences. Carina could be a stalker, or a serial killer and Maya would have no idea. She’s could have just fallen for her charms and when she gets back Carina will abduct or kill her.

Maya shrugs as she walks out onto the street.

She tries to make her trip brief, but she is stopped by someone on the street asking for directions and that turned into Maya just leading them to where they were trying to go because the person couldn’t understand directions. She’s been gone longer than she would have liked.

“I’m back.” Maya calls as soon as she opens the door.

She doesn’t get a response.

“I’m sorry it too so long.” It’s quiet and Maya is starting to think that Carina left. She wouldn’t blame her, but she would be disappointed. “Carina?”

Maya removes her shoes and starts moving through the apartment. There’s still no response. Maya pushes the bedroom door open. She spots Carina sitting on the bed, her head down, looking at her phone.

“I’m back.” Maya holds the paper bag up higher in the air. “I got what we need.” All she gets from Carina in response is a nod of the head. “Are you not- Did you not want to-“

“Oh, no, bella.” Carina throws her phone aside. “I was just taking care of some emails.”

Maya nods slowly, not convinced she was looking at emails. “Bella.” She mumbles.

Carina raises an eyebrow and hums.

“You keep saying that. Bella this and bella that. Bella. Bella. Bella.”

Carina grins brightly. “Si.”

Maya stands there at the end of the bed. “I’m a dumb American and don’t know what that means.”

Carina nods and wiggles her finger for Maya to come closer to her.

Maya does. She sits down on the edge of the bed next to Carina’s hip.

Carina reaches up and tucks a few stray hairs that got out of Maya’s ponytail behind her ear. “It’s an Italian word.” She watches as Maya rolls her eyes playfully. “It means-“ Carina licks her lips before leaning in so that her face is right in front of Maya. “Beautiful.” She whispers and watches the recognition in Maya’s eyes. They widen only slightly before settling back. She can see the apprehension on Maya’s face. “Does it make you uncomfortable?”

Maya shakes her head. “I don’t think so. It’s just- different.” Maya has been called beautiful or hot or attractive before, but this feels different. Somehow this feels like it has more depth. Maya thinks maybe that’s because it’s a foreign language. In the past, if she was called those things, it was because the person using the words wanted something from her. Carina hasn’t used bella like that though. She doesn’t want anything from her just for using it. She’s just using it at the end of a sentence or in simple conversation.

“Different? Good or bad?”

Maya smiles finally. “Good.” It makes her feel good.

“Bene.”

“What’s that?” Maya is liking this impromptu Italian lesson.

“The word for good.”

“Oh.” Maya chuckles. “Bene, then. What other Italian words can you teach me?”

Carina raises an eyebrow. “What do you want to know?”

“I don’t know.” Maya shrugs.

Carina runs her palm up and down Maya’s arm. “Well, how about we put that body paint that you just picked up to good use then?”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, I’ll teach you a word for a body part and then if you can say it correctly, I get to paint that body part on you.”

Maya crinkles her brow. “That doesn’t seem fair. What do I get?”

Carina leans closer so that her lips are a hairs breath away from Maya’s. “The thrill and excitement of watching me do it. And the pleasure of having my hands on your body.” She whispers.

Maya closes her eyes and moans softly. “That does sound pretty good but-“ She licks her lips, in the process brushing her tongue against Carina’s lips. “I want to see you, touch you.”

“You can do that any time you like, bella. I’m not stopping you.” Carina presses her lips to the corner of Maya’s mouth. “Now.” She pulls her shirt over her head. “What did you get?”

Maya groans. Carina is practically crawling on top of her to get to the bag with the paint. She slides her hands around Carina’s waist and holds her into place, keeping her there for a moment. She looks up and waits for Carina to lock eyes with her. “Blue and yellow and red.”

Carina nods. She forgets about the bag for a moment, instead she wraps her hands around Maya’s ears and pulls her in for a searing kiss. One full of need and hunger and intensity.

They get carried away for a little bit. Maya’s shirts and jeans come off. But that is necessary for what they are going to do with the paint anyway.

“Do you care about this bedding or-?” Carina whispers against Maya’s lips.

“Yes. Here.” She stands and takes Carina’s hand and helps her off of the bed. Then Maya pulls the bedding from the bed. She throws it on the floor in the corner of the room. If this were a different situation, she would have never done that. But in the interest of time, that’s where the bedding ends up for now. “I’ll be right back.” Maya scurries into the hall to get a few old sheets that she has in the closet that she doesn’t care if they get paint on them.

Carina takes the opportunity to open up the bottles of paint, break the seal, and set them on the table next to the bed.

Maya comes back in a flash; she hurriedly throws two sheets over the mattress. “There.” She puts her hands on her hips, satisfied. “Where were we?” She grins and turns to Carina. Maya goes in for a kiss, but Carina stops her.

“No, no, no.” She reaches behind Maya and unclasps her bra. “First, we take this off.” She slides the straps down Maya’s arms slowly. And then Carina kneels at Maya’s feet. Maya watches, mesmerized as Carina hooks her fingers into her panties and slides them down her legs. She steps out of them when Carina gets them to the floor. A flood of insecurity courses through. Maya wants to turn away. Instead, she rolls her shoulders inwards and shrinks in on herself.

Carina runs one hand up Maya’s left calf before getting to her feet again. “Ready?” She whispers.

Maya nods, silently.

Carina opens the cap on the blue paint and puts a little bit on her finger. With her left hand she reaches out and runs the tip of her finger over Maya’s nose. “Naso.” She says.

“Naso.” Maya repeats.

Carina smiles. “Bene.” She taps the tip of Maya’s nose with blue paint.

Maya chuckles and wiggles her nose. Carina giggles with her. “I hope you like looking like a Smurf.”

“Noooooo.” Maya whines.

“I’m joking.” Carina bites her lip. She is only sort of joking. “This.” She points to her own forehead. “Fronte.”

“Fronte.”

Carina lets her lip pop and smears the rest of the blue paint on her finger across Maya’s forehead.

“Did you watch the Smurfs when you were a kid?”

“Si, we got things later in Italy than when they were released here but, si.” Carina focuses on rubbing the paint across Maya’s forehead. She makes three streaks going the long way. “Did you?”

Maya hums. “I know about them. I had seen them at friend’s houses when I was young, but I wasn’t allowed to watch them at my house. I was only allowed to watch one hour of cartoons per week.”

“That’s harsh.” Carina comments, not thinking much about it.

“Those were his rules.”

“Who?”

“My dad. He was very strict. He comes from a military family. Rules are important. You have to follow the rules at all times. Even as a kid.” Maya explains.

“That doesn’t sound like much fun.” Carina pouts. She looks over Maya’s face. “This is fun though.” She leans in and rubs her nose against Maya’s, spreading the blue paint to her own nose. They giggle at the feeling and then into the kiss.

“Next is cheeks.” Carina gets more blue paint on her fingers.

“Can’t you use a different color.” Maya practically whines. “You said I wasn’t going to look like a Smurf and blue is the only color you’ve used so far.”

“It’s because the blue makes the blue of your eyes that much more brilliant. Your eyes are absolutely amazing, Maya. Not only are they blue but they hold so much emotion and it’s like I can almost see what you are thinking just by looking in your eyes.”

“Really?” Maya whispers, small.

Carina nods. “Gauncia.” She swipes a streak of blue over Maya’s left cheek. “Gauncia.” And then a streak over the right.

“Gauncia.” Maya whispers. She doesn’t think she’s ever felt more vulnerable than in this moment. It’s terrifying but Carina is looking at her with soft, tender eyes and a pleased smile so Maya doesn’t put a stop to this even though she wants to run away and hide.

“Now I’m not going to put any on but-“ She kisses Maya. “This is your bocca. Mouth. And this is-“ She kisses Maya again, licking against her lips, getting Maya to part them. She slips her tongue into Maya’s mouth. Flicking and licking at her tongue. Maya wraps her hands around Carina’s back, pulling their bodies together. She tilts her head to the side, deepening the kiss. Carina pulls back after a minute, a little breathless. “-my lingua in your bocca.”

They break out into uncontrollable laughter.

Once they settle, Maya glances between them. “Take this off.” She dips a finger under the material that is between the two cups of the bra. She pulls it away from Carina’s chest slightly before letting it snap back. “Even the playing field.”

Carina smirks but shakes her head, no.

“Please?” Maya doesn’t beg but she’s going to ask, which is real close to begging.

Carina raises an eyebrow. She wonders how much she can get Maya to do. See how far she will go. “No.” She watches the frown that forms on Maya’s face as she puts some red paint on her right hand. She points to her own chest. “Cuore.”

Maya repeats the word. “Cuore.” She doesn’t know what it means though. She wonders if it’s chest or breast.

Carina rubs her hands together getting red paint on the entirety of both of her hands, then she presses her right hand to Maya’s chest, right over where her heart is. “Heart.” She pulls her hand back leaving a red handprint over Maya’s heart.

Maya looks down at the handprint. “Oh.” She mumbles. She didn’t think that was the word. She tries it out again. “Cuore.”

“Si.” Carina puts her hands on Maya’s waist and pulls her into a kiss. “I want you to lay down now.”

Maya nods and gets onto the bed. She lays down with her head on the pillow. Carina kneels on the bed before swinging a leg over and straddling Maya’s hips. She reaches back and unhooks her bra, taking it off and throwing it across the room.

“Finally.” Maya reaches up and hooks a hand around the back of Carina’s neck and brings her down for a kiss.

Carina’s hand slides up Maya’s arm and she wraps her palm around Maya’s throat. “La gola.” She says into the kiss.

Maya groans into the kiss.

“The throat.” Carina pulls back and looks down at Maya, waiting for her to say it.

“La gola.” Maya finally finds the words, forgetting for a moment from the distraction of the kiss. “You’re a very sexy teacher.” She sighs and licks her lips. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.” Carina laughs heartily and Maya absolutely loves the sound of it. She takes pleasure in being able to make the Italian laugh, among other things.

Carina lets go of Maya’s throat. There is a subtle handprint left there. She rubs her fingers over Maya’s windpipe.

Maya swallows thickly. “I’m either going to learn a lot or nothing at all.”

Carina bites her bottom lip. She reaches for the yellow paint and squirts some onto her right hand before rubbing her hands together. The remaining red mixes with the yellow. It’s a sort of orange tint to the yellow. She smirks and looks down at Maya. She gets the blondes attention, so they are looking at each other before Carina takes a breast in each hand. Maya sucks in a shocked breath. “What are these?”

Maya has no idea. The Spanish word pops into her brain. “Tetas.” She chuckles.

Carina rolls her eyes. “Correct but wrong languages. Tettes.” She gives a squeeze.

Maya tips her head back. “Close enough.” Carina rolls her thumbs over Maya’s nipples. Maya moans. “Don’t-“ She has to swallow. “Don’t tease if you aren’t going to go any further.”

“Who said I wasn’t going to go any further.” Carina bends and takes a nipple into her mouth sucking on it, well aware of the yellow paint that spreads to her mouth and face. She flicks her tongue over the nipple before sucking again.

Maya’s hips buck uncontrollably. If it wasn’t for Carina sitting on top of her, Maya thinks she might have jumped right out of bed.

“Easy tiger.” Carina whispers and sits back up. “What’s next?” She smirks.

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take.” Maya groans.

“So big, tough, fire captain Maya Bishop can’t take a little teasing.”

Maya rolls her head to the side. “No.” Usually when it comes to sex Maya is all about speed. How fast can you get to climax or your partner? Fast, hot, intense. This, this is completely opposite of that and it’s driving Maya crazy.

Carina gets some more red paint on her hands. She takes Maya’s wrists and hold her arms above her head. “These are the polso. Wrist.”

“Polso.”

“Bene.” With one hand holding Maya’s wrists above her head Carina leans down and kisses her. Some of the yellow paint transfers to Maya’s face and lips. “Mano.” She holds her red hand in front of Maya’s face.

“Mano.”

Carina leans towards Maya’s ear. “The fingers that I’m going to make you come with are dita.” She whispers in Maya’s ear before taking Maya’s earlobe between her lips.

“Di-ta.” Maya stutters out.

“You have been a very good student.” Carina’s lips travel from Maya’s ear down to her neck. She stops to suck on her pulse point which has Maya absolutely squirming. Carina giggles as she licks over the spot. “That’s going to leave a mark.”

Maya groans. “Can you just fuck me already?”

“I think it’s impossibile to just fuck you.” Carina sits up and reaches for a tissue from the bedside table. “But-“ She wipes the excess paint off of her hands. Carina looks down then. Both of their chests and torsos and faces covered in paint. She smirks before getting off of the bed.

Maya sits up onto her elbows. “Where are you going?”

“Just here.” She slides her underwear down her legs.

“Oh.” Maya watches, enraptured. “Come here.” Maya reaches out for her as she sits up properly.

“Vieni qui. Remember?”

Maya nods. She remembers Carina whispering that a few days ago in her office. “Vieni qui.” She holds her hands out and Carina takes them as she kneels on the bed again.

“Bacami.” Carina mumbles and reaches up to take Maya’s face in her hands before crashing their lips together. Maya wraps her arms around Carina and pulls her close. The feeling off their breasts pressing together sends a shiver down Maya’s spine.

Carina gently pushes Maya back and has her laying on her back, head on the pillow again. She gives her one more sure kiss before Carina shifts her focus elsewhere. She straddles Maya’s right thigh as she hovers over the blonde. She looks into Maya’s eyes, asking the silent question. Maya nods.

Carina runs her left hand down Maya’s arm. When she gets to Maya’s wrist she flips her hand over and locks her hand in Maya’s. It was all fun and games earlier but this, now, feels different for Carina. She feels a real connection to Maya. Something that is more than just fun. More than just sex. More than just a quick hook up. She knows it might just be her Italian blood and her big emotions but to her it feels like whatever this is, whatever they have has the potential to be real.

She puts their connected hands up near Maya’s shoulder and leans onto her left side. The paint that is on them has mostly all dried by now. Some is on the sheets but not much really. Carina strokes her thumb over Maya’s chin before her hand slips down her front and finds wet warmth. She would be lying if she said she wasn’t turned on as well. But just feeling the wetness between Maya’s legs on her fingers only make Carina that much more wet herself. She flicks her thumb over Maya’s clit and receives a jolt through Maya in return.

“I’m so sensitive.” Maya moans.

Carina knows, that was the whole point of the foreplay with the paint. She presses a kiss to Maya’s shoulder. “I’ll be gentle.” She whispers.

Maya’s eyes widen. She doesn’t think anyone has ever been ‘gentle’ with her. She doesn’t dare say anything though. She needs release and saying something will most definitely stop that from happening.

Carina pushes herself up onto her left elbow to adjust her angle. She slips one finger inside Maya and waits until Maya adjusts to it.

Maya has to close her eyes. Everything feels like it’s too much.

“You okay?”

All Maya can do is nod her head.

Carina slips in a second finger and the moan it pulls from Maya is glorious. She smirks.

Maya bends her right leg at the knee, bringing it up, allowing more room, better access but in turn her thigh pushing up into Carina where she straddles that leg.

It gets a hiss out of the Italian. She wasn’t expecting that and definitely wasn’t ready for it. Maya chuckles a little at the fact that Carina is just as turned on, wet, and sensitive.

Carina starts a slow rhythm with her fingers. Maya tilts her head to the side as the pleasure builds. She pops her eyes open and looks at Carina. The Italian was already looking at her, so their eyes meet immediately. She wants Carina to feel good too. “Ride me.”

“What?”

“Ride my leg.” Maya says a little louder.

Carina nods and settles her weight against Maya’s thigh. It’s a little awkward to do both at once so Carina focuses on Maya first. A steady rhythm until her hand that is in Maya’s is being crushed. “Let go, bella.” She whispers and that’s all it takes.

Maya is arching her back, moaning out Carina’s name in between desperate gasps of air. She frees her hand from Carina’s so she can put her hands on Carina’s hips. Partially because she needs to hold onto Carina with both hands but also, she wants Carina to follow her over the edge.

Carina gets the hint that Maya is giving her and grinds herself against Maya’s thigh. “Touch me, Maya.” Carina moans.

Maya moves her hand. She finds Carina’s clit circling it with her index finger a few times before Carina throws her head back in a long moan. “Merda.” Carina lurches forward, hunching over, before collapsing on top of Maya.

“That good, huh?” Maya rubs Carina’s back.

“Dio mio, si.”

Maya laughs. “Did I break you? Have you reverted back to only Italian?” Maya gets a string of Italian sentences in reply. She presses a kiss to Carina’s forehead.

Carina wraps her right arm and leg over Maya’s body. This right here is what she was talking about. Those big Italian feelings that make her think that what is going on here is something special.

After she catches her breath, Carina starts laughing.

“What?” Maya asks.

“You look ridiculous.” She rubs her thumb across the blue paint that is under Maya’s left eye.

Maya smiles. “It’s your fault.”

“It is.” Carina licks her lips and steal a lazy kiss from Maya.

“Maybe I should shower.”

Carina stops her. “No. Wait. I need evidence.”

“Evidence?” Maya squeaks. “Are you going to report me to the police for something? If anything, I should report you for making an absolute mess of this bed.”

“You love it, though.” Carina reaches for her phone. She sits up and straddles Maya’s hips. She sucks in a quick breath as her center presses against Maya’s pelvis. “Not evidence then. Proof that this happened. Smile.”

Maya’s brain is stuck on the part where she loves it. Because Maya does. She has absolutely loved what they’ve done this afternoon.

“Maya?” Carina takes a few photos of Maya with her phone.

Maya comes back to earth. “Uh, you better not show those to anyone.”

“I won’t.”

“I’m serious.” Maya frowns. “This.” She twirls her hand around in a circle. “Isn’t for anyone else to see.”

“I know, bella.” Carina leans down and kisses the frown off of Maya’s face. She flops down onto the mattress at Maya’s side and holds the phone out in front of them, switching the camera around. “Now smile.” She instructs. Maya pouts. Carina takes a few photos. “Come on.” She leans over and presses a kiss to Maya’s cheek. That gets her to smile, and Carina snaps the photo like that. “Okay. Now we can shower.”

“We?” Maya raises an eyebrow.

“Si.” Carina gets out of bed and grabs Maya by the hand, pulling her up and towards the bathroom. “I made you all dirty. Now I’m going to make you all clean.”

She doesn’t know if it’s the words themselves or the way Carina says them in her Italian accent but Maya moans. “You’re not fair.”

Carina laughs and pulls Maya into the bathroom. “I know.” She closes the bathroom door.

Maya swings Carina around and presses her against the door, nipping at her shoulder. “Stay here tonight.” She doesn’t dare look up. Too afraid to see Carina’s reaction to the request.

“Maya.” Carina wraps her hands around Maya’s face and tries to get her to raise her head.

“I know.” Maya sighs. “You have to go. It was stupid. Can you forget I said anything?” She takes a step back, still not able to look up. She steps out of Carina’s reach. “I’ve ruined this. Made it awkward. Sorry.” She turns away from Carina and tries to keep her breathing normal though Maya can feel it turning erratic. She doesn’t need to have another breakdown right now. One in a day is bad enough. One in front of Carina was bad enough. But two? That would be a cherry on top of the cake that is this weird, wonderful day.

Carina takes a step and then two until she is right up behind Maya. She rests her chin on her shoulder and wraps her arms around her from behind. “I was just surprised.” She whispers and presses a kiss to Maya’s shoulder. “I’ll stay but I have to leave super early in the morning so I can get ready for work.”

Maya can’t help the smile that pulls at the corners of her lips. “That’s fine. I’m up at like 5:30 anyway so I can go for a run.”

“Even on your day off?”

“Yes.” Maya nods and spins around in Carina’s arms. She looks up into those warm brown eyes. “I’ve been told before that runners are crazy. And that’s probably true. So, you can call me crazy if you want.”

“I’ll just call you Maya. Or bella. Or maybe Captain Bishop.”

“I like that last one.” Maya smirks. Nobody else likes that Maya is captain or believes she can do the job. But Carina does. It feels good to have at least someone in her corner.

Carina rolls her eyes playfully. “Okay, then.” She smacks Maya on the ass. “Turn on the shower, Captain.”

Chapter Text

A few days pass and Maya is busy with work, but she makes it a point to stay in contact with Carina. Little texts asking about her day or sending funny memes. Maya has found that the Italian doesn’t exactly have the same sense of humor as she does, but that’s okay. She has also found that Carina will laugh at just about any dumb thing that comes out of Maya’s mouth, though, joke or not. And she’s starting to think that she has a new favorite sound and that it’s the sound of Carina laughing. Actually, she has two favorite sounds. The sound of Carina’s laugh and the sound of the Italian words that Carina speaks to her that she has no idea what they mean. Carina could be saying the grossest, most disgusting things in Italian and Maya would still think it’s the loveliest sounding thing in the world.

Maya surprises herself when she invites Carina over for dinner. Dinner was great but one thing led to another and they found themselves in Maya’s bed.

“So, as I was saying before we got distracted.” Maya smirks.

“Such a good distraction.” Carina winks.

“I don’t know what to do. I feel like I don’t deserve the job. It should be Andy’s. It’s just so fucked up. It was just some guys basically deciding the lives of two female firefighters.”

“And Jack.” Carina adds. Can’t forget Jack was in the running for Captain too.

“And Jack. Not caring what the consequences were.” Maya groans and gets more comfortable in her bed, not that she wasn’t comfortable already.

“Sexist.”

“Yes, correct. It’s just it’s all so shitty. None of this had to happen. Andy and I could still be friends. I mean, I still think of her as my best friend, but that relationship is strained and damaged now.”

And there’s that foreign tongue again. Maya just smiles and watches Carina as she speaks. “I don’t understand a word of this. But somehow it’s working.” It’s soothing to hear.

Carina translates. “Go shine your light, bella. Tell your truth. Dammi un bacio.”

Maya has heard one of those words before. “Is that kiss me?”

“Yeah.”

Maya pushes herself up and Carina meets her halfway for a brief kiss.

“We always talk about my problems. What about you?” Maya is curious.

Carina gasps. “I don’t have any problems.”

“So, you’re just perfect? Your life is perfect?”

“Si.” Carina grins widely and nods.

Maya reaches out and finds Carina’s hand. “Come on. I feel like I’m always bitching and complaining, and you don’t have anything to say about anything.”

“Nope.”

Maya wraps a hand around Carina’s waist next. “I don’t believe you. You don’t have any co-workers that drive you nuts? Or complaints about patients? Or friends who irritate you sometimes?” She pulls Carina down on top of her. It gets a little squeal out of the Italian. “Who are your friends? Other doctors from the hospital? I know you know Ben. What do you guys talk about? Is there some secret doctor code that you’re not allowed to break?”

“Who are your friends? Other than Andy.” Carina raises an eyebrow.

“Well, Andy. Vic. Travis by association to Vic. Travis and Vic are attached at the hip most of the time. I don’t know if I can say Jack is my friend.” Maya looks away from Carina.

“Why?”

“I mean, I guess we could be friends. I don’t know. It’s tricky to be friends with someone after you’ve slept with them and now you don’t anymore.” She chances a glance at Carina. “And you work together.”

“Oh.” Carina pushes herself up into a sitting position. “Jack is your ex.”

“Jack is my ex.”

“Have you slept with anyone else at the fire station?” Carina quirks an eyebrow.

Maya laughs. “Not anyone from my crew but-“

“People from other stations.” Carina finishes for Maya.

“Yeah.”

“Don’t you know you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure.”

“I do know that. And now I have you to save me from making that mistake again.” Maya reveals. She means it as more of a joke than anything.

Carina hums thoughtfully. She’s not sure if she likes that she knows about Maya and Jack now. If there was a world where she didn’t know they were a thing than Carina would happily live in that world. But now she knows and that changes everything. “So, you work with your ex?”

“I’m his boss. Is that going to be a problem?” Maya laughs awkwardly. “I actually dropped him when I got in the running to become captain.”

“Dio mio.” Carina rolls her eyes.

“Listen, I wasn’t like in love with him or anything. It’s fine.” Maya tries to downplay it. She thinks maybe she shouldn’t have even brought Jack up in the first place.

“Is it?” Carina wonders.

“Well, it wasn’t at first. He was pissed. But I didn’t care. I wanted to be captain, and this was my first shot at it, so I took it. My dad always trained me to go after things. To have goals and to do anything you need to until you reach that goal. So that’s what I did. Eyes forward at all times. The only thing that matters is the finish line.” She repeats her father’s mantra.

Carina frowns.

“What?” Maya asks of the frown.

Carina thinks about it. If it’s eyes forward at all times, then what does that say about the present. “It’s good to have goals Maya but-“

“But nothing. Think of a goal. Achieve it. Move on the next one.” Maya doesn’t see it any other way.

“Yes but-“

“What?” Maya is starting to get irritated with this conversation and Carina questioning her father’s mantra.

Carina sighs. “It sounds like you are living in the future. What about the present?”

“What about it?”

“Do you want to be captain or not? It almost sounds like you are ready to move on to the next thing.” Carina challenges. Just because it’s not going the greatest with Maya and her new captaincy doesn’t mean she should just quit and move on to the next thing. At least, that’s how Carina sees it.

Maya thinks. She really thinks about what Carina is saying. And she doesn’t know if she’d think about it if anyone else posed the question. But here Carina is challenging her, and she finds she likes it. She was irritated but maybe, just maybe, there’s more than one way to look at things. “I want to be captain.”

“But?”

“But it was like you were saying the other day. I need to earn it. I don’t have respect because of the situation in which I was made captain. And part of me just wants to move past that. Go on to the next thing. Something that I’ve gained and earned myself.”

“So, what are you going to do?”

Maya sighs and flops on the bed dramatically. “I don’t know.”

“Remember what I said.” Carina runs her fingertips up and down Maya’s arm, sending a shiver through Maya’s body.

“You want to do nice things for me.” Maya smirks. She knows that’s not what Carina is referring to.

The smile that she gets from Carina is well worth the stupid little joke. “That I do, bella. But, no, today.”

“Tell my truth.” Maya mumbles.

Carina nods. “Enough about this. What were we doing before?” She leans in to kiss Maya.

But Maya pulls back, avoiding the kiss. “Wait.”

Carina groans. “What?”

“I see what you’re doing.”

“Oh?” Carina raises an eyebrow.

“Yeah. You’re deflecting. I asked about you and your friends and stuff, but you turned it back on me. What are you not telling me, Dr. DeLuca?”

Carina hums. “Nothing. I just-“

“Oh, come on.” Maya slides her hands up Carina’s sides. “All we do is talk about me and my crap. You can’t be as perfect as you seem.”

“I’m not perfect.”

“You seem pretty perfect.” Maya challenges.

“Well, I’m not.”

“Do tell.”

Carina shakes her head. “One time a stole a lipstick from the drugstore.”

This surprises Maya. “Recently?”

“No. When I was a kid. I was an excellent thief.”

“So, you stole more than just a lipstick?” Maya grins, though she doesn’t condone theft.

Carina shrugs. “A few things. Over time.”

“What were you like as a kid?” Maya finds herself trying to imagine a young Carina.

“All lanky limbs and long hair. I would spend most of my summer out of doors.”

Maya chuckles at Carina’s words. “So, gorgeously tan?”

“Si.” Carina grins, cute as ever. “But I was a kid. So just a tan skinny kid.”

“Why did you want to become a doctor?” Now Maya wants to know more about young Carina.

“Because my papa was a doctor. He was my idol when I was a kid. He was so powerful and so cool. Or at least I thought.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just that when you are a kid you see things and think things that are different than what they are. Like how kids are, you know. You don’t know the full weight of the world yet and everything is just great and wonderful and magical. Life hasn’t beat you up or beat you down yet.”

Maya nods in agreement. Carina leans in again for a kiss and Maya can’t resist any longer even though Carina still dodged her questions about her personal life.


The next day, Maya goes into the station with a specific thought on her mind. She’s been thinking it over and over and she has taken what Carina has said into consideration as well. The words repeat in her head as she marches to Sullivan’s office.

‘Shine your light. Tell your truth.’

She has requested to speak with him and Andy. She tells them he made a mistake and gave her a job she didn’t earn. And that she believes that Andy should get the job of captain.

Of course, on one of their calls that day Chief Dixon has to show up and try to undermine Maya. There’s added pressure on her now that Dixon’s son is working on her crew. It’s not an ideal situation but there’s nothing Maya can do about it. She will treat Dixon Jr. just like any other person on her crew. She’s not going to baby him or keep him on the sideline just because he is Dixon’s kid. Maya does wonder if Emmett is cut out to be a firefighter though.

The shift is going well. Maya feels like if this is her last shift as captain then she’s glad that it’s this one and not some horrible day that she will remember forever. No, today was good.

That is, until Sullivan comes in and says that Rigo died.

Everything in Maya deflates. So much for a good shift.

He was supposed to go home today. He was getting better. How can this be?

Maya doesn’t feel anything. Well, maybe she feels dread. But that’s about it. She goes home after her shift and crawls into bed. There’s a heaviness in her chest that she can’t shake. It feels like there’s a brick sitting there and nothing she does can move it.

She knows firefighters die sometimes. It’s a part of the job. She knows as captain she is responsible for the whole team, no matter who they are to her. She knows that as long as she’s captain there is a possibility that she’ll lose more. But this is the first one under her command and it’s hard and she doesn’t know how to deal with it.

She texts Carina. She would have done it as soon as she found out about Rigo; but she knows she wouldn’t have been able to hold back her emotions long enough when talking to Carina about it to finish her shift with a clear head.

Maya finds herself thinking more and more about Carina these days. She isn’t sure what they really are but she’s okay with that for now. Maya likes that they can talk about things, work, struggles. Apart from Andy and Vic, Maya doesn’t really talk to anyone else about her feelings. But now there’s Carina. And Maya has found that she is an excellent listener and sounding board. Carina will say when Maya is in the wrong or she’ll agree with Maya on something, and it doesn’t have to be more than that.

Rigo died.

That’s it. That’s the message. That’s not what Maya wanted to send. She wanted a distraction. She wanted to ask Carina about her day and get lost in whatever it was that was going on in Carina’s world at the moment to forget about her own hell of a world.

But she already hit send. Maya rolls her eyes at herself.

Instead of getting a message in reply, Maya’s phone starts ringing with a video call.

As soon as Carina’s face appears. “Oh, bella.” Carina coos. “What can I do?”

Maya rolls her eyes. This isn’t what she wanted. She doesn’t want pity or sympathy or for Carina to have to deal with her problems. “I don’t know. I just feel crumby.”

“That’s normal.”

“Gee thanks.”

Carina chuckles lightly. “You just lost someone. It’s normal to feel crumby.

“It’s like there’s a brick right here.” Maya puts her hand over the center of her collarbone, just below her throat. “It’s heavy, and it feels like I can’t breathe, and it won’t go away.”

“Where are you?”

Instead of answering using words, Maya swings the phone around to give Carina a view of her bed and bedroom. She pops back into the view. “Your new favorite place.” It’s a joke. It’s supposed to be a joke.

Carina isn’t in a joking mood though. Maya really isn’t either, but that is her go to if things are shitty. Try to make a joke to lighten the mood. “I’m still at work. I’ll come to you when I’m done.”

Maya sighs. “You don’t have to. I just wanted to let you know what was going on, what happened.” Now that Carina says that Maya feels like she is making a bigger deal out of this than she should be.

“And I appreciated that, I do, but Maya you don’t have to do everything by yourself. It’s okay to need friends. To need people.”

Maya doesn’t say anything to that. She doesn’t want to just be Carina’s friend. She knows that now. Maya still can’t put a name or label on what they have, but there’s no way they can be just friends. She knows that would never be enough.

“Andy talked to me today. Like in more than a work capacity. Speaking of friends.” Maya changes the subject.

“How did it go with everything?” Carina tilts her head to the side, with a soft smile, happy that Andy and Maya are making progress, however little it may be.

Maya shrugs. “We had a call, and it went really well, and I felt really good about it and if it was my last call, last shift as captain, then I was okay with that. But then Andy said I can’t quit. That I need to be captain. That if I quit it is quitting on all the female firefighters. It is quitting on all the female captains and future female captains. Basically, I need to be captain for everyone else. But what about me?”

“I think it’s important to remember that it’s Andy that is saying this. She’s not saying she wants to be captain or that she thinks it should be her job. That says a lot.” Carina puts in her two cents.

“I know it does.” Maya sighs.

There’s a knock on Carina’s office door. “Maya, I’ve got to go, but I’ll see you as soon as I’m done with work.”

“You don’t have to. I feel better already.” And she does. Maya feels just a little lighter now that she got to talk to Carina. “Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me but you are very welcome.” Carina grins with a little wink.


Carina sighs as she gets done with work. Her shift went long and now it’s dark outside and she hasn’t had anything to eat since this morning. The hangry is starting to take over. So that’s the first thing she thinks about.

The second is Maya. She shakes her head lightly. Maya has so much on her plate, and it just doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the way life is sometimes. She’s had a good time getting to know Maya other than just in bed, though, that’s great too. They seem to get along easily. Which is a relief because she really likes Maya. And now that she knows a little more about the blonde and everything that’s going on in her life with the captain stuff and the issues at the fire station, Carina feels for her. She feels things that she hasn’t felt in a long time. She feels like she needs to be there for Maya. Why? She isn’t sure. They just met not that long ago but she’s felt that from the beginning maybe. She is drawn to Maya in an inexplicable way. And not just drawn to her for one reason. It’s more like everything in her body yearns to be with her. It’s the craziest feeling and it gives Carina such a rush. Even when she’s just talking to Maya on the phone it feels like there is just this simple but honest connection. It just feels inexplicable.

Plus, the blonde is adorable and sexy and physically strong and even though she knows Maya is trying to play it cool and keep things casual, Carina knows that there’s more going on than that with Maya. She knows this. If it were only casual between them Maya wouldn’t be calling her all the time and asking her to come over when one of her firefighters died. Okay, so maybe Carina invited herself over, but Maya didn’t protest too much about it.

So, when she knocks on the door with a bag of food in her hand, Carina can’t help but smile when Maya pulls the door open. Those beautiful ocean blues are a little unsettled today. It’s the first thing Carina notices.

“How are you?” She asks.

Maya shrugs in reply, she doesn’t want to say. “What’s that?” She nods at the bag in Carina’s hand.

“Oh, I stopped and picked up something to eat. I’m starving and I didn’t think it would be kind of me to make you deal with my hangry mood.”

Maya chuckles a little at that. A genuine smile displayed across her face for maybe the first time since being notified of Rigo’s death.

Carina sighs, thankful that she got the blonde to, at least, smile. “Have you eaten?”

Maya shakes her head. “I don’t have much of an appetite.”

“You should eat something, bella. Even if you aren’t hungry.” Carina holds the bag in front of Maya’s face. “I got some soup and a couple of sandwiches for us.”

Maya smiles softly. Here Carina is again taking care of her. It irritates Maya a little that Carina can do this. Normally, she wouldn’t let anyone try to take care of her. She would push them away or, at the very least, resist until they forced her to go along begrudgingly. This though, gosh, it feels like the best thing in the world. Just Carina wanting to be there for her and take care of her makes Maya feel better.

Maya takes a step forward and wraps her arms around Carina, laying her head on her shoulder.

“Maya?” Carina whispers. Maya hums. “Are you alright?”

“Thank you.” Maya says, barely audible.

There’s a rumble before Carina can say ‘you’re welcome’. She grimaces.

Maya lifts her head from Carina’s shoulder. “What was that?” She thinks she might know but gives Carina a questioning look.

“My stomach.”

Maya takes a step back and looks down at Carina’s stomach. “No, it can’t be. It was sooooo loud.” She looks up and grins at Carina.

Carina bites her lip. “I don’t know what to say. It was my stomach. I told you I was starving.”

Maya grins. It’s funny to her just how loud Carina’s stomach just rumbled. “Then let’s eat.”

“I thought you weren’t hungry.” Carina raises an eyebrow.

“No, but you are.” She tugs on Carina’s free hand, pulling her into the kitchen. “I’ll get some plates. And some spoons.” Maya rummages around in the draw and then pulls the cupboard open to get the plates. “Do we need bowls, or do you think we can just eat from the soup container?”

Carina watches Maya as she moves about the kitchen. It’s strange. It’s like Maya’s earlier sullen mood is completely gone. Well, maybe not completely gone, but it has changed. Like the whole death has been forgotten or pushed aside for now. Carina finds it a little strange but very intriguing.

“Whatever you want.” Carina mumbles.

“Okay. I wouldn’t normally do this but-“ Maya spins around with all the items in her hands. “-let’s eat in my room.”

“In bed?”

Maya pulls her lips to one side. “Only if you promise to not get any crumbs in the sheets.”

“And what if I do?” Carina raises a challenging eyebrow.

“Well, then I just make you change the sheets by yourself.”

Carina laughs as Maya leads the way to her room.

They eat and then lay down in bed.

“How’s your stomach?” Maya tries to hold back her laugh, but it seeps out.

Carina rolls her eyes. “It’s fine now. But it was hungry.”

“Oh, I heard.” Maya grins over at Carina. She can’t help but be amused.

“Lay down with me.” Carina requests.

Maya lays on the back, staring up at the ceiling for a few quite minutes. The feeling of Carina’s fingers stroking up and down her arm aren’t missed. But it feels like there is an elephant in the room and Maya doesn’t want to talk about it, but she wants Carina to know that she is grateful. “Thanks for coming over. You didn’t have to.”

“I know. But I wanted to.” Carina sighs.

“Tell me about your day.” Maya asks, moving so that she can lay her head in Carina’s lap. That brick has returned to her chest.

Carina sighs. She puts a hand on the top of Maya’s head. “Well, it was uneventful, but I can tell you about all the boring parts.”

“Please do.” Maya wants nothing more than to hear about and think about something else other than Rigo, and a death investigation, and how she is going to rally her team after his death.

Carina goes into every boring detail about her day. She runs her fingers through Maya’s hair as she speaks. Maya has her eyes closed but hums every now and then to let Carina know that she is listening.

Maya shifts a little when Carina switches from English to Italian. She doesn’t know the language and can only recognize a couple of words that sound similar to words in English, but it doesn’t matter. Carina could be speaking in any language, and it wouldn’t matter. It’s the sound of her voice that Maya craves. It’s the sound of her voice that is soothing. It’s the sound of her voice that brings Maya a sense of calm.

Carina tells Maya everything she said in English all over again in Italian. She knows it’s silly, but she isn’t sure what else to say or talk about. And she knows Maya doesn’t want to talk about Rigo.

“Do you want me to stay tonight?”

Maya sighs. “I’ll be fine.”

Carina clicks her tongue at Maya. “That wasn’t what I asked.”

Maya sits up, immediately regretting the decision at the loss of contact. But Maya isn’t clingy. She doesn’t need someone to hold her and touch her and caress her skin. She folds her arms over her chest, defiant.

Carina sighs. “Maya, it’s late.”

“I know.”

She tries again. “Do you want me to stay?”

Maya closes her eyes. She wants nothing more, but she thinks it makes her feel weak. And she already feels weak enough. There’s a hand on her shoulder. And then lips pressed next to the hand on her shoulder.

“I’ll go.” Carina whispers, she doesn’t feel personally offended that Maya doesn’t want her to stay. She knows the blonde is going through something. She moves to get out of bed but doesn’t make it to even the edge of the bed when an arm wraps around her waist and prevents her from moving farther.

“Don’t.”

Carina is pulled down onto her back and Maya’s arms wrap around her tightly, her face buried against Carina’s shoulder. “Don’t go.” Maya mumbles into her shirt as tears start to fall from her eyes.

“It’s okay.” Carina rubs her back. She holds Maya as she cries until the blonde falls asleep in her arms.

Chapter Text

To say the day has been difficult would be an understatement. Carina doesn’t thinking she’s gone through anything like this in a long time. Maybe ever. Even with her father. His mania always seemed productive. That is, until it wasn’t. But Carina never saw most of it. Some sure. Enough to know what was going on, definitely. He was at the hospital all the time. She was home or away studying. So this is different. Today is difficult.

To be working in the same hospital as Andrew was a blessing. Or so Carina thought. And it was until today when an intern came running into one of her patient exams in a panic telling her that she was needed and to hurry.

Carina thought at first that it was just one of her patients that had an emergency or had gone into unexpected labor but then she realized that the intern wasn’t one from her department.

Carina ran after him. She spotted the slowly growing group of people and came to a halt near the rear of the pack. That’s when she heard Andrea’s raised voice. Him nearly shouting. She knew right away what was happening.

This was it. The moment she had been waiting for. The other shoe had dropped.

She had pushed to the front of the crowd and the tears and sadness hit her as she begged Andrea to stop.

Carina had hid in her office for most of the rest of the day, only coming out when she was required to. She knows Andrea needs professional help. She also knows that he will refuse if she suggests something. Carina thinks about talking to Meredith about it, but she knows that Andrea isn’t going to listen to her either. He won’t listen to reason or anyone right now. And that’s the first major hurdle in all this. She spends the rest of the day thinking about what to do.

She doesn’t know who to turn to either. She could talk to Amelia about it. She knows the neurosurgeon would have some suggests and could even maybe help with a referral. They are friends but Carina doesn’t know if she should be talking to her friends about Andrea’s condition. If he found out that she was telling people that she thought he had a mental illness, Andrea would distance himself from her further.

She thinks about Maya. Even though Maya usually resists at first, Carina can always get her talking about what’s going on, what’s wrong, her problems. They mostly have to do with work and the station so maybe that’s why. She doesn’t know if Maya would talk about something that’s more personal. She also doesn’t want to talk to Maya about Andrea. Mostly for personal reasons. And because Andrea doesn’t even know who Maya is. Actually, now that Carina thinks about it, she wonders he if does know who she is. He’s worked in coordination with the fire department before. When he lost a kid in the hospital and went out with the fire department to help search. She vaguely remembers that. She’ll have to ask Maya about it.

Carina could just call her, and they could talk like normal, but Carina doesn’t know if she could act normal. She doesn’t want to put all of her problems on Maya. She doesn’t want to put more on her when Maya is dealing with her own stuff at the moment. Carina also doesn’t know if Maya would be there for her if she would open up about what is happening with Andrea. That’s the biggest hurdle. Carina doesn’t want to bring all of this to light for it to just be pushed aside or ignored by Maya. Or worse, for Maya to put distance between them or end things because of it. She thinks that would hurt worse than not bringing it up in the first place. She doesn’t want to intentionally keep secrets, but she also doesn’t know what’s going to happen with Andrea. Or what’s going to happen with Maya for that matter.

She showers the day off of her and gets on her pajamas and sits in bed with a hot cup of tea. Her phone sits on the bed next to her, almost taunting her. When her cup of tea is nearly gone, Carina finally gives in.

“Hey. I was just about to go to bed. I’m glad you called when you did, or I would’ve missed it.” Maya says in lieu of greeting.

“An early shift tomorrow?” Carina tries to remain calm, have evened breathing when she speaks.

“Yeah.”

“Okay. I just wanted- I’m not sure what I wanted.” Carina stumbles for something to say, her voice wavering and she knows it. She hopes Maya doesn’t notice.

Maya hums on the other end of the call, distracted with her nighttime routine. “I’m going to put you on speaker so I can wash my face and brush my teeth. I’m not ignoring you, or trying to be rude, I just want to get this done so I can get in bed.”

“I’m in bed.” She says flatly.

There’s silence from Maya for a moment as she thinks about Carina in bed. As she thinks about Carina potentially naked in bed. “What are you wearing?”

There’s a faint laugh. “Not like that.”

Maya sighs. “Sorry.” She starts the tap to wash her face.

“I have a cup of tea. It’s nearly empty. I’m just sitting here trying to relax.” Carina says and waits for a reply from Maya.

“Trying to relax? Did you have a tough day? I thought delivering babies made you happy.” Maya smiles at the image in her head. One of Carina, just having delivered a baby as she holds it in her hands and shows the parents, maybe announcing that it’s a healthy baby before a nurse takes it from her to clean it off and get its statistics.

“It does. I had an – interesting day.”

“Oh?” Maya is starting to pick up that this isn’t like their usual conversations. “Did something bad happen? Did you lose a patient?”

“No, nothing like that.” Carina sighs.

Maya notices that Carina isn’t her usual light, chipper self. She doesn’t want to be too nosy and straight out ask but the longer the conversation goes on the more it bothers Maya.

“Hey, before we go any further-”

“What?” Carina really isn’t in the mood. “You don’t want to go any further with me?”

“What?” Maya furrows her brow. “No. What? I just- is something up? Like you don’t seem like yourself today or like the you that I’ve come to know over the last few weeks. It’s just something I noticed while we were talking. And I just thought maybe I should say something. Not that I think I should say anything. It’s just that it seems like something is bothering you. Is something bothering you? Is it something I did? Or said? I just want-“ to make sure you’re okay. Maya doesn’t voice that last part though. She speaks fast and has to take a big breath after all her words come out.

Carina grins. “You’re cute when you ramble.”

Maya frowns. “You’re avoiding my question.”

“Which one?” Carina tries to play it off.

Maya sighs in frustration. “Come on.”

Carina sighs too.

“I think my brother is sick.”

There’s a moment of silence.

“Andrew?”

Carina chuckles. “He’s the only brother I’ve got.”

Maya knows this. She was just taken by surprise. Carina told her about Andrew the night they met. “A cold? The flu? I heard that’s going around. He’s a big boy, isn’t he? He can take care of himself. Though men are incredible babies when they are sick. Insufferable. Why are you so worried about that?” Something isn’t adding up and Maya knows it.

“Remember how I said I wanted to be around to keep an eye on Andrea. When we first met.”

Maya grins thinking about the night they met. “Yeah.”

“Well, this is why. He’s sick now. I think I know what it is cuz I saw the same thing with my father. It’s mental illness, Maya.”

“Oh.” All the air deflates from Maya’s lungs.

“And something happened today at the hospital that made me almost sure that he really is sick. During the snowstorm he went out to get a liver for a patient and he had to walk, and it was snowing, and cold, and he didn’t wear gloves and his hands got frostbite. That was the first sign. Well, maybe not the first, but that was an obvious first sign but this- this is so much more than that. He’s manic.”

“Oh.” Maya says again. She’s not really sure what to say. What do you saying when someone says something like their brother might have a mental illness?

“I just don’t know what to do. He won’t listen to me. Or really have anything to do with me. Meredith said he quit his job, but she convinced him to just take a suspension. I don’t really know where he is. He isn’t in contact with anyone right now, so I’m worried about him. He’s irrational. It’s not good.” Carina sighs, helplessly. She feels a little better telling Maya all this. She knows her brother wouldn’t like that she did, though. So she’s conflicted about doing so.

She waits for Maya to say something. When she doesn’t say anything Carina wonders if she did make the wrong decision in telling the blonde. This is what she was afraid of. She worries that Maya thinks poorer of her or that maybe she doesn’t like the sound of Carina having mental illness in her family. Whatever it is, Carina feels uneasy with the silence.

“Maya?”

“Yeah.”

“Say something. Did I totally just freak you out?” Carina worries her bottom lip between her teeth.

“No. I just-“

“I’m sorry. It’s a lot. Forget I brought it up. We can talk about something else. How was your day?” Carina panics, she feels like she is losing Andrea and maybe now too losing Maya, even though they haven’t know each other for very long Carina feels like they’ve developed a good bond. This might just break that bond. She feels her eyes water.

“No. I won’t forget.” Maya fiddles with the hem of her shirt. “I just didn’t know what to say. That’s all.” This is very foreign to Maya. “I mean- we hardly know each other.” She hears Carina take a shocked breath. “I don’t mean that as a bad thing.” She tries to explain. “I just mean- this is so new. What we have. I just- I’m surprised you told me something so personal. I’m surprised you-“

“Trust you.” Carina finishes.

“Yeah.” Maya sighs. “I’m sorry.”

Carina chuckles. “Maya, I trust you. To be truthful, I was worried that you were going to judge me or Andrea or have second thoughts about us because of what I said but I never had a problem with trusting you enough to tell you.”

“Oh, well, it doesn’t change my opinion of you. Or Andrew, for that matter. If he’s sick like you think, then he’s sick. And I’m sorry you are dealing with this. It must be difficult.” Maya lets out a long breath as everything starts to make a little more sense.

“It is.” Carina sighs. She feels a little lighter now that this conversation with Maya has gone well.

“I wish I could see you right now.” Maya whispers.

Carina smiles at that. “I can video call you.”

“No, I mean, I wish I could see you. You know what, screw it. I’m coming over.” She feels it in her skin, in her bones. She knows that the other day after Rigo’s death when Carina came over that she felt so much better just seeing her. Maya needs to do that for Carina. To return the favor, so to speak.

“Right now. No, Maya. You were just going to go to bed. You need to sleep.” Carina doesn’t want Maya going out of her way to do anything at this hour of the day.

“I can sleep there. No?”

“You’ve never even been to my place.” Carina nearly whines.

“Well, there’s a first time for everything. Why not now?” Maya finds her sneakers and the things she needs for work in the morning and shoves them into her backpack. “Text me your address.”

“Maya.”

“I’m serious. I’m hanging up now. If I don’t get a text message in the next minute, I will hunt you down Carina DeLuca. I’m the fire captain I have access to names and addresses of everyone in the city.”

Carina realizes the Maya is in fact serious. “Okay.” She says in a tiny voice. A teeny tiny smile on her lips at the thought of Maya coming over. Not just coming over but going out of her way, at the end of a day, when she should be in bed, and it’s late, to come over to make sure she is okay. It’s a feeling that Carina is not accustomed to but one that she is willing to accept.

“Okay, bye.” Maya hangs up the call. She gets her keys and is out the door. A text come in on her phone. My hits the address and it comes up on the map. “Perfect.”

It’s only ten minutes before Maya is standing at the door. She knocks lightly. She doesn’t have to wait long until the door is opening.

Carina takes a step back into her apartment to let Maya enter before closing the door.

Maya drops her backpack on the floor. “How are you doing?” She slips her arms around Carina’s waist.

Carina sighs and she puts her arms around Maya’s shoulder. “Better now that you are here.” She tells Maya honestly.

“Good.” Maya pulls Carina tight to her and rubs her hands up and down her back. “You’ll figure something out. You are super smart. I’m sure that everything will work out.” Maya feels Carina relax fully against her, some of her body weight resting on Maya. She does her part in standing tall and holding Carina upright.

They stay like that for a few minutes. But then Carina takes a step back. With a small smile, she runs her hands down Maya’s arms and finds her hands, interlocking their fingers together. “Let’s go to bed.” She whispers.

Maya smiles and nods.


It’s the crew’s first day back on the job since Rigo died. They’ve had the last two whole days off. Maya spent much of the first day trying to figure out what to do to help her crew deal with his death. Once she figured that out, she made it a point to spend the rest of the day outside, getting fresh air and exercise.

The night before had helped when Carina came over after her shift. But being alone again, Maya had felt that weight of his death.

And then yesterday, she had felt a little better about everything. That was until she talked to Carina last night and found out about Andrew.

The alarm on her phone had gone off ten minutes ago and Maya silently slipped off into the bathroom to get ready for her day. She comes back into the bedroom, dressed and ready for work. Maya stares at the bed. Her stomach twists with pain, guilt, and anxiety as she watches Carina. She looks around the room briefly. She’s never been here before last night, in Carina’s apartment. And last night she didn’t put any effort into looking around and seeing what kind of things Carina has decorated her space with. There’s not much really. A painting of a landscape on one wall. A bust of a woman in the corner which Maya smirks at. A straw hat sits on top of the dresser. The closet door is hanging open. It’s not messy but not as tidy as Maya keeps her place. A few items of clothing lay around. One hanging on the knob of the closet door, a pair of slacks on the arm of the small chair in another corner of the room.

But in the bed lays the most gorgeous woman Maya has ever seen. A woman that has opened her eyes to so many things in such a short period of time. A woman who has captivated her from day one. A woman who is dealing with something that Maya hopes she never has to deal with herself. A loved one with mental illness. She knows it can be taxing, exhausting. So that’s why she let’s Carina sleep. But she can’t just leave without saying goodbye.

Maya rounds the bed and kneels at the side. She runs her hand over Carina’s head, stroking her hair. “I have to go to work.” She whispers but doesn’t get any response.

She rubs her thumb across Carina’s cheek. “Hey.”

Carina’s eyes flutter open. “Are you leaving?” They had talked about Maya getting up early and going to work and agreed that Carina would sleep in and not get up to see her off. That was what Maya insisted upon.

“Yes, I have to go to work.” Maya whispers again.

Carina sighs. “-Kay.” Too sleepy to use the full word.

“Try to have a good day.” She presses a kiss to Carina’s forehead. “Call me if you need anything.” The words slip out of Maya’s mouth before she can really think about them, but as she pauses, she knows she means them. “Anything at all.”

Carina just nods. “Have a good day, Captain.” She mumbles.

Maya smiles and chuckles at that. “I’ll try too. I have to go deal with Rigo’s death.”

Carina wakes up a little more at that. With everything going on with Andrea yesterday she forgot about that. She pushes herself up onto her elbows. “I’m sorry. I forgot.”

“It’s okay.” Maya sighs. “You’ve got stuff going on too.”

Carina lays back down and nods into the pillow. “When will I see you again?” She doesn’t mean to sound whiny and needy, but she knows she does.

Maya thinks about it. She has to work that next three days. “Come by the station at lunchtime.”

The Italian raises an eyebrow at that, surprised.

“Only if you want.” Maya backs off a little, not wanting to seem too forward.

Carina closes her eyes again, cuddling into the blankets and pillow. She smiles, content. “I’ll see you at lunchtime.”

Maya rolls her eyes and kisses Carina on the side of the head as she stands up. “I’m going to go.”

Carina just nods.

Maya takes a step back from the bed and takes a moment to look at the woman before her. Something about this moment feels profound. Like, Maya doesn’t want to go. She doesn’t want to go to work. And Maya puts work above all else so that means something. And it has nothing to do with the fact that she has to deal with her team and Rigo’s death. This is about more than that.

She shakes her head, snapping out of it, as she realizes that Carina has fallen back to sleep.

It’s time to go.


There’s a soft knock on Maya’s office door. She looks up and sees Carina standing on the other side of the door. She waves her in. Maya stands up, forgetting her paperwork for the moment. She rounds the desk and goes to lean back against the front edge of it as Carina approaches her.

“Hey.” Maya whispers.

Carina runs her finger over the collar of Maya’s shirt. “Ciao.” She smiles and then kisses Maya.

Maya hums into the kiss. “How about that station tour now?”

Carina hums. She takes a step back from Maya. “Can I go for a ride on your fire truck?” She husks, her voice smooth and sexy.

Maya’s knees buckle. She grabs onto the edge of the desk with her hands to hold herself upright. “Good lord.” She groans and closes her eyes.

Carina chuckles and bites her lip. She reaches forward and grabs Maya’s belt buckle.

It startles Maya and she jumps away from the desk. She swats Carina’s hand away.

“Well?” Carina asks. She’s waiting for an answer from Maya.

“No.” Maya grumbles. “I’m at work.”

Carina tilts her head to the side. “I know that.” She plays innocent like she didn’t just suggest having sex with Maya at work.

Maya just shakes her head. She can’t even believe Carina right now. And after everything that happened with Andrew yesterday and Rigo a few days ago. “Tour?”

Carina sighs, disappointed. “Okay.”

Maya takes a step and then another as she passes by Carina. Carina reaches out and catches Maya’s hand as she passes. Maya stops and looks down at their hand hold. She’ll allow it but only if they don’t run into anyone. Maya has to keep reminding herself that she is working, that she’s at work.

They leave the office and Maya explains what happens at the front desk. She wonders who is supposed to be stationed there right now and where they are and why they aren’t at the desk. She forgets the thought as Carina squeezes her hand, bring her out of her thoughts.

“Let’s go into the barn. I will show you the engine, ladder truck, and ambulance.” She glances over at Carina and narrows her eyes.

Carina just smirks her little devilish smirk.

They walk the short distance. “Now no touching. I just made them clean everything.”

“What am I going to do? Get my fingerprints on something?” Carina jokes.

Maya scowls. “Yes. Station 19 can’t look bad out on a call.”

Carina realizes that Maya is serious. She looks left and then right as the come up next to the engine. “So I can’t-“ She leans in to whisper in Maya’s ear. “-push you up against the side of the engine and kiss you until you are panting and moaning for more.”

Maya swallows thickly. “No.” She whispers.

Carina laughs. “Relax, Maya.” She notices how rigid Maya is when she has visited her at work. Carina isn’t sure if that’s because she is at her work or if it’s because Maya is trying so hard to be captain and is putting on this tough rigid exterior.

“I’m at work.” Maya sighs.

“I know.” Carina repeats the words from before.

Maya hears footsteps and pulls Carina around to the front of the engine to avoid whoever that is walking by behind the engine from seeing them.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were trying to keep me a secret.” Carina whispers.

Maya looks over her shoulder at Carina. She shakes her head.

Carina raises an eyebrow at her. She reaches around Maya from behind and tries to get her fingers on Maya’s belt buckle again.

Maya shakes her head, telling Carina no.

Carina doesn’t listen though. But, instead of trying to undo Maya’s belt she shifts her hand lower, pressing her fingers against Maya as she slides them down between her legs.

Maya groans and clamps her thighs tight together, pinching Carina’s hand there.

“Are you wet?” Carina whispers in her ear.

All Maya can do is nod.

Carina pulls her hand away and takes a step away from Maya. Maya puts a hand on the front of the engine to steady herself, leaving a sweaty palmprint there. “Fuck.” She mumbles under her breath both at Carina and her antics and at getting the engine ‘dirty’.

“You need to relax, Maya.” Carina says. “Loosen up a bit.”

Maya sighs. She knows that. There’s just so much going on right now and she feels like she has to be solid and strong for her team. They need her to be. “And I suppose you were trying to help with that.” She turns around, finally, to face Carina.

Carina grins and nods. “Si.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “Well, all you did was work me up more. So, thanks.”

Carina reaches out and takes Maya’s face in her hands. “Oh, bella, mi dispiace.”

Maya tilts her head to the side.

“I’m sorry.”

Maya sighs. “Don’t. Don’t be. God, you are amazing and I’m being kind of an ass. It’s just that there’s a lot going on today.” There’s something that she appreciates about Carina trying to get her to relax but there also something in Maya that doesn’t want to go there with Carina while she’s a work.

“Listen.” She sighs. What she’s about to say is going to be a lot. “I don’t want you to think I’m keeping you a secret from the crew or sneaking around behind their backs when you are here or something. I know that’s what you are thinking but that’s not it.” Maya sighs. “And I appreciate you seeing that I’m tense and trying to get me to relax but I can’t have sex with you here. At the station. At work.” Maya closes her eyes and pauses for a minute. “As much as I would like to.” She looks down at the floor. “I’m the captain now. I can’t do that anymore. I have to be professional.”

“Anymore?”

That gets Maya to look up. She finds Carina’s questioning eyes looking at her. “I, uh, Jack and I snuck around behind everyone’s back, especially Andy, for a while.”

Carina furrows her brow.

“Jack is Andy’s ex too.”

Carina can’t help the laugh that burst out of her mouth. “Oh, dio mio.” She rubs a hand over her face.

“I know. I’m not proud of it. But that’s what happened. And so- and I-“ Maya sighs. “I don’t want to have sex with you here because if feel like that would taint what we have.”

“Maya.” Carina sighs her name. She reaches out for Maya and pulls her into a hug. She never would have imagined that when she met Maya at the bar that this is the Maya that she would see. This is the Maya that is under that hard, tough exterior. The Maya with feelings and emotions that go deeper than Carina thinks her own probably go. Maya with wants and needs that exceed just sex or a hook up. Maya that is reluctant to admit all of these things but eventually opens up about them to Carina. It’s such a gift in Carina’s eyes to be able to see and experience. Maya is such a gift and blessing to her.

Maya wraps her arms around Carina. “And because I’m captain.”

Carina chuckles at how serious Maya is about this. “Okay, bella. I get it.” She pulls back to look Maya in the eyes. “You could have just said something though.”

“Well, I just did.”

“I meant earlier.”

“Oh, well, I didn’t want to-“ Maya looks around before focusing on Carina again. “I didn’t want to bring Jack up again in regards to sex.”

Carina raises both of her eyebrows and gives Maya a tight lipped smile.

“Yeah. I know.” Maya shakes her head softly. “Let’s go back to my office. Have some lunch.”

“I didn’t bring anything with me.”

“No. And that’s good because I stopped at the deli on my way in this morning after I left your place and picked up a couple of sandwiches for us for lunch.”

“You did?”

“I did.” Maya rolls her eyes. “Since I told you to come down at lunchtime, I figured it would be inappropriate if I didn’t feed you while you were here.”

“You won’t let me ride your fire truck but you want to feed me?” Carina wiggles her eyebrows.

“Stop it.” Maya turns away from her. “Everything isn’t about sex or lead to sex.”

“But it could be.” Carina jokes.

“Stop.” Maya groans and starts to walk away from Carina.

Carina laughs happily as skips as she tries to catch up to Maya.

Maya gets the sandwiches out of the tiny fridge that she has in her bunk. “So, not to get too serious but how are you doing?” She is referring to Carina’s emotions about Andrew.

Carina shrugs as Maya comes back into the office. “I’m better than yesterday. I still don’t know what I’m going to do about mi fratello. But I slept surprisingly well.” Carina knows that’s because Maya was sleeping next to her. “And so, I feel better today. My head is clearer. Yesterday was such a mess. I still haven’t heard from Andrea, but I don’t expect to. As scary as that is.”

“Do you think he would do anything to harm himself?” Maya says. She knows it’s not an easy think to think about, but she feels like she has to ask. She has to know what they are dealing with here.

“No.” Carina shakes her head. Her body sags.

“Oh, come here.” Maya pulls her into a one armed hug. Sandwiches occupying her right hand. “I didn’t mean to upset you or put that thought in your head.”

“I know. It’s still hard to think about. I don’t think he would do anything intentionally. But I guess he is reckless and an accident or something could happen.” Carina worries her lips between her teeth.

Maya nods. “Let’s sit.”

Carina brings her chair around to the back side of Maya’s desk, so they are sitting next to each other. “Is this alright?”

Maya nods as she sets out their sandwiches on her desktop. “More than.” She takes Carina’s hand and gives it a quick squeeze before letting it go, so she can pick up her sandwich.

Carina lays her palm on Maya’s thigh as they eat. Silence envelops them as they focus on their food. A few looks are shared now and then but it’s comfortable.

Travis walks in on them sitting there eating. “Cap, I just wanted to-“ He stops when he sees the pair. “Oh, sorry.” He smirks. Travis isn’t sorry.

Maya stiffens at the interruption, at Travis seeing them together. But then Carina squeezes her thigh, and she relaxes. “What is it, Montgomery?”

“We’ve finished cleaning up the trucks and equipment. And everyone has had a chance to eat lunch.”

Maya nods. Briefly, Maya remembers the handprint she just left on the front of the engine. She’ll have to go wipe that off after Carina has left.

They had a call this morning and she made them clean and shine everything when they returned. Maya always feels better when she’s doing something, so she put them to work rather than sitting around and thinking about Rigo. She figures they need something to focus on, just like she does. “Thank you.”

Travis stands there for a moment.

“Is there something else?” Maya asks. He can leave now if he doesn’t have anything else to report.

Travis looks between the two of them. He smiles at Carina. “No, that was all.”

“Okay, thanks again.”

Travis nods and turns to leave. He wonders if he should keep this to himself or if he should tell someone else. The private part of him knows he shouldn’t say anything to anybody else though. But he finds it very interesting that he’s seen the same woman, Carina, in Maya’s office more than once in the last few weeks. He can’t keep the smile off of his face as he thinks about it.

Chapter Text

Her team doesn’t like that she’s brought Diane in to talk to them. She knew they wouldn’t, but Maya felt like she needed to do something, anything. This is what she came up with.

She goes to sit outside at a picnic table to do her work. She’s far enough away to give everyone their privacy but close enough if anyone needs her or if there is a call.

 

But she’s dreaded this part. And somehow Maya thought that maybe because she was captain, she didn’t have to talk with Diane about how she is dealing with Rigo’s death.

Maya is beating herself up over having put Jack and Rigo together that day. She tells Diane that she is a horrible person for only caring about how Rigo’s death reflects on her. Eyes forward is the rule that was drilled into her by her dad. She admits she thinks about dying and how it soothes her.

“When I’m anxious I think about dying. And then I can fall asleep.” Maya tells Diane. The sentence sticks in head though. She doesn’t know the last time she was anxious and thought about dying when she couldn’t fall asleep. Actually, she knows. It was sometime before she met Carina.

“Eyes forward all the time is exhausting. I’m exhausted.” Maya sighs.

Diane nods at Maya. “Who taught you eyes forward?”

“My father.”

“Have you considered the possibility that he was wrong?”

Maya stares at Diane, defiant. Her father couldn’t have been wrong. He taught her everything she knows about life. He taught her how to train and work hard. He taught her how to set a goal and achieve it. He taught her everything she had ever needed to know.

“Maya. Isn’t it possible with everything else you’ve accomplished that you could learn to let yourself rest, and sleep, and love, in this life instead of waiting for death to set you free?”

Maya just stares at her for a minute before picking up her papers and tapping them against the desktop. “You can go now.” She dismisses Diane.

“I’ll do that. But, Maya, just think about what I said.” Diane encourages.

Maya turns her back to Diane. “Thanks for coming in today to talk with my crew.”

“You’re welcome. Call me anytime.” She means that. If she can help the team with anything then she is willing to.

She waits until she hears the door close and knows that Diane is gone before turning around and flopping down in her desk chair feeling more exhausted now than she did before Diane came in here.

After shift, Maya goes home and sleep until her next shift. She doesn’t get up early and go for a run. She doesn’t shower. She doesn’t eat. Just sleep.

She wakes up feeling groggy even though she just slept for like 11 hours straight. Maya looks at her phone. There is a missed call from Carina. She ignores it and gets ready to go back to work.

Her mind tortures her thinking about what Diane said over and over as she gets ready to go to the station. She wishes she had gotten up early and gone for a run to help clear her mind. Though, Maya knows that part of her would still be thinking about it.

Her father can’t be wrong. Could he? His methods were productive. They worked. She won a gold medal. She became a firefighter. All because of her discipline and training. Because of the self-control she has. Because of a strict regime of diet and exercise. He couldn’t be wrong. Those are all good things.

She gets to the station and focuses on paperwork. Her stomach grumbles and she knows she should eat but Maya doesn’t have much of an appetite lately. She knows she should eat even though she isn’t hungry. She needs to keep her strength up. She needs to eat to avoid losing muscle mass. She needs to eat to keep a clear head. She knows how important it is to eat. Her father drilled that into her as well. He was just strict on what she could and couldn’t eat.

So, she doesn’t eat. Now that she thinks about it the last thing she ate was her sandwich with Carina. Maya thinks about looking at her phone but avoids that too. She thinks about calling her dad and asking him to have a training session with her to help her focus again. She’s lost her focus lately with everything that’s going on. It’s starting to bother her and get under her skin that she’s let it happen. She’s lost focus and discipline.

Maya works on paperwork until the have a call. When they come back, she finishes up her paperwork from the call and all their other calls. She runs out of paperwork. Maya looks around the room for something to do.

The gym. She changes out of her uniform and heads to the gym and hops on the treadmill. Maya pushes herself to set a new best time for a five mile run. She pushes and pushes but comes up short by fifteen seconds.

Maya gets off of the treadmill and grabs a towel angrily. She rubs it down her face before throwing it on the floor in frustration.

Dean comes in, ready to lift weights. He saw the towel being thrown down. “Everything alright, Captain?”

Maya clenches her jaw and glares over at him.

He raises his hands in innocence. “Okay. Sorry I asked. I’m just going to lift weights, if that’s alright.”

“It’s fine.” She grumbles and hops on the stationary bike. She starts pedaling and Maya focuses in on her ‘bike ride’. She sets a quick pace. Quicker than her usual biking pace but since she didn’t get her running personal record beat, she’s determined to set a new record pace on the bike.

The problem with that is that about halfway through her fifteen miles she starts to feel fatigued. Maya is used to fatigued. She can push through it and get a second wind. All athletes know how to do that. So, she pushes through it, but her pace has started to suffer. Maya goes to stand to bike standing up, getting a little extra push when she starts to feel lightheaded. That too Maya knows how to push through. Except that she can’t see anything all of a sudden. She blinks trying to clear her vision.

“Maya?” Dean questions, alarm in his voice.

That’s the last thing Maya hears.


When she wakes up Andy and Vic are hovering over her. There is a blood pressure cuff attached to her right arm and Travis is checking her pulse. She blinks her eyes, trying to focus. She recognizes that she is in the station gym but has no idea what happened. One minute she was riding the bike and now this.

“I’m fine.” Maya goes to sit up, but that lightheaded feeling comes back and she lays back down. “Okay, maybe not.” She feels nauseous but swallows that down.

“Maya, you passed out. You’re not fine.” Andy says with concern in her voice.

It’s nice to hear that Andy is concerned for her.

“You’re going to the hospital.” Vic says.

“Noooo.” Maya groans. “I just need to eat something. Maybe lay down for a while. I’ll be fine.”

“I don’t think so.” Dean says. “I was here. You hit your head on the wall.”

So that’s why her head hurts.

“You’re going to the hospital.” Andy says firmly. “We won’t hear anything else about it.” She tells Maya what’s going to happen.

Maya huffs and folds her arms over her chest. “Can you get this thing off of me?” She wiggles her arm with the blood pressure cuff.

Travis unwraps it from her arm and removes it.

“Who’s coming with me?”

“I will.” Andy volunteers.

“No.” Maya frowns. Even though her head hurts she’s not mentally out of it. “I need you to stay here. Be in charge.” Maya thinks about who she can take with her that won’t ask so many questions or judge her. “Travis.” She knows he’ll be the perfect options. “You’re coming with me.”

“Me?” Travis wonders in awe.

Everyone looks at Maya in bewilderment.

“Yes, let’s go.” Maya sits up again, slower this time. “Woah, okay.” Her head pounds. “I might need help.” She admits. Dean and Travis grabs Maya under the arms and hoist her to her feet. Another wave of nausea overcomes her but Maya closes her eyes, breathing in and out slowly, controlling it. “Okay.” She gives them permission to help her out to the truck. They get her in the passenger’s seat and Travis gets in the driver’s seat.

“Ready?”

Maya groans. “Yes.” This is going to be torture. “Go slow. Don’t hit any potholes. My head is killing me.”

Travis grips the steering wheel tightly, white knuckled. It’s silent as he drives and it’s driving him crazy. “Why’d you pick me?”

“Cuz you wouldn’t ask too many questions. So don’t ask too many questions.” Maya grits out. “Are we almost there?” She has her eyes closed because the ride isn’t helping with the nausea.

“Just a few more blocks.”

“Good.” Maya’s stomach churns.

Travis pulls up and parks the station truck outside the ambulance bay at the hospital. As soon as he comes to a stop the passenger’s side door flings open and Maya bends over, throwing up on the pavement.

Travis grimaces as he gets out of driver’s side. He goes around, avoiding the stomach bile on the ground. He notices that there’s nothing else in the contents. He’s a trained paramedic so he asks. “When was the last time you ate?”

Maya groans. “What did I say about asking questions? Just get me inside.” She slips her arm over Travis’ shoulders as she gets out of the truck, and he guides her into the hospital.

Travis sits Maya down in a chair and goes over to the front desk. “Hi, I’m Travis Montgomery.” He points at his name tag and smiles brightly. “I’m here with my Captain. She had a fall and needs to be looked at. Can we get her into a room?” He knows that Maya will get special treatment at the hospital because she’s a Seattle firefighter, not just a firefighter, but a captain.

“And maybe page Doctor Bailey.” He adds and looks back to Maya. She has her eyes closed and her head back. Travis knows Maya won’t admit that she’s in pain but just by looking at her as she tries to hold it in and embrace it, he knows she is.

“Okay.” The nurse is already on the phone. She makes a call quickly. “Come with me.”

Travis goes to get Maya and the follow the nurse to a room.

“Okay, just wait here. Someone will be with you in a little bit. Doctor Bailey is in surgery right now but has been notified that you are here.”

“You called Bailey?” Maya groans. Her stupid connections to this hospital are maybe more aggravation than she needs. But she knows if the hospital didn’t contact her, she knows Ben would have sent at least a text message to his wife by now.

Travis stands at the side of Maya’s bed as Maya lays down.

“Is there anyone else we should call?” The nurse asks.

Travis raises an eyebrow at that. He knows it’s not his place. “Maya?” He questions her though.

“What?” She grumbles at Travis.

“Do you want her to call Carina?”

Maya closes her eyes as she settles into the bed. “If you must.”

“Call Carina DeLuca.” Travis tells the nurse.

The nurse raises an eyebrow at that. “I thought she had a fall. Is she pregnant?”

Maya laughs at that. It makes her headaches ten times worse but God it’s hilarious.

Travis smirks. “No, but you better call or page her. She’d be upset if she doesn’t know that Maya is here.” And Travis doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of that. Or accused of not notifying Carina.

“He’s right. Page her.” Maya adds.

“Okay. Anything else I can get you?”

“Some pain meds for my head?” Maya asks.

“Sorry, not til after you’ve been checked out and something has been prescribed.”

Maya frowns. She knew it was a long shot. The nurse exits and Travis takes up residence in the only chair in the room.

After about fifteen minutes, Schmitt comes in. “Hi, I’m Doctor Schmitt. He looks over Maya’s chart that the nurse has put together for him. “I’m just going to ask you a few questions and then check you out.” He tells Maya, finally looking up at her.

“Do what you have to do.” Maya grumbles. She grumpy now that she is here in the hospital and missing part of her shift at the station.

Schmitt looks over at Travis. “Are you-“

“He’s staying.” Maya cuts Schmitt’s question off.

“You know that’s not protocol.”

“You know I’m in a private room because I’m a fire captain.” Maya tells him that this isn’t exactly protocol either.

“Right.” He claps his hands together. “So, what happened?” He starts with his questions. Schmitt asks Maya all of the necessary questions and then does any exam but doesn’t find anything concerning. “I think you just have a mild concussion and not eating explains why you passed out. Maybe you should set reminders in your phone to eat or something. Does this happen often?” It’s a dumb question. Schmitt knows it is after it leaves his mouth.

Maya glares at him.

“Okay, okay. I’m just going to get Dr. Shepard to come down and look at you to make sure I didn’t miss anything. What, with you being a fire captain and all.”

Maya groans. “Can I at least get something for my headache?”

“Not until Dr. Shepard sees you but I will get it ready for afterwards.” With that Levi turns to leave the room. He throws Travis a look before he slips out of the room.

“He’s cute.” Travis comments.

“Don’t even think about it.” Maya warns him. “Aren’t you with Dixon Jr?”

Travis gags. “Don’t call him that. Wait, you know about that?” He’s shocked.

“I know about everything. I’m your captain.”

Travis doubts Maya knows about everything.

They are both expecting the next person to come through the door to be Dr. Shepard. Instead, what happens next is a slew of Italian and a bit frantic Carina scurrying through the door.

“Cosa e successo?”

Maya glances between Carina and Travis.

“She fell off the stationary bike.” Travis supplies the answer.

“Do you speak Italian?” Maya asks him.

Travis shrugs. It was just a guess as to what Carina asked. Travis was just reading her body language. “No. I’ll shut up now.”

“Hi, Travis.” Carina gives him a small smile as she sees that Maya isn’t bleeding or bandaged or in considerable pain. All she was told was that Maya was in the pit.

Travis can’t help but grin back. He really likes what he’s seen of Carina.

“I’m guessing you are the one who brought Maya in.”

Travis nods. “At her request, actually. Apparently, I’m the one who won’t ask so many questions.” He uses finger quotes around the last three words.

Carina chuckles and shakes her head. “Thank you, Travis.” She says and takes Maya’s hand in hers. “What happened?” She asks Maya again.

“It was stupid. I was stupid.” Maya berates herself.

“Non sei stupido.” Carina tells her gently though she doesn’t know what happened and can’t actually judge if Maya was stupid or not.

Amelia enters the room. “Okay, sounds like we’ve got a VIP patient in here.” She looks up and spots Carina standing at Maya’s bedside. The pregnant neurosurgeon smirks at the pair. “Dr. DeLuca, fancy seeing you here.”

“Hi, Amelia.” She blushes a little.

“So, this is your firefighter you’ve been talking about.” Amelia teases. Carina ducks her chin to her chest. Amelia winks at Maya. “So, you hit your head. Dr. Schmitt said he didn’t see any sign of brain injury or trauma but wanted me to make sure since you are one of Seattle’s finest firefighters.” Amelia starts her exam. “So, what were you doing? Rescuing women and children from a burning building.”

“It’s far less heroic than that.”

Amelia raises an eyebrow, waiting for an answer.

“Apparently, I feel off the stationary bike.” Maya finally reveals what happened.

“What? Bella. How?”

Maya wishes she could just avoid all of this. “I told you it was stupid. Can we not talk about it?”

Travis watches the couple interact from his comfy chair. He thinks about speaking up.

“No.” Carina gives Maya a bit of a pointed look.

Maya sighs. “Fine. I was- I was- trying to get out some frustration. I was pushing myself. Usually that’s not a problem, but I guess I hadn’t had anything to eat for a while.”

“Dio mio, bella. How long?”

The guilty look on Maya’s face is more telling than maybe her words. “Since you were at the station the other day for lunch.”

Travis’ eyes widen. “That was two days ago.” His shock is enough for the whole room

This is why Maya wanted Travis to come with. He’s the one who walked in on them the other day at lunch.

“Si.” Carina nods, agreeing with Travis. “Why, bambina? You need to eat.”

“I know.” Maya sighs. “I’ve just. You know I haven’t had much of an appetite lately.”

“Si. I know. But that’s no excuse. Especially with your job. Maya, you have to take care of yourself. You need to eat and rest and just take care of yourself.” Carina brings Maya’s hand that she is holding up to her lips and kisses the back of it.

Carina’s words remind Maya of Diane’s words about sleeping and resting and loving in this life. She looks up at Carina with big blue pleading eyes, willing her to understand.

“So, I don’t see any signs of brain damage.” Amelia jokes. “Just a mild concussion, a bump on the head, and a headache. You should be monitored for tonight and maybe take a week or two off of work until the headaches and concussion symptoms go away.”

“Really?” Maya hates the idea of taking off of work.

Amelia shrugs. “The concussion symptoms could be gone in a few days. But, Maya, it sounds like you need a break. You need to eat and rest. Just as a whole. It sounds like your body is exhausted. If you passed out that’s your body telling you it needs a break. It could be more than just not having anything to eat. Have you been under a lot of stress lately?”

“Si.” Carina answers for her.

Amelia smirks. “Okay. What I’m going to suggest is rest and a few days off. It’s up to you if you want to extend that but Maya stress and exhaustion are terrible for your body and tend to have cumulative effects.”

“Okay, I’ll take the next two shifts off.” Maya agrees. That’s all she’s willing to agree to right now. She doesn’t want to look like a poor captain for taking time off. She would push through this and not take any time of if it weren’t for Amelia standing there telling her that she needed to in front of Carina and Travis. She can’t get away with it because of the witnesses in the room.

“Now, I don’t have anything else for you. Just takes some ibuprofen for the headache. No phone or reading. You can watch tv but not for long periods of time tonight. Do you have someone to stay with you tonight?”

“Why?” Maya asks. “I thought you said I was fine.”

Amelia grins. She can see the stubbornness in Maya that Carina has mentioned. “You are. But just to make sure.”

“Bella?” Carina doesn’t want to presume.

“Carina will stay with me.”

Amelia laughs. “Wow.” She shakes her head and turns to leave. “You can go as soon as Bailey comes in to check on you.”

Maya groans and shifts in the bed. She’s antsy and just wants to get out of here.

“What’s wrong?”

“Does the whole hospital have to know that I’m here?” Maya whines.

Travis chuckles from his chair. “Is Captain Bishop a big baby when she is sick?”

“I’m not sick.” Maya folds her arms over her chest. “You know what? Go back to work Travis.”

Travis gets out of his chair with a frown. “But I was having so much fun here.” He jokes.

Maya rolls her eyes. “Thank you, Travis.” She concedes. “I do appreciate it.”

“Sure thing, Cap.” He salutes her before turning to Carina. “I know you’ll take good care of our captain.”

Carina just smiles and nods.

“What should I tell the team?” Travis says as he approaches the door. He turns to face Maya.

“That I’m fine.”

Travis smiles. “That’s what I thought.” He nods at Maya. “Feel better.” And with that he is gone.

Carina rounds the bed and takes the chair Travis was sitting in. She pulls it up close to Maya’s bed and sits at her side. They don’t talk. Carina’s eyes scan Maya up and down, watching her, assessing her, worrying about her.

“What?” Maya asks after a few minutes. She can feel something hanging in the air. Something that Carina wants to say.

“When I got paged- when they told me you were here- like as a patient- I think my heart stopped for a moment. It was scary. I was scared. I thought maybe something bad happened. I mean, I know your job can be dangerous.”

Maya scoffs. “I’m hardly ever in danger now that I’m captain. I don’t run into burning buildings anymore. I don’t do search and rescue. I just coordinate everything from the sideline.”

“But still. You could.

“I suppose if it were four or five alarms and we were the last station to arrive and I wouldn’t be in charge. I would be just another firefighter at that point.” Maya thinks it all through. She wonders if her job is going to be a problem for Carina. The danger of it. She hasn’t thought about that until now.

Carina nods, thinking as much. She finds Maya’s hand, holding it, finding comfort in the gesture.

Maya can see that Carina is struggling. “I’m sorry.” Carina shakes her head. “I didn’t want to put any more of my crap on you.”

“So, you didn’t eat and passed out and ended up here instead?” Carina tries not to sound angry or like she’s scolding Maya but she knows she does a little bit.

“Well, no. I didn’t do that on purpose.” Maya frowns. She realizes how bad this looks now. “If you don’t want to stay with me I can have Vic or Andy do it. I just thought-“

“What Maya? Why would you think I wouldn’t want to?” Carina nearly jumps out of her seat in frustration.

Maya shrugs. “Because you’ve go so much going on with Andrew. And now I’m just dumping more of my crap on you. How is Andrew, by the way?”

Carina shrugs and sighs. It’s good to change the subject maybe. That way so won’t be more upset with Maya and snap at her. But she doesn’t want to have to talk about Andrea either. “All I’ve heard from him in the last two days is a text message saying that he was fine.”

“Oh.” Maya bites her lower lip nervously. “I’m sorry I scared you. I know I need to eat. Actually, can I ask a favor.”

Carina raises an eyebrow.

“Can you get me something to eat? I’m starving.”

Carina thinks of something. She sticks her hand in her white lab coat. “Here.” She pulls out a chocolate bar.

Maya laughs. “Do you just walk around with a candy bar in your coat all the time?”

“Si.” Carina opens the chocolate bar and holds it out for Maya to take. “In case anyone gets low blood sugar. Sometimes it’s all day between meals for me. I need a little boost to get me through that sometimes.”

Maya smiles dopily at Carina. She’s just the most thoughtful, adorable person that Maya has ever met. She takes a bite of the chocolate bar.

“We’ll stop and get something more substantial on the way home.” Carina says not really paying attention to her words.

Maya is paying attention though. She knows Carina probably doesn’t mean anything by it, but the word home sticks in Maya’s mind. She tries to focus on something else. Maya looks Carina over for the first time since she’s been here. Like really looks at her and what she’s wearing. “You’ve seen me in my uniform multiple times now, but I’ve never seen you in your work attire until now.”

The mood in the room shifts. Carina grins. “And?”

“It’s cute. The pink.” Maya smirks. “And the white coat. Very professional and official.”

“Gotta look the part right.”

“So do you have to go back to work or-?”

“No, bella, I’m staying with you.”

“Okay.” Maya says dumbfounded and finishes her chocolate bar. She’s glad that Carina hasn’t questioned her further about what happened. She doesn’t want to have to explain what she was doing. She doesn’t want to have to say that she was avoiding Carina and avoiding eating and focusing on the wrong things. Maya just got so caught up in what Diane said about her dad. And she wanted to prove Diane wrong but, in the end, probably ended up doing the opposite. That phrase comes back around in her brain.

Maybe you could learn to sleep and rest and love in this life.

And now she’s literally being prescribed rest. She gazes at Carina as those words play over and over in her mind.


Maya takes the next two shifts off. She feels better an goes back to work for a week before deciding that maybe everybody is right. That she has too much stress.

Things have calmed down some over the last few days. Maya feels more normal, except for the continued stress and anxiety. So, she makes a decision and invites Carina over for dinner.

Maya finds out that things with Andrew are stable, for the moment, with him in therapy. So after a bottle of wine and time spent in front of the fire where they explore each other’s bodies for what feels like the first time in a long time, Maya works up the courage to ask Carina to take some time off and go on vacation.

Maya is at home with her clipboard. She has a list of all the things they need for their vacation. She also has a list of all the things she wants done at the station while she is gone. She’s just waiting for Carina to come over before they go to the station and then leave for their vacation.

Maya paces the room as she looks over her list. “We need to go down to the station. I need to post this list on the bulletin board.”

“We?”

“Well, you don’t have to come with if you don’t want to but-“

“You want me to come with you.” Carina finishes for her with a smirk. “Of course, I’ll come for you.”

Maya groans. “You’re trouble. You know that, right?”

“Si.” Carina grins widely.

“Let’s go.” Maya has the clipboard in one hand. The other reaches out for Carina’s. She looks down at their hands as Carina grips hers. “Is this okay?” She second guesses herself.

“Si, bella.” Carina squeezes her hand.

Maya nods. More to herself than anything. She doesn’t want to say anything but today she is willingly bringing Carina with her to the station and going to open up to her to everyone a little about her and Carina. They aren’t just going to be hold up in her office.

The team is up in the beanery when they arrive. Maya doesn’t let go of Carina’s hand as they enter the room. “Hey, guys.” The crew have been on better terms as of late and are working well together again.

“Who’s this?” Hughes asks.

“That’s the Italian I was telling you about.” Travis whispers to her.

“I still can’t believe you took time off.” Andy shakes her head. “But now I see why.” She nods at the connected hands.

Maya has to look down at the floor. “Okay, look. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this-“

“But it is a big deal.” Andy comments.

“But I’m going to be gone for a week and I have a list of things that I want done while I’m gone.” She holds the clipboard out to Andy. “I want you to make sure this all gets taken care of.”

“Yes, Captain.” Andy winks. “But I think you are forgetting something.” Andy pretends to look over the list.

“Let me see.” Maya tries to take the clipboard back, but Andy holds it out of her reach.

“Aren’t you going to introduce us?” Andy smirks.

“Oh.” Maya looks over at Carina. “I guess some of you might have seen her around before, but this is Dr. DeLuca.”

Vic groans. “So formal, Bishop.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “Fine. This is Carina.” She leaves it at that. The words girlfriend floats through Maya’s mind. Now is not the best time to be thinking about that word for the first time but it’s just dawned on Maya that that is basically what Carina is. They are going on vacation together. That’s something couples do. Maya frowns.

“What’s going on with you, Bishop?” Vic notices her awkwardness.

“Carina, this is the entire team.” Maya moves on. “Except Gibson, where is he?”

“Oh, too bad he’s missing this. You know he would have something terribly inappropriate to say.” Miller mumbles to Travis. Travis raises his eyebrows.

“He’s seen Carina before. He knows who she is.” Maya tries to brush the comment off.

“Does he?” Travis mumbles. He isn’t sure if Gibson would put all the pieces together and come up with the right answer.

Maya chews on her lip and shrugs.

Carina slips her hand out of Maya’s. Maya feels the loss immediately. That is until that hand is on the small of her back. “Should we sit?” She guides Maya to the table.

They sit and chat with the team for a little bit before Maya’s anxiety about the trip gets the better of her and she’s bouncing her leg and itching to get out of the station and go. She has to finish packing and they have to get to the airport.

Chapter Text

Maya is pacing the room. Stressed out about what they are going to do on their vacation. She knows she shouldn’t be stressed. That’s the whole point of going on vacation. That was the whole point of her going on vacation because she has too much stress going on right now. But she can’t help it.

She knows Carina is in the bathroom, doing what, she doesn’t know. She takes the opportunity to call the station. She just needs something to occupy her mind. The whole thing about doing nothing on vacation isn’t exactly Maya’s thing. She has a very hard time just doing nothing. If she can get the quarterly numbers from the station, then she’ll have something to do.

But Travis won’t give her the numbers and actually berates her for thinking about work when she’s got a gorgeous Italian woman that she could be spending every minute with.

Carina comes out of the bathroom and Maya knows she does but doesn’t recognize her until she speaks, too busy thinking about work yet.

She finally turns to Carina and sees her in her swimsuit and towel and remembers she was supposed to be getting ready to go to the pool. Maya sighs. She’s messing this vacation up already. But it doesn’t take much convincing to get Maya to get ready and Carina kisses her.

“Okay, okay, okay. Screw the station.”

Carina walks Maya backwards until her calves hit the mattress.

“Mmm, Carina.” Maya moans as she pushed backwards onto the bed. “What about-“ There are lips on her neck. “-the- the-“

Carina stops, sucks on Maya’s pulse point before pulling away from her.

“What about the what?” She is amused at Maya’s loss for words.

Maya’s eyes roam the Italian’s face before sinking lower to the skin exposed by the swimwear. It’s not like Maya hasn’t seen it all before but every time she gets to view that gorgeous tan skin of Carina’s her mind just goes blank for a little bit.

“Maya?” Carina caresses her arm. “Earth to Maya.”

“Hmm.” Maya shakes her head.

“You were saying something.” Carina raises her eyebrows at Maya.

“The pool.” Maya mumbles.

Carina laughs. “After this.” She leans back in for a slow kiss. She takes her time shifting the kiss, deepening it. Carina brings her hand up to the side of Maya’s face, tilting the blonde’s head. “You have way too many clothes on, bella.” She giggles into the kiss.

The snaps on Maya’s button down shirt make it really easy to remove. Maya reaches for either side of the shirt and pulls it open. She grins as Carina laughs and looks down at her chest. “Dio mio, bambina.” While Carina is distracted, Maya takes the opportunity to put her hands on her hips and roll them over, so that she is perched above Carina.

She sits back on her heels and pulls the shirt the rest of the way off. She rakes her eyes over the body beneath her. “You’re absolutely stunning.” She purrs and licks her lips.

Travis’ words ring in her ears. Go sex up that gorgeous Italian woman of yours.

Maya takes it to heart. She fingers the strings on the sides of Carina’s swimsuit bottoms and pulls them loose.

“Maya.” Carina moans her name as she squirms, more than ready for Maya to pay some careful attention to her.

Maya bends and presses a kiss to the side of Carina’s jaw and then finds her lips. Carina grabs her by the back of the head, kissing her hard. It’s takes Maya a few minutes but eventually Carina lets go of her grip on the back of Maya’s head. She slips down, pressing her lips to the side of Carina’s neck before licking at the dip at the base of her throat where her collarbone is. She licks down the center of Carina’s chest all the way to her belly button.

“What are you doing?” Carina moans.

Maya smiles against the skin that covers Carina’s ribs. She presses a kiss to each rib on her left side and then does the same to the ribs on the right before moving up slightly to take Carina’s nipple in her mouth, sucking.

Carina gasps and her hands clamp down on Maya’s shoulders.

Maya pulls the nipple and releases it with a pop. “I’m memorizing your body with my lips. It’s important work.”

Carina laughs. “Dio mio.”

Maya pays attention to Carina’s left nipple before pressing a quick peck over where Carina’s heart is. Maya slips down the bed, her fingers hooking in Carina’s swimsuit bottoms and pulling them down and off of Carina’s legs altogether. Her lips find a hipbone, pressing a kiss there and then moving to the other side. As she goes across, Maya drags her tongue along the skin, before finding the other hipbone and sucking at it, hard.

Carina’s hands are in Maya’s hair now. Broken English smattered with Italian whispered in moans from her lips.

“I need you, Maya.”

Maya hears that sentence loud and clear. She can smell Carina’s arousal; eager, herself, to get a taste. She wastes no more time. Maya lays flat on the mattress and shifts Carina’s left leg over her shoulder giving herself better access. She takes the first swipe through Carina’s folds. Carina squirms and tries to wiggle away. Maya knows she’s super sensitive then. She looks up and Carina has her head back, her eyes squeezed shut.

“Hey.”

Carina looks down at Maya between her legs. A glorious sight.

“Hold my hand.” Maya says and offers up her hand, setting it on Carina’s right hip. Carina latches onto the hand and Maya smiles up at her before diving in. Carina’s other hand still in Maya’s hair, holding on.

Maya pulls a high pitched whine from Carina when she sucks on that little bundle of nerves. She flicks her tongue over the spot a few times before lapping through Carina folds again. Her tongue slipping into the Italian before swirling around.

Carina tries to clamp down around Maya’s head, but Maya holds onto the leg that she over her shoulder. “Not yet.” She says against the inside of Carina’s thigh, pressing her lips to the spot. She goes back to focus her attention on the woman’s clit. Licking, and then sucking, before blowing air over the swollen area.

“Maya.” Carina starts to shake a little, desperate for release.

“Shhhh.” Maya takes the bud into her mouth sucking and flicking her tongue over it until Carina’s back is arching off the bed and legs are tight around her ears. Maya only able to her Carina’s muffled moans as she comes.

Carina relaxes, her hand brushing lazily through Maya’s hair. Maya laying there with her head resting on Carina’s left thigh.

“We should go to the pool.” Carina mumbles after a few minutes.

“Do we have to?” Maya whines.

“Si.”

“Can’t we just stay here and have sex all day?” Maya suggests.

“While that might be fun. Vacation is about more than just sex. Plus, I want to work on my tan.”

“Fine.” Maya frowns. She’s not going to deny Carina a chance to sit by the pool.

“I’m going to need few more minutes to recover though.” Carina smirks.

Maya bites her lower lip and pushes herself up onto her elbows before crawling up Carina’s body and kissing her. Carina moans into the kiss. “Do you need anything?” Maya asks softly.

“A glass of water maybe. Do we have any snacks? A granola bar or something.”

Maya gets up. “You didn’t bring any chocolate bars with you?” She winks at the Italian.

“I, unfortunately, did not.”


After Todd leaves, Maya suggests a swim while they are waiting for Carina’s fries and mozzarella sticks.

“Do I have to?” Carina whines.

“Yes.” Maya pulls her up out of her chair by her hands. “Come on.”

“Noooo. Maya.”

Maya puts Carina’s hand on her hips, holding them there as she walks backwards. “Come on. Just a quick little dip.”

“Fine.” Carina rolls her head to the side. “But as soon as she comes over with my food I’m getting out.”

“Deal.” Maya grins. She turns and holds onto Carina’s hands still as Carina walks behind her over to the pool stairs.

Though Carina doesn’t want to go in the pool, she is more than happy of the view she gets of Maya as they walk to the pool. The curves of her hips, her backside, those stronger shoulders have Carina licking her lips. The firefighter is absolutely built, and Carina absolutely loves that. Though she thinks if Maya weren’t strong and didn’t have muscles, she thinks she’d probably like her just as much. It’s really just a bonus. Carina loves Maya stronger tough exterior only because she gets to see her gentle soft interior.

Maya steps down into the water and holds her hand up for Carina to take and step in. “Grazie, bella.”

Maya just grins and nods. She tugs Carina into a little deeper water. She dips down until the water covers everything below her shoulders and then encourages Carina to do the same with a simple nod of the head.

Carina shakes her head with a playful smile. Maya is going to have to try harder than that in order to get her hair wet.

Maya tilts her head to the side. “Oh really?”

Carina nods.

Maya smirks. She jerks forward and wraps her arms around Carina’s waist, pulling her down into the water. Carina laughs as she and Maya dunk under the surface for a moment before coming back up. She wraps her arms around Maya’s shoulders. Maya spins them around slowly, pulling their bodies together. Carina takes the opportunity her wrap her legs around Maya’s waist. For her part, Maya stands there holding them strong, upright, though the water helps to distribute the weight.

Carina scratches her fingers lightly against the back of Maya’s neck. “Bacami.” She whispers for only Maya to hear.

Maya swallows thickly. She can feel the eyes of the people around them on her. She’s not big on PDA but- but here is Carina again making her think that things don’t always have to be one way. Showing her that there isn’t a strict set of rules for life. And it contradicts everything Maya has been taught and learned. She looks around them and she’s right, a few people are watching.

“Bella.” Carina gets her attention again. “Just focus on me.”

Maya nods. Her eyes flick around Carina’s face. From her eyes to her lips. She glances over her nose and back to her lips before leaning in as a soft smile tugs the corner of her lips upwards. Maya’s nose rubs against Carina’s as she slowly connects their lips. Carina’s legs squeeze tighter around her when Maya deepens the kiss.

Any older lady clears her throat a few feet away from them. Carina looks over and gives her an apologetic smile. She unclasps her legs from around Maya and stands on her own two feet. Her arms stay around Maya’s neck though.

They move around in the water for a little bit, never letting go of the other. A hand on an arm, or around the waist, or on a shoulder. Never too far away.

The waitress comes back with Carina’s food and their drinks and Carina swims over to the edge of the pool with speed that Maya didn’t know she had. When she reaches the edge, she puts her hands up on the concrete and pushes herself up and out of the water in one fluid movement. Maya stands there watching, she swallows thickly, before licking her lips. Her throat suddenly dry. She definitely needs that drink that the waitress brought. Maya goes over to the pools stairs and climbs them before taking her place on her lounge chair again and picking up her drink.

“Where do you put all that?” She teases. It still amazes Maya how much Carina can eat and stay so skinny.

“It’s my Italian metabolism. I’ve told you that before.” Carina dunks a mozzarella stick into a little cup of pizza sauce before bringing to her lips, moaning as she takes a bite. “Plus I think I burned quite a few calories back in the room.”

Maya laughs.


Carina pulls Maya by the hand after Maya shuts the door to their room.

“What are we-“ Maya mumbles.

Carina pulls her into the bathroom. “We need to get the chlorine off.” That’s just her excuse. But seeing Maya outperform that douche guy in pushups was super hot. And then Maya pulled her into the pool and Carina had a hard time not making a show in front of all the other resort guests. If she hadn’t just ordered food, then she would have just dragged Maya back to the room then and there. She turns on the shower and waits a moment for it to warm up. She steps inside, pulling Maya with her.

“Oh.” Maya smirks.

Carina is on a mission. She pulls down the zipper on Maya one piece and pushes the fabric off of the firefighter’s shoulders, freeing her breasts from the fabric. “This swimsuit looks great on you but-“

Maya moans as Carina takes her breasts in her hands. “But my boobs have been suffocating in there.”

Carina giggles. “Well, then I’m glad I can be of assistance.” She rubs her thumbs over Maya’s nipples and Maya tilts her head back in pleasure.

Maya reaches up and grabs Carina’s face, pulling her in for a much needed kiss. Carina takes the opportunity to push Maya’s swimsuit down further, rolling it over her hips. “Mmm, you’re so sexy.” Carina moans into Maya’s mouth.

Maya stops and pulls back. “Really?”

Carina furrows her brow. “Yeah, really. Maya, what do you mean?”

Maya shrugs. “I just- I never really think of myself as- sexy.”

“Well, you are.” Carina leans in for a kiss. “So, so sexy.” She runs her palms down Maya’s chest, over her stomach and finds her hips, pulling Maya into her. She dips her tongue into Maya’s mouth, rolling it around Maya’s before pinching Maya’s lower lip between her teeth and pulling it out before releasing it with a pop.

They rock back and forth under the stream of warm water for a while trading little nips and kisses. Carina’s right hand slips from Maya’s hip. She takes a step forward forcing Maya to take a step back, her back presses up against the cold tile which produces a hiss from the blonde. Carina smirks at the reaction. It’s just what she wanted. She reaches down, her fingertips ghosting over Maya’s skin as she does so. She feels a shiver run through Maya. “That tickles.” She husks.

Carina grins. “Does this tickle?” She cups her hand between Maya’s legs before applying a little pressure with her fingers and dragging her hand forward.

“N-no.” Maya stutters.

Despite the water from the shower, Carina can tell just how wet Maya is. It’s a different kind of wet all together. There’s no better feeling, well maybe there is, than knowing she can get Maya this way, than knowing that Maya needs and wants her this much.

As she circles two fingers around Maya’s clit, Maya reaches up and grabs onto Carina’s shoulders, her legs shaky and weak.

“I’ve got you.” Carina whispers, meaning it in more than one way. She would happily hold and support Maya through this and everything else in life.

Maya closes her eyes and presses her forehead to the inside of her right arm.

Carina slips two fingers into Maya, her thumb stroking over her clit. Maya shifts on her feet and Carina forgoes the penetration for just clitoral stimulation, rubbing her fingertips in rapid circles. Maya leans into her, practically hanging from her shoulders. The blonde lets out a loud groan as her orgasm courses through her.

Maya moans and rolls her head from her arm to Carina’s shoulder. “Car-ina.” She stutters out, her voice shaky as she tries to catch her breath.

Carina takes the shower soap and rubs it over Maya’s back as Maya clings to her. She ducks Maya under the water to rinse her back off after it’s all lathered up. “Tilt your head back.”

Maya slowly opens her eyes and rolls her head around on her shoulders. “I’ve never-“ She tries to find her voice.

“Had shower sex?”

Maya shakes her head. “No, no. I have. I just I’ve never- that was really-“

“Amazing.” Carina smirks.

Maya nods and surges forward to kiss Carina. “More than amazing. I don’t know what the word for that is though.”

Carina laughs. “Can I wash your hair?” She asks, feeling slightly nervous. It seems like such an intimate thing, and she doesn’t know how Maya is going to reaction to that. But Maya just kisses her and nods. “Can you turn around?” She’s not sure if Maya can stand by herself yet.

Maya turns and Carina grabs the shampoo. She rubs it in her hands before bringing her hands up to Maya’s head. She scratches the shampoo against Maya’s scalp receiving a moan in reply. “Feel good?”

“Can you always wash my hair?”

Carina laughs and shakes her head. She has Maya rinse her long blonde locks before Carina puts conditioner in and runs her fingers meticulously through the wet strand of hair, getting all the snarls out. She’s really enjoying this. Yes, the sex is great. Yes, they get along well. Yes, there is a bond between them. But this, in the shower, is something else. Something intimate. Something sacred. Something that no one else can see or touch or feel. It’s just them, in their own little intimate bubble. Where nothing else matters. There aren’t any issues or problems or distractions. It’s perfect.

“Can I do you now?” Maya asks, over eager, and spins around to face Carina.

The question breaks Carina from her thoughts. She raises an eyebrow at Maya.

“Not like that. Your hair.” Maya twirls her fingers in some of Carina’s wet dark hair. “I love-“ She stops.

“You what?”

“I love your hair.” Maya looks away from the intense brown eyes that are staring her down. “It always looks so effortlessly beautiful.”

With a finger on Maya’s jaw, Carina brings her back so she can look her in the eyes. “It’s not always so effortless.” She has a small playful smile on her lips. She saves Maya from her own embarrassment. “Will you wash my hair, bella?”

“I don’t know if I can reach the top of your head.” She groans at Carina being a few inches taller than she is.

“What if I kneel?” Before Maya can answer, Carina is on her knees in front of her. She looks up at Maya with soft, tender eyes. She reaches out. Maya’s swimsuit still sort of around her hips and thighs. She pulls it down the rest of the way. Maya puts a hand on Carina’s shoulder and steps out of it completely. They never break eye contact. Carina then runs her palms up the back of Maya’s calves before running them back down softly. “Maya?” She questions. Maya nods and reaches for the shampoo before lathering up on the top of Carina’s head. She scrapes at her scalp lightly. Carina sighs and rocks forward on her knees.

“Stand up. I can’t reach the ends.”

Carina stands and turns around so Maya can get the ends of her hair. “That feels real good, bambina.”

Maya’s fingers shift from her hair to the string on Carina’s swimsuit tops and tugs it loose. The gasp she gets from Carina is worth it. She reaches up and slips the straps off of Carina’s shoulders before pressing a kiss to her left shoulder.

Carina feels the water start to turn colder. “Maya. Conditioner. Now.”

Maya fumbles with the bottle.

“Nevermind.” The water is too cold now. Carina shuts it off. “Out.” She points for Maya to get out.

Maya pouts. “But?”

“No. Out.” Carina puts a hand on Maya’s lower back to get her going.

They dry off, put on robes, and head out to the other room. Carina runs the brush through her hair before throwing her hair over her right side. She holds the brush out to Maya.

Maya stands at the end of the bed and runs the brush through her own hair. Carina lays back on the bed and watches Maya.

“I’m sorry the water got cold.”

“That’s not your fault.” Carina smirks. “We just took too long. Actually, I think, in the future, maybe we should just skip the water all together. Skip the showering together if we can’t keep it to just showering. It’s a huge waste of water.”

Maya hums. “True.”

“And I know I can’t keep my hands off of you so-“ Carina smirks. “Vieni qua.” She holds her hand out for Maya.

Maya puts one knee on the bed and then the other before crawling over Carina and sitting astride her hips. Carina runs her hands up and down Maya’s sides coaxing Maya to leans down and kiss her.

“I think I could just kiss you forever.” Maya mumbles.

“Just kiss?”

“Well, you know, if it leads to other things that’s not bad either.”

Carina laughs and connects her lips with Maya’s again.

Maya’s phone beeps in the distance. “Ignore it.” Carina mumbles into their kiss.

And Maya does. She ignores it the second time it goes off, and then the third, but it’s bugging her. If she is getting multiple messages than something must be serious.

“Don’t even think about it.” Carina knows Maya is thinking about looking at the phone though. “Bacami, bella, bacami.”

Maya tries to focus solely on that and for a few minutes she is successful. The phone doesn’t go off again for a while and Maya forgets about it. That is until it buzzes again, and she reaches out for it, much to Carina’s displeasure.

Maya is hyperventilating. Carina gets her to sit down on the bed and kneels in front of her.

“Look at me. Your eyes only need to be on me.”

She hears Carina say the words but can’t focus.

“No, no, no, no. No eyes forward.”

Maya recoils and pulls back, trying to get away from Carina. She knows she told Carina about eyes forward and how her dad drilled that into her and how that helped her focus in the past but now. Now, that’s the last thing she wants to hear. She also doesn’t want an image of her father in her head right now. Maya tries to get away from her.

But then Carina’s hands are on her face, holding her there, helping her focus. “No eyes forward. Eyes only on me.”

She locks eyes with those gentle brown ones that she’s come to love so much.

“Good. Breathe.” Carina takes a deep breath in, and Maya follows the action with her own, slightly shakily breath in. Carina lets out her breath. “Good.” She whispers as Maya lets out her breath too.

“In.” Carina breathes in again and then out.

“One more.” Carina breathes in with Maya. “And out.”

They breath normally, but in sync, as Carina’s eyes stay locked on Maya. Her thumbs stroke over Maya’s cheeks. “It’s okay. You’re okay.” She leans up and presses a kiss to Maya’s forehead.

Maya closes her eyes as she comes back to reality and the embarrassment sets in.

“Maya?”

“Yeah.” She peeks her eyes open and looks at Carina cautiously.

“Has that ever happened before?”

“Not with- not that bad, but yeah I think so.”

“Okay.” Carina stands up and releases Maya’s face.

“Where are you going?” Maya whimpers. She feels like she might fall apart again if Carina goes away.

“Just over here, bella. I’m getting us some water.” She pours two glasses of ice water from the pitcher and brings them over to Maya. “Here.” She holds a glass out to Maya.

Maya’s hand shakes as she reaches for the glass. Carina doesn’t let her take the glass as she sees the shaky hand. “Here.” She sits down at Maya’s side, holding the glass and having Maya wrap her hand around her own hand around the glass.

Maya takes a shaky drink, but it helps. She swallows and lets out a long breath. “I’m not a baby.”

“I know you’re not.” Carina takes Maya’s glass and takes a drink from it, forgetting that she has her own glass in her other hand. “I know, Maya.”

Maya nods. They sit there for a while just breathing and drinking water.

Carina gets up and sets the glasses on the table. “Let’s lay down.” She suggests and crawls up on the bed. Maya scoots back and lays down, staring up at the ceiling stoic, cold, unflinching. Carina wraps herself around Maya.

She’s worried about Maya. Panic attacks are a serious thing. She worries about the stress Maya is under and the stress Maya puts herself under. She knows the blonde is super hard and critical of herself. She’s also figured that’s because of Maya’s father always pushing her to be the best at whatever she is doing, whether that is running track or being the fire captain. That’s a lot of pressure and expectation to put on one person, on oneself. Carina thinks this panic attack is probably a result of everything coming to a head and blubbing over.

She lays there with Maya for a while. She would be worried about Maya not saying anything and just staring up at the ceiling but as soon as she shifts so she can see Maya’s face Maya’s eyes flick to hers. She smiles tenderly for the blonde. Maya doesn’t smile back but she blinks, and she knows Maya is in there, and that she’s alright and that she’s just trying to wrap her head around all of this.

“You’re alright.” Carina whispers. It’s not a question.

Maya nods, coming back to herself more.

Carina runs her hand over the side of Maya’s head, stroking her fingers through her hair when she gets down past her ear. She tucks her other hand inside the collar of Maya’s robe, placing her palm on her collarbone for skin to skin contact. She feels Maya relax finally. It’s accompanied by a sigh from the blonde. Maya’s arm wraps around Carina’s back loosely.

“Oh, Maya.” She coos and kisses Maya’s cheek.

Maya has calmed down. They lay in bed, Carina with her leg thrown over Maya as she lays on her side and twirls Maya’s hair in her fingers. “You are the captain, but you don’t have to be in captain mode all the time.”

“I’m not in captain mode all the time.” Maya sighs. She hates that she just had a panic attack. And in front of Carina. She wonders if Carina thinks differently of her because of it.

“No, but you got that text and went right into captain mode.” Carina lifts her eyes from looking at Maya’s hair to catch her eyes.

“I can’t help it.” Maya rolls her eyes. “I’m ruining this vacation, aren’t I?”

“I wouldn’t say it’s ruined. You had a small burp.” Carina grins, knowingly.

Maya laughs. “Hiccup.”

“Si, hiccup.”

“You just did that to get me to laugh.”

“Maybe.” Carina wiggles her eyebrows. “But it worked.”

Maya sucks her bottom lip up between her teeth. “I just want to prove myself as captain. Now that it’s more settled.” Carina nods. Maya thinks of something. “I’m the captain now.” She puffs up her chest.

Carina narrows her eyes at Maya. “You are.”

“No, no, no. I’m the captain now.” Maya sighs when Carina doesn’t get it. “It’s from that movie with Tom Hanks when the pirates take over the ship.”

Carina shakes her head. “Never heard of it.”

Maya pushes herself up onto her elbows. “What? Okay, we need to start having movie nights. What other movies haven’t you heard of?”

Carina giggles. “Well, if I haven’t heard of them how will I know.”

“I’m serious. Weekly movie night. When you and I aren’t both working.”

“Like date night?” Carina raises an eyebrow.

Maya frowns. “If you want to call it that.” She was opposed to dates or dating or whatever when her and Carina started sleeping together but now- now things are different. Maya wants things to be different. To be proper. There something inside of Maya that makes her feel like Carina deserves the right, proper things in a relationship.

Carina laughs. “I don’t think we’ve ever been on a proper date.”

“You’re right about that.” Maya flops back down onto the mattress. “There is just always this expected pressure on a date. I never liked that. How you have to be prim and proper and fake.”

Carina pats at Maya’s chest. “Don’t worry. I won’t make you go on a date with me if you don’t want to. I hate fake. I don’t want fake from you.”

Maya hums and stares at the ceiling. “Though it would be cool to take you to a fancy restaurant and walk in with you on my arm and show you off.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah.” Maya nods. “I have thought about it.” Maya admits, a little sheepishly. “Would you want to do that? Or would you want something more lowkey?”

Carina licks her lips. She likes that Maya wants to show her off. She doesn’t like that other people would be looking though. “Lowkey.”

Maya nods, committing that to memory. “So, no getting all dressed up and going to an expensive restaurant. Got it.” She glances over at Carina. That feeling in Maya’s chest that resides there now becomes clearer every day. More defined. More pronounced. It’s the scariest thing she’s ever felt. But at the same time, it’s the best feeling she’s ever felt. “Dr. DeLuca?”

Carina hums.

“Will you go to dinner with me tonight?”

Carina laughs and kisses Maya. “Si, bella.”

Maya is supposed to be getting ready for dinner. She is rummaging through her luggage. “I don’t know if I have anything that is appropriate for this dinner. Maybe I should have thought of this beforehand.” She groans and runs her hands through her hair.

“I don’t know what to wear.” Maya complains. “Will you help me?”

Carina slinks out of the bathroom and comes up to Maya’s side. “Hmm.” She hums and looks over the options Maya has laid out.

Maya looks at the options for a moment, but her eyes shift to Carina. Carina has changed and is wearing a long flowy white dress. “Holy crap.” Maya mumbles. She turns and takes Carina’s hands in hers, holding them out to her sides, so she can get a good look at the dress on her. “You are an absolute goddess.”

Carina blushes and ducks her head. “So, you like it?”

Maya hums. “I love it.” She grunts out a frustrated breath. “I’m going to look like a slouch next to you. Maybe we should cancel dinner.” She lets Carina’s hands drop to her sides.

“Bella, you won’t look like a so called slouch. You will look amazing in whatever you choose to wear.” Carina encourages her. “You’re just indecisive. Will you let me pick?”

“Yes.” Maya frowns. “Please do.”

“Okay.” Carina goes through Maya’s clothes. “How about this?” She grabs a loose light blue top. “With this?” She takes Maya’s black skinny jeans.

“Won’t I be too hot?” Maya whines, worried about the long jeans.

Carina chuckles. “You’ll be fine. The restaurant is air conditioned. But yes, you will look very hot in that outfit.”

Maya can’t help the small smile that slips across her lips. She looks at the outfit that Carina has handed her. It is a good outfit, probably not what she would have chosen though.

Carina can see that Maya is having reservations about the outfit. “What?”

“Nothing.” Maya takes a deep breath. “I’m never very good at picking outfits. I usually just wearing work out clothes or like sweatshirts and t-shirts with jeans. Now I have to have my girlfriend pick out my clothes for me cuz I’m such an idiot when it comes to this sort of stuff.”

Carina runs her finger down the sleeve of Maya’s robe with a big grin. She didn’t miss that Maya used the word girlfriend. She doesn’t bring it up though. She doesn’t even think Maya knows she said it. “I’ve noticed. That’s your style.” She quite likes Maya’s simple style.

“And maybe a jacket.” Maya is still focused on the clothes. She definitely didn’t notice what she said.

“I wouldn’t recommend a jacket in this weather. Seattle, yes. Here, no.”

“No, I agree. I was just saying.”

“Maya, don’t worry about it so much. I think you get in your head too much sometimes. Your style is great. You always look great. So, what if you don’t go out to dinner or anything a little more fancy and don’t know what to wear. That’s fine. Listen, I don’t care. You could wear a trash bag to dinner, and I would be fine with it. Remember what I was saying before.”

Maya nods. “Lowkey.”

“Si.” She kisses Maya. “Now, get changed so we’re not late.”

Maya smirks. She likes it when Carina bosses her around. “Can you do that for me too?”

Carina raises an eyebrow. “Then we will definitely be late.”

Maya shrugs. Carina laughs. “Get dressed.” She points a finger at Maya.

Chapter Text

The alarm on Carina’s phone blares, waking her up. She shuts it off with a yawn. She looks at the time. They have to be to the airport in an hour.

One hour.

The alarm that Carina set was an emergency alarm. A just in case alarm to make sure that they hadn’t forgot the time and how much time they had left to get to the airport. Carina fully anticipated that Maya would have been awake long before, maybe even hours. She knows the anxiety would have probably gotten to her and that Maya would want to make sure she was well prepared to leave to go to the airport. So, when Carina looks at the time and then the blonde, she’s astonished.

“MAYA!” She yells and jumps out of bed.

“What?” Maya groans from her side of the bed. There’s no need for Carina to be yelling at such an early morning hour.

“Get up.” Carina pulls the blanket off of Maya and the cool room air makes goosebumps form on Maya’s bare skin. “We’re going to be late.”

“For what? Breakfast?” Maya rolls onto her back and yawns. She stretches her arms and legs out, content, happy, relaxed.

Carina stops and watches her for a moment. At first, just taking in the sight of the naked woman on the bed but then things click into place.

“For the plane.”

“What? No.” Maya pushes herself up onto her elbows. “It’s early yet.” She looks around the room for a clock but there isn’t one on any of the walls.

“No, Maya. You overslept.”

“Me?” Maya scrunches up her face. “I don’t sleep in. What about you?” She doesn’t believe it’s as late as Carina claims it is.

“My emergency alarm went off. Get up.” She tugs on Maya’s ankle. “And for the love of God, put some clothes on. We have to pack and go.”

Maya watches as Carina buttons her pants, having gotten dressed as they were talking, and then hurries into the bathroom. She comes out a second later with all their items from the bathroom and throws them into her suitcase. Maya furrows her brow together. She looks around the room once more before spotting her phone. She gets up and takes it from the table. “Holy shit.” The panic sets in.

“I told you.”

Maya paces the room for a second.

“Clothes first, then pack.” Carina instructs. For someone who is a fire captain, Carina sure has to tell Maya a lot of what to do in this sudden chaotic situation.

“I don’t sleep in.” Maya mumbles as she pulls a shirt over her head. “I don’t know what happened. I should have been up and have gotten showered and had breakfast and brought something back for you and woke you up and packed.” Maya starts shoving clothes into her suitcase, none of it folded or arranged. She closes the top and it doesn’t shut easily. She has to press down on it to pull the zipper closed.

“I know, Maya. I know.” Carina mumbles. They are both in their own little world as the grab up everything from the room.

Maya nearly runs to the front desk in front of Carina to checkout. Thankfully, it doesn’t take more than five minutes. They get in the cab and are on the way to the airport.

Maya sits forward in the back seat, on the edge of her seat. Her hands gripping the headrest of the seat in front of her. “I hope we don’t hit traffic.” She whispers as she looks out the window.

Carina hears it and rubs her hand over Maya’s back. There’s nothing they can do now. They probably should have left the resort about a half hour ago. Carina knows that they should be fine and not miss their plane but if there any unexpected encounters then they might be in trouble.

“I don’t know how this happened.” Maya turns her head to the left to look back at Carina. “I should have wrote an itinerary for this morning. I had one when we left Seattle. I should have thought about making one for going back.” She sighs and looks forwards again, out the front window.

“It’ll be okay.” Carina continues to rub her back. “Try to relax.”

Maya’s whole body stiffens. Carina even feels her muscles tense under her hand. “That’s the problem.” It dawns on Maya. “I was relaxed. Too relaxed.”

To rest and sleep and love in this life.

Carina reaches up and puts her hand on Maya’s shoulder. “Sit back.” She whispers sweetly. “There’s nothing you can do now. And sure, maybe we could’ve been more prepared, but we weren’t. It’s on me too, ya know?” She doesn’t get a reply from the blonde. “Maya, it’s out of your hands now. The driver will get us to the airport. We will check our bags and go through security. And we will make it on the plane in time.”

Maya slumps back in the seat. “You don’t know that.” She folds her arms over her chest.

“Oh, come on. Are you going to be all grumpy on me now?” She gives Maya a teasing smile.

“No.” Maya pouts.

Carina giggles and presses a kiss to her cheek. “If we miss our plane than we will just get on the next one to Seattle.” It’s not that big of a deal. She knows there will be other flights yet today.

“That costs more money. And what if they are all full?” Maya worries.

Carina slips her arm around Maya’s shoulders, leaning in to put her mouth right next to Maya’s ear. “Don’t worry about it, bambina. The what ifs. And don’t worry about the moneys.”

Maya shivers involuntarily with Carina wrapped around her, whispering in her ear. And Carina has started using a different word during this trip instead of, or in addition to, bella. Maya knows what it means this time though. She’s heard Carina use it in reference to babies. She closes her eyes and tries to let Carina’s words calm her.

“We should be there in twenty minutes, ladies.” The cab driver informs them.

“Thank you.” Carina says with a smile to the man through the rear view mirror.

“How do you feel?” Carina asks and rest her head on Maya’s shoulder. They are sitting in their seats on the plane waiting for takeoff. She wants to check in with her after their frantic morning. Carina smiles as she thinks back over everything. It will be a funny story they can tell one day, but she’s hoping that all the progress that Maya made over the last five days isn’t erased because of this morning. She could tell that Maya was really truly enjoying herself. That she had relaxed after a stressful start to their vacation.

Maya thinks about it. Now that the anxiety of making it for their flight is over Maya can relax again. For the first time in a long time, she feels relaxed as a whole. Not just for a few minutes or hours or a day.  “I think vacation helped. I feel relaxed I think for the first time since before I was made captain.”

Carina hums. “Good.”

“And it’s crazy that I’m even going to say this but-“ She chuckles. “I don’t want to go back to work.”

Carina raise her head from Maya’s shoulder and looks at her. “Really?”

Maya shrugs. It’s not that she doesn’t want to go back to work. Not really. It’s complicated. “If I could just spend everyday on vacation with you, I think I would instead of going back to work. But maybe I’ll feel different once I get back to work. Maybe it won’t be so stressful now and I can enjoy work again.”

“I hope so, bella.” Carina lays her head back on Maya’s shoulder and wraps her hands around Maya’s hand.


“Just good?” Andy questions her. She knows her friend isn’t revealing all.

“Well, I mean it was pretty good.” Maya smiles a little. There was the panic attack so that wasn’t good, but she doesn’t know if she can say it was a great vacation. She was so stressed at the beginning, but it turned out to be pretty good and she got some rest and relaxed and doesn’t feel as stressed and exhausted as before. So that’s all good.

“Pretty good. Maya, you don’t do vacations. And you went on a vacation with your girlfriend, and it was just ‘pretty good’.”

“She’s not-“

“Yes, she is.” Andy nearly shouts. “Just admit it.

“Fine.” Maya rolls her eyes. “She’s my girlfriend.”

“Did you ask her to be your girlfriend?” Andy grins, ready to hear the details of how Maya asked.

“No.” Maya shakes her head.

“Wait.” The grin is wiped from Andy’s face as stares at Maya, not believing it. “You didn’t even ask her yet.”

“She knows.” Maya waves it off.

“Are you sure?” Andy puts a hand on Maya’s shoulder. “Cuz in my experience you need to be clear with the people in your lives. The people you love.”

Maya’s eyes bulge out at the L word.

“Oh my god, Maya. You need to tell her.”

“She knows.”

“That you love her?” Andy ventures.

Maya frowns. “Well, maybe not about that. But she knows she’s my girlfriend. We didn’t talk about it, but we just are. That’s the best thing. The greatest thing about her. We just are. It’s not difficult or complicated. We’re just together. It seems so simple and dumb when I say it but God, I’ve never felt like this. I feel safe and protected and taking care of and honored and cherished, valued, appreciated. Seen. I feel like- like-“ Maya shakes her head with a goofy smile. “And I want to do all those things for her. To protect her and take care of her and value her and honor her and do anything that I can to make her happy. She deserves so much happiness. Her broth-“ Maya clamps up at that. She looks over at Andy to see if she caught the almost slip up. “She deserves all the good things in life, and I want to give them to her. Oh my god, I sound crazy.” Maya takes a step backwards, trying to reel her feelings in. She backs up until her back hits the side of the fire engine.

Andy chuckles. “You sound in love.”

Maya groans.

“Maya, make sure she knows. Make sure she knows she’s your girlfriend. If you want to appreciate and honor her you need to make sure she knows. And I’m glad you had a great vacation. I’m sure it was filled with lots of amazing lady sex. If the dopey, satisfied look on your face is anything to go by.” Andy laughs at the scandalized look that Maya is sporting. “You think you don’t convey your emotions, but Maya they are always written all over your face. You’re not very good at keeping a neutral face.”

A call over the speaker saves Maya from anymore embarrassment from her friend.

“Let’s go, dopey. Duty calls.” Andy smacks Maya on the arm before running off.


Carina is in her office at the hospital when there is a knock on the door. “Come in.”

“Well, there you are.” Amelia says loudly as she enters the room.

“Ciao, Amelia.”

“So, did you hear?” Amelia says of her Braxton Hicks.

“I read your file, si.” Carina looks Amelia up and down. “How are you feeling?”

Amelia rubs a hand over her pregnant belly. “Bloated, sore, nothing I can’t handle.” She tilts her head to the side. “How was the sex?”

Carina shakes her head. “I think you mean, how was the vacation? But it was good.”

Amelia laughs and flops down on the couch in Carina’s office. “It better have been cuz I was here freaking out about having contractions and going into labor without you.”

Carina gives her a tight-lipped smile. “Sorry. Next time I’ll schedule my vacation around your labor.”

“Next time. Ha.” Amelia doubts there’ll be a next time. There shouldn’t have been a this time, but here she is pregnant, about to give birth at any moment. “But you are going to be here, right?” Amelia worries now, serious again. She doesn’t want to have to have another doctor helping her through her labor. They have a plan, and that plan is for Carina to be there. “You don’t have any more surprise vacations planned?”

Carina smirks. “No.”

“Good.” Amelia nods once. “Good.” She stares down at the floor as she thinks about giving birth.

“You okay?” Carina sees the far away look on Amelia’s face.

Amelia looks up and nods. “I wish I could go on vacation right now.” She rubs her hand over her belly again.

Carina laughs.

“Tell me all the details. Did you ever leave the room?”

Carina shakes her head. “Si, we did. We went to the pool and laid in the sun. Maya actually got a little bit of a tan. She’s so white. We went on an adventure in town one day. We went to a wooded area and spent the afternoon between the trees. We did lots.”

Amelia laughs.

“We went to dinner most nights. It was lovely. I had a wonderful time. Very relaxing. And I got Maya to relax. She’s been so stressed out lately. So, it was nice.” She’s very coy about her the details of her vacation.

“Nice. You’re funny.” Amelia shakes her head. “I’ve got the orgasm doctor here and she won’t tell me about her amazing vacation sex.”

“Vacation isn’t all about sex.”

“No, but that’s a big part of it, right?”

Carina shakes her head. “No.”

“Oh, come on. I’m suffering here.” Amelia groans.

“You and Link aren’t-” Carina raises her eyebrows.

“No, he won’t touch me since the Braxton Hicks started. He thinks I’m fragile or something.” Amelia complains.

Carina hums. “Sorry to hear that.” She drums her fingers on her desktop. And then looks down at them, thinking of Maya. Slowly, a smirk pulls at her lips.

Amelia sees this and groans. “You’re thinking about her, aren’t you?”

Carina shrugs, guilty. “Sorry. Maya is just-“ She moans. “So amazing.”

Amelia raises an eyebrow in surprise. She didn’t think that was what was going to come out of Carina’s mouth. That it would have been something about how great the sex is or what she’s done with those fingers she’s just staring at.

“I know she doesn’t think she is. But she is. She’s amazing and wonderful. And not just about sex. Like all together. She’s so generous and caring. With everything with Andrea, she took time out of her hectic stressful busy schedule to come over and to make sure I was alright. No one has ever done that for me. No one. I’m always taking care of everyone else, it seems. Not even taking care of myself. But Maya- no one has ever done that for me. It just feels good. Amazing. Ya know?”

Amelia nods. “Your girlfriend sounds pretty amazing. Rough around the edges maybe, but it sounds like she’s got a soft spot for you.”

Carina grins wide. “Si, she does.” Carina’s phone buzzes in top of her desk and she leans forward to look at it. Her grin only grows wider when she sees that it’s a message from Maya. It’s a long message. Not something that she usually gets from Maya. Usually, their texts are short and to the point.

She opens the message and starts reading it. She furrows her brow as she gets through the words.

“What is it?” Amelia asks.

“It’s from Maya.”

Amelia raises and eyebrow and leans forward on the couch. “Good or bad?”

“Hold on.” Carina is just about finished reading the long rambling message.

I just thought I’d send you a message. We are on our way to a call. And I just have to tell you this before that because Andy said I had to. Well, and because I feel like I have to too. I just want you to know that I think of you as my girlfriend. And we just went on vacation together and that’s what couples do. I know I should say all this in person but it can’t wait. I feel like you probably feel the same way. I mean I don’t know for sure. You could feel a different way about it but I want you to be my girlfriend and I want to be your girlfriend. So what do you say?

It’s Maya rambling in text form and it’s just as cute as Maya’s rambling in person.

Yes. Carina sends back. She knows Maya’s probably not going to get the message until after she’s finished with the call, but she smiles as she thinks about Maya’s face when she reads the simple one word reply.

“What’s going on?”

Carina sets her phone down. “Just Maya being Maya.” She shakes her head.

“What does that mean?”

“Oh, ya know, she just basically asked me to be her girlfriend in a long rambling text.”

Amelia laughs. “Really? I thought you two were together.”

Carina shrugs. “We are. I guess nothing was said or discussed or official until now though.”

Amelia laughs again. “Ridiculous.”

“I know we are. It just feels so natural with her. It felt like we were a couple, together, girlfriends from the beginning. You Americans and your silly labels.”

Amelia nods. She hates putting labels on things and putting everything into little boxes too.

“I don’t know. Maya just feels different.”

“Do you love her?” Amelia braves the question.

“I think I do.” Carina sighs.

There’s a simple smile from the neurosurgeon. “Then there you go.” Amelia pushes herself up from the couch with a grunt. “I have a surgery in a little bit. I’ll see you later. Or whenever this baby decides it’s ready to make an appearance.”

“Bye, Amelia.” She gives her friend a small wave and sits back in her chair thinking about Maya.


They meet at the park where they met up to watch the sunset. Carina suggested it. She said she wanted to see Maya before the day was over. And Maya had a short shift today, so it all worked out.

She teases Maya a little about the girlfriend thing.

“So, I got this text message today. Someone wants to be my girlfriend.” She raises an eyebrow at Maya.

“Shut up and watch the sunset with me.” Maya grumbles but takes Carina’s hand and holds it in her lap.

“Of course I’ll be your girlfriend.” She rubs her nose against Maya’s shoulder.

“I said shut up.” Maya mumbles. It’s quiet for a moment. “I’ve never had a girlfriend before.” She admits. “Sure, there were girls but nobody I was serious about or with or whatever.” She shrugs.

Carina grins like an idiot and leans into Maya’s side. She loves Maya’s little admission but needs to change the subject. Carina also knows Maya is telling her this and basically saying don’t make a big deal out of it, so she doesn’t. “Are we recreating our first date?”

“First date?”

Carina rolls her eyes. “Fine not our first date, but I think about it sort of being like our first date. But are we going to have sesso in your car again?” She’s excited about the prospect.

Maya furrows her brow and glances at Carina quickly before looking at the sunset again. Sesso.

“No.” Maya says resolutely.

“No?” Carina pouts.

Maya shakes her head. She looks straight out over the water. “You deserve so much more than cheap car sex.”

Carina hums. “Nothing is cheap with you, bella.”

“Even so.” Maya shrugs. “Unless there’s a rush- I thought we could go back to my place and have a glass of wine and just see what happens.”

Carina laughs lightly. She tucks Maya’s hair behind her ear, exposing it. “Whatever you want, bella.” She breathes into Maya’s ear, her lips brushing against it lightly.

Maya shifts as Carina’s lips tickle her ear. She shrugs. “Watch the sunset.” She instructs.

Carina rests her head on Maya’s shoulder and watching the sunset. They sit quietly as the sun sets. It’s as beautiful and amazing as the first time. Better this time than last time, Carina thinks. She knows. She knows it’s because of how her relationship with Maya has grown since that time.

“Let’s go home.” Maya says quietly after the sun had dipped past the horizon. She gets to her feet.

Home.

Carina wonders about that word and what it actually means. Home. It’s not about a physical structure to her. She’s lived a lot of places and they were technically her ‘home’. Sure, home is a place. Or it can be a place. But Carina thinks it’s more of a feeling than anything else.

“Let’s go home.” Carina whispers and takes Maya’s hands and Maya pulls her to her feet.

Chapter Text

She knows. Maya knows. She knows she shouldn’t let him do this. She knows she should stop him somehow. She tried. First, Sullivan ran in there against protocol and now this.

They argued about it, but Maya also knew that she was never going to win that argument. Never in a million years. Andy’s in there. Maya gets it. She gets it all, but she shouldn’t let him do this. She knows that.

Maya stands there at the bottom of the ladder as she watches Pruitt Herrera struggle to climb higher. As she watches him knowing that he is facing an almost certain death if he steps foot on that roof. She knows the risks and the danger.

He’s her mentor. A father figure. Her best friend’s dad. He’s the Captain of 19.

Maya watches him pull the axe from his side and start swinging it over his head. She wonders if she would be brave enough to do what Pruitt is doing right now. The team is in there. He’s trying to save the entire team. Would Maya do the same thing to save the entire team? If there was no one else around, would she do that?

She takes a deep breath. Ben comes over the radio with an update on his patient.

“Cap- Captain Herrera’s on the roof.” Her voice shakes with the words. Her eyes are glued to him, to the roof, as Pruitt swings the axe with everything that he’s got left in his sick body.

And then, he’s gone. Just like that.

Maya calls out over the radio but doesn’t get a response from Captain Herrera.

Numb, paralyzed. Maya stands there. She calls for a response team to recover the body knowing that he couldn’t have survived, knowing that she just stood there and watched Captain Herrera fall to his death. She just stood there. She had to stand there. She is in charge. The team flashed through her mind for a second. Andy. What Pruitt told her to tell Andy. Her stomach churns. She feels the bile at the back of her throat but swallows it down.

Vaguely, out of the corner of her eye she sees the team start to stumble out of the building one by one. Maya should feel relief, but she doesn’t. She looks over and the entire team is staring at her. The look on Sullivan’s face is the worst when he realizes right away what happened. It seems to take everyone a little longer as the confusion clears and reality sets in.

Maya bows her head and closes her eyes. It’s too painful to look at them. Too painful to look at Andy.

The fact that Maya feels pain instead of numb, that’s something. But in this moment, she’d rather feel numb. This is too much. She turns around and sits on the bottom step of the ladder, her head in her hands.

She thinks back to Rigo. That was only a few weeks ago. But this isn’t Rigo, this is worse. Way worse.


There’s a weak knock on Carina’s office door. “Yes.” She doesn’t look up from her paperwork.

Amelia pops her head around the edge of the door frame. “Mmm, Dr. DeLuca.” She whispers.

Carina looks up and narrow her eyes at Amelia’s head being the only thing she can see of the small brunette. Usually, Amelia just walks into the room so it’s odd for her to be hovering at the door. She’s not even hovering. Most of her isn’t even in sight. Carina isn’t sure what to say. “What is happening?”

“Uhh, well-“ Amelia steps into the doorway. “Apparently, my water broke.”

“Oh.” Carina pops up from her chair. “What are you doing here? You should be down in maternity.”

“I just thought I would go for a quick stroll.” Amelia smirks. “Ya know, before I have to be confined to a bed to push this thing out.”

Carina comes over and puts a hand on Amelia’s shoulder. “Let’s get you a wheelchair.”

“No. No. No.” Amelia shakes her head. “I can walk.” A contraction hits and she doubles over in pain.

Carina puts a hand on her back. “Okay. Breathe.” She takes a deep breath in. “In.” And she lets it out, hoping that Amelia is following her breathing. “Out.” She sighs. Amelia nods. “Good. Slowly, in and out. The contraction will pass.” She breathes in and out with Amelia for a minute before Amelia stands straight again, a hand on her hip.

“Maybe I’ll take that wheelchair now.” Amelia chuckles. “I know I’m Superwoman but maybe I’m not so super right now.”

“Okay. Okay.” Carina helps Amelia walk down the hall with a hand on her back. They find a wheelchair at the end of the hall near the elevator. Carina opens it up and Amelia flops down in it as Carina hits the elevator button.

Bailey comes into the room, getting everyone’s attention, looking for Link. She explains about a surgery that she needs Link to do. Then she reveals it’s Richard that needs the hip removed and replaced and that it’s cobalt toxicity.

It’s good to know that they found out what was wrong with Richard and that he has a diagnosis and can be treated. Carina wonders why it took so long to come to a diagnosis but also knows that these medical mysteries are often difficult to figure out.

Carina leaves to go check on other patients and get something to eat. She knows it will likely be hours before Amelia gives birth. She needs to be fueled up and ready to go.

“Did you hear about Dr. Webber?”

Carina looks over that the man standing next to her. His eager, happy smile is infectious.

She smiles in return. “I did, Dr. Schmitt. It’s very good news that they found out what was wrong.” Carina nods.

He puts a hand on Carina’s back as his passes by behind her. “What your brother did was amazing?” He’s gone.

“Andrea?” She mumbles as she looks in the direction of where Schmitt ran off to. She has no idea why he was even on this ward to begin with. The man always seems to just be popping up out of nowhere in the most random of places.

Carina looks around. She needs more information. She locks the tablet in her hand and walks off to find someone that will have more information. A thought of Amelia goes through her mind for a brief second, but she knows she has time.

She goes to the places where she knows her friends usually are in their down time but can’t find anyone, she knows that would have credible information. She goes to the surgery board and sees that Owen is in surgery. And so is everyone else it seems.

But then she spots Meredith down at the end of the hallway. Meredith is waiting to hear about Richard’s surgery, keeping herself occupied with work until she hears from someone about how it went. Carina hesitates. She’s not on the best terms with Meredith with everything that’s happening with Andrea. But she needs to know so she approaches the doctor.

“Dr. Grey.” She catches her attention.

Carina stuffs her hands into the pockets on her pink scrubs. “I heard there was a diagnosis with Dr. Webber.”

Grey nods. “There was. Andrew actually. He figured it out. They are in there now removing the old hip and putting a new one in.”

Carina nods. “How is he?”

“Dr. Webber should make a full recovery.” Grey looks donw at the tablet in her hands, preoccupied.

“No. Andrea.” Carina twists back and forth anxiously in front of Meredith Grey.

Meredith hums. “Well.” She looks at Carina thoughtfully.

“He won’t talk to me. I think he thinks I’m going to accuse him of being like papa again. But he’s not. I mean-“ Carina looks away from a moment, collecting her thoughts. “They have the same disease, but he’s not the same.”

“No.” Meredith agrees. She knows both men and knows what Carina says is true. “They are very different.”

“Si.” Carina nods.

“Andrew is-“ Meredith grimaces. “He seems to be hanging in there. I’m worried about him though. He needs treatment.”

“I know.” Carina sighs.

“The hardest part with this kind of thing is often getting the patient to see that they need help, that they need treatment.”

Carina scowls. She doesn’t like that Meredith referred to her baby brother as ‘the patient’.  “I know.” She repeats.

“He’s brilliant. So brilliant. His brain is so brilliant, and he will be an exceptional doctor if he gets the help he needs and can manage his illness. But I know he can. It’s just getting to that point.”

Carina just nods.

“He saved Richard’s life today.” Meredith reaches out and puts a hand on Carina’s shoulder. “I’m sorry he doesn’t want to talk with you right now. Just give him time.”

That’s the thing Carina is worried about. Time. How much time can pass before things change? How much time can go by with him in this state before something bad happens?

“Keep an eye on him for me.” Carina tells her.

“Don’t worry. I will.” Meredith nods and removes her hand from Carina’s arm.

“Thank you. I better get going.” She smiles about why she has to get going. “Amelia is in labor.”

Meredith smiles too. “I know. I was there when her water broke. Go bring my future niece or nephew into the world.”

Carina nods and spins on her heels with a happy smile.


It’s the end of a long day. Carina yawns as she gets back to her office. She’s changed out of her scrubs and is back in a pair of black slacks and a white sleeveless shirt. She grabs her bag and turns the lights off, leaving everything in her office until tomorrow.

Amelia delivered a healthy baby boy with the help of Dr. Bailey. Carina reaches for her phone in her bag and unlocks it. She happy with the results and there’s one person she wants to tell. She knows it’s a longshot, but she calls Maya. She’s on shift so the odds of her answering are about 50/50. She waits while it rings but the call goes unanswered. She sighs and starts to make her way out of the hospital to her apartment.

She gets home and has a shower and makes something to eat. She goes through the mail that had accumulated in her box. Carina hadn’t been home in a few days. She’d stayed over at Maya’s the last few days as the firefighter had three days off in a row. Carina feels like her and Maya are starting to hit their stride. Things are good. She tries calling Maya again, but it goes answered, again. She wonders if the team is out on a big call.

Carina flips through a magazine in bed for a little while before shutting the light off and going to sleep.

She’s awakened from her slumber by a buzzing noise. It’s a consistent on and off for about two minutes. It takes Carina a moment to realizes it her apartments intercom. She rubs her tired eyes and finds a pair of pajama pants to pull up her legs before making her way to the door. The buzzing had stopped.

She pushes the button. “Hello?”

There’s no answer from anybody. Carina sighs. Sometimes this happens, living in a popular district down near the hospital. People get lost or confused or are drunk. So, it’s not the first time someone has buzzed her door in the middle of the night. Carina takes a step before stopping. She’s about to head back to bed But something doesn’t feel right about this. She goes to the window and looks out. She’s up a few floors and at the front of the building, so Carina can see the street, but she doesn’t see anything when she looks out.

Carina grabs her keys and phone and heads for the door. She goes downstairs and pushes the front door open. She looks left and then right. That’s when she spots her. Maya throwing up in the shrubbery to the right of the front entryway of her apartment building.

“Maya?”

Maya holds a hand up, one finger in the air.

Carina steps outside, letting the front door close and lock. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be working? Aren’t you on shift?”

Maya puts her hands on her knees and takes a few labored breaths. “Sullivan made us go home early.” She stands up and wipes her sleeve over the mouth.

“The whole crew?” Carina is beyond confused.

That is, until Maya steps out of the darkness and into the light that hangs over the entryway. Carina sees it in her red, bloodshot eyes. “What happened?”

“He fell through the roof.” Maya stares at Carina, trying to feel something.

“Who?”

“I watched him fall through the roof.” Her words are measured, staccato.

“Who Maya?”

“To his death.”

“Oh, bella.” Carina reaches out and wraps Maya in a hug. “You smell terrible.” A mixture of smoke, and sweat, and alcohol.

Maya sags against Carina. “I know. Thanks.”

“Let’s get you upstairs.” Carina pulls Maya’s body with her. “Are you going to be sick again?”

Maya shakes her head against Carina’s chest. “Nope. There’s nothing left.”

Carina knows damn well that doesn’t mean a person can’t still continue to throw up. She also wonders if Maya means more than just the contents of her stomach.

They get upstairs and Carina pulls her straight into the bathroom. “Take your clothes off.”

“Buy a girl dinner first, geez.” Maya jokes.

Carina isn’t sure what this weird mood that Maya is in is all about. She saw her after Rigo died, but this is different. Carina reaches out and grabs the bottom of Maya’s Henley long sleeve shirt. “Arms up.”

“I’m not a child. I can do it myself.” She swats Carina’s hands away.

“Okay.” Carina says, clipped. She turns and starts the shower. “I tried to call you earlier.” Carina mentions, not sure how the news will be received.

“I know.” Maya burps. “Vic and I were drinking at the bar.”

Carina would be a little hurt that Maya didn’t answer her phone call, but knows that the woman is going through something right now. She hasn’t gotten to the bottom of it yet, but if Battalion Chief Sullivan sent the whole crew home than it must be serious.

“Amelia had her baby. I healthy baby boy. That’s why I called you.” Carina knows now isn’t the best time to be bringing this up, but she wants to think of happy things. She wants Maya to think of happy things.

Maya grunts and pulls her jeans down her legs. “One life is lost, and another is gained.” She mumbles only now realizing that her tennis shoe are still on her feet. “Fuck this.” She sits on the toilet.

“Let me.” Carina kneels on the floor and starts to untie Maya’s shoe before removing them along with her socks and then pulling the jeans the remainder of the way off of Maya’s legs. She stands and holds a hand out to Maya.

Maya doesn’t take it as she leans on the counter to push herself to her feet.

It’s weird. Even though Carina knows that Maya has been drinking the woman doesn’t seem to be too drunk. She’s really confused by this version of Maya standing before her. Carina tucks her arms to her chest, almost hugging herself as Maya climbs into the shower.

“Maya.”

Maya turns to look at her.

“You still have your bra and underwear on.”

“I know.” Maya nods and pulls the shower curtain closed. A moment later the bra is being thrown out of the shower, and then the pair on panties she was wearing.

Carina catches both and with a raised eyebrow looks down at the items in her hands. She grabs Maya shirt and jeans and throws them in the laundry and goes out into the bedroom and gets a clean t-shirt and pair of shorts for Maya to wear after her shower. She also gets a towel from the closet and then goes back to the bathroom. She, dutifully, sits on the toilet and waits for Maya to finish her shower.

The water turns off and Maya pulls the shower curtain open. Carina holds the towel out for Maya to take. “Thanks.” Maya mumbles and starts to towel off as Carina watches her.

“What happened?” Carina whispers. She doesn’t know if it’s too early to try to ask again or not.

Maya shakes her head. “Captain Herrera died.” She takes the shirt and shorts that Carina is holding out to her. The confusion on Carina’s face is clear as day. “It wasn’t the cancer.” She clears that up. Carina nods.

Maya hangs the towel on the hook on the wall that she uses when she stays here. Then, she grabs the toothbrush that is reserved for her from the holder. She puts toothpaste on it and starts brushing. “He fell through the roof.” She says around a mouthful of toothpaste, pulling the toothbrush from her mouth and waving it around in the air. “I watched it all happen.” Little droplets of toothpaste mixed with spit fly all over, some landing on Carina’s right arm. Maya laughs, cynically. “Actually, I let it happen. How fucked up is that?” She spits in the sink and rinses her mouth. She gives Carina a pointed look. “Are we going to bed?”

Carina stares at Maya for a moment before getting up and following the blonde to bed. To say Maya’s behavior is strange would be an understatement. There doesn’t seem to be any sadness or anxiety or fear. She just seems kind of numb, hollow. Her words don’t have any emotion behind them. Carina wonders if she’s just in shock and reality hasn’t set in yet.

“When did this happen?” Carina wonders what part of their shift they were in.

“Earlier this afternoon. Or maybe that was yesterday. What time is it?” Her words almost robotic.

“1:24.”

“So yesterday. You have to work tomorrow. We’ll sleep now.” Maya rolls onto her side from her back and pulls Carina to her chest, slipping a leg between Carina’s. She presses a kiss to her forehead and then one to her lips. “Goodnight, beautiful.”

Carina pushes a hand against Maya’s chest. “Maya, wait.” Maya hums. “This isn’t like you.” Maya pulls an annoyed face. Who is Carina to tell her what is and isn’t like her? “Tell me how you feel.”

“I don’t feel anything.”

“Because of the alcohol?” Carina wonders.

“No.” Maya shrugs. “Actually, I can feel that my buzz is wearing off.” She looks everywhere except at Carina. She won’t make eye contact.

Carina sighs. “Tell me what happened.”

“I did.” Maya frowns. They’ve been through it once, actually twice already. She knows she didn’t go into detail but she’s trying to spare Carina from the painful details. She doesn’t want Carina to have to deal with those.

Carina reaches up and puts her palm on Maya’s cheek. “You can tell me.” She strokes her thumb under Maya’s eye.

A shudder runs through Maya, and she thinks she might be sick again. She rolls over and pops out of bed and runs to the bathroom. Every time she thinks about what happened she feels the need to throw up. The painful reality makes her physically ill.

Her knees hit her floor and she opens the lid of the toilet in the same second. All that comes up is stomach bile.

Maya hangs over the bowl as Carina enters the bathroom. She sits next to Maya with her back against the tub. She pulls Maya’s blonde hair back and hold it in one hand while the other hand rubs slow circles across her back.

Maya groans. “It’s not from drinking.” Maya doesn’t drink to the point of getting sick.

“Okay.”

“Vic was hammered. I got her a cab and went home with her. I got her into bed and then I went home too. But I didn’t want to be there. It was too quiet.” Too lonely.

“So, you came here.”

“I didn’t know where else to go. I don’t want to bother Andy right now. I know Sullivan took her home.”

“That was nice of him.” Carina thinks it’s good that the team all looks out for each other.

Maya shakes her head.

“That wasn’t nice of him?” Carina wonders.

“She’s sleeping with him. Or something.” Maya has had her suspicions for a while now.

“Is that allowed?” Carina knows Sullivan has rank over Andy.

Maya lifts her head out of the bowl and smirks over at Carina. “Nope.”

“Dio mio.”

“I know, right.” Maya hangs her head over the toilet again. “Anyway, I have to talk to Andy. But I don’t want to, and she needs time and I need time.”

“You all do.”

Maya nods. “I don’t want to talk about it because it makes me physically ill every time I picture him up there.” She shakes her head. “What was I supposed to do?”

“I don’t know, bella. I wasn’t there.”

“You didn’t hear about this?” Maya wonders, glancing over at Carina again. She thought that was why Carina had called her earlier. That she heard about what happened on the news or at the hospital or something. Carina shakes her head.

“It should have be a routine call. Small fires in some of the units. It was at storage locker building. I should have prepared more. But then it went through the units in the ventilation system. I should have known the layout of the building. I should have known what the walls were made of and the roof. We got the civilians out. But there was heavy smoke and it was dark and disorienting. They got lost or confused. Trapped. My whole team. Inside. I told Sullivan we needed to vent the roof. And he said we’d go through the wall. But the building was cement block. You can’t just break through that. You need a battering ram or backhoe or some heavy duty equipment that you don’t just bring with you to every call.”

Maya sits up a little and presses her back to the side of the tub and sits next to Carina. “Can you get me a glass of water?”

“Si, bella.” Carina jumps to her feet and goes to get a glass before running it under the tap and handing it to Maya. She sits down again at Maya’s side.

Maya sloshes some water around in her mouth before spitting it into the toilet. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry.” Carina puts her hand on Maya’s knee, giving it a squeeze.

“No. I came here in the middle of the night. Interrupted your sleep. Now I’m dumping more of my crap on you.” Maya doesn’t want pity or sympathy. She just didn’t want to be alone with her thoughts.

Carina smiles. “You’re not dumping your crap on me.” She finds Maya’s hand that isn’t holding the water glass and holds it between hers. “I want to know. I want you to tell me these things. I want to know what you are dealing with and going through. Okay?”

Maya nods. She takes another drink. “They were trapped. And then fucking Sullivan broke protocol and ran in there. That’s how I knew him and Andy were a thing for sure. Leaving me by myself to figure everything out. Captain Herrera showed up.” Maya closes her eyes. She probably shouldn’t because every time she does the image of him falling through the roof is on the inside of her eyelids. She shakes her head and opens her eyes again. “Fuck.” She whispers.

“It’s okay.” Carina rubs her thumbs over Maya’s hand.

“He wanted to go on the roof. It was his idea. I knew it was a bad idea. I knew the roof wasn’t stable. I knew what he was doing. We argued about it. That might be the worst part.” Maya swallows down the lump in her throat. “He was my mentor. He was someone that I looked up to. Someone who picked me and taught me how to be a firefighter. He was like a father. He’s Andy’s dad.” Maya is shaking now.

Carina wraps her arms round her and presses a kiss to her temple.

“He was all of those things and the last conversation I had with him was arguing about him going up on that roof knowing that he was staring death in the face and choosing to still go up there. The worst part is he left me with a message for Andy. God, I don’t know how I’m going to talk to her.”

“You’ll figure it out, bella. You always do.” Carina encourages.

“I got the ladder into position, and I just stood there. I didn’t know what else to do. I felt so helpless. I just stood there and watched it happen. The team were suffocating, and he was on the roof, and I just stood there.”

“You had to.” Carina tells her.

“I know. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have this helpless feeling.” Maya breathes out a shaky breath. “And then he was swinging the axe over his head-“ Maya snaps her fingers. “Then he was gone.” She swallows hard. That sick nauseous feeling returns. Maya closes her eyes and breathes in and out slowly. It doesn’t work though, and Maya leans forward over the bowl again.

“Oh, bambina. I’m so sorry.” Carina soothes, her hand rubbing over Maya’s back again.

Maya takes a few minutes to collect herself again. She just stares straight forward for a while with her back to the tub.

“Watching him fall was what got me. I was frozen there at the base of the ladder. Then the team came out and they were all staring at me. That was a pain like I’ve never felt before. All eyes on me. I couldn’t even look at them. It was like they were judging me, blaming me. I turned away before I could make eye contact with anyone. To that point, I didn’t feel anything but then they saw me, and it was a weird sort of pain. Like it physically hurt for a while. I had to sit down. It feels so weird right now. Like it’s not real. But it is. I saw it happen. Me. And nobody else.”

“It’s probably shock or just a delayed reaction. Grief is strange sometimes. And it manifests itself in different ways. And it can be a different form of grief for everyone you know that passes.”

That makes sense. “You’re so smart.” Maya smiles over at Carina.

Carina chuckles a little. “Thank you, bella.”

They sit on the floor against the tub for a little while longer. Neither really saying much of anything. Carina with her arm around Maya and Maya with her head on Carina’s shoulder. “We should go back to bed.” Maya suggests.

“Sure.” Carina stands up and helps Maya to her feet. “Are you okay?” She sees Maya wobble little.

“I think I just need sleep.”

“Are you going to be able to sleep?”

Maya shrugs. “I’m going to brush my teeth again.”

“Good idea. Do you want me to wait or?” Carina thumbs over her shoulder in the direction of the bedroom.

“Ya know, Sullivan kicked us out of the station, and I thought about coming over here right away. But you were at work.” Maya voices quietly.

The soft smile on Carina’s lips is worth the admission in Maya’s opinion. It’s the soft smile that is just for her. Maya knows it’s just for her and it makes like butterflies flutter in her stomach every time she sees it. That soft smile makes her feel warm all over. Inside and out.

“You could’ve come to the hospital.”

Maya smiles. “You were delivering Amelia’s baby.” She whispers.

Carina nods. Her voice in an equal whisper. “Bailey was there too. She helped since Link had to do a surgery on Dr. Webber.”

“Is everything alright?” Maya asks, her senses perking up a little at the thought of something being wrong.

“It will be now. Andrea is the one who figured out what was wrong with Richard.” She says with pride.

Maya puts a hand on Carina’s hip and leans in and presses a peck of a kiss to Carina’s cheek. “That’s great.”

“It is.” Carina smiles.

“I went out with Vic, so, yeah.” Maya shrugs. “It’s not like I would’ve seen you at the hospital. It sounds like you were busy. It sounds like a super busy day over there.”

“It was.” Carina yawns. It’s late. She’s tired. She’s happy to be there for Maya but her sleep did get interrupted by the blonde.

“Go to bed. I’ll be in there in a minute.” She squeezes Carina’s hip before taking a step back. “And maybe set two alarms for in the morning.” Maya jokes, remembering their vacation alarm incident.

She hears Carina’s breathy laugh as she walks away. Maya sighs and looks at herself in the mirror. She finds she doesn’t look terrible. Bags under her eyes from lack of sleep. Bloodshot eyes a bit from drinking and throwing up. But she feels better than before she arrived at Carina’s apartment. She knows that has a lot to do with the wonderful Italian woman that she’s come to know and love. Maya shakes her head at herself.

She brushes her teeth again and heads to bed. Maya climbs into bed and realizes that Carina is already asleep. She presses a kiss to her cheek and then temple. Maya slides her arm across Carina’s waist and Carina shuffles closer to Maya in her sleep.

“I love you.” The words are shaky as Maya whispers them. She hopes that one day she will be brave enough to say those words out loud to Carina, in the daylight, not under the cover of night while the woman is off in dreamland.

She closes her eyes hoping that she can at least get a couple hours of sleep before she needs to be awake again and start dealing with everything that happened yesterday.


In the morning is when the sadness hits Maya. The tears stream down her face as soon as she wakes up and remembers what happened. She sits up in bed and looks down at the still sleeping woman next to her. She shifts trying to get out of bed without disturbing Carina. She knows the doctor needs to get up in a little bit too. But she wants to let her sleep as long as possible in return for having woken her in the middle of the night.

Maya tiptoes to the bathroom, trying to wipe the tears from her eyes as she goes. As she shuts the bathroom door a sob breaks loose. Maya throws her hand over her mouth and slides down the back of the door until she is sitting on the floor.

She doesn’t know for how long she sits on the floor crying, but eventually there’s a knock on the door. “Maya? Are you in there?”

Maya shuffles across the floor, pulling her knees to her chest, and opens the door. She is met with those magical warm brown eyes as she looks up. Carina is on the floor next to her before she knows what’s happening. “It’s okay, bambina.” Carina rocks them back and forth. “Cry. Let it all out.”

“I have to go to work.” Maya mumbles.

“I know.” Carina strokes Maya’s hair. “This first though.”

“We have to relieved C crew. They came in and finished our shift yesterday.”

“Okay.”

“I have to do the paperwork. Fill out the report.” Maya groans. “There’s going to be so much paperwork. And another investigation. That’s three this year. I know, technically Ryan wasn’t FD but still. Why does this keep happening?”

Carina doesn’t know who Ryan is or what the story is there, but she doesn’t ask. “I don’t know. You guys are just going through a bad stretch.”

“And Ripley before that.”

Carina has heard about Ripley. He was in the hospital for a while.

“It’s okay.” She rubs at Maya’s back. Carina hears the alarm on her phone go off. “Do you think we can get up soon? We both have to go to work.”

“I know.” Maya sniffs up all of the snot trying to run out of her nose.

“That’s very attractive.” Carina jokes.

Maya rolls her eyes. “Where are my clothes?”

“You can’t put those back on. They smell.”

“I wasn’t going to.” Maya starts to push herself up. “Just- I should take them with me.” She tries to be strong, collect herself.

Carina stands with her. “No, bella. I’ll wash them and get them back to you sometime. They stink and have throw up on them.”

“Sorry.” Maya mumbles. “And my backpack.”

“It’s by the door.”

“Thanks.” Maya smiles shyly.

“E stato un piacere.” Carina kisses Maya softly. “You get ready and then I’ll get ready, si?”

Maya nods. “Can I get some different shorts or pants though?” She looks down at what she’s wearing. “I don’t really want to walk into the station like this.”

Carina chuckles. “You mean, big bad Captain Bishop can’t be seen wearing a pair of pink shorts with white polka dots on them?”

“No.” Maya bites her lip.

Carina runs her hand down Maya’s arm, finding her hand, giving it a quick squeeze. “Okay.” She grins. “But I find it very adorable.” She reaches for the elastic waistband on the shorts and hooks her finger into them.

Maya rolls her eyes but there is a pleased smile on her face.

“There’s that smile.” Carina grins happy that Maya at least can smile right now. She leans in and kiss the smile. “You’ll be okay.”

Maya nods. “I know. It’s just-“

“A lot.”

Maya nods again. She looks up at Carina trying to convey everything that she is thinking and feeling into that one look. She tries to tell Carina thank you and I’m sorry and a number of emotions all wrapped into one.

Carina nods like she understands. “Get ready for work. I can walk with you to work if you want.”

Maya’s eyes raise high on her forehead like the thought is outrageous and never would have occurred to her.

“You have to be to work before I do.” Carina continues when she doesn’t get a verbal response from Maya.

“Right?”

Maya nods. “Yes. Right.”

“Bene.” Carina nods and goes to find clothes to wear and different pants for Maya.

Chapter Text

Carina goes down to check on Amelia and the baby. Just a quick pop in to see how they are doing before they go home.

She’s surprised to see Meredith Grey in the room. Maybe she shouldn’t be.

“Oh, hello.” Carina makes her entrance. “How is everyone doing today?”

“I’m good.” Linc replies right away. “Thanks for asking.”

“She was talking about me and the baby.” Amelia smirks over at Link.

Carina raises an eyebrow. “Mostly, si. But papa is part of everyone and an important part. So, I will ask again. How is everyone?”

Amelia rolls her eyes. “Come on, Dr. DeLuca.”

Meredith sits in the chair holding baby Scout staying out of the conversation.

“You know how mothers are after they give birth.” Amelia continues.

Carina tilts her head to the side. “Everyone is different. No two births or birth experiences are the same.”

“Right but-“ Amelia glances over at her son, beaming happily at him. “-we absolutely love him and couldn’t be happier.”

“Good.” Carina nods. “Glad to hear.” She looks over Amelia’s chart. All her numbers and labs look good. “I’d say-“ She raises the back of her hand to her mouth to cover a yawn. “Oh gosh, I’m sorry, I’d say if you are feeling up to it and the bambino checks out then the happy family can go home this afternoon.”

“Up all night Dr. DeLuca?” Amelia wiggles her eyebrows.

“Yes. Well, not all night. And nothing like you are suggesting. The fire captain died yesterday at a scene.”

Amelia wrinkles up her face in confusion. She can’t be talking about Maya because Carina surely wouldn’t be standing here right now, if she were.

“Sorry, former captain.”

Amelia sighs. “You had me really confused there for a second.”

“Sorry, it was a long night.”

“Then I probably shouldn’t tell you what I need to tell you.” Meredith stands and hands the baby over to his mother.

“Don’t sound so cryptic, Mer.” Amelia says playfully.

Meredith isn’t playing though. Carina looks over at Meredith and sees the concern on her face. “It’s Andrea?”

Meredith nods. “Would you like to step into the hallway or?” She looks over at Amelia, Linc, and the baby.

Carina glances over too. “You all live in the same house.”

“Yes, and I brought Andrew back to the house yesterday after Richard’s surgery. I found him sitting on the floor against a nurse’s station. He didn’t know what was going on. I think he was coming down from his high.”

“His manic state.” Carina corrects.

“Yes, that.” Meredith nods. “Anyway, he’s at the house. And now that Amelia and Linc and the baby are coming home-“

“You’re worried he’ll get agitated?” Carina asks what Meredith didn’t say.

“Well, he seemed fine with my kids running around this morning. He’s upstairs in the bedroom laying on the bed, curled up in a ball.” Meredith looks around at all the occupants of the room.

“What do you think we should do?” Carina doesn’t know why she says it. She doesn’t know why she is deferring to Meredith. Well, she does. It’s because Andrea won’t have anything to do with her. But for some reason he trusts Meredith to make decisions for him. It stings and that’s why Carina is so cool and indifferent towards Meredith most of the time now.

“Well, I want to wait a few days. See if he snaps out of it.”

Carina doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t like the sound of that idea though. She thinks he needs treatment, and he needs it now. It’s just a matter of how to make that happen at this point. Carina knows he’s in a depressive state now and that would be the time when he might listen to reason, when he isn’t so manic that nothing matters but the one thing on his mind at the time, when they would be able to get through to him.

“But-“ Meredith continues, seeing that Carina is just staring at her from across Amelia’s hosptial bed. “I think we need a back up plan, for if he doesn’t come around.”

“I agree.” Carina nods. She runs a hand through her hair, flipping it over to the other side. Her head spins a little and she feels a headache coming on. Carina rubs at her temple.

“I know, it’s a lot.” Meredith says, gently.

“I just wish he would talk to me.” Carina sighs. “I spent half the night up talking to Maya. She’s finally comfortable enough to open up to me, at least about work stuff, that with a little prodding and patience she usually tells me everything. I wish I could get Andrea to do that. He’s so private and closed off most of the time.”

“He is.” Meredith agrees.

“Can I come over and see him after my shift?” She hopes that maybe she can talk Andrea into getting treatment.

“Do you think that’s a good idea?” Meredith knows Andrew doesn’t want to talk to his sister.

“I have to try.” Carina nearly begs.

“Yeah, sure. I just don’t know how responsive he’s going to be.” Meredith gives Carina a sad smile.

Carina hangs her head. “I know.”

Amelia reaches out and takes Carina’s hand, giving it a squeeze.

“Grazie.” Carina mumbles. This has really brought down the mood in the room. Carina takes a deep breath. “I should get going. I have other patients to see. It was good seeing you all and seeing the piccolino.”

“Okay, have a good day.” Amelia tells her, giving her a sympathetic smile.

Carina smiles sadly and turns to exit the room. She walks down the hallway before finding a chair outside one of the rooms and has a seat. She just needs a minute. Carina knew this is the path Andrea was on. She knew they would get to this day. She knew that but that doesn’t make it any easy. It’s not something you can really prepare yourself for in totality.


It’s been a long day. The paperwork. Checking in on Andy and Sullivan. Getting a sense of where the team is at with dealing with Captain Herrera’s death. Dealing with her own emotions while remaining strong and capable has forced Maya’s head to pound with pain. She sets her pen down and rubs at her temples.

All of that and having to argue with Dixon about her emotions. She didn’t want to cry in front of him. Anybody but him. He doesn’t need another excuse to boot her from the job. But he’s got more than one now. He goes in on her about letting Pruitt onto the roof. He blames her, even though Sullivan is just as much ‘at fault’ as she is.

She knows where she stands. She knows he’s not going to do anything to Sullivan. Sullivan is his golden child. Maya is mad, on top of sad, on top of grieving, on top of exhausted. But she argued with him to give Pruitt a line of duty funeral anyway. Which he isn’t going to do.

It’s all so much.

After Dixon leaves, there’s on knock on her door. Maya has her head down on the desk hoping her headache well magically go away. “What?”

“Hey, Cap.” Vic tries to say with as much cheer as possible.

Maya raises her head and squints at Vic. “What do you need?”

“Rough night last night?” Vic slides into the chair opposite Maya.

“You were hammered. How are you ever vertical?”

Vic smiles. “I always bounce back like nothing ever happened.”

Maya frowns. “I wasn’t that drunk.” Her stomach grumbles. She couldn’t stomach anything this morning but water and a half piece of toast that Carina made her eat before she let her leave for work. She smiles thinking about how much Carina cares for her. “But, I was up half the night.”

“Doing?”

Maya shrugs.

“Sexy things?” Vic inquires.

Maya groans. “Do you think now is the time for sexy things?”

“No.” Vic hangs her head. She knows it’s not.

“What’s up with you and Avery?” Maya asks, turning the subject back on Vic.

Vic shrugs. “You know about that?”

“I’m the captain. I know everything.” Maya folds her hands together on the desktop. “So, where’s that at?”

Vic groans. “It’s so frustrating. Jackson’s like an old man. He wants to go slow and be friends and develop a relationship. I don’t know. It’s all over the place.”

Maya just nods and smiles.

“Don’t look at me like that.” Vic grumbles and bows her head before thinking of something. “How’s your doctor?”

Maya’s smile grows. “Fine. Thank you.”

“Oh, come on. That’s all you’re going to give me?”

“Yep.” Maya nods.

Vic groans. “Get up, you’re coming with me.”

“Where are we going, Hughes?”

“You’ll see.” Vic grabs on to Maya’s elbow and drags her through the station.

“I don’t want to see. I want to know before I get there.” Maya grumbles, not liking the idea. She knows Vic has something up her sleeve and she knows it probably has to do with this calendar idea.

“I feel like you could be a summer month. A hot chick for a hot month.” Vic mumbles mostly to herself.

“I’m a fire captain for the Seattle Fire Department. I hardly think that’s appropriate.” Maya argues.

“Oh, come on. Do it to cheer me up.” Vic stops them and looks over at Maya with a pout. “Please?”

Maya rolls her eyes. “Fine.” She knows it’s for a good cause.


She doesn’t really know how she got there but somehow Carina is getting out of her car at the fire station. One minute was finishing her shift at the hospital, the next she was at Meredith’s place trying to talk to her brother. And now. Carina looks up at the front of the fire station.

Her feet take her forward seemingly of their own accord. It’s like Carina isn’t even telling them to do it. They just now what to do. Like her body is on autopilot and it knows exactly where it needs to go, needs to be.

“Hey, Dr. DeLuca.” Travis smiles when he spots her. “What are you doing here? We were just reminiscing about all the good stories we have of Captain Herrera.” The crew sits around the table.

Carina isn’t in a smiley mood though. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disrupt. I can come back another time.”

Maya pops out of her chair and turns towards Carina. “Hey.” She mouths.

Carina nods. “You guys are busy. I’ll go.”

Maya hurries over to her and catches Carina’s elbow before she can turn away. She knows something is up by the way Carina’s eyes don’t sparkle like they usually do or how she hasn’t smiled yet.

“You’re welcome to sit with us.” Vic offers. “Even though you didn’t know Pruitt.”

“No, that’s fine. I don’t want to interrupt.” Carina offers.

Maya hums. Something is really wrong with this woman. “We’ll be in my office.” Maya mumbles and tugs gently at Carina’s elbow to turn her towards the office.

“What’s up?” Maya asks. She doesn’t want to use the word wrong because, well, that implies that something is wrong, and it is, and Maya knows that, but she doesn’t want to voice it.

“Andrea.” Carina sighs and hangs her head.

“Here.” Maya offers up her office chair, leading Carina to sit in it. She pulls another chair around the desk and sets it facing Carina. “What happened?”

“I’m not really sure, to be honest. He won’t get out of bed. He diagnosed Richard and was in the surgery but then after- Meredith found him. He was confused and didn’t know what was going on, so she brought him home and I just went to see him.” Carina sighs. “He looks so small and so scared and so broken.”

Maya rubs her palms up and down Carina’s thighs, leaning forward in the chair, hanging onto every word that leaves Carina’s lips.

“He needs treatment, but Meredith wants to wait. See if he snaps out of it.” Carina puts on a Meredith accent, mocking her. “But he’s not just going to snap out of it, Maya. I’ve seen it before. With my father, with Andrea even. He could be like this for weeks or longer if something isn’t done.”

“Then do something. What’s stopping you?”

“Meredith. Andrea.” Carina takes Maya’s right hand in between hers. The rubbing on the legs is soothing but more distracting than anything. “He won’t even talk to me. I just visited him. He’s just a lump in the bed. All I got were a few grunts from him.”

“Come here.” Maya stands up. Carina raises an eyebrow. “Come on.” Maya gives her a half smile.

Carina stands and Maya wraps her in a tight hug. She sighs, thankful more than anything that Maya understands this and that Maya is willing to be there. No one has ever done that. Be there to care and to listen to her problems or what she is going through, until now. Until Maya. Carina had been afraid to tell Maya anything about herself. That old fear of rejection. That old fear of no one caring. That feeling that she wasn’t worth caring about. No one has ever focused on her the way Maya is focusing on her right now.

Maya loosens the hold she has on Carina so she can lean back and look into her eyes. That sparkle isn’t quite there, but it’s better than when she first arrived at the station. Those rich brown eyes a little brighter than they were earlier. “I have an idea.” Maya whispers.

Carina raises an eyebrow.

“Follow me.” Maya takes a step back; her hands find Carina’s as she steps backwards again. Carina takes a step forward and Maya walks backwards until they are in her bunk room. “Sit.” Carina does as she’s told and sits on the edge of the bed. Maya gets down on the floor on her knees. She unzips the little zipper on the side of Carina’s heeled boot and pulls it off of her foot. She looks up and locks eyes with Carina and starts rubbing her foot.

Carina closes her eyes when they start to fill with tears. Maya’s hands and fingers rub and massage her foot for a minute before she goes to take the other boot off. Carina sighs once her foot is released. It wasn’t a particular hard day at work and her feet aren’t sore but it’s still nice to have her feet free from shoes. She opens her eyes when the magic hands are gone, and Maya is standing up.

Maya goes over to the little sink. “Do you want some water?” She washes her hands.

“Yes, please.”

Maya fills a glass and brings it back over to the bed. She lets Carina get a big drink before taking the glass back. Maya pops two ibuprofen in her mouth and washes them down with a gulp of water. “I have a headache.” She explains.

Carina puts a hand on the small of Maya’s back just now remembering all the ‘stuff’ Maya had to deal with today. “How did it go today?”

Maya shrugs. “Not terribly, I guess. I could have held my cool with Dixon better, but it is what it is. I’m not going to worry over it. What’s done is done. I will defend my decisions and choices and myself, but he’s not ever going to see things my way so there’s not much point.”

“Do you have any more of those?”

“What?” Maya glances over at Carina.

Carina lays her head on Maya’s shoulder. “I have a headache too.”

Maya pops off from the bed without saying anything. She grabs two more ibuprofen and comes back with a full glass of water. “Sounds like we both had absolutely wonderful days.” Maya chuckles sarcastically.

“It’s a little better now.” Carina says and swallows the pills that Maya hands to her.

The soft pleased smile on Maya’s face is more than anything to tell Carina that it’s the same for her. “You wanna lay down?” Maya whispers, there’s something scary about asking that. It’s not like it’s not something they’ve done before. Heck, they sleep in the same bed more nights than not nowadays. But, this, here, at the station. It feels different.

Carina is laying down almost before Maya even finishes asking. Maya nods and lays on the bed on her side, facing Carina.

“Take your shoes off.” Carina mumbles.

“I can’t.” Maya shakes her head lightly. They have to stay on in case there is a call, and she has to rush off. She reaches up and tucks some of Carina’s loose hair behind her ear. She circles back to Andrew. “Just so you know-“ She swallows down the thickness in her throat. “-whatever you need, with Andrew, I’ll do what I can.” Maya isn’t going to make any promises because she has work and is captain and sometimes you can’t just work around that. But, if she’s available and free than she’s willing to offer up support for both DeLuca siblings.

Carina closes her eyes. “Thank you, bambina.” It’s almost overwhelming the amount of support that she is receiving from Maya. At one point, Carina wasn’t sure if Maya was even capable of it but now, now Maya is offering so much even if she doesn’t know she is doing it.

“You.” She runs her finger across Carina’s forehead. “Are.” And down her nose. “Very.” And a thumb across her cheekbone. “Welcome.” And then nudges Carina’s jaw with a curl knuckle. Maya seals it with a soft kiss. Carina shudders and shakes a little and it takes Maya a moment to realizes that she is crying. “Hey. No.” She sets her palm on Carina’s cheek. “It’s okay. I’m sorry. Did I say the wrong thing? I didn’t mean-“

Carina is shaking her head. “No, Maya.”

“Okay, then what is it?” Maya worries.

“Every- everything.” Carina stutters.

Maya hums. She leans in and presses her lips to Carina’s again. She’s not sure what to say, so she doesn’t say anything. She kisses Carina’s chin and her cheek and her nose before pressing her lips to Carina’s forehead and letting them linger there. “You’ll figure it out. We’ll figure it out.” Maya gulps down the bit of uneasiness at those words. “Andrew will get treatment and he will get better. I’m sure of it.”

“I have an idea.” Carina says, her voice is hoarse. She’s been thinking about her idea since Meredith told her Andrea was unwell this morning when she was visiting Amelia and the baby. She isn’t proud of the idea that floats around in her head, but she can’t think of anything else that could work. Carina will need help though and she will need to get others on board with her idea, but if she does, it just might work.

Maya hums waiting for Carina to voice this idea, but Carina shakes her head. “I can’t tell you yet.”

“Okay.” Maya is fine with that. As long as there is a yet at the end of the sentence it means Carina will tell her when the time is right. She rubs her hand up and down Carina’s back. “Okay.”

Maya speaks quietly as she tells Carina in detail about her day. She talks about Dixon and the calendar fundraiser and how ridiculous she thought she looked in a swimsuit and her turnout pants.

“Amazing.” Carina mumbles sleepily.

“What?” She hadn’t thought Carina had been listening. Maya was mostly talking for something to do, to fill the silence, to give them something other than the sad negative thoughts in their heads.

Her eyes had been closed as she listened to Maya talk. “I bet you looked amazing.” Carina yawns.

Maya chuckles and shakes her head a little. “Thanks, babe. But you didn’t see it.” Maya dances her fingers up and down Carina’s arm. She alternates between that and just holding onto her hand loosely. She keeps talking about the set up and what Travis and Vic had her do and how ridiculous it all seemed. Maya talks and speaks lightly and doesn’t realize that Carina has fallen asleep.

“What else did you do today?” Maya asks the question but doesn’t get a response from the Italian.

“Carina?” Her eyes search all of Carina features for any clue that she is awake. There are none.

So, Maya slips her arm over Carina’s hip, resting it there, still, and watches her sleep for a little bit. She’s not surprised with everything that’s happened in the last two days. The poor woman is probably exhausted.

She is interrupted by a knock on her office door though. She barely hears it from inside the bunk room. Maya would willingly lay in bed all day with Carina just to make her feel better. But she quickly and as quietly as possible gets out of bed and scrambles to the bunk room door. She slips out into her office and runs a hand over her hair, smoothing it out from where she had been laying on it.

“Oh, there you are. Did Carina leave?” Vic plops down in a chair.

Maya raises her index finger to her lips and shakes her head. “No.” She whispers.

Vic quirks an eyebrow at that.

“She’s sleeping.” Maya speaks quietly.

“Awwww.” Vic coos.

Maya walks over to where Vic is seated. She stands next to her and folds her arms over her chest, trying to look intimidating. “After our little rendezvous last night, I showed up at her place and kept her up half the night. So, she’s tired.” Maya leaves out the part about Andrew.

“Look at you, Bishop.”

“What about me?” Maya grumbles, not liking where this is going already.

“Taking care of your girl.”

Maya only hums in reply. She looks away from Vic. “It’s what she’s done for me.” It’s barely above a whisper.

“So, you feel obligated to do the same or return the favor or whatever?”

Maya shrugs. That’s not how she feels. The word obligated makes it sound so negative. It’s not an obligation. It’s not anything other than Maya feeling like she wants to be there for Carina during a hard time. It’s a want or a need not an obligation.

“I just came to see if you guys wanted to join us for a few rounds of cards in a little bit but-“ Vic tips her head towards Maya’s bunk room.

“Maybe another time.” Maya mumbles, still in her head about why she wants to take care of Carina. Everything she thinks of circles back to one thing. The one thing that she feels but scares her and terrifies her and doesn’t know how to do. Love.

She wonders for a moment if that’s why Carina has taken care of her. Love. Does Carina love her? It’s one thing to think you are in love with someone. It’s a completely entirely other thing to realize or be told that someone is in love with you or loves you back. It’s like the possibility that Carina loves her has just entered Maya’s mind for the very first time. She wonders if it’s possible. Or how it’s possible.

Maya doesn’t do love. She doesn’t think anyone has ever loved her. Well, maybe her dad. He loved her so much that he trained her himself and got her to the Olympics and won gold. But other than that. And that’s a different kind of love. That’s familial love. The love of a parent for a child. This isn’t. This is something different. Bigger. Scarier. Romantic love.

“Maya?”

Maya raises an eyebrow. “Hmm.”

“Where’d you go?”

Maya sets her jaw, slightly on edge because of her own thoughts. “I’m right here.”

Vic laughs lightly and taps at her skull.

Maya rolls her eyes. “Get out.” She nods at the door.

“Oh, come on. The guys are driving me nuts. Can’t I just stay in here for a while.” They just keep talking about Pruitt and Vic doesn’t want to talk about Pruitt anymore. She’s sad and she just wants to be sad and not be forced to reminisce. Vic told them she was coming to get Maya so they could start a game of cards.

“No.”

“Please?” Vic begs.

Maya thinks it over. She feels bad for Vic. For the whole team. They are going through a lot of emotions right now. “Whatever. But only if you are quiet. I don’t need you waking Carina up.”

Vic smirks. “So, what’s the plan?”

“For?”

Vic shakes her head. She can’t believe Maya hasn’t thought this through yet. “There’s a girl sleeping in your bunk.”

“Carina’s not a girl.”

Vic wants to laugh but saves her friend from it. “No. She’s a grown ass woman. Asleep in your bunk. At the fire station where you are the captain.”

Maya’s eyes get big and wide. “Oh.”

“That might look bad.”

“Well, no one is going to know if you don’t tell anyone.” Maya shrugs.

Vic stands from her chair to leave Maya to handle her little predicament. “I won’t but- you know you can’t let her sleep here all night.”

Maya bows her head with a sigh. “I know. I just feel bad. Last night- I woke her up. And I don’t want to have to do it again.”

“I know.” Vic pats Maya on the arm. “But you have to. Get her a cab home and wake her up and send her off.” She suggests. Maya nods. “We’ve all had a rough few days. I’m sure she understands.”

“We were just laying down. She wasn’t supposed to fall asleep.”

“You don’t have to explain anything to me, Maya.” With that Vic leaves to go find the guys and give Maya a little time with Carina. She gets to the door and turns and gives Maya a wink.

“What was that for?”

“This is a side of you I’ve never seen before. That’s all.” Vic likes seeing this softer side of Maya.

Maya huffs and rolls her eyes. So what? She has a soft spot for Carina and wants to do things for her and take care of her and make her feel better. That doesn’t mean she was some emotionless crazy person before. Or uncaring or whatever Vic thinks.

“Seriously. You should join us for cards. When you’re done here.” Vic nods at the bunk room.

Maya nods in reply and looks over at the closed door. Vic makes her exit and Maya goes back to the bunk room door. She puts her hand on the handle and opens the door slowly. She doesn’t want to have to do this. Can’t she just let Carina sleep? What’s the big problem with that?

“Carina.” She whispers and sits on the edge of the mattress. She rubs her hand up and down Carina’s arm. “Wakey wakey.” She coos and wonder where the words came from. Maya has never said anything like that in her entire life. It’s sound so chessy coming from her mouth.

Carina rolls onto her back and puts an arm across her eyes, hiding them in her elbow.

“I’m sorry to do this but you can’t sleep here.” Maya reaches up and gently pulls Carina’s arm away from her face.

“It’s your fault.” Carina pouts.

“Oh really?” Maya giggles.

“Yeah, you wanted us to lay down.”

Maya shrugs. “Fair.”

That gets a little giggle out of Carina.

“I’ll take the blame for that. But what I won’t take the blame for is having a civilian sleep the entire night in my bunk.” Maya explains.

Carina pushes herself up onto her elbows. “I know. But thank you.”

Maya shakes her head. “You don’t need to-“

Carina cuts her off with a kiss to her lips. She wraps her hand around the back of Maya’s head and pulls her in tight thanking her through her kiss. She releases Maya’s lips with a wet smack. Maya chases after her for more but Carina leans back. “Thank you, Captain Bishop.” She puts a hand on Maya’s chest, keeping her at bay.

Maya groans. “You can’t do that.”

“I just did.” Carina wiggles her eyebrows. She yawns then and raises her arms to stretch. “This letto isn’t bad.” She pushes her hands up and down against the mattress. Though her nap was short Carina feels a little better. “How long was I asleep?”

“Half hour maybe.” Maya shrugs. She didn’t clock it. “I can call you a cab and make sure you get home okay. Or I can have one of the guys take you in the station truck.”

“The fire truck?” Carina doesn’t think that’s right.

Maya shakes her head. “It’s just a pickup truck for the captain or battalion chief or whoever is the bigwig at that station.”

“Bigwig.” Carina tries the strange term that she has never heard anyone use before. “I can drive. I drove here.”

“Are you sure? It’s late. I can arrange something. I just-“

Carina puts a hand on Maya’s bicep. “Are you worried about me?”

Maya pouts and nods.

“I’ll be fine, Maya. Will you walk me out?”

Maya nods. She stands and waits for Carina to sit up and put her shoes back on. She watches her intently, thinking about what has played out between them in the last two days. The support she’s gotten from Carina and vice versa is intense. It’s a feeling Maya isn’t accustomed to. She’s never had anyone that was a positive support with a cheery disposition and attitude. The lightness and positive that Carina brings into Maya’s life is rather eye opening for her.

That cheery disposition is absent today and it makes Maya sad. She’s sad that Carina is sad. It seems so wrong for the wonderful, bright, amazing Italian to be sad about anything.

“Ready.” Carina stands.

Maya nods and holds out her hand automatically. She smiles when Carina smiles just a tiny bit as she takes Maya’s hand. It’s the little things. A little smile here or there when the mood is somber to lift it up just a little.

They silently out the front of the station, into the parking lot. Carina unlocks her car. They stand facing each other at the driver’s side door neither quite sure what to say.

Carina looks down between them at the ground before raising her eyes again. Her slowly rakes her eyes up Maya’s body, her uniform, the collar of her button down with the silver bars on it. She thinks about asking Maya what they mean. But now isn’t the time.

Instead, she slips two fingers the snaps on Maya’s shirt, hooking her and pulling her close. “One day I’d like to be the one to take this uniform off of you.”

It takes Maya a moment to get the suggestive reference. “Oh.” Her eyes get big. “OH.”

Carina chuckles lightly.

Maya always gets changed at the station but she’s thinking right now that maybe one day she could wear her uniform home after a shift.

Carina wraps her arm around Maya’s shoulder and guides her into a long, slow kiss. She takes her time and really relishes in the simplicity of the kiss. It’s not rushed. Not hungry. It’s a simple assurance to say hey I’m here and you’re here and thank you and you’re welcome and you’ve got this. A bit of a check in. To be on the same page with each other.

“Maya.” Carina sighs her name.

“I love the way you say my name.” Maya knows it’s not the right thing to say right now but she couldn’t help it. “No one says it the way you do.”

“It’s the accent, isn’t it?” Carina raises an eyebrow.

Maya shakes her head. “I don’t know if it’s that. You’re accent is very sexy though. Have I told you that before?”

“You may have.” Carina smirks.

“It just the way you say it like it’s- I don’t know-“ Maya shrugs. “Important or something. Like it matters. Like it means something.”

“Oh Maya.” Carina rolls her name off her tongue again. “It is important. You are important. Just like your name.”

All Maya can do is nod. She doesn’t always feel important. When someone calls her Captain Bishop she feels important. But never before has she felt important when someone called her simple Maya. Her mom would always say her name quietly. Her dad hardly used her Maya, calling her kiddo or sport or champ instead. There’s just something about the way Carina says it that has Maya thinking about it, that’s all.

“You should go home. Get some sleep.” Maya locks eyes with Carina. “Okay?”

“Okay.” Carina nods. “I’ll see you-?”

“After next shift. We need a date night.”

A small smile tugs at Carina’s lips. After everything that’s been going on she’s more than happy to spend a quiet night with Maya. “I’m looking forward to it.”

“Don’t get your hopes up too high. I’m not good at that stuff, remember.”

Carina leans in a presses a kiss to the corner of Maya’s mouth. “As long as it’s with you it will be amazing.”

Maya rolls her eyes at the cheesy line but she feels the same. They could do absolutely nothing but sit on the couch and it would be a perfect evening. “I’ll think of something.”

“Okay, bella. I’ll see you. Call me in the morning.” Carina squeezes Maya’s arm and reaches for the car door.

“Wait.” Maya stops her and reaches out to pull Carina into one last hug. “One for the road.”

They stand in an embrace for a long minute. “Okay. I’m ready.” Maya mumbles. She thinks she needed that as much or more than Carina did.

“I’m not.” Carina holds onto her for a little bit longer. “Okay. Now. Or I’m never going to let go.” She releases Maya from the hug and takes a step back. “Bye.” She gets in the car and rolls down the window.

“Get back to work, Captain Bishop. No more fraternizing with civilians.”

Maya bends down and looks into the window. “I didn’t mean to call you a civilian- earlier.” She cocks her head to the side.

“I know. I’m teasing you.”

“Right.” Maya nods. “I knew that.” And she did, it’s just that everything is so crazy it’s hard to tell up and down from left and right and jokes for seriousness right now. “I’ll see you later. I lo- like your car.” Maya panics. “By the way. I like your car. Have I told you that? Very fancy. Very professional. Very doctor like.” She doesn’t even know what she is saying.

Carina chuckles. “Thank you, Maya.” She says smoothly, totally catching Maya’s near slip of the tongue. “It’s late. I’ll talk to you in the morning.”

Maya just nods and takes a step back. She’s making a complete fool of herself. “Bye.” She waves a little.

Carina smiles and waves and shift her car into gear and driving out of the parking lot. Maya watches until she can’t see the car anymore before sighing and going back inside. She’s got a lot to think about.

Chapter Text

They have a ‘date night’ tonight after Carina is done with work. Maya is trying to plan the whole thing out. Not that there is a whole thing but she feels anxiety about having a plan.

She stops at the edge of the park to catch her breath. Bent over, hand on her knees.

Dinner. That’s what Maya has planned. Dinner and a movie? But at a movie they can’t talk. No movie. Dinner and some other activity.

Maya stands up straight, hands on her hips, and tips her head back, taking in deep breathes of air. Her run was brutal, punishing. Just how she wanted it to be.

Dinner and a walk in the park. But is that too boring. They’d be able to talk. Or is talking at dinner enough. They don’t need to talk all night. Do they need to talk at all?

Maya’s got the dinner part all down. She made a reservation at a newish Thai place that is a few blocks from her apartment. She’s never been there but would like to try it. She had asked Carina if she ate Thai food and when she said yes, she knew she didn’t have to worry about the dinner part anymore. It’s the everything else about the date that Maya needs to worry about now.

After a few stretches, Maya hops in her car and drives home. A shower later, she is writing down ideas for their date. She’s only got two. Movie. Walk in the park. She taps her pen on the piece of paper for a few minutes as she tries to think of ideas. Nothing substantial or concrete develops in her head.

Maya gives up and starts cleaning the apartment. She is frustrated with lack of ideas and planning but remembers what Carina told her. As long as it’s with you, it will be amazing.

She wants to impress Carina with their date but knows that she doesn’t have to and that it will be fine if she doesn’t. It’s just that Maya usually puts her all into everything she does. To not do that feels weird. But she’s tired and sad and a down still about Pruitt and everything so she’s not going to fuss over it anymore. Instead, she fusses over cleaning the apartment.


“What did you do today?” Carina asks as their food is brought to the table.

Maya hums and looks over her plate with big hungry eyes. “I went for a run, I tired to think of things to do on our date but didn’t come up with anything. I realized that maybe it was okay not to come up with anything and that it wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t. So I tried to get over the feeling of like I was failing at the date by cleaning the apartment.”

Carina chuckles lightly. Maya and her stubborn ways. She likes that Maya is driven and passionate about everything that she does. Carina thinks maybe to a fault at some points, but that’s Maya’s way of living. To do the best, to be the best. But maybe it progress that Maya has acknowledged that she doesn’t have to stress out about everything. About their date. And that it’s okay if she doesn’t have a plan for absolutely everything in life.

“So, you’re saying you don’t have any other plans for our date.” Carina raises an eyebrow.

Maya shakes her head.

“Okay. Good.”

“Why? Do you have a plan?” Maya is excited that maybe Carina thought of something for them to do.

“I do not.”

“Oh.” Maya pouts.

“Don’t sound so disappointed, bella.”

Maya sinks down in her seat. “I just wanted tonight to be good, ya know?”

Carina reaches across the table and takes Maya’s hand, giving it a squeeze. “It will be. It is.”

Maya takes a deep breath and looks into Carina’s eyes. She sees the honestly and sincerity in her eyes, the reassurance that whatever they do tonight during their ‘date night’ will be good, will be satisfactory, will be enough  . She nods. “Okay.”

“Now eat your dinner or you don’t get any dessert.” Carina says playfully.

Maya drops her jaw, leaving her mouth hanging open, in mock offense. “It’s hard to eat when you’ve got your hand wrapped around my right hand. Fork and all.”

Carina’s eyes glance down at Maya’s hand. She watches as she rubs her thumb over the back of Maya’s hand. She sighs and pulls her hand away. “I’m glad we are doing this.”

It’s been a rough few days. Carina still feels exhausted, but her spirits are better. Andrea isn’t any better though. He still is holed up in Meredith’s house. She doesn’t want to push him or pressure him, but she knows something has to change. And it’s exhausting to think about that all the time.


“So, what’s next? Any ideas?” Carina wraps her hand around the inside of Maya’s arm as they exit the restaurant.

Maya shrugs. “I thought we could have a nice little stroll back to my apartment.”

“Lead the way.”

They spot a runner in bright neon colors. And Maya comments on how they look like they stepped right out of the 80s.

“I kind of like it.” Carina comments. “It’s fun and bright and nobody will miss spotting them or run into them or anything.”

“I had an outfit like that once.”

“Recently?” Carina would love to see this outfit.

Maya shakes her head. “I was four or five. A total snot of a kid. I hated it.”

“It couldn’t have been that bad.”

“Oh, it was.” Maya presses her lips tight together trying to decide if she should go on or just drop the subject right there. She could drop it and Carina wouldn’t be the wiser. But- “You know Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?”

“The what?” Carina stops on the sidewalk and glances at Maya with a little curious tilt to her head.

“It’s a musical. But that’s not the point. It’s the story of Joseph from the Bible.”

Carina nods. “That, I’m familiar with.”

Maya grins. “That’s not the point either.”

“Then what’s the point.” Carina bites her lip around her smile. “Why do you bring up Joseph?”

“It’s his coat. Of multi colors.”

“I’m so lost Maya.”

Maya puts her hand on top of Carina’s that is on her arm. “Come on. I’ll show you.”

They pick back up their walk. “Where are we going?”

“Home.” Maya mumbles. She looks left and then right before crossing the street. “My dress wasn’t bright neon colors, per say, but it was multi colors. I called it my Amazing Technicolor Dreamdress. Like Joseph’s coat.”

“I thought you hated it.”

“I did. Well, I didn’t. I liked the pattern. It was all these different sized squares of different colors. I hated that it was a dress.” She smirks. “That I was forced to wear it. I was at a stage where I was rebelling and wanted to make my own decisions on what I was going to wear for the day.”

“I bet you made it look adorable though.” Carina teases.

“Oh, shut up.” Maya rolls her eyes. “It was for my Preschool Graduation.”

“You had a Preschool Graduation?”

“Oh, yes. It was a very serious ordeal. A bunch of four year old’s dressed up in the latest early 90’s fashion. Wait til you see it.” Maya says with a little giddy smile.

“See what? The dress? You still have it?”

“God, no. The video. I have a VHS tape of my Preschool Graduation.” She looks up at Carina with a smile in her eyes. “I can’t believe I’m even admitting this or going to show it to you.” No one has seen that video. No one outside of her family. And, of course, the other kids that were in her Preschool class that probably have a copy somewhere too.

Carina glances over at Maya. She doesn’t know what to think or even say. “I can’t wait then.”

Maya hums. “Come on.” She’s eager to get home now as a strange feeling sits in her belly. Excitement. Anticipation. Where usually she would be embarrassed to show someone a video like her Preschool Graduation, she’s nothing but excited to show it to Carina. “You can’t tell anyone else this video exists though.”

Carina crosses over her heart with her index finger. “So, what happens in this video?”

“We sing and do skits. And get our diplomas.”

“Of course.” Carina nods.

“I make the introduction speech.”

“Oh, dio mio.” Carina sighs. “How precious.”

Maya raises an eyebrow and glances at Carina. “Don’t say that. You haven’t seen it yet.”

They make it back to Maya’s apartment and Maya runs through to her bedroom and goes straight for the closet for the box that the tape is in.

“I’ll just make myself at home.” Carina calls after her with a small chuckle. The excitement in Maya is cute and adorable and childlike. It’s not something Carina has seen before. A rather giddy Maya.

“Yeah, sure babe. Do whatever. Maybe get us a snack. I think there’s some of that cheap boy scout popcorn in one of the cupboards from when they came by the station, and I was practically strong armed into buying multiple boxes. That was months ago, and I think there’s still a full box left. It’s not the best and I probably shouldn’t even eat it. My dad wouldn’t like it if he knew I ate it. It’s just there and sometime- like if I’m watching a movie- here it is.” Maya pulls the video tape out of the box. She runs her thumb over the white sticker that was printed specifically for the tape that says: Preschool Graduation. May 1993. “I found it.” She yells and turns around.

Maya is surprised to see Carina standing in the bedroom door, leaning against the frame with her arms folded loosely over her chest. “What?” The grin on Carina’s face makes Maya a little self-conscious. “Did you find the popcorn?”

Carina giggles. “We’ve been here like two seconds.” She steps into the room. “You are very cute right now. I like the excited energy.”

Maya thinks about saying that she’s cute all the time but that’s not something Maya would say out loud. Ever. She hums and steps past Carina. An arm hooks around her waist though bringing Maya to a halt. “Not so fast.” She pulls Maya into her side and they both look down at the video tape in Maya’s hand. “Do you even have anything that plays that?”

“Si.” Maya grins. She knows Carina will get a kick out of that.

Carina’s eyes roll back in her head. “Maya Bishop.” She practically purrs.

“It’s old but I kept it.” She knew she had some tapes and that she wanted to keep the old DVD player/VCR player. Maya never imagined that this would be the reason she would be getting it out and dusting it off. “Do you want me to get the popcorn or do you want wine or something else?”

“We just ate dinner.”

“I know.” Maya frowns.

“Do you have any wine?” Carina asks. She’s never seen wine at Maya’s place the other times that she’s been here.

“Yes, I bought some because-“

“Because?”

Maya looks down at the tape in her hand again. She takes a deep breath. “Because of you.” It sounds so simple when she says it but feels like so much more than that. Because while it is simple, it’s so much. The feelings she has for Carina are so so much. They aren’t simple but somehow everything ends up being simple. Maya knows it doesn’t make any sense but that’s how she feels.

Carina kisses her then, surprising Maya. “I’ll get the wine and you get this-“ She taps at the tape with a fingernail. “-all ready.”

Maya nods and Carina releases her. They both do their respective tasks. Carina comes over to the couch with two glasses of wine. She sets them down on the coffee table and goes back for the bottle. She knows they will be consuming the entire bottle tonight.

Maya gets everything set up. “Ready?” She turns back to look at Carina who is sitting on the couch with her legs tucked up underneath herself. She nods. “Okay.” Maya takes a deep breath and pushes the VHS tape into the VCR.

The video quality is subpar for the standard nowadays but back in 1993 it was state of the art. The grainy video starts and it’s just an image of the crowd of parents. And then some music starts, and a row of little kids walk up the middle aisle from the back of the room.

Maya sits down right next to Carina and reaches forward for her glass of wine. “Can you guess which one is me?”

Carina wraps her arm around Maya’s shoulders and leans into her. It takes her a minute, but Carina spots a tiny Maya Bishop walking up to the front of the room amongst the rest of her class. “Dio mio, your dress.”

“I told you.” Maya takes sip from her wine glass. She spots her parents in the crowd as the camera person pans the camera to the front of the room where the kids are getting lined up. One row of about seven kids in the front row seated on chair, one row of kids standing behind them, and then a third row of kids, standing on chairs, behind them.

“That seems dangerous.” Carina refers to the kids standing on top of chair in the back row.

“It was the 90s. Kids did dangerous stuff back then.”

“True. We would play in the street. Run out of the way when a car came flying by on our tiny little street. That would never happen in most places today.”

“We just had to be home by the time the street lights came on. I don’t think my parents knew where I was half the time.” Maya tells of her early childhood. She got to play outside and run around until a certain age. Then things became serious when she was about ten or eleven years old. Serious about running and track and training. There’s wasn’t time to ‘play outside’. She wasn’t little kid anymore. Maya needed to get serious about life and what she wanted to do and wanted to accomplish. All with her father’s help, of course.

The kids all get settled and then the teacher places a microphone stand. A tiny Maya Bishop hops off of her chair in the back row and sways up to the front where the little microphone is. Her colorful dress on full display. The solid squares of purple and orange and pink and yellow make it stand out amongst all the other children’s clothing.

“You’re so cute. That dress is amazing.” Carina eyes are glued to the tv watching a little Maya Bishop. Her blonde hair and colorful dress front and center on the screen now.

“The Amazing Technicolor Dreamdress.”

“Yeah, that.”

Little Maya looks around the room, then at the teacher.

“Were you nervous?”

“I don’t know.” Maya doesn’t even remember that day. The only reason she knows it happened is because there is video evidence.

“Welcome to our program.” Little Maya speaks way too loudly into the microphone. She looks around again to see if what she said was okay. “Thank you all for coming.” She nearly shouts into the microphone again.

“Oh. Oh, Maya.” Carina sighs, squeezing her arm tighter around Maya.

“I knew how to work a crowd.” Maya jokes. “Clearly.”

“Clearly.”

Little Maya walks back to her chair, her loose dress swaying in the motion that her little body creates.

“Look at that swagger.” Carina chuckles.

“I don’t think it’s swagger.” Maya shakes her head. “I think it’s just me being awkward.”

The kid’s start singing a goofy little song and after the song is finished a boy and girl come up to her front and put on wigs and hats and pretend to be an old man and woman.

“What’s on the back of that kid’s neck?” Carina wonders.

“It’s a rat tail. Was that never a thing in Italy?” She looks away from the tv screen over at her girlfriend. Carina has a bit of a perplexed look at the thought of rat tails.

“I don’t know.” Carina has no idea what a rat tail is.

“There’s a couple kids with rat tails in here. One of the many fashion fails we have to witness.” Maya turns back to the video.

“I don’t know if it’s a fashion fail but it’s a poor choice in judgement. These are little kids. They didn’t decide to grow a rat tail. And for it to be that long. Look at that thing. It’s past his shoulders. It had to have been growing the kid’s whole life practically.”

Maya laughs softly. “You’re probably right about that.”

“Oh, what are we doing now?” Carina leans forward in her seat as she watches the teacher pass out wooden dowels to the kids. “Are those drum sticks?”

“This is my favorite part. And no.” Maya grins conspiratorially.

“Why? Does a fight break out cuz one kid hits another with those sticks? What were these people thinking? Standing on chairs, giving kids weapons.” Carina clicks her tongue before taking a big gulp of her wine.

The song starts and the kids play along to the words of the song. First, pointing their dowels down at the ground when the ‘singer’ says the word down. And then lifting the dowels back up and crossing them, making a collective clanking noise as everyone hits their dowels together as he says the word cross. Then the singer instructs the kids to bow down.

All the kids bow, bending at the waist. Except for one kid. Maya.

Little Maya sort of leans forward a little and just bows her head. All the other kids are bent over half way from the waist and Maya sticks up like a sore thumb, just basically looking down at the floor.

“What was that?” Carina whispers.

Maya holds her hand over her mouth to try to suppress a laugh that is bubbling up. “Nothing.”

“Do you not know how to bow?”

“I know how to bow.” Maya defends.

“Did little Maya not know how to bow?”

Maya shrugs. That might have been true. In all honest, Maya has no idea what was going on in little Maya’s head at the time or why she refused to bend at the waist and bow properly.

The song continues on. The kids point their dowels at the floor and then cross them and then bow again. But, again, little Maya sort of just ducks her head.

“Oh my gosh.”

Maya is laughing now. She can’t help it.

The song goes on and they go through the motions again. At the floor, crossed, bow down. Little Maya doing the same head duck while every other kid is bent at the waist.

Maya is laughing so much that she’s shaking next to Carina.

“Does this keep happening?”

All Maya can do is nod.

“How many times?”

“Like si-six.” Maya laughs. She has to put her wine glass on the table, she’s shaking so much. “It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen and I’m the one doing it.”

Carina watches the video play as the kids do the same thing over and over and over. She chuckles a little but is too mesmerized by little Maya to really laugh. “What even is that?”

“I don’t know.” Maya says in between laughter. “It’s so awful. But it’s so funny.”

“You’re the star, Maya.” Carina pulls Maya closer and presses a kiss to her cheek.

“I’m not the star. I’m just an idiot.” She wipes tears from the corners of her eyes as the song ends and she lets out a slow unsteady breath. “It gets me every time.”

“How many times have you watched this?”

Maya freezes at that. “Not many. I watched it after I won my Gold Medal. I watched it after I graduated from the fire academy. And when I graduated from high school, I think.”

Carina hums. That’s interesting information.

“To see how far I had come.” Maya tries to explain her reasoning in watching the video.

“Well, I hope you learned to bow properly before you graduated high school and won Gold and graduated fire school.”

“It’s not fire school.” Maya frowns. “And yes, I did.”

“Oh, bella. I know. The fire academy.” She rubs her thumb of the arm that she still has around Maya’s shoulder against Maya’s opposite cheek. “Can you show me?”

“Show you what?”

Carina is messing with her. “That you know how to bow.” She smirks into her wine glass.

Maya folds her arms over her chest with a huff.

They watch most of the rest of the video in silence. Carina makes little comments here or there. Maya tells her which kids when total heathens and which kids were tolerable and which kids were her friends.

“That one girl on the end seems like she could be anywhere else. She keeps yawning and she’s not sitting very lady like.” The girl in question sits on her chair with her legs spread wide open in a skirt. She has white tights on so it’s not super scandalous.

“That’s Diane. She’s always been rather unbothered by most things. It’s just the way she is. Or always has been.”

“Are you still in touch with her?”

“Oh. No.” Maya shakes her head. “Her younger sister dated my brother for a little while.”

“Really?”

“It wasn’t anything. They were like ten.” Maya thinks back to that time. “But we all had to have these weird family gatherings with my family and her family. They had ferrets. I didn’t like it.”

“Ferrets are like nicer rats, right?” Carina is trying to remember if the word that Maya is using is matching up with the animal in her brain.

“Right. But they usually smell.”

Carina hums.

They watch a skit of the big bad wolf and I’m a little teapot. There’s a song about a robin in the rain that the kids sing. And at one point they all get up and get in a circle and shuffle around and the boys bow down to their girl partners. Then the diplomas are handed out.

The video ends and Maya rolls her head along the back of the couch, looking over at Carina. “What did you think?”

“I think you are very cute. I love the dress. Your presence is amazing. I couldn’t take my eyes off of you. I’m not just saying that. You seemed to draw attention to yourself even when you weren’t in the spotlight.”

“It’s just the dress. It pulls your eye.”

“Maybe.” Carina smiles bashfully.

“What?”

“Can you rewind to the bow down part again?” Carina wants to be able to laugh like Maya did. She needs a laugh. She needs to feels something happy.

“Okay.”

Maya rewinds and they watch that part again, laughing the entire time, rolling around in laughter, until they are laying on the couch.

“Hello.” Carina looks down at Maya.

Maya’s cheeks ting pink with all the attention Carina focuses on her. “Hi.” She whispers and looks away.

Carina tilts her face back with a finger on Maya’s chin. “Little Maya is absolutely adorable.”

“I’m glad you thought so. It would have been embarrassing if I showed you that video and you thought it was stupid.”

“It’s not stupid. You’re not stupid.”

Maya sighs, trying to let the words sink in. Carina always knows what to say to her to assuage her anxieties.

“Now do I get to see little Carina?”

Carina hums. “I might have some photos of when I was a kid back at my apartment but nothing like this video. This is extraordinary.”

“I’d like to see those photos.” Maya mumbles.

“Sure, bella.” Carina sighs. She lays her head on Maya’s shoulder. “Can we just lay here?” Carina feels tired now.

“Absolutely.” Maya runs her hands up and down Carina’s back slowly. “Anything you want?"

They lay in silence for a few minutes. Maya wonders about Carina’s day. She asked her about work during dinner, but she knows there’s more going on than just work. “Carina?”

Carina hums, letting Maya know that she’s listening and that she can ask her question. “How’s Andrew today?” It’s not something Maya really wants to bring up. She knows it makes Carina sad. And mad and frustrated and Maya is sure other emotions that Carina doesn’t even know or realize or has even brought up.

Carina sighs and tightens her grip around Maya. “Non lo so.”

Maya hums. “He’s not at work?”

“No.”

“He’s still at Meredith’s?” Maya asks next.

“Si.”

Maya sighs and sets her palm on the back of Carina’s head, her other arm around her back, holding her gently. “Do you know what you want to happen?”

Carina nods against Maya’s shoulder. “I want to have a convention. Get Dr. Bailey and Dr. Grey on board maybe even Andrea’s mandated therapist.

“An intervention.”

“Ah, si.” Carina lifts her head from Maya’s shoulder and looks her in the eyes. “I know he won’t listen to me alone. But maybe if we get some of the people that he is closest with that will make him see that we just want him to get some help. I think maybe Dr. Webber should be there too because they’ve become close with Richard’s illness. But I’m not sure because he just had surgery.”

“All you can do is ask. If he not up for it, then he not up for it.”

Carina nods and lays her head back on Maya’s shoulder. “Thank you.”

“For what?” It always amazes Maya that Carina is always thanking her for something.

“For asking about my fratellino. For remembering. For caring.”

Maya scoffs. “Like I would forget. And I care about what’s happening with him because I care about what’s happening with you.”

“Lo so.” Carina sighs and nuzzles her nose against the side of Maya’s neck.

“How do you want to end date night?” Maya changes the subject to something lighter.

Instead of using any words, Carina presses her lips to the spot behind Maya’s ear. She then takes Maya’s earlobe between her teeth, tugging on it a little before letting it go.

“Are you sure?” Maya asks.

Carina pushes herself up onto her elbows so that she is hovering above Maya from the waist up. She looks down and can see the question in Maya’s eyes.

She can’t do it. Carina shakes her head and collapses on top of Maya again. “No.” She whispers. She just doesn’t have the energy, the enthusiasm, the right frame of mind.

Whereas in the past, Carina might have used sex as a distraction, as a catalyst to something else, as a way to feel something other than negative or bad thoughts and emotions; she can’t do that with Maya. She can’t do that anymore with Maya because at one point she did. She used Maya to feel a certain way, as a distraction.

But now, sex with Maya is intimate, it’s sacred, it’s about them and it should only be about them. No outside influences, no outside factors, no distractions.

“Okay.” Maya rubs her back some more.

“I want to.” Carina taps her fingers on her right hand against Maya’s arm. “I just- can’t.”

“I know. It’s okay.” Maya gets it. She really goes. She’s not really in the mood either. “We can just go to bed. If you want.”

“Si. Please.”

“Okay.” Maya releases her hold around Carina, letting her get up but Carina doesn’t move. “Am I going to have to carry you?”

Carina pushes herself onto her elbows again, an amused expression on her face. “Is that something you could do? Like physically?”

Maya shrugs. She’s pretty sure she could if she had to. “I mean, I don’t want to have to put it to practical use but if I absolutely had to, I’m sure I could.”

“Maya.” Carina sighs, completely enthralled with the thought of Maya carrying her around the apartment.

Maya chuckles. “Come on. Get up.” She pats Carina on the side.

Carina sits up and then back on her heels.

Maya smirks and swings her legs off the edge of the couch. She puts her hands on the edge of the couch cushion. “I’ll race you to the bed.”

It gets a little playful smile from Carina. A goal of Maya’s. Carina shakes her head. “No, you wouldn’t.”

Maya raises a challenging eyebrow. “Wouldn’t I?”

They both know Maya would.

Carina sits like Maya. “Okay.”

“One, two, three.” Maya counts. “Go.”

They both jump up and run around each end of the couch. Maya gets to the bedroom door first, so Carina jumps on her back to slow her down. It doesn’t get Carina into the lead, but it does get both of them flopping down onto the bed.

“You cheated.” Maya whines.

“How did I cheat? You still won.” Carina rolls off of Maya.

“You were on my back.” She can’t believe Carina doesn’t see that as cheating.

“But you still won. Technically.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “Fine. Should we change?”

Carina nods and bites her lip. She watches as Maya gets off the bed and goes to her dresser and pulls some sleep clothes out for both of them. She’s come to like the domesticity that they’ve fallen into. Especially at bed time. All the small things. Sleeping together, changing together, sharing clothes. The fact that Maya has a half a draw in her dress where she keeps things for Carina. A few shirts and shorts, undergarments. She thinks she might really like sharing things with Maya. More than just a drawer, or clothes, or the bed. It’s not the first time she’s thought this either. Carina has thought about what it might be like if they shared a space more than just a few nights a week.

“What?” Maya turns around to catch Carina watching her, biting her lip, with a strange little twinkle in her eye.

Carina shakes her head. “Nothing.” She holds her hand out. “Come.” She gets Maya to move back across the room to her with a flick of her wrist.

Chapter Text

 “Maya.” Carina sighs. She takes a step towards Maya and takes her hand. She puts her other hand on Maya’s back, rubbing it.

“Come with me to my next therapy session.” Katherine pleads

“I beat it the next time.” She smiles smugly. “Ya know, I agree. YOU need therapy. But I’m good.” Maya pulls her hand out of Carina’s hand hold and stomps off.

Carina is a bit taken back by the outright denial of abuse from Maya. She’s spoke a little with Katherine about what she was doing at the station while they were setting up the tables. Katherine said she was trying to get Maya to see the truth about her dad. Carina didn’t know it was such a serious truth until now.

Carina and Katherine stand there awkwardly. Carina shifts. “So, uh-“

Katherine looks down at her feet. “She needs some time to process this. She must know that he is abusive. Right?” She looks back up and over at Carina.

Carina stares at Katherine with wide eyes. She’s not sure what she’s supposed to say. “I- I don’t know. Sometimes it’s not very clear. Like someone doesn’t see something as abuse.”

Katherine nods. “Well, should we continue, or do you think Maya would be mad if we did?”

Carina looks over her shoulder, in the direction that Maya went. She wants to go find her. She wants to talk to her. She wants to see if Maya is alright. But Katherine just said that Maya needs time to process this. And she is Maya’s mother so she must know how Maya would handle this sort of thing. Carina is relatively new at this thing with Maya.

“Let’s continue.” Carina wants to help even though Maya told them that she doesn’t want their help and that she never asked for it. “Should we go see if they need help in the kitchen?”

Katherine nods.

They finish setting up and getting all the food prepared and cooked. The guests start arriving and forming a line. Vic lets them in, and everyone starts getting a plate and eating. Carina gets a plate of spaghetti and sits next to Katherine at a table in the corner of the room.

“I’d say this is a success.”

“Me too. I’m curious though?” Katherine sort of waves her fork at Carina.

“Yeah.”

“I don’t want to sound rude or be rude. Your accent is?”

“Italian.” Carina smiles.

“That’s what I thought. But I’m not very cultured and I wasn’t sure. That’s so cool. So, you live here now?”

Carina nods. “I’ve lived in Seattle for a few years. My brother is here. We’re both doctors.”

“Wow. Impressive.”

“I’m glad you think so.” Carina smiles kindly.

“Do your parents not think so?”

Carina twirls some spaghetti around on her fork. “My mamma has passed but she was very impressed and proud of her children. My father, on the other hand, we’ll it’s complicated.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. The men in our lives can be difficult sometimes.”

“He just doesn’t think my specialty is very honorable or worthy or even something that needs to be a specialty because and I quote ‘it’s something women have been doing since the beginning of time’.”

Katherine wrinkles up her face at that.

“I deliver babies.”

“Oh.” Katherine nods. “I see.”

“So, yeah.” Carina pushes her chair back. “Excuse me.” Talking about her father has made her think of something. She walks through the crowd of people, out of the truck bay, and into the hall. She knows Maya is in her office. Andy let Carina know that she was before they opened up the dinner to the public. The lights are off, it’s dark, she opens the door, not bothering to knock.

She sees Maya sitting there, arms folding over her chest, face red and puffy because she’s been crying. She hates to see it, but she knows that it’s probably necessary.

She explains how she loves her dad and how he’s not okay and how he did things that were abusive. Maya can’t even look at her when Carina goes over to squat near Maya’s desk. She speaks of denial and Maya yells at her that she isn’t in denial.

Carina walks out of the room. She knows Maya needs some space right now. She knows that Maya raising her voice isn’t about her. It isn’t about Carina saying that Maya is in denial. It isn’t about that, and she knows that, but it still stings a little.

She sees now, with talking to Maya’s mom what her father has put Maya through. Maya would only talk about him in bits and pieces to Carina. Nothing was ever flat out like hey this is what he did. But Carina sees now. The thing is that Maya doesn’t see it. Carina knows. She’s lived it. She experienced it with her own father.

She goes back out to the dinner and sits with Maya’s mom.

“How is she?” Katherine whispers.

Carina shakes her head. “Not good.” She twirls some spaghetti around on her fork before bringing it to her lips.

“I knew she would act this way. She loves him. She does everything to please him. She looks up to him. She-“ Katherine shakes her head and sighs. “It took me a long time to see it. It took me even longer to work up the courage to leave him.” Her hands start shaking as she speaks. Carina notices and takes Katherine’s right hand in her own. “I’m okay.” She breaths out a long slow breath. “It’s a lot. To realize you’ve been abused. And the way it happened. It’s not the obvious kind of abuse.”

“No, it’s not.” Carina agrees.

They sit a table away from everyone else, tucked away in the corner, so they can have this private conversation.

“Just give her some time.” Carina says. She’s sure Maya will figure this out and come around. Maya is smart, so smart. She’ll figure it out.

They finish their meals and Dr. Bailey comes over to say goodbye to Carina.

“We’re going to take off. I just wanted to say that the dinner was amazing. Tell Maya she did a fabulous job.”

Carina nods. “I will.”

“Where is she?”

“She’s got some administrative stuff that she needs to take care of in her office.” Carina lies.

“Oh, well. Too bad. Hopefully she gets a chance to eat something.” Miranda says with a smile. “I’ll see you.” She puts a hand on Carina’s shoulder as she walks away.

Carina presses her lips together in a tight smile.

“Maybe you should make up a plate and bring it to her.” Katherine suggests.

“I don’t think she wants to see me right now.” Carina hangs her head. She just wants to be there for Maya, but Maya made it clear that she doesn’t want that.

“Even so.” Katherine shrugs. She’s not sure who Carina is, really, but she’s seen the way the woman and her daughter interacted today in their brief time together. It’s clear that they are close and that Maya trusts Carina.

Carina pushes herself up from her seat and takes her plate and Katherine’s and disposes of them. She gets a clean plate for Maya and gets some salad and then spaghetti and a little piece of garlic bread. She grabs a fork at the end of the table and with a deep breath heads towards Maya’s office again.

She knocks on the door before opening it. She can see the top of Maya’s head, her chair turned away from the door. “I brought you something to eat. I know you don’t feel like eating right now. And I know you don’t want to see me or talk to me right now. I’ll just leave this here.” She sets the plate on Maya’s desk. “Just eat, please, bella. I don’t want to see you in the hospital again.”

Carina doesn’t get a response from Maya, so she sighs and turns to leave.

The dinner was a success. Carina and Katherine wait around until the end to help clean up. Emmett is the one who is put in charge of the clean up as the probie. So, he joins Katherine and Carina. They work seamlessly in getting the barn back in order, all the tables folded up, and everything put away.

“So, you’re Maya’s mom.” Emmett asks. They’ve established this already. It’s just a conversation starter. “And you’re Maya’s?” He looks to Carina.

“I’m Dr. Carina DeLuca.” Carina says. She doesn’t want to say anything out of turn. She also doesn’t want to say anything in front of the new guy or Maya’s mom that Maya doesn’t want her to say. She knows how these things work sometimes.

“I know that. But why are you here?” Emmett wonders in his dopey innocent way.

“I came to support the station and the cause and because I’m Italian and we can’t turn down an Italian meal.”

Emmett frowns at that. He knows something isn’t adding up, but he knows not to say anything about it either. “Nevermind.” He grabs the stack of folded table clothes and walks off to put them back in the supply closet.

“Why are you here?” Katherine questions, turning to Carina. There’s not malicious intent behind the question. Katherine is just curious.

Carina sighs.

“You were here earlier. Before the dinner started. Before even I got here. Long before anything even needed to be set up.” Katherine realizes all of these things for the first time. So much has happened today and she had so much on her mind that she really didn’t question what Carina has been doing hanging around the fire station all day.

“It’s my day off. I was going to come to the dinner anyway. I just thought I could lend a hand. It’s not a big deal, really.” She changes the topic. “It was nice to meet you, Katherine.” She puts a hand on the woman’s arm. “And it was nice talking to you. I don’t know too many of the firefighters here very well yet, but it was nice sitting with you at dinner. I had hoped to sit with Maya but-“ They both nod. “I’m going to go say bye to Maya before I leave. Have a nice rest of your evening.”

“I’ll try. Thank you, dear.” Katherine looks at Carina curiously. There’s something about the woman that she likes. Maybe it’s her polite, kind nature or maybe it’s something else.

Carina nods at her with a tight-lipped smile. She turns and walks over to Maya’s office. Her back straight and her posture rigid. She’s not sure what she’s going to find when she walks in this time. She expects the cold shoulder again. Carina knocks and goes in.

“I just came to grab my jacket and my wallet.” She says in explanation. She goes into Maya’s bunk. She picks her jacket up off the bed and puts it on. She takes the wallet from the bed as well and holds it in front of her with two hands as she goes back into the office. She stands at the side of Maya’s desk.

Maya is looking down at some paperwork on her desktop. The plate that had the food on it sits empty on the corner of the desk. She has just been staring at the paperwork for the last thirty minutes not actually doing it.

“Are you even going to saying anything or look at me?” Carina says in frustration.

She sees Maya’s face twitch, her hands curls into balls.

“I’m glad you ate something but Maya it’s not healthy to keep that anger and rage locked up inside.” Carina reminds her.

“I know that.” Maya growls.

“Okay.” Carina reaches out to pick up the plate. “Will I see you tomorrow?” Maya is off work tomorrow. Carina has to work but usually they will meet up at the end of Carina’s workday.

She doesn’t get a response, so she picks up the plate and is ready to leave. Carina walks to the door and looks over her shoulder, back at Maya once more, giving her one last chance. But Maya sits there, stoic, unmoving. Carina frowns and leaves.


She usually comes to the hospital and spends most of her time in the ER dropping off a patient, so she’s still getting used to the layout of the whole building. She knows where Carina’s office is but sometimes everything looks the same; and if you’re not paying attention and in your own head like Maya is right now, it’s easy to get turned around.

Maya turns the corner and realizes that she made a wrong turn. She goes back to the nurse’s station and heads in the correct direction of Carina’s office. She gets there and it’s dark and the door is locked.

She goes back to the floor and stops at the nurse’s station. “Would you happen to know where Dr. DeLuca is, Carina?” She smiles kindly, hoping the woman behind the desk will assist her.

“Do I know you? You look familiar.”

Maya’s smile widens. “You’ve probably seen me around here before. I’m Captain Maya Bishop.”

Recognition comes across the nurse’s face. “Oh, right. The hot firefighter that Dr. DeLuca is seeing.”

“That would be me. Unless there’s another hot firefighter that she’s dating.” Maya jokes.

“No. Just you.” The woman says seriously, clearly not getting the joke.

“Uh-“ Maya looks around nervously. “Could you tell me where she is?”

“She’s gone.”

Gone.

Maya thinks that’s a strange choice of word to use. “What do you mean gone?”

“What’s in the bag?” The nurse asks.

Maya looks down at the little brown paper bag that she’s forgotten about in her left hand. The nurse clearly didn’t hear the question that Maya had asked. “A croissant. What do you mean gone?”

“Oh.” The nurse looks around and then leans forward across the top of the desk so she can whisper to Maya. “I heard she had to leave cuz her brother lost it. They’re taking him to treatment.” The nurse leans back. “She took the rest of the day off.” She says it as if it’s nothing.

“He’s sick. He has an illness.” Maya says sternly. She doesn’t like how the nurse just flippantly referred to Andrew’s disease as him ‘losing it’.

“Right.” The nurse goes back to her computer screen now that she’s given Maya the information that she knows.

“So, she’s gone?”

“That’s what I said.” The nurse nods without looking at Maya.

Maya’s grip on the pastry bag tightens, she crumples the top. “Damn it.” Maya grumbles.

The nurse’s eyes flicker from her screen to Maya and back to her screen. “She’ll be back tomorrow. If that’s what you’re worried about.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about.” Maya looks around. She’s starting to feel a little self-conscious now that she stands on the maternity floor like an idiot.

Maya thinks she should have come by the hospital earlier in the day, right when her shift finished maybe. But she needed time. She needed time to think of a plan and what to say. It’s not like she didn’t have enough time to think about it. She’s been thinking about what she is going to say to apologize to Carina since she left her office last night. But now, none of that matters. Well, it matters but there are larger issues that are happening right now.

Right now.

And Maya didn’t know that the ‘intervention’ was today. She didn’t know and she said she would be there. Maybe not there physically because that would be weird and uncomfortable for Andrew because they don’t really know each other. But she said she would be there for Carina for support. And she wasn’t and she’s not.

She’s standing in the middle of the maternity department with no idea where Carina is. She’s supposed to know. She’s supposed to be involved. And she’s not. All because she had to get mad about some stupid shit that her mother said that isn’t true. It didn’t help that Carina tried to convince her that she was in denial. Maya knows what denial is. She’s not in denial. About anything.

So here she is. Standing there like an idiot. She hasn’t heard anything from Carina all day or last night. She knows why? Cuz she was basically an asshole. But that doesn’t excuses her behavior. She never should have yelled at Carina. It’s not Carina’s fault. She shouldn’t have taken her anger out on her. She shouldn’t have let Carina leave her office without apologizing. She shouldn’t have not tried to contact until now.

And now what?

“Do you want this?” She mumbles to the nurse and sets the brown paper bag on the desktop.

The nurse narrows her eyes at Maya. “Are you sure?”

Maya shrugs. “Better than me just throwing it out.”

“Isn’t it for Dr. DeLuca?”

“It was but she’s not here.” Maya doesn’t know if she’s ever felt like such a failure. She said she was going to do something and didn’t do it. And not just anything. A huge thing. So now she has two things that she has to apologize for. She sighs.

“Okay.” The nurse snatches the bag and opens it up to look inside.

“Thanks for the info.” Maya waves her hand in the air lazily.

As Maya makes her way out of the hospital someone calls her name. “Maya.”

It’s Dr. Bailey.

Maya spins around, not really in the mood to chat.

Bailey rushes over to Maya. “I thought that was you. What are you doing here? I thought you would be with Carina.”

Maya sighs again. Another reminder of her failure. “I, uh, we had an argument last night. I guess she didn’t want me around at all today. I haven’t heard from her. She probably just wants to handle her family matter all on her own.” Maya thinks maybe if the tables were turned, she wouldn’t want someone butting into her family business. Hell, that’s basically what she told Carina last night.

Miranda hums. “I don’t know about that. She seemed rattled.”

“She is. Everything that’s going on with Andrew is taking a toll on her. She tries to put on a brave face at work and in public, but at home she’s just tired and exhausted and frustrated and sad.” Maya doesn’t even really realize what she’s saying. She’s just telling Miranda what she’s seen with Carina.

“Well.” Miranda is shocked to hear this from Maya. “You seem to know more about her than anyone else.”

Maya only nods at that.

“I don’t know what happened. The dinner was wonderful and a success, by the way.”

“Thanks.” Maya nods.

“As I was saying, I don’t know what happened-“

“I screwed up.”

“Let me finish.” Bailey narrows her eyes at Maya.

“Sorry.”

“Call her. Find her. Tell her you screwed up or whatever because that woman needs you right now. Suck up your own pride or whatever and focus on her for today. Worry about your own crap after this passes.”

Maya takes a deep breath. Dr. Bailey is correct. Then again, Dr. Bailey is almost always correct. “Thanks, Miranda.”

Miranda puts a hand on Maya’s elbow. “It’s Dr. Bailey when I’m at the hospital. You might be my husband’s boss but I’m the boss around here.”

Maya grins at that. “Got it.” She salutes Miranda.

“Now go.” She gives Maya an actual push. “They left hours ago. I’m sure Carina is home by now.”

Maya gets outside and brings her phone to her ear. It rings and rings and rings before going to voicemail. Maya starts walking. She hits call again. And again, it rings until it goes to voicemail. Maya huffs in frustration. She hopes that carina isn’t just ignoring her call. That would be worst case scenario right now. She’s hoping that Carina is just busy, or doesn’t have her phone right next to her, or is in the shower, or the phone is on silent. Anything but ignoring Maya’s calls.

She walks the few blocks to Carina’s apartment in five minutes. She pushes Carina’s apartment button and waits.

“Who is it?” Carina asks in a tired voice. Maya can almost imagine the matching look on the Italian’s face.

“It’s me. Let me in.” Maya practically demands.

“Are you here to yell at me?” Carina is frustrated with the blonde right now.

“No. I’m sorry. No. Now let me in.”

The door buzzes and Maya pulls it open. She runs up the stairs two at a time, she nearly knocks an old lady over at the top of the stairs. “Sorry ma’am.” She grabs onto her elbows.

“Where’s the fire?” The old lady says in a soft voice.

The joke is not lost on Maya but she’s in a hurry.

“Are you okay?” The old lady nods at Maya. “Okay. Good. Sorry I’m in a hurry to-“ Maya doesn’t need to explain anything to this stranger. “I’m sorry. I have to go.” She looks over her shoulder towards Carina’s apartment. She releases the woman’s elbows and the old lady stays standing upright, so Maya knows she’s good. “Okay.”

“Maya?” She hears Carina’s voice from down the hall.

“Bye.” Maya smiles at the old lady before spinning around and jogging down the hall.

“What are you doing to Mrs. Johnson?” Carina asks as Maya gets to her apartment door.

Maya tilts her head to the side. “I’m not doing anything to her.” She looks back down the hall at the old lady. She hasn’t moved from the spot that Maya left her in. Carina looks down the hall too, leaning into Maya and putting a hand on her shoulder for balance. “I bumped into her on my way up. That’s all. I was making sure she was alright.”

“You’re such an upstanding citizen, Maya Bishop.” Carina teases. That frustrating she had with Maya dissipated as soon as she saw Maya down the hall.

Maya snaps her head back around to look at Carina. She’s standing directly in front of her. She looks the woman up and down. “How are you?” Maya asks and puts her hand on Carina’s hip.

Carina’s eyes slowly shift to Maya’s from Mrs. Johnson. She looks into Maya’s eyes and sees the concern there. “I feel-“ She takes a deep breath. “-relieved.” She sighs. “I know that’s terrible to say.”

“No.” Maya shakes her head. “It’s not.” Maya looks back to Mrs. Johnson. “Let’s go inside.” She nods at Carina’s apartment. Carina takes a step backwards and Maya takes a step forward. Then another and another until they can close the door. “I feel it too.” And Maya does. She feels the relief wafting off of Carina. But she also feels relief knowing that the worst part is likely over, that everyone can move forward now, that things aren’t at a standstill regarding Andrew’s illness anymore. There’s a path forward now and it’s a relief to know that and to get to this point.

“Maya.” Carina sighs and collapses against her.

“I’ve got you.” She wraps her arms around Carina. “Let’s sit down.”

Carina nods but is no help in moving her body to the couch. Maya does most of the work.

“What happened?” Maya asks.

Carina shakes her head. “I didn’t know it was going to happen today but then Erin Banks came in and she wouldn’t talk to anybody but Andrea. Which was a good thing but at the same time I didn’t want him treating patients. He’s in a depressive state. He shouldn’t be anywhere near patients.”

“That’s probably a good idea.”

“So, while he was busy with that, I got Dr. Bailey and Dr. Grey together and we decided it was going to happen today. I went to get the therapist and Dr. Grey contacted Dr. Webber. They were all there.” Carina explains.

Maya puts her hand on Carina’s thigh. “I’m glad he has people to support him. You’re a good sister.”

Carina hangs her head. “He tried to fight it and argue it. And he eventually broke down. He said he has one goal in life. Not to be like papa. But he’s not. He’s so much better than papa. By getting treatment. That’s something papa has never done and will never do.”

Maya takes in a quick breath. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there.”

Carina looks over at Maya now for the first time since they’ve been seated. “I didn’t ask you to be.” She says with a sigh.

Maya shakes her head lightly. “No. I said I would do whatever it was that I could to help and then- then-“ She doesn’t want to have to bring up last night again. She doesn’t want to remind Carina that she yelled but she knows Carina is thinking about it. “I’m sorry about yesterday. I’m sorry I yelled at you. It wasn’t your fault.”

“I know, bella.”

“And I’m sorry because of that you didn’t feel like you wanted me around today.”

Carina sighs. “It’s not that I didn’t want you around.”

“Isn’t it?” Maya gets a little defensive.

“Well, maybe a little. I would have called you eventually.”

“When?” The irritation is evident in Maya’s voice.

“Maya. Can we not?”

Maya takes a deep breath. Carina is right. Now is not the time to rehash what did or didn’t happen.

“You didn’t call me either.” Carina adds. “Or text. Or anything. Actually, how did you know?” The thought occurs to Carina now. Maya must have found out about Andrea from somebody, otherwise she wouldn’t be here.

Maya runs her hand through her hair, nervous to explain. “I went to the hospital. To find you. To apologize.”

“Oh.” So, Maya did reach out. It may have been much later than Carina would have liked.

“I talked to a nurse on your floor that said you weren’t there. And then I ran into Bailey on my way out. Then I came straight here. You didn’t answer your phone.”

Carina can see the worry on Maya’s face, even now, after she’s arrived and found Carina. “I put it on silent. I don’t want to talk to anyone right now.”

“Even me?” Maya whispers.

Carina closes her eyes and shakes her head. “I’m glad you’re here. And you were right. It’s not that I didn’t want you around today but after last night. I didn’t feel- I didn’t know- it was a weird feeling. I don’t like that feeling with us.”

“I know. Me neither. And I’m sorry again. I didn’t mean to make you feel that way. I didn’t want you to feel like I was just casting you aside or disregarding you or anything like that. I know that I shouldn’t have taken my anger out on you. I shouldn’t have yelled. All you were was kind and gentle yesterday and I turned into an ugly yelling monster.”

Carina lays her head on Maya’s shoulder. “It would have been nice if you had been here today when I got home. Or that you knew what was going on and you could have come over after I got home. I guess that’s my fault. I wanted to rub it in your face?” Carina isn’t sure if that’s the right phrase. “About yesterday. Like if you didn’t want me around yesterday then I didn’t want you around today.” Carina gets more comfortable. She turns and brings her legs up on the couch, laying them across Maya’s thighs, turning sideways and leaning against Maya. “But that’s not true. I wanted you around today. I just felt hurt about yesterday.”

Maya sighs and nods. She finds Carina’s hands in her lap and wraps hers around them. “It’s not that I didn’t want you around yesterday. I always want you around. I just felt ambushed, I think. My mom and you. I just- it was too much.”

“Maya?”

“Yeah.”

“Baciami.” She can’t believe Maya hasn’t kissed her yet since she’s been here.

“Oh.” Maya looks into Carina’s eyes. Carina nods and smiles a little. Maya wasn’t sure the reception she was going to receive from Carina when she showed up at her apartment so she didn’t make any moves that might have gotten rejected.

Carina leans in, just centimeters from Maya’s face. She waits for Maya to connect their lips. When she does, Carina sighs into the kiss. Maya smiles into the kiss and tilts her head a little, getting a better angle, to give Carina a proper kiss.

Carina slips her palm up to the back of Maya’s neck, making sure she isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. She needs this. She needs Maya’s kisses, Maya’s soft affection, Maya’s attention.

They stay like that for a long few minutes, trading kisses, and smiles, and little smirks. Eventually, Carina sighs and rests her head on Maya’s shoulder.

“How did everything go?” Maya whispers.

Carina knows she means with Andrea. “Better than I expected. Honestly. I thought there would have been more of a fight. But I think a part of him was just done too. Which is good. I know it’s scary and that’s part of it but I’m proud of him.”

Maya hums. “What can I do?”

“What do you mean?” Carina lifts her head from Maya’s shoulder and looks at her with wrinkled brow.

“Like now.” Maya rolls her eyes. “I wasn’t around today but what can I do? Now.” She waits for Carina to say something. There must be something Maya can do to help. Even if it’s just a little thing. “I can make something to eat. Have you eaten?” Maya suddenly feels like the tables have turned. She’s the one making sure Carina is eating and taking care of herself. “I could order something. Or could whip something up. What do you have in the kitchen? Or I could clean the kitchen if you aren’t hungry and need a little alone time to process. I could run out to the store too. I can clean and organize. I’m good at that.”

Carina shakes her head. “I’m good, bella. I just want you here. But maybe I should eat something soon.”

“Low blood sugar? Cuz I don’t need you passing out on me.” Maya smiles, a little joke.

“Well, if I do, I have a hot firefighter to resuscitate me.” They share a laugh. “I just haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast. It’s been a hectic day.”

Maya nods, understanding completely.

“Would you really clean my whole apartment for me?”

“In a heartbeat.” Maya nods eagerly.

“You’re a bit neurotic, you know that, right?”

Maya laughs. “Thanks, babe.” She runs her hand up and down Carina’s back mindlessly as she thinks about all the things she’d do for Carina and realizes that there’s likely nothing that she wouldn’t do. She distracts herself from that thought. “What should we do tonight? After we eat, of course.”

“I don’t know.” Carina sighs. She’s content with just sitting here with Maya.

“I know. Those pictures.”

Carina doesn’t know what Maya is talking about. “Oh.” Then it hits her.

“Little Carina. I bet you were the cutest kid.”

Carina hums. “I’m not so sure about that. I had wild frizzy wavy hair. I had skinny arms and legs. I looked like one of those stick figures with a full head of hair.”

“Can I see? Pleeeease?” Maya begs. “Pretty please with a cherry on top?”

“Okay. Okay.” Carina rolls her eyes. “But first you have to make me dinner.”

Maya laughs, full, hearty. “You got it, babe.” She gets Carina to move her legs so she can get up and make something to eat. She’s not sure when she turned into this domestic, caring, nurturing version of herself, but Maya finds it doesn’t bother her so much anymore. She used to think it was foreign and unnatural for her but now it’s just how it is.

She leaves Carina sat on the couch and starts rummaging through the cupboards for something to make. A sense of calm washes over Maya as she takes a deep breath. The day turned out completely different than she was expecting. Maya was so worried about apologizing for her bad behavior that she got lost in that and hadn’t even checked in with Carina and didn’t know what was going on with Andrew. She feels a little guilty about that, but knows that they are both a little bit at fault for not communicating better about yesterday’s events.

Maya’s minds flashes to yesterday, to the spaghetti dinner, to finding her mother and Carina talking and laughing when they returned from their call. She wonders what they were talking about. Maya thinks it was probably her. She being the common denominator between her mother and her girlfriend.

She’d ask Carina but Maya isn’t sure she wants to know what they were talking about.

“Do you need any help?” The question shakes Maya from her thoughts.

“No.” She gets a pan out. “I’ve got this. You stay there. Relax. Do you want some wine?”

Carina sighs. “No. Can I have a glass of water though?” She’s feeling a bit dehydrated. Maya brings her over a glass of water a few seconds later. Maya’s hand runs over her head, the back of her hair, over her shoulder. She presses a kiss to Carina’s forehead. Carina lifts her chin to look up at Maya and Maya presses a kiss to her lips. “Thanks.” She accepts the glass from Maya.

Maya hums. “I’ll let you know when dinner is ready.”

Chapter Text

“Then I think you should go.” Maya can’t handle this right now. She can’t handle Carina pushing her and trying to get her to admit something that isn’t true. She doesn’t know why the woman has to keep going on about this. She wishes Carina would just drop it already. First, it was talking to her mother that Carina wanted her to do. And now she wants to talk about abuse and denial again.

“What?” Carina snaps. “This is not how you handle a fight.”

Maya nods, agreeing.

“Maya, I-“ Carina could just say it. She could spit it out, but she knows that if she does right now that it will come back to bite her in the end. She could tell Maya that she loves her right here and now. But the fact that they are arguing will make Maya think she only said it because of that. Out of spite.

“-I’m here for you.” Carina says instead. “I’m not leaving.” She wants to make sure Maya knows that at least.

Maya pauses, almost short-circuiting. “Okay, Okay. I’m- I’m- I’m gonna.” She puts her hand on her chest. “I need- I need to run.” Figuratively. Literally. “So I’m gonna- gonna go on a run.”

Maya can barely get the words out. She feels like she is suffocating. Like her apartment is too crowded, too small. The anxiety rises in her throat as she throws her coat on. She doesn’t know where she’s going to go but Maya feels the need to run.

Carina spins around on her stool and watches in shock as Maya collects her things and leaves the apartment. She sits there for a moment after the door closes. She thinks it’s such an odd way to react. Maybe not for Maya, but for people in general. Who leaves their own apartment and leaves someone behind?

Carina frowns and looks down at the floor. Now what? She knows she shouldn’t have pushed Maya. She knows she shouldn’t have brought up the abuse again, but Carina believes you can’t just let stuff like that hang around and fester. She believes problems need to be dealt with head on.

She goes to the bedroom and gets Maya’s laptop. She thinks about watching a movie until Maya gets back. Or maybe putting on some calming music. Carina wants to be mad at Maya but something in her just can’t be. She wants to be there for her more.

Carina opens up the laptop and settles in bed and opens the browser history to see if there are any recent links to movies. What she finds instead are links to articles. One that reads ‘Most Romantic Places in Seattle.’

She smiles. “Maya Bishop.” The name is accompanied by a happy little sigh.

‘The Best Resturant for a Date.’

‘Most Beautiful Parks and Scenic Areas.’

Carina isn’t sure if Maya is planning something for them but by the looks of it the blonde has been doing some research. Carina looks at the bookmarks tab and finds bookmarks for different fires and the history of fire. Some are recent fires, but others go back over a hundred years.

She needs some soothing music. Carina opens up Spotify. She’s just looking for something to listen to. It doesn’t have to be anything specific. She’s looking over the page when something catches her eye. A playlist with her name as the title. Of course, she clicks on it.

The thought goes through her head that maybe she shouldn’t. That Maya wouldn’t want her look at or listening to this. But it’s not like Maya has ever restricted her from using her laptop before. Maya often has Carina use the laptop to look up a phrase or quote or search for a movie for them to watch or put on some music. But Carina has never seen this playlist before. It must have been added fairly recently.

There doesn’t seem to be one genre of music. It’s a mix. A number of different songs that are listed in alphabetical order by artist. Very Maya like. Some songs that Carina recognizes by name but most she doesn’t know. She thinks if she listens to them she might recognize them by ear rather than by name.

The first song is Alanis Morissette Head Over Feet. Carina has heard of Alanis but doesn’t know what song is which from her number of hits.

There is Let Me Take You Home Tonight by Boston. Carina knows she doesn’t know that song but smirks at the title alone.

Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis is on there about halfway down the playlist. That’s a song she knows and loves.

Carina starts at the top of the playlist and lets it run all the way to the bottom where the last song is She Looks So Perfect by 5 Seconds of Summer.

Some songs are love ballads, some are goofy upbeat pop songs, there are the romantic 80’s rock songs, and others that don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason as to why they are in the playlist.

Carina listens to the songs as she reads about the Great Seattle Fire, the worst fire in Seattle history. A fire that had started accidentally by an overturned glue pot in a carpentry shop.

She ends up spending over two hours reading about fires, and explosions, and the worst fires in Seattle history and the deadliest fires. The playlist playing in the background the entire time.

A break is needed. Carina rubs her eyes as they are fatigued from staring at the laptop screen for so long. She looks around the bedroom and wonders when Maya is going to be back. Two hours is a long time for a run, unless Maya went and entered a marathon. She has called and texted Maya a few times but doesn’t want to bother or bug the woman too much. She knows Maya is irritated and on edge. Carina knows she can be annoying and pushy and overbearing sometimes. Andrea has told her that more than once. She doesn’t want to be that way with Maya. She doesn’t want Maya to resent her the way Andrea sometimes does.

She sighs and runs her hands through her hair. Carina gets up and goes to get a snack. She brings her phone with her to the kitchen. She goes through all of Maya cupboards and finds some peanut butter. There is jam and bread in the fridge, so she makes a sandwich. She eats her sandwich at the kitchen island before going to get the laptop and resuming her fire reading at the island.

Carina reads a few more articles before she starts yawning. She switches to watching some episodes of Friends. She realizes about halfway through the first episode that she’s seen it already, but Carina doesn’t really care. She brings her feet up onto the stool and finishes the episode before she hops off the stool and brings the laptop back to the bedroom and plugs it in.

She uses the bathroom and is starting to think about leaving. She thought Maya would be back by now. She has no idea where she went or what could be taking her so long. Carina tries not to worry about it as she goes to sit in a different spot in the apartment. On the little bench at the end of the hall. It’s a cute little corner with a cute little orchid plant. And she cuddles up there.


Maya runs. It doesn’t work.

She goes to the station and starts working out. It doesn’t work.

She goes into her office to catch up on some paperwork. It doesn’t work.

Nothing works to get rid of the feeling that Maya currently has. She’s on edge. She yelled at Andy about how she is grieving.

Jack comes in and starts talking about Andy and Sullivan and Pruitt. She starts yelling at him and he yells right back at her. Both of them arguing about their daddy issues. Maya grabs a fistful of his shirt and looks at him for a second before kissing him.

In bed, after their angry hook up, Maya admits to Jack that she is broken. He says they both are.

Gross. That’s how Maya feels. Sick to her stomach and gross. And maybe that’s the point. That feeling that she had earlier is gone, replaced with this gross, sick feeling. So, in a way, having sex with Jack worked. She did that. She did that to herself.

Maya has never been one to feel shame or embarrassment about her sexual encounters. Until now. She’s never experienced the ‘walk of shame’. But her walk home is filled with nothing but disgust and regret. She just wants to get home, shower, and go to bed. Maya wants to just forget that today ever happened. It was bad from the very beginning. No, the beginning was great, when she woke up in bed with Carina and they had amazing morning sex. That was great but things went downhill from that point.

She thinks about stopping somewhere to get something to eat. Her mind wanders back to earlier in the day when she was chopping vegetables. She wonders if Carina put everything away after she left. She wonders what Carina did after she left. She wonders how long she waited to see if Maya returned before she left the apartment too.

She skips the food and just heads home.

Maya opens the door. It’s quiet. She looks left, not seeing anything. And then she looks right. There she is. Sitting at the end of the hall. Carina is there still.

She hasn’t thought about this part yet. Well, she did. She thought about Carina, but she hasn’t thought about how she was going to tell Carina or explain this to her. She needed time to figure that out. But she doesn’t have time as Carina is sitting there giving her a small wave and a pinched smile.

And she doesn’t know what to say or how to explain it. Does she even say anything or just keep it a secret?

“I thought you left.” Maya had hoped Carina had left. She might not have returned home if she knew Carina was still here.

“I- I- I almost did. But then I thought you might need-“

“I don’t need anything except space.”

“I can see that you’re pushing me away and I wanna give you space-“

“So give me space.” Maya’s not sure why she’s saying what she’s saying but she is. Everything is so mixed up right now.

“I understand that you’re going through a lot and I- I’m trying not to be mad at you but-“

“Well, I just slept with Jack an hour ago so be mad at that.” Maya walks to her bedroom and opens the door and slams it shut. She closes her eyes and leans back against the door. She couldn’t witness the heartbreak on Carina’s face. She can’t face that right now.

Carina is devastated as she sits there in the hallway. She starts crying and hyperventilating.

Maya sinks to the floor, her back still against the door, as she listens. She knows she just destroyed Carina’s entire world. She knows and she feels terrible about it, but the woman wouldn’t listen to her. She wouldn’t listen when she said she needed space. And now, she’s still here in her apartment, even after Maya has been gone for hours.

Why? The question circles in Carina’s mind. It’s the first rational thought she has. Why did Maya sleep with Jack? Why Jack? Of all people. Would it have been better if it were someone else? A random stranger? Why? When Maya said she was going on a run. Was that just an excuse or did Maya really go on a run? Why now? They had been so good. Up until Carina wanted to talk about Maya’s dad. They had been so good together.

Carina sits there in the hall for a long time. Really, she doesn’t have the strength to get up. She knows she has to leave. She has to go now. That’s more evident than ever. Maya proved that to her. Maya wanted space and she sure found a way to create that space.

She wipes at her eyes, trying to get the tears to stop falling. It’s useless. She tries to get her breathing to even out. After a few minutes of deep in and out breaths, it does, and the tears subside when her normal breathing returns. Carina looks around. Her shoes are by the door. Her bag is on the kitchen counter. She gets up and carries herself on shaky legs to her items, gathering them and slipping out the apartment door with a sigh. She pulls the door closed and pauses there for a moment. Carina swallows down the tears that are threatening again. She thinks about her half draw of things in Maya’s dresser in her bedroom. She thinks about one of her favorite shirts that is in the laundry basket in the closet that she was wearing yesterday when she showed up at Maya’s place. A little evil voice in her head says they’re just things, they’re replaceable.”

Barefoot, with her shoes and bag in her arms, she walks down the hall and then down the stairs. Carina hopes no one sees her. She knows she must look like a hot mess right now. Red puffy eyes, tear-stained cheeks, a snotty nose.

She doesn’t really know how she gets back to her apartment. Carina’s body takes her there of its own accord, on auto-pilot.

As soon as she closes the door she collapses onto the floor, dropping her shoes and her bag in the process. Her body can’t take anymore. She lays there in a heap.

Carina doesn’t know for how long she is on the floor but eventually the awkward position makes her back hurt. So, she can feel something other than sorrow. Physical pain means she is still alive, still human. She gets to her hands and knees and crawls to her bed, climbing in.

The numbness strikes next. She doesn’t know if it’s disbelief or something else; but Carina just lays there staring up at the ceiling, her brain void of any thoughts except for the color of the ceiling.

White.

That’s all she thinks about. The ceiling, how it was made, how it was painted, who chose the color, what the color represents. White is the color of purity.

There’s nothing pure right now though. Carina rolls onto her side and curls up in a ball, her knees tucked to her chest. The sorrow and despair return as her mind rolls Maya’s words again.

I just slept with Jack an hour ago.

Jack.

That means it’s personal. Maya did it with Jack because it’s personal. Carina wonders if this means they are getting back together. Have they been seeing each other and Carina just didn’t know about it? Is that why Maya is so on edge and doesn’t want to talk about her father? Does it have something to do with Jack? Does Jack know about Maya’s father? Is that why? Carina ponders about the Jack of it all. He must have something to do with this. If it were someone else, Carina knows it wouldn’t hurt this much. Maybe that’s not true, but it makes it worse because it’s Jack.

The sob that escapes her catches even Carina by surprise. It hurts. It really hurts. Painful, excruciatingly painful. A pain that Carina has never felt before in her life.


Maya sits against the bedroom door for a long time. She listens to Carina crying and it’s the most heartbreaking thing she’s ever experienced. She did that. She made that happen. She caused that pain. Maya is to blame. So, she forces herself to sit there and listen.

It seems to take a long time, Maya doesn’t know how long, before Carina gets up and leaves. She hangs her head is shame. Broken Maya has now broken sweet, wonderful, beautiful Carina. She wonders if this was always going to happen. That at some point her brokenness would ruin them. And it has.

She pushes herself to her feet and goes to shower. She stays in the shower until the water runs cold and then gets out and goes to bed.

Maya doesn’t sleep. She just lays there. She’s not sure what she’s supposed to feel. Shame, regret, anger. Still with the anger. Sadness?

Maya doesn’t know if she’s sad. She got what she wanted. Space. But now the space feels like too much, like the void is too large. Maya reaches out with her hand and runs it over the empty space next to her in bed. She reaches up and takes the pillow and pulls it to her chest. It smells like Carina and Maya takes in a deep breath of that scent. She closes her eyes, not allowing herself to cry.


In the morning Carina gets up and goes to work as if nothing happened. She puts on a happy face for her patients. She’s not hungry but needs to eat something so she goes to the cafeteria to get something to eat. She’s standing in line when Teddy Altman waves her over. Carina nods. She gets her food and goes to sit with Teddy.

“You look like shit.” Teddy appraises the Italian, always telling it like it is.

Carina hums but doesn’t say anything about it. She picks at her food. Some vegetables and mashed potatoes and a piece of salmon. She’s really not hungry.

“Any interesting cases today?” Teddy asks. She needs a distraction from her own cases, her own personal life.

“No. Just basic stuff.” For that, Carina is glad. Her emotions are strung out. She feels like she’s a little twig and could snap at any moment. She just wants a nice, easy day so she can go home at the end of it and climb into bed and hide from everything.

Teddy grumbles. “Boring.” That doesn’t help Teddy any.

Carina’s not sure what she’s going to do about her Maya problem. That’s what she’s decided to call it.

Her Maya problem is always lingering in the back of her mind. While she’s doing charting, while she’s with a patient. Her Maya problem is always in the back of her mind. And she doesn’t know what she wants to do about it. For now, Carina has decided to do nothing.

Just like she planned, Carina goes home at the end of her shift and climbs into bed and hides under the covers. She has her phone with her and starts looking through the pictures on her phone. There are some of her trips to Italy. There are some of her family and Andrea. There are some of Maya or with Maya. A few sexy photos but most are just selfies or pics of the two of them together. She thinks about deleting them but can’t bring herself to actually do it.

She looks at their smiles, their happy faces, and wonders if that’s ever possible again. Carina isn’t happy now and she doesn’t know if she is going to be for a long time again. It’s going to be hard to get over this one. Not that she particularly wants to get over Maya.

When things started with Maya, she knew the woman had unresolved issue. In a way, everyone does. Demons. Past traumas. And Maya was not so nice with her at the beginning too. But they got past that, and it didn’t bother Carina too much. Maya had opened up with her and she had let Maya in too. They were good.

At least, she thought they were good. Now Carina doesn’t know what to think. A part of her feels like a fool. Like she was played somehow. She thought Maya loved her. No, Maya hadn’t said it, but she could feel it, see it. Actions speak louder than words, right. But if actions speak louder than words what does that mean about what happened with Jack. Maybe she was wrong. But Carina isn’t usually wrong about stuff like that, about feelings. She good at reading people, it’s part of her job. Carina starts second guessing her feelings and emotions. Could she be wrong?


Maya sleeps in. Or more like lays in. She didn’t do much sleeping. She initially got to sleep but then woke up after a couple of hours and just tossed and turned the rest of the night. She screwed up. She knows that. That’s not even a question. But how to fix it. That’s the real question. Is it even fixable? Is her relationship with Carina forever broken because of this? Maya thinks it might be.

She reaches for her phone and is disappointed that there are no missed calls or texts. She knows Carina is working. She could go there but she doesn’t want to cause a scene. She knows the emotions are too raw yet and that the fiery Italian would no doubt yell and shout, likely in her native tongue, at her in front anyone who could see them.

Maya’s thumb hovers over Carina contact information. She hits the call icon and brings her phone to her ear. She knows Carina is working and knows she won’t answer her phone. The call goes to voicemail. Maya sighs as she listens to the recording of Carina’s voice. She hangs up, not leaving a message. She’s tempted to call again just to hear her voice again, but knows that would look crazy and creepy and stalkery.

She gets out of bed after a while and goes to take another shower subconscious, or maybe not so subconsciously, trying to wash the shame and regret from her body. That gross feeling just won’t go away.


Vic and Maya bond over having broken up with their doctor lovers.

Maya needs a break from dancing with Vic. She goes and sits on the couch. Vic comes over and sits with her. Maya swallows a drink from her beer. “What kind of gift do you get someone that you cheated on but are madly in love with?” She stares down into her beer.

Vic laughs. “That’s ridiculous. I don’t think that type of gift exists. What would you even be trying to say, sorry I banged someone else but I still get points cuz I love you, right?.”

Maya releases a long sigh.

Vic looks over at her friend and sees the sad look on Maya’s face. “Oh, you’re serious. Okay.”

“Forget I said anything.” Maya huff and pushes herself up from the couch.

“Hey, where are you going? We were having fun-“ Vic’s words die off as Maya leaves. “-earlier. We were having fun earlier.” She mumbles to herself.

Maya walks through the party and steps outside into the cool night air. It’s crisp and Maya inhales deeply and looks up at the sky. There is too much light pollution where they are to see the stars but it’s a cloudless sky so Maya knows she would be able to see them better if she weren’t in the city. Part of her wishes it was cloudy. Cloudy so she could dream about them. See them and think about how soft they are and would feel. Think about dying.

Maya hasn’t thought about dying in a long time. Not since before Carina. But now. She’s thought about it every night for the last three nights. Since she got home and found Carina still sitting there. Since she told her she slept with Jack.

The after Carina version of Maya thinks about dying all the time again. How can she not? She craves that peace that she thought she had when she was with Carina. It’s gone now. She’ll put a smile on her face and go through the day but then she goes home and lays in bed thinking about how peaceful dying would be. Then she wouldn’t have to live in this hell that she’s created for herself.

At first, she was angry. At herself. At everyone. At Jack. At Carina. At Andy. But in reality, she’s the only one to blame. She was projecting her feelings onto all of them when really, she just didn’t want to deal with her own problems.

Maya has been thinking about her father a lot too. He was tough. It was tough love. But Maya knows somewhere in her mind that what Lane did was far beyond what any other parent that she knows did for their kids. Maya still thinks it was to benefit her, even if everyone else thinks it was something else.

She looks up at the moon. It hangs low in the sky. Maya thinks maybe she is the moon. Only out some of the time. Only really visible at night. If she is the moon then Carina is the sun, burning bright and hot in the sky. Big and visible all day long.

“There you are.” Vic steps up next to her. She looks over at Maya. “What are you thinking about?” She watches Maya look up at the moon.

Maya sighs. “I miss her.”

“Ah.” Vic pinches her lips together tightly and nods. “What are you going to do about it?”

Maya’s head snaps over to look at Vic. “Haven’t I done enough already?” She’s angry again. She rubs her hand over her beanie and lets out a low growl.

Vic holds her hands up in front of herself in innocence.

Maya sighs, realizing that she is again letting her frustration out on yet another person. “Sorry.”

“Maybe do that.” Vic whispers.

Maya shakes her head. An apology isn’t enough to fix what she broke with Carina.

“Or get her a gift.” Vic shrugs. She wraps an arm around Maya’s back and leans into her side. “But she doesn’t seem like the type of girl who would accept a gift as an apology.”

“I know.” Maya sighs and hangs her head. The anger fades again and the regret creeps back in.


Maya is surprised to find her father at the station. She wonders if her mother has something to do with this. She wishes her parents would quit showing up at her job. It’s distracting. Maya has enough distractions right now she doesn’t need any more. So, him showing up makes the hair on the back of her neck stand at attention. At least, that’s why Maya thinks it prickles up uncomfortably.

He’s talking and she’s not listening to him. She’s thinking about what Jack said and what Andy said and what Carina and her mother said about Lane. He’s standing right in front of her, and she blinks at him but doesn’t hear his words.

The call comes in and Maya asks him to stick around until she gets back.

The situation at Pac-North is intense. There’s a fire and explosions. They get word that there is a bomb inside the building. Maya takes a few deep breaths and focuses on the task at hand.

But then she sees him or hears him. Maya can’t believe that he is here. She goes over to her father to tell him to leave but he doesn’t take orders from his daughter.

She turns around and he reaches out and grabs her hair, pulling her ponytail, pulling her back. The rage ignites in Maya in an instant.

She spins around. “Get your hands off of me.”

That’s it. In that moment, Maya knows. Whatever doubts or denial she had are gone. It’s funny that that’s all it took. One moment for her to see her dad for real. He’s not the man that she’s built up in her head for years. He’s not some amazing trainer. He’s not supportive and loving. He’s not after anything that doesn’t benefit him.

That gross feeling that she got after she slept with Jack returns in full force. She feels gross and maybe a little stupid that she couldn’t see it before now. But Maya didn’t want to see it. She didn’t want to see who her father truly was. She had built him up to be this great man, put him on a pedestal, when he’s nothing more than a weak, sad man.

Maya returns to her scene. It’s total chaos but Maya thrives with that. She focuses on what needs to happen and how to get everyone out of the building.

It’s not until she’s back at the station and had some time to think that Maya knows things have to change. She has to change. She wants to change.

Maya doesn’t know if there is any hope for her and Carina anymore. The woman won’t answer her calls or texts. Maya calls her once, and only once, a day. She sends random texts with a little meme or joke but all go unanswered. She thinks about leaving a voicemail but what would she say in a few seconds that could possibly help. She wants to change if she still has a shot with Carina. She needs to.

And change starts with the physical. The thing that helped her realize, the thing that her father violated has to go. She stares at herself in the mirror, scissors in hand. Maya takes a deep breath and starts cutting.

It’s supposed to be like therapy. A new beginning. Taking control back from her father. All of it.

When she’s done her hair is lopsided and jagged. She feels how it looks.

She’ll donate the hair to some wig cancer program and be done with it. Maya knows it’s not that easy though. She knows that the emotional trauma is there and it’s not just going to go away by cutting her own hair off. But it’s a start.

Chapter Text

Her recently chopped hair feels weird against the pillow now. Maya keeps running her hand through it. It’s so light and bouncy. She isn’t sure if she likes it or not. Maya has had, at least, shoulder length hair her entire life. It’s a huge change for her.

She thinks about what Jack said about how sometimes an apology can go a long way. Maya has thought that too much time has passed for her to apologize. It’s been a week. She lays in bed awake all night. Her hand reaches out for the empty spot next to her that a certain Italian sometimes occupied. That spot has remained empty for a week now.

Maya sighs. She knows she fucked up. She’s well aware of that, but she doesn’t know what she can do to make it better. She doesn’t even know if she can make it better. Is it too late? Has Carina moved on? Like she told Jack, she ruined the best relationship she’s ever had, with anyone, in any capacity.

The thing is, Maya doesn’t want to give up. In the past, she would have just moved on. Gone on about her day, about her business, moved on to the next thing. Found somebody new to get physical with. But she doesn’t want to do any of that now. She can’t. She only wants Carina. And her heart breaks knowing that she might not get that chance ever again. And she beats herself up about that. She’s spent the last few days that she hasn’t been working just drinking, and slinking around the apartment, sleeping, wishing she didn’t have to deal with it.

She misses Carina. She misses her smile and her laugh. She misses her little Italian mumblings. She misses the way she smells. And tastes. She misses the way Carina holds her in their sleep. She misses how Carina can put a smile on her face just by saying hello. She misses how happy she felt with Carina.

And it hurts. It physically hurts. Her body hurts. It aches. It yearns for Carina.

And Maya is so stupid. The alcohol numbed that the past few days but tonight she swore she wouldn’t drink anymore. So, she’s not sleeping and is staring at the ceiling thinking about Carina. Trying to come up with something to do to apologize. Or to even get Carina to talk to her. Because she hasn’t. Carina has avoided all of Maya’s texts and ignored all of her calls.

There’s only one thing that Maya keeps coming back to that she thinks might work. Being honest. Being one hundred honest with Carina. Spilling her guts. Telling her all of her feelings, her thoughts, explaining why she did what she did.

That doesn’t make it better though. That only brings up the wounds again. But it’s the only thing Maya can think of. Nothing else has worked. She knows Carina doesn’t like attention or spotlight and a grand romantic gesture would be a huge failure, so that’s out.

Maya thinks about what to say; where to even find Carina and get an opportunity to speak with her. She looks at the clock. 3:43. She sighs. She’s going to have to wait until morning to do this though every bone in her body wants to go do it right now. She’s ready to do it right now. She could get up and go over to Carina’s place. But it’s the middle of the night, and that’s creepy, and she knows Carina wouldn’t even let her in. She’s thought of that one already too.

But Maya knows. She knows this is it. She knows she loves Carina. She’s known that for a while now but was just to scared to say it. She knows that she needs to get Carina to forgive her. And that if she does, she knows that that’s it. It’s a done deal. Maya is committing herself. There’s nothing else. There’s no one else for her. She knows that.

Is their relationship perfect? No. But who’s is? Does Maya have a lot to work on? Yes. She knows that now and she won’t deny it. Their relationship is young yet. That could worry Maya, but it doesn’t. It actually excites her. There is so much unexplored territory there. If she can get Carina back.

She just needs to explain and tell Carina she’s sorry and beg for her forgiveness. And Maya is more than willing to do that. Beg and gravel and do anything she needs to.

Sleep never comes for her. So, when Maya gets dressed and looks in the mirror, she knows she looks terrible. She rolls her eyes. “Very fitting.”

She drives to the hospital. Maya thought about running there but then she would be all sweaty and gross and that didn’t seem appropriate for what she needs to do.

Her stubborn determination keeps the anxiety at bay. Maya is determined as she walks on the sidewalk, well, more like stomps across the concrete. She’s going so fast that she almost doesn’t see her standing there. But, then again, she can’t miss the beauty that is Carina. She is standing at the coffee cart with Teddy Altman.

Maya stops and turns. She gets Carina’s attention, and she explains, and she begs, and says I love you, and apologizes, and asks for forgiveness. It’s all Maya’s got. She doesn’t have anything else. If this doesn’t work, Maya doesn’t know what else to do.

She can see that Carina doesn’t want to forgive her. She knows that Carina can’t do that so easily. Maya takes it standing still when Carina says that can’t just forget that she cheated.

“Am I supposed to trust you?”

“I don’t know.” Maya shakes her head. “I don’t know.” Maya shrugs. She’s not sure what she’s supposed to do. “But I’m okay spending every day trying to convince you to.” She says it with such conviction.

Maya means it. She means it a thousand percent. She will spend every day showing Carina that she can be trusted. She doesn’t know how, yet, but she’ll do it. If Carina will just give her a second chance.

Carina looks at Maya, looks into her eyes. Underneath the tears she recognizes the honesty, the sincerity, the absolute truth in Maya’s words. Something shifts in Carina.

Teddy looks between the pair as they look at each other in silence. “Forgive her.”

Teddy has to add her two cents. She can see that Maya truly means what she says. She knows that this might be the last opportunity for them, and if they don’t take it, they might regret it. She knows she shouldn’t say anything because, well, she’s not been faithful to Owen; but her past relationships, her relationship with Allison, taught her that life is short, too short. And sometimes, especially if you love someone, you need to make it work no matter what happens, no matter the transgressions, because life could be taken away from you in the blink of an eye.

Carina groans at that. She doesn’t need other people telling her what to do with her relationship.

“I’m sorry. If you love her, forgive her.” Teddy just doesn’t want them to miss this opportunity.

Carina is mad and angry still. She’s frustrated that Maya is even standing here right now. Part of her is happy to see Maya though. She looks at Maya and the pleading look on Maya’s face is heartbreaking. Maya is standing there in front of her raw, open, emotional, putting it all out there with the possibility of being rejected. Carina realizes this. And she knows Teddy is right. She stares at Maya, almost daring her to flinch, to flee, to run. But Maya doesn’t, she stands tall, firm.

Carina shakes, physically not able to hold it in any longer. “I love you, Maya.” It might be the angriest I love you in the history of I love you’s, but the timid hopeful smile it produces from Maya overshadows it. She can’t help but smile too. Carina growls in frustration. “Come kiss me.” She can’t wait any longer.

Maya moves forward and puts her hands on Carina’s cheeks and pulls her into a kiss.

She looks at Maya after they pull apart. “Your hair, bambina.” She fists her hands in Maya’s short hair. It’s hard to miss. It’s one of the first things Carina noticed when Maya walked up.

“I know.” Maya takes a step back from Carina. Carina’s hands stay on her shoulders. “I cut it myself. Can you tell?”

A smile slowly spreads across Carina’s lips. “Yeah.”

“I’ll have to get it fixed at some point but I just haven’t-“ She was going to say ‘had the time’ but that would be a lie. Maya is done lying. Even if it’s a little lie. Even if it’s to herself. Especially if it’s to Carina.

“I like it. It suits you.”

Maya ducks her chin to her chest, blushing. “Really?”

Carina removes her right hand from Maya’s shoulder to lift her chin so she can look in her eyes. “Si, really.”

Maya smiles shyly. “Okay.” She looks around and notices all the people around them for the first time. She was so in the zone that she hadn’t realized that Carina was standing in line for the coffee cart. “Can I, uh, buy you a drink?” Maya asks awkwardly. She wonders where Dr. Altman ran off to. She’s not anywhere to be seen anymore.

Carina smiles. “Okay.” She turns around and gets back into the line properly.

Maya stands next to her anxiously. “So, what now?” She doesn’t dare look over at Carina. She tucks her hands in the jacket pockets.

“Now we get coffee.” Carina knows what she is doing. She knows she’s driving Maya crazy by not answering the question. She’s going to make her sweat, wait it out.

“And then?” Maya tries without having to actually ask what she and Carina are going to do moving forward.

“And then I go back to work.”

“Right.” Maya nods and looks down at the ground. She was hopeful that they could go somewhere and talk; but she knows, logically, Carina has work to do.

Carina turns to her and puts a hand on Maya’s forearm. “Maya, what you did was-“

“Terrible. I know. Selfish. Stupid. Idiotic. The worst thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.” She says quickly. Maya is still berating herself for it. She probably will be for a long time too.

Carina raises an eyebrow at her. “Okay, wow.” She can tell Maya is still beating herself up about it. “It’s going to take me time to get over that. To get past it. To forgive you and trust you.”

Maya turns to her now. “I meant what I said.” She needs Carina to know. “I will spend every single day proving to you that you can trust me. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Carina hums. “Actions speak louder than words.”

“I know.” Maya nods. “I know. I know. I know. I’m so sorry.” She feels like she’s spinning out all of a sudden. The big speech is over and now she doesn’t know what to do or say or think. The panic sets in. “I’m sorry. I can’t-“ Maya starts to hyperventilate, looking around nervously.

“Hey.” Carina almost sees it before it happens. “It’s okay. You’re okay. Maya, look at me.” Maya locks eyes with Carina. “It’s going to be okay.”

“You don’t know that.” Maya whispers with shallow breaths.

Carina pauses for a moment; she turns to Maya and takes her shoulders in her hands. “Okay. Just look at me.” She breathes in and out slowly for Maya. Maya copies the action. “Listen to the sound of my voice. Let’s just go slow and take this one step at a time. First, coffee. Then I go back inside. And you go home, or you go hang out with Vic, or something. I will call you tonight. Okay?”

Maya nods. That reassurance lets her breath a little easier.

“I will call you tonight. We can talk. Or we don’t have to talk. We can talk about whatever. But I will call you.” Carina promises. She knows Maya needs to hear that.

Maya nods. “Will you come with me to get my hair styled?” She’s not sure why she asks.

Carina smiles at that. “You’re so adorable sometimes.” She whispers so no one else can hear.

Maya rolls her eyes. She panicked and freaking out, she doesn’t need to be called adorable right now.

“If you want.”

Maya sighs, relieved. “I love you.”

“I know you do.” Carina reaches down and takes Maya’s hand, pulling it from her pocket. She turns back to face the front of the line, but can feel Maya’s eyes staring at the side of her head. “What?” She asks without looking over.

“I just- I don’t know- I feel-“ Maya stumbles for what to say.

Carina squeezes Maya’s hand. “It’s a lot. I know. It’s okay.” It’s a lot for Carina too. She’s been preparing herself for this moment though.

Maya nods at that. She’s glad that Carina seems to understand that this is difficult for her. “Thank you.”

Carina looks over and tilts her head to the side. “For what?”

Maya shakes her head. “Everything. For listening. For not just saying it’s over between us. I don’t know what I would’ve done then.”

Carina chuckles. Maya sounds so dramatic.

“I’m serious.” Maya takes a deep breath. “I don’t want anybody else. I just want you.”

Carina sucks in a shocked breath. She knew Maya was serious, but she didn’t know that she was this serious. She knows that Maya means what she says. The look in her eyes is all she needs to see to know. “Really?” But she can’t help but ask.

Maya shakes her head and chuckles. “I was so dumb to push you away. I was scared. I had all these feelings for you that I didn’t know how to process or what to do with. And my dad-”

“Oh, Maya.” Carina sighs and leans in to kiss her. She just can’t resist any longer.

Maya smirks after a great kiss. “I’ve missed that.” She looks up at Carina. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too.” Carina wraps an arm around Maya as they get to the front of the line. “But this doesn’t mean I forgive you so easily. You are going to have to make it up to me.”

“I’ll do anything you want.” Maya says eagerly.

“Be carefully what you say.” Carina warns. “You might get stuck doing something you really hate.”

“If it’s for you, then I won’t hate it.” The earnestness in her voice is hard to miss.

Carina smirks. “Such a smooth talker.” She rubs her palm up and down Maya’s arm.

Maya shrugs against her and orders their drinks when the barista motions to them.


A few days go by.

They talk on the phone every night before bed. Carina holds up her end of the bargain to call Maya that night after Maya came to the hospital to apologize and beg for forgiveness. Both were quiet at first, not sure what to talk about, but then Maya fell back on the good ole firefighter things.

“Did you hear about what happened at Pac-North?”

Carina tries to remember if she’s heard anything at the hospital about the other hospital. “No, I don’t think so.”

“We were called to the scene. There was a bomb inside. Miller and his bomb training handled it all smoothly. Him and Gibson. Or as smoothly as you can handle a bomb. PD wanted to take over and the bomb squad, but my team had the whole situation under control. Dixon got arrested too. That was the best part overall.”

Carina grins. “That’s cuz your team has a great captain.”

Maya is glad that they are just speaking on the phone so that Carina can’t see her blushing right now. She feels like a giddy little kid at the compliment.

“I knew you would be one day. You just had a few kinks to work out. I’m so happy for you Maya. Everything is working out for you.”

Maya thinks that not everything is working out for her, but she holds her tongue on that one. “Thanks. Not that long ago- I never would have thought- today-“ She sighs, not knowing exactly what to say. She changes the subject. “How are you?” Talking about her job seemed to be the perfect ice breaker.

Carina sighs. “I’ve been better. That’s for sure. There’s a lot going on. With you. With Andrea. It’s a lot.”

“I know it is.”

For a little while, Maya is glad that they aren’t talking about her and what she did. The focus is on Andrew and Maya tries to just listen and be there as a sounding board for Carina. Carina updates Maya on how Andrew is doing in treatment. That they’ve got him on medication and his mood has stabilized and that he is doing well.


Over the next few days, they talk over the phone. Maya apologizes over and over again.

It’s easy, the conversations that they have. But mostly they don’t talk about what happened. Maya tries to tell Carina what happened with Jack, but Carina doesn’t want to hear it, she can’t hear it. Not yet at least.

“I’m trying to be honest and open with you.” Maya sighs.

“I know you are. And thank you for that. But hearing about Jack, it’s too much. It’s still too fresh. It hurts too much.”

“I’m sorry.” Maya says for the millionth time.

Carina sighs. “You need to stop apologizing. I know you’re sorry.”

“I just-“ Maya wants Carina to believe her, to prove to her that she is sorry.

“Can we meet?” Carina changes tactic. They’ve been talking on the phone for over a week since the coffee cart. But Carina hates it. She hates talking on the phone to someone she has a connection with. She hates video calls too. That’s almost worst. She can see the person but not really see them. She needs to see Maya. She needs to see her even though she not forgiven or forgotten yet. She needs to be in the same space as Maya.

The surprise in Maya’s voice is clear. “Now?”

“Now. Or whenever you are free.”

“I’m free now.” Maya jumps out of bed and scrambles around the room to find something to wear. “Where should we meet?”

Carina chuckles. Even over the phone she can hear and envision a frantic Maya running around trying to find pants to put on. “How about I come over?”

Maya stops in her tracks. “Oh.” She wasn’t expecting that. “Are you sure?” She thought they would meet in a public place, Carina not wanting to be caught with Maya in private if things didn’t go well. Or Carina not wanting to come back to the scene of the devastation. Or a million things. She just never expected them to meet in her apartment. But if that’s what Carina wants then that’s what Maya will do.

“Si.” Carina gets up from her armchair. “I’ll see you in a little bit, bella.”

Maya runs around the apartment. It’s a mess. Not like a big mess because Maya would never let it get like that. But she hasn’t put any effort into keeping the place neat and tidy since she torpedoed her relationship with Carina. It wasn’t high on the priority list.

So, she cleans up the place as best as she can in the few minutes that she has.

But there is a knock on the door and Maya isn’t finished cleaning. She runs to the door though, not wanting to keep Carina waiting. She pulls the door open. “Sorry, the place is a mess. I haven’t- Woah.” She finally takes a look at her guest. Carina is even more stunning than the last time she saw her. “You look-“ That was at the coffee cart in pink scrubs. This is casual, comfy Carina in jeans and a t-shirt. It’s not a look she rocks very often but one she can definitely pull off.

“Thank you, bella. You too.” Carina sweeps into the room and presses a kiss to Maya’s cheek.

Maya looks down at herself, her tank top and shorts. “I do not look- I’ve been cleaning. It’s a mess. Sorry.”

“I don’t care what your place looks like or if it’s messy.” Carina backs Maya up with her right hand on the collar of her shirt. She closes the door with her other hand. It’s not until Maya bumps into the table that they come to a stop.

Maya’s mouth hangs open as she watches Carina. She’s not sure what to do. She’s not sure if she should touch her or hold her or kiss her. Maya doesn’t know what’s acceptable now or where the line between them lies.

Carina knows what she wants though. She presses her whole body into Maya’s, moaning at just being able to press up against Maya again. “I miss you so much.” She husks in Maya’s ear as the fingers of her left hand scratch over Maya’s abdomen.

Maya groans. “Are you sure?”

Carina leans back to looks at Maya. “Am I sure about missing you?”

Maya shakes her head. “No. Nevermind. I thought you wanted sex.”

Carina runs her hand up Maya’s neck to cup her cheek. “I do.”

“Oh.” Maya is confused now.

“I miss you, Maya. I miss your face. I miss your smile. I miss your laugh. I miss how you ramble when you are nervous or anxious. I miss the sound of your voice. I miss the way your hands feel in mine. I miss the way they know my body like they were made for that purpose only. I miss the way you moan when I have my head between your legs.” Carina smirks at that one. Maya rolls her head back. “I miss you. I miss all of you. In every way possible.” She kisses Maya finally, hungry.

“But I’m still mad at you. And sad. And disappointed. And I don’t trust you completely.” Carina adds.

“Okay.” Maya mumbles. It’s good to have some clarification. To know where she stands.

“Take me to bed, Maya. I need you.” She doesn’t want to waste any more time.

Maya slips her fingers into the beltloops on Carina’s jeans and pulls her through the apartment to her bedroom.

They go into the bedroom and Maya runs her hands up Carina’s sides before pushing her backwards, so she sits on the edge of the bed. She stands before her. The nerves that flutter in her belly are unusual. She’s never been nervous about sex before. She’s definitely never been nervous about sex with Carina before.

“Hey.” Carina looks up and sees the apprehension in Maya’s eyes. “It’s just me.”

Maya shakes her head. It’s not just Carina. There’s no just about it. Carina is everything. She scared she going to screw this up somehow. She feels the panic rising. “I have to- go to the bathroom.” She takes a step back. Carina reaches out for her, but Maya takes another step back. “I’ll be back.” Maya slinks away and ducks into the bathroom.

When Carina said she was coming over one of Maya’s first thoughts was about cleaning up her apartment. Her next thought was that they were finally going to sit down and talk about what happened. She didn’t expect this. She didn’t expect Carina to ask her for sex. Maya isn’t ready for that. She doesn’t know if she can go through with it.

She grips onto the edges of the sink with her hands and looks at herself in the bathroom mirror. Maya takes a few deep breaths getting the panic to recede. “You can do this.” She tries to give herself a pep talk. “You can do this. It’s just sex.”

Maya hangs her head because she knows it isn’t. Sex with Carina isn’t just sex. And it never will be. Maya thinks, maybe, it never has been. It’s always been more than that. It was always about more than just getting a need met.

But Maya takes a deep breath and looks back at herself in the mirror working up the courage to face Carina again.

She goes back out and Carina is sitting on the bed in only a pair of panties. Maya stands there, stunned, at the end of the bed. “You are truly magnificent.” Carina has to be the most gorgeous woman she has ever seen. Or maybe she’s biased because she’s thoroughly in love with her.

“Come on, Maya.” Carina is not really in the mood for overwhelming praise.

“No.” Maya moves to the side of the bed. “You are beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.” She puts her hand on Carina’s waist and leans down to kiss her. A long, slow exploring kiss. “And sexy.” She mumbles against Carina’s lips.

Maya shifts, sitting at Carina’s hip, on the edge of the bed, her legs dangling off. Her hand moves from Carina’s waist up to cup her breast gently, her thumb swiping over the nipple once. She watches her hand make the movements, mesmerized. It elicits a gasp and then a breathy moan from Carina and Maya looks up to catch her eyes, but Carina is watching Maya’s hand. Maya strokes her thumb over the nipple again before pinching it between her thumb and finger.

Carina groans, grinding her teeth together.

Maya moves her hand and gives the other nipple the same attention.

Carina tips her head back against the headboard and closes her eyes. “Maya.” She moans.

Maya moves her hand down and dips her fingers into the pair of black lace panties that Carina is wearing.

Carina moans and sits up away from the headboard. She wraps a hand around Maya’s neck and pulls her into a heated kiss, slipping her tongue into Maya’s mouth, stroking at Maya’s tongue before flicking her tongue against the back of the top row of Maya’s teeth. She takes Maya’s bottom lip between her teeth, tugging on it, before letting it go; and then pressing her lips to Maya’s firmly, before pulling back with a pop, and looking Maya up and down.

She reaches down for the bottom of Maya’s tank top, grabbing it, and trying to pull it up and off of the blonde.

Maya pulls away from her, removing her fingers from Carina’s underwear. She gets up, off the edge of the bed.

“Where are you-“ Carina watches completely perplexed as Maya moves away from her to the end of the bed.

Maya kneels on the end of the bed. She reaches up and hooks her fingers into the side of Carina’s panties. Carina assists in lifting her butt off the bed so Maya can pull the garment down her legs.

Maya lays down on her stomach between Carina’s legs, a hand on her stomach to get her to lay back again. Carina does. She reaches down and tangles her fingers in Maya’s hair. Maya reaches up and pulls Carina’s hand from her hair, holding it tightly with her own hand.

She licks through Carina. The long loud moan is enough to let Maya know that she still has the magic touch, or tongue. And while that’s encouraging, Maya zones out. She focuses on the task at hand.

Completing the task, Maya wipes the back of her hand across her mouth and gets to her knees. She shuffles back to get off the bed before moving to the side. She lifts the edge of the covers and, as quietly as possible, slips in underneath, curling into the fetal position.

Carina is too busy trying to catch her breath after an earthshattering orgasm that she doesn’t recognize what is happening right away.

“Maya.” She rolls her head to the side to see where Maya is at. Carina reaches out trying to find out where Maya went. She’s surprised to find her under the covers. Carina pushes herself up onto her elbows and glances over at the lump under the blankets. “Maya?” She puts a hand on the blonde’s shoulder, but Maya tries to shrug it off. “Do you want me to-“

“No.” The words are muffled. “You can go now, if you need to.”

“What?” Carina is thoroughly confused. “Maya, no.”

“Isn’t that what this is about? You came over for some sex and now you’re going to go home.” Maya’s voice is so small as she speaks.

“Hey.” Carina tries to roll Maya onto her back, but Maya holds her ground.

Carina sighs and runs her hands through her hair. She gets out of bed and finds her shirt, slipping it over her head quickly. She goes around to the other side of the bed and kneels on the floor. She grabs Maya’s wrists and pulls her hands away from her face, but Maya hides her face in the pillow instead.

“What’s wrong, Maya?”

“You don’t want to talk to me. And just want to use me for sex now. Is that all you see now?”

“Is that what you think?” Carina’s heart breaks for the blonde.

“That’s why you came over.”

Carina takes a deep breath. “Yes. It is but-.”

Maya growls and rolls over onto her other side, away from Carina. She feels Carina’s hand on her back. “Don’t touch me.” She mumbles.

Carina removes her hand and sighs sadly. “Maya, I love you.”

“That’s great.” Maya has turned passive aggressive, and Carina isn’t sure how to deal with it. “You got what you needed. I’d like to go to sleep now.”

Carina hangs her head, resting it against the mattress. She might have messed this up. Carina never thought about the possible ramifications of coming over tonight. She honestly didn’t know there would be any. She knew Maya was torn up about what happened with her and Jack, but she didn’t know that there was this much damage. She doesn’t really know what the problem is since Maya won’t talk to her about it, but she knows it has something to do with sex.

She gets up and finds a pair of shorts in Maya’s dresser and goes to the bathroom. Carina needs a moment to think. She’s not leaving. She knows that much. She knows Maya wants to be alone though. Carina finds her toothbrush. A little smile on her face at the fact that it’s still there in Maya’s toothbrush holder.

After she brushes her teeth, she returns to Maya’s bedroom. She sits on the edge of the bed so she’s facing Maya. “I don’t know what’s going on. I’d like to know but it’s okay if you can’t tell me.”

“I want to talk about what happened and you don’t want to hear about that, but you want to hear about this.” Maya scoffs. “Why? Cuz I’m some weird sex case to you now? Part of your brain orgasm study.”

“No. Maya.” Carina tries not to get defensive but it’s hard when Maya is accusing her of things that aren’t true. “Look, I’m not going to leave tonight. Do you want me to sleep in the other room or on the couch?”

“Whatever.” Maya mumbles. She doesn’t really want Carina sleeping in the spare room or on the couch. She either wants her to be gone or sleeping in bed with her but she’s not going to say that.

Carina crouches down to try to look in Maya’s eyes. But Maya closes them when she sees what Carina is doing. Carina sighs. She knows it’s risky, but she leans in to press a kiss to her forehead. Maya reaches up and waves her hand next to her face, trying to shoo Carina away as if she would be shooing away a fly. Carina catches Maya’s hand in hers. “Stop it, Maya.” She’s acting like a child. Maya tries to pull her hand out of Carina’s grasp, but she can’t, the hold is too tight. “Stop.” Carina whispers.

All the fight leaves Maya’s body as the flood gates open. Carina lets go of her hand and Maya covers her eyes with her hands to hide the tears.

She doesn’t get any closer, but Carina puts a hand on Maya’s arm, rubbing it gently. “Shhh. It’s okay.”

“No.” Maya sobs. “It’s not.”

“Okay.” Carina whispers. She lets Maya cry for long minutes, just rubbing her arm, and trying to soothe her without getting any closer. Maya ends up crying herself to sleep.

Carina gets out of bed and goes to get two glasses of water and some ibuprofen for when Maya wakes up. She brings the items back to bed, shuts off the light, and climbs into bed. She doesn’t know if it’s the right move. She told Maya she would sleep in the other room or on the couch, but she doesn’t think Maya should be alone right now. So, she lays on the right side of the bed as far away from Maya as possible while still being comfortable and not right on the edge of the mattress. She wants to respect Maya’s boundaries right now. It seems like that’s what she needs, what she wants.

She thinks back to earlier. How Maya seemed hesitant to kiss her. How Maya didn’t want to be touched. How Maya wouldn’t let her take her shirt off. It seems like Maya either doesn’t want to open up emotionally during sex or there’s a disconnect there now. Like she’s just going through the motions. Doing what has to be done to achieve a goal. Either way, it’s a problem for them.

Carina doesn’t know what to do either. She folds her hands over her stomach. She glances over to see Maya sleeping there. “I’m sorry, bambina.” She whispers. “I didn’t want to make you feel used. I wanted to make you feel good too.” She reaches over and pets her hand over the side of Maya’s head. “I’m so sorry.” She knows Maya can’t hear her, but she needs to say it. She doesn’t know what’s going to happen in the morning or whenever Maya wakes up. She needs to at least be able to say it right now.

Chapter Text

Maya wakes up with her head on something warm that is not her pillow. It’s odd.

Her brain is fuzzy. She knows she didn’t have anything to drink the night before, so she’s not sure why it’s so fuzzy. But then she feels that her throat she scratchy too. Is she getting a cold?

Maya opens her eyes and finds them dry and itchy. They won’t focus either. But that’s because there is a mass of thick brown hair blocking their view from anything else. Maya jumps back. “No. No. No. No. No.” She mumbles before she recognizes the person in bed with her as Carina.

“Maya.” Carina sits up in bed, peeking over at Maya with one eye opened and one closed, still very sleepy.

“No.” Maya shakes her head. She tries to remember what happened last night.

“It’s alright.” Carina holds her hands out. “It’s okay.”

“No. No. No.” Maya gets out of bed and backs away from it, from Carina. She looks around the room frantically. She looks down at herself. Still in her clothes from yesterday. She runs her hands down her torso. That’s good. She looks over at Carina but can’t see what she is or isn’t wearing.

Carina catches Maya eyes. “Hey.” But it startles Maya.

Maya flinches before hurrying out of the bedroom into the bathroom. She needs to figure out what happened. All the details are fuzzy. Was she crying? Maya puts her hand around her throat and tries to clear it.

She remembers Carina showing up. She remembers her wanting sex. She remembers having to psych herself up to give Carina what she wanted. She remembered feeling like garbage during and afterwards. Maya wonders if that’s how she’s always going to feel after sex now. That gross feeling. She didn’t even get to feel good before the gross feeling took over again. And Maya doesn’t know how to get it to go away. She doesn’t know that it has since she slept with Jack. It was just buried under all her other emotions that she trying to deal with. It just resurfaced after last night, that’s all. It’s back at the top of the pile.

There’s a knock on the bathroom door. Maya flinches again. “Go away.” She mumbles.

“I will not.” Carina leans against the door. “Can I come in?” Her hand on the knob.

“No.” Maya sits on the toilet, her knees tucked to her chest, arms wrapped around them.

“I just want to make sure you are okay.” Carina says through the door.

Maya can hear the concern in Carina’s voice, and she appreciates it but- “I’m not.” She admits. There’s no use in lying to Carina.

“I’m coming in.” Carina turns the knob.

“No. Go away.” She whines. “Please.” She’s on the verge of tears again. Maya hugs her arms tighter around her legs. “Go away.” She doesn’t know if she’s talking to Carina anymore or the feelings inside herself.

“What’s wrong?” Carina kneels in front of her. She reaches out to touch Maya but doesn’t. Her hands hovering aimlessly in the air.

“I can’t tell you.” Maya shakes her head.

“I thought we were going to be honest with each other. You said you were going to talk to me about what’s bothering you.” Carina reminds her. She’s really worried about Maya right now. She knows she shouldn’t be. Not that she shouldn’t be but after everything that’s happened maybe Carina shouldn’t make it her concern. But she can’t help it.

Carina’s got her there. Maya sighs. “I don’t want to put anything else on you. This isn’t your problem. It’s my problem. I have to deal with it.”

“Maybe I can help.” Carina pleads. She just wants to help. She reaches out and wraps her arms around Maya.

“Don’t touch me.” Maya cries but doesn’t move or try to shake Carina off of her.

Carina pulls away slowly. “Maya.” She begs. “Please.”

Maya shakes her head. “I feel gross. Okay?”

“Like you need to shower. Cuz we can take a shower.” Carina needs a shower too.

“No. Carina.” Maya snaps. “I feel gross. Like repugnant. Dirty. Tainted. You’re pure and clean and I’m disgusting. My actions are vile and gross and disgusting. Gross.”

All Carina can do is stare at her. Everything makes sense now.

“I felt like that after Jack. I thought it went away but it came back last night. And I don’t want you to touch me. You shouldn’t touch me.” Maya whispers the words.

Carina opens and closes her mouth trying to say something.

“I want the feeling to go away but after last night, right now, I don’t know if it ever will.” Maya sighs and stares down at the floor. “And that’s a burden I have to carry.”

“Maya, please.”

“I’m damaged. You deserve better.”

“Maya. No.” Carina can feel Maya regressing. “No, you’re not. No, I don’t. Maya, listen to me.” She tries to get Maya to look at her, but it’s hard when she can’t touch Maya. “Maya, you made a mistake. A bad mistake but that’s all it was. It doesn’t make you gross or dirty or vile. Maya, I don’t think you’re gross.

“You don’t?” Maya looks up, a little bit of hope shining through.

Carina shakes her head. “I don’t.”

“Then why do I feel like you do.”

Carina shrugs. “Maybe you’re projecting. Maybe it’s guilt. But Maya I want to touch you, and hold you, be with you. I just can’t talk about what happened yet.” She brings this back around to last night.

Maya shakes her head. She knows it’s not fair to try to force Carina to talk about it if she can’t. And she shouldn’t have brought it up last night when she was feeling gross and used. But they are supposed to talk about stuff, and she knows she’s being a hypocrite. Maya hates all of this, right now.

“Here.” Carina pries Maya’s arms away from her legs. She’s a bit surprised that Maya lets her. But she goes slowly. She pulls each of Maya’s legs from the toilet, setting her feet on the floor. Carina stands up and holds her hands out.

Maya stares at Carina’s hands for a moment before putting her hands in them. Carina pulls her to her feet. They stand before each other. “We’ll go slow.” Carina whispers.

Maya nods and Carina takes that as a good sign. She slips her arms around Maya’s waist and pulls the blonde into an embrace. “How’s that?” It’s nothing crazy, just a simple hug.

“Okay.” Maya sighs. She lifts her arms, putting her hands on Carina’s back and allows herself to lean into Carina’s body. “Better.”

“Bene.” Carina sighs. “What can I do? I want to help. And I’m not leaving, so don’t suggest that.” She leans back to get a look at Maya’s face.

Maya closes her eyes and shakes her head. “I’m sorry I tried to get you to leave. I just keep repeating the same pattern.”

“No.” Carina wiggles a finger. “No. You don’t.” This isn’t the same Maya that she got in a fight with in the kitchen. This isn’t the same Maya that stormed out and went and slept with Jack. “You didn’t run out of here. You didn’t start yelling and screaming and go to that rage place. Maya you aren’t repeating the same pattern.”

Maya thinks about it for a minute and realizes that Carina is sort of right. Whenever there is a problem Maya always tries to run from it. Or has always tried to run from it. Literally and figuratively. But now, she’s sitting with it. Even if it feels like it’s making her crazy. “I love you.”

“And I love you.” Carina presses her lips to Maya’s forehead.

Maya furrows her brow. “And I want you to touch me and hold me, but I don’t feel like I deserve that after what I did. And last night when you- you tried to take my shirt off I felt gross, so I pulled away, retreated.”

“I understand that. But Maya you are vulnerable and brave and amazing even if you don’t feel like it right now. I admire that about you.” Carina starts to sway them back and forth a little. “This shitty thing happened.” She doesn’t want to accuse or put the blame on Maya right now. “And we have to work through that. You and me. Us. Together.”

Maya nods.

“You lean on me if you need to, and I’ll lean on you if I need to.” She rubs her hand up and down Maya’s back. “How about I start the shower? And you can hop in. The warm water will feel good, soothing, relaxing.”

Maya nods.

“Okay.” They pull apart and Maya miss the contact already.


Carina goes to the kitchen and makes some coffee while Maya is in the shower. She makes some toast and puts a little cinnamon and butter on it for herself. Carina sits at the stool at the island as she eats. She hears the shower shut off and listens for any sign of Maya but it’s relatively quiet.

She’s scrolling through the news on her phone when she hears the footsteps behind her.

“How was the shower?”

“Good. Helpful. I feel better now.”

“I’m glad. I made coffee. Would you like some?” A bit of a strange feeling passes through Carina. Here they are again in the kitchen. It’s almost like Carina never left. Like they didn’t spend any time apart. Like nothing ever happened.

“You’re amazing. Thank you. Yes.”

She’s happy that Maya is feeling better. If she’s honest, that little episode that Maya had as very scary and heartbreaking. “I made myself some toast. I hope that’s okay.”

Maya hums. It’s fine with her.

“Did you want to go out for breakfast? Or make something here?” Carina offers.

Maya goes over to the coffee and pours herself a cup and takes a drink. “So good.” She hums. “You’re so good at this.” She raises her mug.

“Italiano.” Carina smirks and points at herself.

Maya rolls her eyes. “What are your plans for the day?” She’s curious to see where things stand now with them. Maya is forever grateful that Carina is here right now. That she was still here this morning but knows that if she hadn’t come over last night that this morning wouldn’t have happened.

“Nothing much. You?” Carina leaves the day open and waits for Maya to take the lead.

“We could have breakfast. If you want. If you have time. If you don’t have anywhere you need to be.” It’s early in the day yet. That’s what happens when you wake up at the crack of dawn in a downward spiral.

“I don’t have anywhere I need to be. The only thing I have to do today is call Andrea.” Carina lifts her phone and wiggles it back and forth. “But with this, I can do that from anywhere.”

Maya nods. “Eat out or?”

Carina smirks. She could make a dirty joke but knows now is that the appropriate time. She doesn’t really feel like sitting in public with Maya right now either. “I could make French toast.”

A small smile slowly forms on Maya’s lips. “Carina’s famous French toast.”

Carina smiles too. “Si.”

Maya thinks back to the breakfast date they had at the restaurant where Carina fed her some of her French toast. That was good but Maya expects Carina’s to be better. “I’d like that.”

“Do you have all the ingredients?” Carina slides off of the stool effortlessly. She goes to the fridge to see if there are eggs. “It’s still weird to me that Americans keep their eggs in the fridge.”

“You don’t put eggs in the fridge in Italy?” Maya is shocked by this. “Won’t they go bad?”

“No.” Carina pulls the cartoon from the fridge. “You know why?” Maya shakes her head. “Here, they wash the eggs removing their protective coating. They also pasteurize them, so they need to be refrigerated.”

“Why?” Maya asks.

Carina takes a step towards Maya and bops her on the nose with her index finger. “Because in the US egg laying chickens are kept in horrible conditions, and they have diseases, so they need to wash the eggs and pasteurized them.”

“Gross.”

“Si. I like to buy eggs from farmer’s market, if I can. Not that I eat a lot of eggs. Then I can ask where they come from.” Carina explains her process.

Maya hums taking in this new information.

“Where’s your skillet?”

The question breaks Maya from her thoughts. Thoughts of eggs. Thoughts of Carina’s diet. Thoughts of the farmer’s market. Thoughts of chickens. “Under here.” She sets her mug down and pulls the item from a lower cupboard. “Do you want help?”

“Only if you want to help.” Carina smiles gently over at Maya. “You could get some fruit out and rinse it.”

Maya has strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. She doesn’t think bananas are the right choice for the French toast, so she gets out the strawberries and rinses them. She lets them drain and dry in the sink and takes her coffee mug back in her hands. Maya mostly just stands there, leaning against the counter, and watches as Carina effortlessly moves about her kitchen.

“Ta da.” Carina presents the plate. “Sit down.” She nods at the stool.

Maya sits and Carina puts the plate in front of her. “Try it.”

“Aren’t you going to have any?” She looks up at Carina.

Carina smirks. “I already had toast, remember?” She wiggles her eyebrows. Carina is excited for Maya to try her French toast. She hopes, hopes, hopes that Maya likes it. “But I might steal a piece or two or yours.”

Maya cuts a piece and takes a bite. She hums as she chews. “Amazing.”

Pleased, Carina smiles softly. “I’m glad you like it.”

Maya thought Carina was going to cook breakfast for both of them but now she feels bad that she’s the only one eating. She cuts another piece and puts it into her mouth. While she’s chewing she cuts a piece and holds it out across the little island that separates them. Carina grins and leans forward, opening her mouth. She pulls the piece from the fork with a smile and chews it. “Grazie, bella.”

Maya looks down and blushes a little at the way Carina thanks her. She moves a strawberry around on the plate with her fork aimlessly.

“I’m sorry.” Maya feels like a broken record. She knows she behaved poorly last night. It’s no excuse. “I just keep fucking this up. I should have talked to you.”

Carina hums. “You should have.” She reaches out and pinches a strawberry from Maya’s plate. “But you didn’t run away from me this time.” She points the strawberry at Maya before popping it into her mouth.

“What I did wasn’t much better.” Maya scoffs. “I completely shut down.”

“Well, shall we try to move past it or keep lingering on it? Carina raises an eyebrow at Maya, folding her arms across her chest.

“Move past it. Though that might take a while. I don’t know if I can- I don’t know-“ Maya sighs, frustrated she can’t get the words out.

“I’m not going to force you to have sex with me Maya.” Carina shakes her head, irritated. “When you’re ready.”

“Are you mad?”

Carina turns around, her back to Maya, balls her fists, and growls. She throws her hands in the air and spins around to face Maya again. “Yes, I’m mad. No, I’m not mad.” She growls again. “I know.” She waves her hands around in the air. “I know. That doesn’t make sense.” She steps forward and puts her hands on the edge of the island so she doesn’t swing them around in the air in frustration. Carina takes a deep breath and closes her eyes. “I just wish-“ She opens her eyes and stares at Maya. “Nevermind.”

Maya takes stock of Carina, her mood, her temper, how she tries to hold it all inside. She’s never seen her mad. She’s never seen her like this. “Tell me.” Maya says firmly. “Tell me I’m an asshole. You know you want to. It’s okay. Tell me.”

Carina narrows her eyes at Maya. “That’s not what I want to say.” She clenches her jaw.

“I’m frustrated Maya. That’s all.”

Maya nods.

“And mad.” Carina grinds her teeth together.

Maya points to herself. “At me?”

Carina sighs. “Yes. I told you last night that I was mad, and sad, and disappointed.”

“You did. And thank you for telling me, so I know.” Maya takes another piece of her French toast to her mouth. “You can be mad. You deserve to be mad, actually. I get it.”

Carina shakes her head. “And you’re fine with that?”

Maya shrugs. “In truth, I expected you to yell at me at some point. But that hasn’t happened.”

Carina shakes and runs her hands through her hair. “I just- I don’t want to. My dad would yell at my mamma all the time. I don’t want to yell at you.”

“Oh.” Maya smiles empathically for Carina. “Well, we have that in common then.” She cuts another piece of French toast and stabs it with her fork and holds it up in front of Carina’s mouth. “What do you want to do then? Scream into a pillow, maybe. Or just scream. Like out loud.” Maya suggests, still holding the fork up. “You don’t run or work out. So-“ She’s talking out loud, trying to find a way for Carina to release her pent up frustrations.

Carina stares at the fork for a moment before leaning forward and taking the bite that Maya is offering her. She doesn’t want to scream. She doesn’t want to scream at Maya. She knows, especially after last night, that it could be a traumatic trigger for Maya.

“Can I take a shower?” Carina asks.

Maya tilts her head to the side, appraising the Italian across from her. “Go ahead.”

Without another word, Carina walks out of the kitchen to go shower. She goes in and starts the water. She gets in and starts rambling to herself, somewhat loudly, in Italian. Her hands gestating wildly as she speaks. She talks through her frustration in Italian. And then again in English.

Carina comes back into the kitchen and Maya is washing the dishes from breakfast.

“How was your shower?” Maya asks.

“Fine.” Carina bobs her head back and forth. “Good. I got rid of some of my frustration.”

“Good then. Great.”

If Maya heard Carina ‘venting’ then she doesn’t say anything about it.

There’s a weird energy between them now. Both of them can feel it. They communicate in little nods, and short sentences. It might just be a matter of sitting with what’s happened at this point and letting everything settle.

“Is it alright if I hang out here today?” Carina tries to sound as casual as possible, but she wants to keep an eye on Maya today. And, frankly, she doesn’t want to be alone either.

“Sure.” Maya doesn’t really care either way. She was just going to hang out at home and feel gross. It’s not exciting, but if Carina wants to stick around that’s fine with her. She knows she shouldn’t be so apathetic about it, but Maya is tired and doesn’t have the energy to put much effort into anything.

“Do you have any board games we could play? Or a puzzle?” Carina suggests.

Maya looks over at her, curious. “But you hate puzzles.”

“Hate is a strong word. More like, your militaristic rules make it sound so un-fun.” Carina shrugs.

Maya stares at her, mouth hanging open.

“A board game then.” They need to do something to pass the time. Carina would prefer it be something where they can still interact and not something like staring at their phones in silence.

Maya shakes her head lightly at the cute Italian who has her speechless about puzzles. “I have a few classics somewhere, I think. Monopoly. Operation.”

“Oooh. I love Operation.” That gets a happy little smile from Carina.

Maya giggles and bites her lip. She feels so much lighter than earlier when she woke up. Carina’s presence has something to do with that, she knows. Her reassurances too. She still feels weird and gross but not as weird and gross as earlier.

They play both games. Carina is all too serious during Operation. She concentrates and bites her lower lip between her teeth nearly the entire time. Maya watches her, enraptured, and endeared at the doctor across the dining room table from her.

Lunch is protein shakes and turkey wraps.

They watch a movie on the couch. Each sitting on separate ends of the couch. Maya lays down about halfway through, losing the battle with her tired body, her feet propped up in Carina’s lap. Carina rests a hand over them, but that hand remains stationary where it lays. Maya falls asleep and doesn’t wake up until well after the movie is over.

It’s quiet in the room. The tv has gone dark. Carina didn’t dare get up but couldn’t reach the remote and eventually the tv shut itself off from inactivity. She’s been on her phone ever since.

Carina would love nothing more than to cuddle in bed or on the couch with Maya. She craves that physical contact. She’s always been someone who enjoys having someone to hold and being held. That physical bond. She knows though that Maya can’t right now and that makes her sad.

While she can look past what Maya did, apparently Maya can’t. It wasn’t the physical cheating of it that hurt Carina, it was the emotional. It was the broken trust. It was the feeling of betrayal. It was the break of their bond. Not so much the physical act.

They sit at opposite ends of to the couch again after Maya wakes up. Carina turns and sits pretzel style sideways on the couch, facing Maya. “Have you had any interesting calls the last few days?” She knows how to get Maya talking. Just ask her about work.

Maya thinks back. “We had a call where there was a kid stuck on a go-cart that was going around in circles and wouldn’t stop.”

“They called you for that?”

“Well, the police were there but they didn’t know what to do. And if they did something to stop the cart, they were worried that the kid would be hurt, so they wanted us there. So that was a bit unusual.” Maya hums. “The kid was alright though. I bit of road rash on his elbow but that’s it.”

“That’s good.”

“Some fires. Car accidents. The usual stuff.”

“Do you like fire?” Carina asks. She remembers reading about all the fire stuff Maya has bookmarked on her laptop.

Maya tilts her head to the side. She shifts and sits sideways, her left leg curled at the knee and up on the couch cushion. “Do I like fire? That’s such a strange question.”

“Is it?” Carina rubs her hands over her own knees briefly.

“Well, yeah. Who likes fire? Fire is dangerous. Deadly. Fire is bad in the wrong hands. Arsonist. But do I like fire? I guess I have to say yes. I have to say that it excites me when we pull up to a fire. The adrenaline pumps through my body. It’s such a high. We call them firegasms.” Maya’s jaw drops. “Oh my god.” Her face lights up and she bites her bottom lip. “I forgot about that.”

Carina grins along with Maya. “You know that’s an actual thing, right?”

Maya wrinkles up her face. “No. We just made that up. It’s a joke.”

Carina shakes her head with a silly little grin. “I would know.” She points at herself.

“Oh my god.” Maya realizes Carina is right. She runs her hands over her face.

“It’s when-“

Maya cuts her off by putting her hands on top of Carina’s knees. “I know.” She doesn’t need Carina to explain it.

Carina nods, trying desperately not to look down at Maya’s hands on her knees. “So, you’ve never encountered a scene and found someone, an arsonist, uh, getting off on the fire they started?”

Maya’s eyes get big at the thought. “No.” She shakes her head.

Carina giggles. Maya leans back against the arm of the couch, her hands slipping from Carina’s knees back to her lap.

“So, tell me more about your firegasms.” Carina grins. She really wants to hear this.

Maya frowns. “It’s not like that. It’s just a rush. A high.”

“Not unlike an orgasm.” Carina notes.

Maya rolls her eyes. “This isn’t a fair discussion.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re the orgasm doctor.” Maya flips her hand in Carina’s direction.

“You’ve never complained before.” Carina smirks.

Maya sighs. “No.” It’s a weird juxtaposition. What they’re talking about verses Maya inability to have any physical intimacy right now. But maybe it will help.

“I think you give me too much credit though.” Carina nods at Maya. “It was just a study.”

“And what do you do when you study? You learn.” Maya counters. She smirks a little now too.

“True.” Carina sighs.

Maya lays the side of her head against the back of the couch. “Stay here tonight.”

“Maya.” Carina sighs. She mimics Maya by resting her head on the back of the couch. “Do you really think that’s a good idea?”

Maya shrugs.

“I have to work in the morning.” Carina uses it as an excuse, even though it’s never been a problem in the past.

Maya sighs sadly. “I just-“ She looks down at her lap. “I feel like such a baby. And I sleep better when you’re around.”

Carina reaches forward and dares to put her hand on Maya’s lower leg. “Hey. Look at me.” Maya looks up. “You’re not a baby. You’re going through a lot. It happens to everyone at times. But you know what?” Maya shakes her head. “You are my bambina.” Carina smiles warmly.

Maya thinks she might cry because of wonderful Carina and her selfless love.

“I think it’s better if I go home tonight.” Carina feels a little guilty about last night and the trauma that it induced in Maya. But if it hadn’t happened last night, it was likely to happen at some point. It will be healthier for their relationship if she goes home. They need to slow down a little bit and takes things one step at a time. She stayed with Maya all day and can see that she’s alright. Not great, but alright.

Maya nods.

“But maybe you could invite me over for dinner tomorrow after I’m done with work.”

Maya nods eagerly. She likes that idea. “Okay.”

Carina waits. She raises an expectant eyebrow. “Are you going to ask me now or-?”

Maya shakes her head and offers a bashful little smile. “Tomorrow.”

Carina chuckles. “Okay, bella.” She pushes herself up from the couch. “I will see you.”

Maya nods, not moving from her spot as Carina approaches.

“Can I kiss you?” Carina asks, putting a hand on the back of the couch and leaning over Maya.

Maya nods again.

“Cat got your tongue?”

“You’re too good to me.” Maya finds her voice.

“Maybe.” Carina winks. “Or maybe I’m just the right amount of good.” She leans in and presses a soft kiss to Maya’s lips. “You deserve good thing, Maya.”

Maya sucks in a shaky breath. “I- I love you.”

Carina hums. “I love you too.”

Maya reaches out and grabs a fistful of Carina’s shirt in her hand, not letting her pull away just yet. They linger in each other’s faces, breathing each other’s air on a cycle. Maya’s eyes shift between Carina’s lips and her eyes. Carina just watches Maya and her indecision.

“Kiss me again.” Maya finally whispers.

Carina smiles into the kiss. She keeps it soft, gentle. A press of her lips to Maya’s before pulling away. She doesn’t go far though. Carina puts a hand on the side of Maya’s head and presses a kiss to her forehead. “I know it doesn’t feel like it right now but you’re going to be alright. You’ll figure it all out. I know you will.”

She sucks in a deep breath. “Thank you.” Maya whispers.

Carina hums and nods. “Now, I must go. You, go to bed. Get some sleep. Don’t set an alarm for the morning. Don’t get up early. Don’t go for a run. Let yourself rest.” Carina knows all too well that emotional struggles can make you physically exhausted.

“I will.”

“Bene.” She presses another kiss to the top of Maya’s head. “Ti amo, bambina. Ti amo.”

Maya closes her eyes. There’s something so comforting about the gentle tone of Carina’s voice. “I love you.” She barely whispers.

Carina takes a step back. Maya still has her fist in her shirt. Carina shimmy’s her shoulders and Maya lets go with a bashful little smile.

Maya watches Carina leave. She sighs and closes her eyes after the door closes. She takes a minute to collect herself before getting up from the couch and going to bed.

Chapter Text

The ceiling in her bedroom is white. Carina has studied it many times in recent weeks. It’s still white tonight. The color hasn’t changed. Is it brighter though? Or is it the same as yesterday? The ceiling has seemed so dull recently even though it’s white color hasn’t changed.

Maybe it’s the changed view. Carina isn’t laying in bed staring up at the ceiling. She has a pillow behind her head as she lays on the hardwood floor next to the bed. She tilts her head to the side to see if that changes the shade of the white ceiling. It doesn’t.

She’s not sure what the difference is between today and yesterday. But then she remembers she wasn’t here last night. She was at Maya’s. Somehow that seems like days or weeks ago, but it was one day ago.

Carina closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. She wonders if anger is the right emotion to have right now. She’s not sure there is a right emotion for how she feels. It’s not one thing or the other. It’s a mix of a number of things but nothing that sticks out as obvious. Carina was angry. At the beginning, she was devastated and sad, but there was anger in there too.

But does anger get her anywhere? Does it do her any good? Does it serve her?

“No.” Carina says to herself. “It doesn’t.” She continues taking slow deep breathes. In and out. In and out.

There is a little voice in her head that whispers. “Perche?”

And Carina wants to know why Maya slept with Jack. She knows Maya mentioned that her father abused her and acknowledged that but is that the sole reason. There’s got to be more to the story.

She knows she could just ask Maya about it. She thinks Maya is at a point now that she would talk about it if she asks, but Carina doesn’t want to have to ask. She wants Maya to be the one to start that conversation. She wants Maya to be the one to own up to it. She wants Maya to initiate.

Carina zones out again.

The ceiling seems whiter than two days ago for some reason. She looks from one corner of the ceiling to the other three corner. They are all the same. Bright white.

A car alarm sounds outside bringing her back to her thoughts.

The abuse, the stresses at Maya’s job could be factors. But what else?

Carina shakes her head. She needs to stop thinking about Maya, thinking about excuses for her. The problem is, the problem might always be, that she can’t stop thinking about Maya.

That is Carina’s biggest flaw.

Her biggest flaw is that she cares too much for the people that she loves. Her family, her friends. It’s always been that way. From a young age. She was forced into a role where she was caring for her father, and Andrew, and to an extent, even her mother. She’s always been taking care of someone or finding a way to try to take care of a situation or help in some way.

She cares to a point where she doesn’t think about her own feelings and emotions until way later. She puts other peoples needs and problems and emotions before her own. Even now, with Maya.

Carina knows that’s not a healthy behavior, but it’s rooted deep inside her. It probably isn’t helped by her Italian lineage where families look out for one another even if it’s a detriment to themselves.

She smacks her palm against the hardwood floor. “Damnit.”

Carina doesn’t want to just sweep everything that’s happened under the rug. Even though that might be the easiest thing to do right now. She knows it will only cause problems in the future with her and Maya.

A future she wants with Maya. She’s not surprised by that at all. It’s not really something Carina has put a lot of thought into, but she knows she wants that. But she only wants it if Maya can figure her shit out. That is only if Maya owns up to the horrible behavior she has displayed. Only if Maya makes an honest effort to explain everything to her.

Carina isn’t actually sure the real reason why. She will need to know at some point, but they haven’t gotten to that.

She’s a grown woman and knows not everything is going to be fixed with one conversation. Or in the first conversation. And it shouldn’t be. It should be a process. A continued series of conversations.

Carina gets up from the floor and crawls into bed, tucking under the covers. On the hard cold floor, she doesn’t feel. She just thinks. But in bed, she lets herself feel. The sadness, the anger, the pain. Everything. Once more.

And then she lets it all go.

Carina knows those feelings will linger but she’s not going to let them control her anymore.


It’s inadvertent. Carina bumps into Teddy in the elevator.

“Ciao. Hello.” Carina greets.

“Hi.” Teddy isn’t really in the mood to talk. She hasn’t been in the mood to talk with anybody in the last few weeks. Not since she blew up her relationship and family with Owen.

“How are you?” Carina hasn’t seen Teddy around much lately but wonders about her mental state.

Here she is again, caring too much.

Teddy has mostly just been working and keeping to herself after everyone in the hospital heard what happened. She dodges the question. “Did you work things out with your firefighter?”

Carina hums. “Sort of.” She sighs.

Teddy raises and eyebrow at that. “What does that mean?”

“It means that we are working on it. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget what Maya did, but she is serious about how sorry she is and how stupid it was and how she wants to work things out.”

“And how do you feel about it? I didn’t mean to butt in that day. I just know what it’s like to-“ Teddy sighs.

“You don’t have to explain anything to me. I know how complicated things can be with Owen.”

Teddy forgets that Carina and Owen had a fling. “Oh, I wasn’t talking about Owen. But yes, him too.”

Carina doesn’t question that. “How are things with him?”

“Not as good as things are with you and Maya, it sounds like.” Teddy shakes her head. “He won’t even talk to me. Unless it’s about the kids.”

Carina hums. “Give him time. He’s an alright guy.”

Teddy scoffs. “An alright guy? You don’t sound very convinced of what you say.”

Carina shrugs. “I just- I don’t know. I guess I don’t know him all that well.”

“You slept with the man.” Teddy feels weird saying that out loud.

“Si.” Carina nods and looks up at the numbers as the elevator descends. They are nearly to the ground floor. “But we never got to know each other. It was just a little fun. A distraction for me at the time.”

“From?” Teddy can’t help but ask.

Carina turns to look at her. She sways from side to side. “I thought I was in a serious relationship with someone, and they just dumped me out of the blue.”

“Do you always have to be such a mysterious Italian?”

Carina grins. She thinks it’s part of her charm. “No, I don’t have to be.”

The elevator dings and the doors open. “We’re here.” Carina faces forward and steps out of the elevator. “Good luck with Owen. Sorry about the-“ Carina was going to say wedding but that might sound insensitive. She leaves Teddy standing in the elevator with her mouth hangs agape.

“Wait.” She runs after Carina. “I need your advice.”

“About?” Carina says as she walks outside.

“Owen.” Teddy says. “How do I get him to talk to me?”

Carina hums.

“I cheated on him. I hurt him. I know that. I know he’s mad and he has every right to be. What did Maya do?”

“Well, you were there.” Carina raises an eyebrow, references the encounter with Maya in the line for the coffee cart.

“That was it?” It can’t be that easy.

“Well, we don’t work in the same building, for one. So that was helpful for me. I didn’t have to see her every day. It was actually a week before she tracked me down. So, I hadn’t seen her at all in that time. She had called me everyday though. She didn’t leave any messages. She was smart enough to not. She would text me though. Little memes or funny cartoons or just a picture of something she liked or thought I might like.” Carina shrugs and looks off into the distance. “It was a signal from her that she wasn’t giving up. I knew one day she would track me down and I would have to talk to her, and we would have to figure out what was going to happen moving forward. They were annoying at first. And I deleted them all without really looking at them, but she was trying to send me things that would make me happy. Which is so stupid, but that’s Maya for you?”

“Stupid?” Teddy wonders.

“No, no, no. Not stupida. But-“ Carina sighs. She doesn’t know how to explain it really. “she just- that was her trying to care. Because she cares about the people she loves. She knew I was sad and she wanted me to be happy. And that was what she did. Even though she’s the one that made me sad in the first place.” Carina looks around the parking lot before starting the walk to where her car is parked.

Teddy wrinkles up her nose at that. “Really?” She can’t really believe that.

“Yes. I might be the only person to understand it though.” Carina smirks. Now she thinks the texts were kind of cute but at the time they were just annoying. “It’s not the same though. Me and her and you and Owen. You guys have years and years of history. There’s a lot of complicated feelings there, I’m sure. Maya and I are new, fresh. It’s easier in some ways.”

Teddy hums. Carina has a good point.

“Your advice did help though.” Carina adds.

Teddy raises an eyebrow and folds her arms over her chest.

“If you love her, forgive her.” Carina smiles. “And I do. I love her. That doesn’t mean I forgive her so easily. And I can’t forget, but there is a path forward for us. I know that. I don’t know what your path forward with Owen looks like or if there is one. Cuz of all the years of- baggage?” Carina raises an eyebrow to see if she has that correct.

Teddy rolls her eyes. “Yeah.”

“My guess is he doesn’t want to see you or talk to you because every time he does he is reminded that you cheated on him. And also, that everyone in the hospital heard about it. It’s humiliating.” Carina didn’t want to see Maya and she didn’t for a week. Which doesn’t seem like that long of a time. But she also didn’t have to have her co-workers know about Maya cheating. “At least, that’s how I felt. I didn’t want that reminder. Which is silly, because I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I was reminding myself.” Carina comes to a stop at her car. She turns to put a hand on Teddy’s shoulder. “My suggestion is to just give it some time. You can’t force a conversation. I’ve learned that the hard way.”

Teddy nods. “Thanks.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a dinner date with my firefighter.” Carina winks. “Just don’t tell her it’s a date.” It’s become her and Maya’s little inside joke now. They don’t call them dates, but they are dates.

Teddy smirks, happy for Carina. That at least one of them can be happy right now. “Sure, have a good time.”

“Grazie.” Carina unlocks her car and hops in.


They are sitting on the couch in Maya’s apartment as a movie plays on the tv. Maya had invited Carina over for dinner with a simple text in the middle of the day. A failed dinner, it turned out, when Maya burned the pot of chili that she was making. She was worried about everything else and forgot to stir the chili for ten minutes and it stuck to the bottom of the pot and burned.

Carina had come in and found Maya sitting on the kitchen floor with a wooden spoon in her hand, a defeated look on her face. She had sat next to Maya and asked what was wrong. Maya told her about the chili, and Carina took the spoon from her hand, getting up to stir the pot, and then do a taste test.

“Oh, yeah, that’s burnt.” She confirmed and turned the stovetop off. She sat down with Maya again, putting a gentle hand on her knee. “It’s just food, bella.”

Maya sighed. “But I wanted tonight to be perfect for you.”

“Maya.” Carina cooed. “We’ll order something. It’ll be okay. It’s not that important.”

“Are you still mad?” Maya asked.

Carina sighed. “Maybe a little. But after I had time to process the last couple of days, last night, not so much anymore.” She patted at Maya’s knee before removing her hand.

Maya nodded at the new information. “I just want you to trust me again.”

“I don’t think burnt food is going to sway that one way or the other.” Carina tried to tease.

Maya huffed and rested her head on Carina’s shoulder. “I can’t even make chili, how am I supposed to get anything else right?” She wasn’t really looking for sympathy, just venting a little.

“You know how you can earn my trust back?”

Maya lifted her head from Carina’s shoulder, looking up into Carina’s eye with hopeful blue ones. She thinks she has some ideas.

“By being honest. Which you have been. With the things you’ve said.” It’s the things Maya hasn’t said that still worry Carina a little. “By being accountable. By owning up to your mistake.”

“I have.”

“Have you?” Carina narrowed her eyes at Maya.

“Yes?”

“Try again.”

Maya hung her head. “I slept with Jack. Because my dad abused me. Or because I was in denial. Or both.”

Carina waited to hear if Maya is going to say anymore. When she didn’t, Carina got up off the floor and went across the room to order something for them to eat for dinner. She wasn’t going to push. She wasn’t going to initiate.

They ordered food and had a little meal at the table before moving to the couch. Maya asked Carina all about her day and how she was feeling while they ate. Carina asked if Maya did anything during the day or if she just stayed in the apartment. Maya told her she went for a walk, sat at a bench in the park, before going to the store to get the ingredients for the chili.

Maya isn’t paying any attention the movie. She has her arm on the back of the couch, behind Carina, as her mind wanders. It doesn’t just wander; it goes for on a specific journey. She knows now probably isn’t the best time to bring this up, but Maya also knows that there isn’t going to be a best time and she needs to tell Carina.

“He didn’t let me have fun. He didn’t let me have friends. I mean I had friends, sort of, but I never got to hang out with them outside school or track. I never got to go to their houses and spend the night. Well, there was one time but then I told him about it and- nevermind.” Now is not the time to go off on a side tangent. “I never got to hang out with people. It was always about training for track and then the Olympics. He controlled what I did. My whole schedule. What I ate. He said serious athletes are on serious diets. It was all protein and fruits and vegetables, lean meats. No candy or sweets. No snacking between meals. Even at home, my family ate differently than I did. My brother got to eat junk food and have soda. I didn’t because I was in training.” Maya sighs as she sees it clearly now.

It took her a long time to realize that what he was doing wasn’t for her benefit. Well, it was for her benefit, in his mind, to get to the goal. But it wasn’t for the benefit of a developing child, teenager, or even young adult.

“Maya.” Carina finds her hand, holding it gently. She turns to Maya, angling her body towards the blonde.

Maya shakes her head. “I didn’t get to do normal teenage things. He had me training and then doing my homework and going to bed everyday after school. On weekends, I was traveling for meets or was doing more training. I wasn’t allowed to sleep in. And if I did, he would come in and dump a pot of ice cold water on my head. I guess I knew he was a little harsh and maybe it wasn’t the most conventional way of training an athlete but the results where there, so I didn’t question it. I won nearly all my races. If I didn’t win, I knew it just meant more training so a ran to avoid that after a while.”

She looks down at her hands. “Everything he had me doing had I certain mentality to it. So, in my mind it was all about the focus and getting to a certain goal. When I reached that goal he would give me a pat on the back and then start right away on the next goal. He would tell me that only winners got congratulations or a hug at the end of a race. He made love and affection conditional. I had to earn it.” Maya understands that now. She sees how he did that. How he manipulated her.

“Eyes forward at all times. The only thing that mattered was the finish line.” Her voice is cold, militaristic, as she mimics her father.

“I never got to date or have a boyfriend.”

“Or girlfriend.” Carina says to try to lighten the mood.

Maya laughs cynically. “He would have gone berserk if he knew I had a girlfriend.”

Carina sighs sadly. “Even now?”

Maya shrugs. “Probably.”

Carina gives her a sad smile.

“I’m sorry.” Maya matches Carina’s sad smile.

“For what, bambina?”

“I’m sorry that he is the way he is. I’m sorry that I am the way I am because of him. I really am. I’m sorry that I can’t tell him that I’m bisexual. Or that I have a girlfriend?” Maya wonders if she gets to call Carina that anymore, or again.

Carina smiles softly. “Si.” She leans in and presses a gentle kiss to the corner of Maya’s mouth. “Fidanzata.”

Maya sighs, relief washing over her. “I’m sorry that he doesn’t get to know you or see how amazing, and talented, and brilliant, and funny, and sexy, and everything that is light and wonderful in life that you are. And part of me feels like I’m hiding that, you, because I can’t be honest with him. But I don’t want to hide you or- I want to tell everyone about you and how amazing you are and how happy you make me. But I can’t do that with him.”

“And I ruined what we have because of him. Because he taught me that love, and kindness, and rest, and sleep, and general happiness, and I’m sure other things that I haven’t even thought about yet, weren’t important. Or weren’t things that I was allowed to have or want. That they weren’t things that I needed in life. That they were just distraction from achieving a goal. So, I’m sorry.”

“The thing that scares me the most isn’t that I can’t love or can’t be happy. Cuz I can be. You’ve shown me that I can be.” Maya smiles a little. She’s more than pleased that Carina has come into her life and shown her that.  “It’s that I am going to always feel like I don’t deserve those things. It’s that I will always be hesitant and resistant to those things. Or that I will find some way to sabotage those things. Like I did with us. With you. And I can’t promise anything, or that I won’t try to distance myself, or hurt you, or just do something stupid again. So that’s what scares me the most because you don’t deserve that.”

Maya lifts Carina’s hand to her lips and presses a kiss to the back of it; and the then flips her hand over and presses a kiss to her palm before wrapping Carina’s fingers over the palm, sealing the kiss in her hand. “Cuz I love you. I do. So much. I’m in love with you. So much that it hurts. It hurt when I did what I did. I think part of it was about me and punishing myself for wanting love, for needing love, because I had been trained not to. And I needed to do something to make myself feel terrible. And making the person I love the most in this world feel sad and hurt and terrible would make me feel the worst.” Maya is crying now. She doesn’t know when it started. It’s the slow silent tears that just slip from her eyes every few seconds. “It wasn’t a mistake. You keep saying it was a mistake, but it wasn’t.”

Carina screws her face up. “No, not mistake. Sometimes I- English isn’t my first- you know what I mean.”

Maya nods, knowing that Carina doesn’t always use the right words with the correct meaning for a situation. “I knew what I was doing. I was doing it to hurt myself and you. And I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry I’m such a mess. I’m sorry that I threw it in your face just to hurt you. I really am. I regretted it as soon as I saw the look on your face. That devastation.” Maya rubs the tears from her cheeks with the heel of her right hand.

Carina isn’t sure what to say. She chews on her lip as the thinks about how to respond. She hears everything that Maya is saying. She’s glad Maya is owning her actions. She understands where she’s coming from, but she’s scared about how Maya thinks this could happen again. Carina doesn’t want to go through that hurt again. She doesn’t want Maya to cheat on her again and feel that pain. She doesn’t know if she could handle that without completely falling apart.

Maya can see the doubt on Carina’s face, in her eyes. “I know that’s not what you want to hear; but I’m just telling you what goes through my messed up head. I don’t think it would be cheating because that was too painful. For both of us. But some other form of self-sabotage or sabotage. I will try though. I will try to address the problems head on. I will try to be better, do better because you deserve someone who is honorable and a stand up human being.”

“Maybe you should see someone else.” Carina suggests.

Maya cocks her head to the side, panic rising in her chest at Carina suggesting she see other people. How is that the solution here?

“Like therapy.”

“Oh.” Maya breaths a sigh of relief. “Right.”

“What did you think I was saying?” Carina wonders.

“Uh, um, just that you wanted us to see other people.” Maya mumbles quickly.

Carina chuckles lightly. “Come.” She pats at her leg.

Maya furrows her brow.

“May I?” She wants to ask and make sure it’s okay that she touches Maya before she does. She gets a small nod from the blonde. Carina reaches out and pulls Maya’s leg over across her lap before doing the same to the other, this time with Maya moving with her until she is sitting sideways in Carina’s lap. Maya wraps an arm around her neck. Carina sets a hand on Maya’s thigh, softly. “It’s scary. What you just told me.” Carina says it in a whisper.

Maya nods. “I know.”

She looks down at her hand on Maya’s leg, not able to look into her eyes. “But I’m glad that you did. So, thank you. It’s good to be honest with each other.” She looks up now. Her bottom lip quivers a little. Carina let’s out a shaky breath. “So, I’m going to tell you that it scares me and that I might always have that thought in the back of my head that you will go out and cheat on me every time we have an argument.” Carina hopes that this isn’t the case and that they can both learn from what’s happened and how they can better handle arguments and issues in the future, so there is never a repeat.

Maya grimaces. “I don’t want to. I didn’t want to. I just had this rage inside of me- I’m terrified of that too- by the way. I was in denial, and I was angry, and god, I’m so stupid.”

“Maybe.” Carina smirks a little. A lightheartedness returning to their conversation.

Maya chuckles and rolls her eyes. “I want to try, and I want to make this work and I want to be with you. I want-“ She shakes her head and then lays it on her shoulder that is propped up on Carina’s shoulder. “I WANT.” She says emphatically. “I want, Carina. I’ve never let myself want anything before. Well, anything that my father didn’t want for me. Or for himself.”

Carina just smiles at Maya. It’s so simple, maybe.

“What?” Maya asks of that smile.

“Look at you.” She’s glad Maya is telling her all of this. She’s happy, relieved that Maya is forthcoming and owning up to her actions.

Maya looks down at herself.

Carina laughs. She didn’t mean literally. “Maya, everything you are saying right now proves that you want to try and are willing to put in the effort to make this work. And, really, that’s all I can ask, because if we don’t have that, then this won’t ever work.” She kisses Maya softly at that. “Maya, you are amazing. You are brave. And so beautiful. Sure, there’s stuff you need to work on. Heck, there’s stuff we both need to work on, stuff that I need to work on. I need to realize when I’m being pushy or that you need space. I know that now. It’s part of us learning how to communicate together, to grow together. Which I think is a positive thing and a beautiful thing. I’m willing to work with you to get through this. Bambina, you make me so happy. Happy like I’ve never felt before. Happier than my work, or my family, or anything else.”

“Really?” Maya smirks a little. She can’t believe that’s true, or possible.

“Really.” Carina connects their lips for another kiss. “Ti amo, Maya Bishop.”

“I love you, too.”

“You talk about me deserving not to be hurt. But, Maya, you deserve not to be hurt either. You deserve love and happiness and all the good things in life. No matter what your dad did or said to convince you that you didn’t. We both do. It doesn’t have to be one of us or the other. I think it is possible for both.”

Maya’s heart swells. “I love you so much.” She tightens her arm around Carina. Sometimes she feels like she just needs Carina to tell her stuff like that. To reassure her. To let her know that it’s okay. That it’s okay to feel feelings, and to love, and be loved. Words. Words of affirmation. She needs those words from Carina. “Can you keep telling me that? Especially if I forget.”

“I will tell you everyday, if you need me to.”

Maya nods. That sounds perfect.

Chapter Text

Maya has the day off. She texts Carina in the morning.

“I have the day off. Can I come see you?”

Maya knows it’s rather forward, but she has an idea. She’s just not sure if it would be appropriate to show up unannounced at the hospital with where their relationship is at right now. She wouldn’t say it’s rocky, but she would say that she’s in the doghouse, sort of.

Carina says she is free from 11:30 until almost 1.

“I’ll come by, and we can have lunch.”

Maya goes on a little mission before she goes to the hospital. The little bell above the door jingles as she enters the flower shop. She looks over all of the arrangements in the shop.

“Are there any other choices?” Maya asks the shop owner. She isn’t satisfied with anything she sees.

“No ma’am. This is it. But-“ He raises an eyebrow at Maya. “If you wanted to create your own selection, you can do that.”

He helps Maya look through all the different flowers and colors that he has. She spends a long time looking everything over and thinking about what she wants to see in the arrangement. Type of flower, colors, what they could represent.

Maya isn’t sure about flower meanings, and she thinks ultimately it doesn’t really matter. It just needs to look nice. And Carina has to like it, of course.

She frets over the choices for thirty minutes. The shop owner quits helping her after about fifteen minutes, telling Maya that she is free to mix and match as long as she doesn’t damage anything.

In the end, Maya chooses an arrangement with some pink carnations, three red roses, three orange roses, a bit of baby’s breath for a splash of white, and some black-eyed susans to add a little yellow.

“So, who’s the lucky person that is receiving such a thoughtful bouquet?” The shop owner asks as he rings up Maya’s flowers.

“Oh.” Maya blushes. “My girlfriend.”

The old man just nods as he focuses on the price. “Well, it’s a good, unique selection. Most folks just come in here and pick up something that’s already put together. They don’t have the time or patience to select each individual flower like you did.”

Maya gives him a tight-lipped smile. “She’s pretty special.”

“She must be.” He tells Maya the total and she pays and makes her way to the hospital, vase of flowers in her hand.

She gets to the cafeteria at 11:31. Only a minute late. She sends Carina a text to let her know that she has arrived and that she’s waiting in the cafeteria.

Maya sits down at a table and wishes there were somewhere she could hide the flowers, so Carina didn’t see them as soon as she walked in. But there isn’t. So, she sits there, flower vase directly in front of her, her hands folded together on the tabletop. Her left leg bounces anxiously underneath the tabletop.

It’s about five minutes before she sees Carina walk through the door. Maya sighs, a peaceful smile spread across her lips, replacing the anxious expression she had previously. There Carina is, in her white lab coat, deep red turtleneck, and grey pencil thin dress slacks, looking as gorgeous as Maya has ever seen her.

Carina comes in and stops and looks around to find Maya. “Oh, dio mio.” She spots Maya over in the corner with a bouquet of flowers sitting in front of her. Carina holds her hand over her heart as she crosses the room. “Maya Bishop, che cosa hai fatto?”

Maya stands up as Carina approaches her. She shrugs. “I thought it would be nice.”

Carina leans into Maya’s side. Maya wraps an arm around her back, and they share a quick kiss.

“They’re lovely.” Carina appraises the flowers.

“Good. I’m glad you like them cuz I picked each one out individually. I think the shop owner was rather annoyed with me. Or maybe he was just curious as to what kind of nut I am to spend half an hour looking at flowers before being satisfied.” Maya blushes a little at the admission.

“They’re wonderful. You’re wonderful.” Carina presses a kiss to Maya’s temple. Maya glances over at Carina with big hopeful eyes. “Should we get something to eat?”

“Sure.” Maya nods.

Carina finds Maya’s hand, tangling their fingers together and leading her to the food line.

“Do they have any good food here?” Maya asks as they wait for the few people in front of them. She hasn’t been to the hospital cafeteria yet.

“Sometimes yes and sometimes no.” Carina tells her honestly.

“You’d think a hospital would serve only healthy food.” Maya comments.

“You’d think a hospital would serve comfort food.” Carina counters. Maya hums.

They go back to the table with the flowers and sit next to each other. They eat quietly.

“You got corn.” Maya comments.

“I did.” Carina raises a curious eyebrow over at Maya, wondering why she’s pointing out the corn.

“Ya know, you’re going to have corn poops.” She points her fork at Carina and smirks.

“Maya!”

“What?”

“We’re eating.” Carina can’t believe that this is the topic of conversation that Maya has decided to go with.

“Yes. And if you eat that corn, you’ll have corn poops.” She giggles childishly.

Carina shakes her head but there is a smile on her face. She can’t help it.

Maya leans into Carina’s side and whispers. “Corn poops.”

“S-stop.” Carina giggles.

Maya nudges her with her elbow. “Corn poops.”

That gets Carina really laughing. Maya laughs too. Carina’s laugh is just too infectious not to laugh. “You’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?”

“Maya. Stop.” Carina holds onto her stomach as she can’t stop laughing. They giggle like school children for a little bit.

“Why doesn’t the body digest corn?” Maya asks seriously.

“I don’t know.”

Maya scoffs. “You’re a doctor and you don’t know?”

“I’m not a corn doctor.” Carina bites her lip; they share a look and start laughing again. She sighs happily and rests her hand on Maya’s thigh. “Thanks for coming down.” She whispers.

“I wanted to see you.” Maya shrugs. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. There is a certain comfort for Maya by just being in Carina’s presence. She’s never felt that before with someone and sometimes she just needs it and today she was able to achieve that.

“Thank you for the flowers.”

“You’re welcome.” Maya puts her hand on top of Carina’s on her leg, giving it a squeeze and then leaving it in place there. She strokes her thumb over Carina’s skin automatically.

“I’ll put them on my desk in my office.”

“Okay.”

“Do you work tomorrow?” Carina asks. She wants to see Maya outside of a work setting.

“I work the next two days. Day shift.”

Carina is disappointed to hear that.

“That’s why I wanted to come see you today.” Maya admits.

Carina nods. It makes sense.

“Oh, nice flowers Dr. DeLuca.” Levi Schmitt comments as he walks past their table.

“Thanks. Maya got them for me.” Carina smiles, bashful.

He stops and grins at the pair. “That’s really cute.”

Maya blushes a little. She recognizes the doctor from when she was in the hospital after she fainted.

“Any special occasion?” He inquires.

Maya shakes her head.

“No.” Carina says verbally.

He wishes he had someone that would get him flowers for no good reason. He wishes Nico would get him flowers for no good reason. “Okay, well, have a good day.” Levi rushes off.

“A friend of yours?” Maya asks.

Carina hums. “Not particularly. I don’t really know him. I see him in passing all the time though. He always seems to be running all over the hospital.”

“He’s cute.”

“He is cute.”

“Oh, you thinking of leaving me for him?” Maya jokes.

Carina frowns, not finding it funny. “No.”

“Too soon?”

Carina nods. “Plus, he’s gay.”

Maya hums and nods. She realized that she dampened the mood with her stupid little joke. “I could talk about corn poops again.” She grins, trying to get Carina to smile.

“Maya, no.” She giggles and wraps her arms around Maya.

Maya smirks pleased that she got Carina to laugh today. It feels good. She got to laugh today too. They’ve had too many days recently where there hasn’t been any laughter, so this is a wonderful little change. “Cuz you thought that was funny.”

“No, it’s gross.” Carina shakes her head.

“Well, if you’re going to eat corn then you’re going to have corn poops.”

“Stop.” Carina whines and presses her forehead to Maya’s shoulder.

“Kiss me and I’ll stop.” Maya surprises herself as the words tumble from her mouth.

Carina looks up. She catches Maya’s eyes and stares into them before reaching up and resting her hand on Maya’s cheek, turning her face slightly so she is aligned for a kiss. Carina leans in slowly and licks her lips as she does. She doesn’t even care that they are in the hospital cafeteria and there are people around them. She presses her lips to Maya’s softly. She shifts her lips against Maya’s before pulling back slightly. She looks down at Maya’s lips before leaning in again.

Maya brings her hand up to wrap around the wrist of the hand that Carina has on her cheek. She parts her lips slightly, changing the kiss, poking her tongue out to flick against Carina’s lips.

This feels monumental considering Maya has been struggling with the physical aspects of their relationships since they’ve been back together.

Carina sucks in a quick breath when she feels Maya’s tongue. “Maya.” She whispers and rests her forehead against Maya’s.

“Sorry.” Maya couldn’t help herself.

Carina rolls her head back and forth against Maya’s forehead. “Come up to my office with me.”

Maya pulls back with shocked eyes. The shock changes to apprehension at the thought of what Carina possibly wants to do in her office.

“Not like that. I have an appointment at one.” She rubs her thumb over Maya’s lips. “I need someone to carry my flowers up to my office for me.” She makes up an excuse just to spend a few more minutes with Maya.

“I can do that.” Maya grins.

“Good.” Carina moves to stand. “I’ll take care of the plates. You grab the flowers.”

They meet at the door and Carina holds out her hand. Maya looks around before shifting the flowers into the crook of her right arm and taking Carina’s hand.

Maya has never really been one for PDA but with Carina she finds herself breaking that rule. She feels proud to hold Carina’s hand. She feels like everyone can see and know that she’s proud to be with this amazing woman. It’s also more intimate than she ever imagined holding hands could be. Maya always thought that holding hands was some silly thing that kids did and giggled about. But there’s a connection there. A connection that can’t be broken. A connection that keeps them tied together even though they are in public spaces, even though they aren’t alone, aren’t at home in their most comfortable zone. Maya feels a certain power in that.


“Can we go somewhere?” Maya thinks a break from their everyday lives is what she might need right now. “Like just a short weekend trip. Maybe Vancouver.” She’s just thinking out loud, basically.

Carina sits on the stool at the island in the kitchen. “What about Victoria on Vancouver Island?” She’s always wanted to go there since she’s lived in Seattle. “Have you ever been?” Carina asks.

“Once, when I was little kid. I don’t really remember much other than that I was excited that I was in Canada.”

“Can we go then?” Carina gets excited about the possibility. It could be a good chance for them to start over, to get reacquainted.

Maya doesn’t see why not. “Okay.”

Carina bites her lip, guilty. “I have a confession to make.”

“Oh?”

Carina nods and grins. Maya looks over expecting Carina to continue talking. She’s been making them lunch with her back turned to Carina but now that Carina hasn’t said anything for a moment she turns around and raises an eyebrow at her.

“I may have- the day we got into that fight- and you left-“

Maya sighs. “Just say it.” She’s ready for a bombshell.

“I was on your laptop looking for a movie to watch but I never got that far. Your search history? Were you planning something, Maya?”

Maya frowns. “Not in particular. I just felt like I needed ideas. I’m crap at dates and activities and stuff. I mean, I’ve lived here my whole life, I should be able to figure out something for us to do. And yet, I can’t.”

“Vieni.”

Maya sets the knife in her hand on the counter and walks over to Carina. It’s very reminiscent of that day they had the fight about Maya’s dad and being in denial. She comes to stand in front of Carina. Carina reaches out and wraps her arms around Maya’s waist, looking up at Maya with a soft smile. “You worry too much.”

Maya rolls her eyes.

“I’m serious. That crap doesn’t matter. We can just sit in the park or watch the sunset. Go for a walk on the beach or go to the pier. Maya, I’d do anything with you. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You know that.”

“I know. I just want-“ She looks away from Carina. “I want to impress you.”

Carina hums. “You know what’s impressive? That playlist you have on your laptop with my name on it. It’s quite the list.”

Maya’s cheeks heat up. “You saw that?” She licks her lips and looks back to Carina.

“I did. I listened to it. I hope that’s okay.”

Maya hums. “Well, I don’t have anything to say to defend myself. They’re all songs that make me think of you when I hear them.” She’s not bothered that Carina was on her laptop or that she saw the playlist or even that she listened to it.

“I like that.” Carina purrs. “I like that you think about me.”

“All the time.” Maya lifts her hands to Carina’s shoulders, massaging them softly.

“Bene. I think about you all the time too.”

“I love you.” Maya sighs happily.

“I love you, too, bambina.” She tugs on Maya’s hips a little.

Maya gets the hint and bends to give Carina a soft kiss. “What are you reading?”

Carina glances over at the magazine. “Medical journal. It’s about catching birth defects.”

“Sounds scary.”

She looks back to Maya. “Not when you know how to treat or correct the defect.”

“And that’s why you are good at your job. Helping mamas out since- how long have you been an OB?” Maya tries to joke.

Carina laughs. She runs her hands down to Maya’s backside. “Longer than you’ve been a firefighter.”

“This isn’t a competition.” Maya warns her.

“No, but if it were, I’m winning.” Carina bites her lip. “It’s not exactly light reading but I need to stay up to date on the latest tests, trials, and procedures.”

Maya nods. “Shall I finish lunch?”

“Si, I’m starving.”

“Then you’ll have to let go of my ass.” Maya smirks.

“Fine.” Carina huffs and releases Maya from her grip. “So, we’re going to Canada then?”

“It sounds like it.” Maya smiles into the pan on the stove. “Do you want to plan it?”

“No, you do it.” Carina knows Maya strives to do something like that. She’s not going to get in the way of that. “Just remember that we can’t spend the entire time out of doors, or indoors, for that matter. I want to see all the buildings and the sights, but I don’t want to spend the entire day on my feet.”

“Got it.”

Carina flips the page on her medical journal. “And we should have a nice dinner at least one of the nights we are there. Nothing too fancy but somewhere where you can’t wear shorts, a t-shirt, and foot thongs.”

“Foot thongs?” Maya smiles at that one. “You mean flip flops.”

“I do. I prefer to call them foot thongs though.” Carina starts reading the next paragraph of her article.

Maya throws some vegetables in the pan. They sizzle in the olive oil.

It’s quiet between them and Maya looks over her shoulder to make sure Carina is still there. Sometimes she’ll do that now. She’ll check to see that Carina hasn’t just got up and left her. Because she knows that she doesn’t deserve Carina and that if the Italian got up and left at any minute that she couldn’t be mad at that for what Maya did to her.


They take the ferry over. The water is rough, and Maya feels a little sick. Carina goes to the gift shop on the boat and buys her some Dramamine. Coming back with two bottles of water and the medicine she sits next to Maya again. She holds out two tablets for Maya to take and then cracks the water open.

“Thanks.” Maya takes the tablets and swallows some water. She rests her head on Carina’s shoulder. “Oh god.” She feels nauseous and it just won’t go away.

“They should kick in in a few minutes. Just close your eyes. And if you have to barf, don’t do it on me.” Carina tells her. She takes Maya’s right hand in hers and rubs circles over the back of it with her thumb.

Maya’s body shakes with a light chuckle. “I’ll definitely try to miss you.”

“Grazie.” Carina looks around the ferry, people watching.

They get to Victoria and make there way to the hotel where they’ll be staying for the next three nights. Dropping off their bags before heading out again.

Maya and Carina spend the afternoon in the harbor area. They see the Parliament buildings, the Empress Hotel. Both of which are huge and very impressive. The spend a lot of time down in the marina. Carina is fascinated by the sea planes. She’s seen them before but hasn’t seen so many in one place taking off and landing all afternoon like she has here.

They get ice cream from a little ice cream stand that is across the street from the Parliament building and start their walk back to their hotel.

“Oh Maya.” Carina goes into the bathroom. They had really just dropped their bags off and were back out exploring. “Look at this tub.” Carina isn’t really one for taking baths. The water usage and all but this bathtub is magnificent.

Maya steps into the bathroom behind her. She puts a hand on Carina’s hip and leans into her from behind. “It’s very- big.” She rests her chin on Carina’s shoulder.

“Will you-“ She knows Maya has been struggling with physical intimate and personal space lately. “Will you take a bath with me?” She turns her head to look back at Maya.

She sees Maya frowning. “I will try.” That’s Maya’s new mantra. I will try.

“Okay.” Carina lets out a long sigh. “That’s all I can ask.”

Maya nods against her shoulder. “Did you want to do that now or after we have something to eat?” She presses her lips to Carina’s shoulder.

“Now?” She gives Maya a warm smile. “Let the ice cream settle before we eat again.”

Maya says she’ll start the bath and Carina goes into the other room and unpacks her bag. She finds pajamas and returns to the bathroom. She takes her shirt off and throws her hair up into a bun, watching her movements in the bathroom mirror.

Maya is done running the bath. “That’s ready. I’m going to grab some clothes for after.”

“Or you could- not.”

Maya scrunches up her face, questioning Carina.

Carina sighs, knowing it too much right now. “Go.” She wonders if Maya is going to go through with this whole bath thing. She understands the problem but it frustrating. It’s even more frustrating that she can’t really do anything to help. She removes her remaining clothes and slips into the tub, relaxing. She waits for Maya but minutes pass by. Carina tips her head back and closes her eyes with a long sigh, figuring that Maya won’t be joining her.

To her surprise, she hears feet padding across the floor a few minutes later. The water has started to cool but isn’t cold yet. If she needs to, Carina will let some water out and add more hot water.

“Hi.” She says just above a whisper.

Maya doesn’t say anything. She puts some clothes on the sink top and starts to peel her clothes off. She doesn’t look at Carina as she does so. She strips and steps into the tub.

Carina sits up a little bit, giving Maya room.

Maya sinks down into the water in the middle of the bathtub. Carina reaches a hand out of the water and puts it on Maya’s shoulder. Maya flinches but then relaxes under the touch. She sighs and sits back, leaning against Carina, sitting between her legs.

“Thank you for joining me, bella. I was getting awfully lonely.” Carina says lightly.

Maya smiles a little. “Yeah. Sorry it took me so long. I was organizing my things in the room. I was- stalling.”

Carina hums. “Can I hold you?”

Maya nods and Carina slips her arms around Maya’s waist. Maya relaxes further, slipping further into Carina’s touch. “This is nice.” Maya hums.

“Very nice.” Carina adds and closes her eyes.

They sit like that for a long time. Maya plays with the bubbles that reside on the top of the water, aimlessly. They add more hot water.

“Can I ask you a question?” Carina feels like now is the right time. Maya is relaxed, she’s relaxed, she’s ready to ask it.

“Go ahead.”

“Why Jack?”

Maya’s hand stills on the top of the water where she was waving it back and forth. “What?” The level of anxiety rises in her body. She was so relaxed for the first time in a long time.

“Why did you sleep with Jack? Not like, why, but why him?”

Maya hums and nods. “Because he was there. Because he walked into my office and started arguing with me. That’s why.”

“So if he hadn’t walked into your office-“ Carina realizes something. “In your office, Maya?” She doesn’t mean to raise her voice, but she was just caught off guard.

Maya sits up suddenly, alarmed at the level of Carina’s voice. She turns to look at her. “Unfortunately, yes.” She gives Carina a pinched smile. “In my bunk.” She shakes her head. “Don’t worry, I threw the sheets away.” Maya reaches up and runs her wet hand over her face in frustration.

Carina didn’t know that little detail. And somehow it makes what Maya did seem new again, fresh again. Carina runs a wet hand down her face, mimicking Maya’s action.

“And, no, if he hadn’t walked into my office, I wouldn’t have cheated on you that day.”

Carina huffs.

“I was angry, and he was angry. It’s a bad habit- No, not habit. Poor decision making on both of our parts. It didn’t mean anything, you know that, right? It was just a release for all that anger.”

Carina nods. “When you said it was Jack, I thought that initially-“ Carina chooses her words carefully. “-that you guys were getting back together or something.”

“God no.” Maya pulls a disgusted face.

“I thought all sorts of things. That’s why I didn’t want to talk to you or return your texts. I thought because it was Jack that it meant something or there was some meaning that I didn’t understand.” Carina pinches at the fading bubbles in the bathwater, avoiding Maya’s intense gaze. “I guess I didn’t know what was happening.”

“I’m sorry.”

Carina chuckles a little. “I forgive you, Maya, you don’t have to keep apologizing.”

“No, but I do. I can see that this has hurt you all over again.” She reaches up and rubs her thumb over Carina’s cheek. “And I don’t want to do that. And I hate that I keep doing that. It breaks my heart to see you sad.” Maya speaks softly but makes sure that Carina hears what she is saying, understand what she is saying.

“What else happened that day? That I don’t know about.” Carina thinks if they just get it all out there right now then the hurt can be over, and there won’t be anymore surprise hurt in the future.

Maya shrugs. “Not much. I went for a run. I ended up at the station. I spent over at hour working out in the gym. I yelled at Andy. I went to my office to do paperwork. Jack came in. We yelled at each other and yeah. Then I came home.”

Carina sighs. “Sounds like a busy day.”

“I was behaving badly, projecting my feelings onto others, and burning with rage and anger that I couldn’t get rid of, so yeah. I was on the warpath, and I didn’t care who I hurt along the way. I wanted to hurt myself the most. That was my main goal. And I managed to do that too. Trying to sabotage my relationships because I couldn’t be honest about my relationship with my father.”

“You really made a mess of things.” Carina looks down at the water.

“I did and that’s why I need to keep apologizing. To remind myself of what I’ve done.” She closes her eyes at the sad reality.

“Maya.” Even though Carina is upset all over again she hates that Maya is still beating herself up about everything.

“I know. I know.” Maya sighs. “Do you want to get out or stay in here?” Maya isn’t really feeling very welcomed in their bath anymore. She starts to stand up but Carina’s hand on her wrist keeps her from getting out entirely.

“Stay.” Carina tugs gently on that wrist to get Maya to sit back down. Maya nods and sits between Carina’s legs with her back pressed up against the Italian’s front again. Carina kisses the side of Maya’s head. “I love you.” She whispers, reminding both of them.

Maya sighs. “I love you too, Carina.”

“Thank you for telling me.”

“Thank you for finally being able to talk about it.” Maya has been waiting for this moment since she approached Carina at the coffee cart.

Carina hums and sets her chin on Maya’s shoulder. She’s going to think of Maya’s office and bunk differently from now on and probably avoid that area for a while; but it’s good to have everything out in the open now, even if it hurts.

The evening is quiet, calm, casual. They order room service for dinner. They eat sitting next to each other on the bed, sharing their meals.

This will be the first time they’ve slept in the same bed. The time they’ve spent together over the last few weeks has mostly been during the day or running into the evening, but they always go home to their respective beds, except for the one night. It’s something that Maya has spent a lot of time thinking about the last few days, knowing the trip was coming up, know they would be sharing a bed.

So, when Maya comes out of the bathroom and sees Carina laying in bed reading a book, she pauses. It doesn’t have to be weird. Maya doesn’t want it to be weird. And she’s not uncomfortable to be around Carina. That’s not the problem. She’s just worried about the intimacy of it all. She’s worried she’d going to freak out again on Carina. She survived the bath though and that was nice. It’s mostly just a lingering thought now because Carina has been so amazing, and caring, and gentle, and sweet, and everything that Maya has needed; but that thought is still there.

Carina looks up from her book. “Ready for bed?” She notices Maya standing there awkwardly. She pats the spot to her right.

Maya nods, jump starting herself. She hurries over to the bed and slips in under the covers. She lays on her back, her hand folded together over her stomach, looking up at the ceiling.

Carina sets her book on the nightstand and turns back towards Maya. She lays on her side and watches Maya. It’s quiet for a long time.

“Can you turn the light off?” Maya mumbles.

The light on Carina’s nightstand is on still.

“Maya?”

Maya hums.

“It’s just me.” Carina whispers and runs her finger gently up and down Maya’s upper arm.

“I know that.” There’s some agitation in Maya’s voice. “It’s just- we-“

“What are you thinking? Just say that. You don’t have to explain it.”

Maya lets out a long breath. “I don’t want to freak out again.”

Carina is a little surprised by that but it’s not an unreasonable thought. “Okay.” That’s understandable. “Do you feel like you might?”

Maya thinks about it, appraising herself. “No, not really.”

“Okay, then. Can you turn to face me?”

Maya sighs and turns onto her side to face Carina. She tucks her hands up under her chin.

Carina smiles warmly. She reaches out with her left hand, slipping it up between Maya’s hands slowly. She finds Maya’s left hand, untucks it from her chin, holding it between their faces on her pillow. “There.” She kisses Maya’s knuckles. “You’re alright.” Carina encourages. She rubs her thumb over Maya’s hand. Back and forth, back and forth. “Close your eyes.”

Instead of closing her eyes, Maya leans forward and kisses Carina quickly before resting her head back on her pillow. A thank you. She squeezes Carina’s hand.

Maya falls asleep to Carina’s thumb rubbing soothingly across the thin skin on her hand and the sound her soft voice as she whispers little sentences in Italian.

“You’re the strongest person I’ve ever met.” Carina whispers in English and presses her lips to Maya’s forehead before reaching back and shutting off the light. “Goodnight, bella.” She settles back onto her side, still with a grip on Maya’s hand.

Chapter Text

Maya wakes up in the morning with an arm wrapped around her from behind and Carina pressed up against her back. She yawns and shifts her legs. She can feel Carina’s breath on her bare shoulder. It’s one thing that hasn’t changed. Maya always sleeps well with Carina around. She actually feels refreshed. It’s been a while since she felt this good when waking up.

Maya looks over her shoulder to get a look at the amazing Italian women who is spooning her in her sleep. Carina’s left hand lays loosely pressed against Maya’s chest. She wraps her hand around it and gives it a squeeze, holding it tighter against her chest. She feels okay like this. There isn’t any panic. There isn’t any freaking out. Maya stays like that for a little while with Carina still asleep behind her.

She starts to get antsy and bored just laying there. It’s not in Maya’s nature to just lay in bed in the morning. She gets up and gets going usually or she has something to distract herself in bed. She never just lays there. So she starts to play with Carina’s fingers, shifting her hand so their fingers lock together or stroking her thumb over each knuckle on each finger. Or tracing the lines in Carina’s palm.

“What are you doing?” Sleep very evident in Carina’s voice.

Maya flinches a little. She didn’t know Carina was awake. She drops Carina’s hand to the mattress. “Nothing.”

Carina giggles and then hums and presses herself up against Maya. She’s missed this feeling. “You can keep doing nothing if you want, but it woke me up. You must know.” She snuggles into Maya from behind.

“Sorry.” Maya tries to look over her shoulder at Carina.

“It’s okay. I very much enjoy waking up to you. We need to get up anyway if we are going to the gardens today.” That’s the activity that Carina wants to do. Go to the Victoria Butterfly Gardens and then the Butchart Gardens. Walk around. Have a nice, peaceful, calm day in nature.

She rolls onto her back and yawns, stretching her arms above her head.


Maya couldn’t decide what shirt to wear to dinner when she was packing so she brought two with. A light blue button down and crisp white one. She pulls her slim fit khaki pants on and slips into a pair of rich brown loafers. “Carina?”

Carina sticks her head out of the bathroom. “Si.”

“Which one?” Maya holds her shirts up to display for Carina.

Carina pulls the towel from the top of her head, letting her hair cascade down her back. She looks Maya up and down, seeing what she’s already wearing. “White.”

Maya looks at the white shirt and then back at Carina. “Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure. Put it on.” Carina pops back into the bathroom to finish getting ready.

Maya looks back at the shirts in her hands again. “White it is.” Maya pulls the shirt up her arms. She starts buttoning it as she walks towards the bathroom. “What are you wearing?” She leaves the top three buttons unbuttoned and tucks the shirt into her pants. Maya looks up as she stands at the bathroom door. “Woah.” Her eyes rake up and down Carina’s form.

Carina giggles. “It’s like you’ve never seen me dressed up before. No?”

Maya shakes her head. “I just- you’re always so beautiful. In everything you wear. Or don’t wear.” The black tight pants and a skintight black midriff t-shirt that shows off a little sliver of Carina’s skin between her pants and shirt have Maya taking in every inch of her.

Carina raises an eyebrow at Maya in the mirror as she runs a bit of product through her hair, wearing it loose and wavy. She finishes and turns to Maya. “Thank you, bambina.” She presses a quick kiss to Maya’s cheek and slips past her. “Where are my shoes?” Carina looks around the room for them. “You look amazing, too, by the way. We’re a contrast.” Carina wearing dark clothes and Maya wearing light.

They go to dinner and come back to the room.

Maya goes out to sit on the balcony with a beer. The city lights mesmerizing her into a calm. Not that dinner wasn’t calm. Dinner was plenty lovely and plenty calm. It’s just that there were lots of other people in her restaurant and wait staff cruising around the room, a murmur of conversation in the air. This is quiet calm, the distant sound of traffic about the only thing that Maya hears.

Carina comes out, already changed out of her outfit. She stands behind Maya where she sits in the chair, putting a hand on her shoulder softly, trying not to startle her. “I’m going to bed. Are you going to be coming in soon?”

Maya tips her head back and looks up at Carina. “Yeah.” She shakes the beer bottle in her hand. “I’m just going to finish this.”

Carina nods. “Brush your teeth.”

To anyone else, it might sound like Carina is scolding a child or reminding them to do their normal nighttime routine but she’s not. She doesn’t like Maya’s beer breath. It’s something she’s mentioned before. It’s not the first time.

“Of course.” Maya smiles as she remembers when Carina refused to kiss her or sleep in the same bed as her until Maya had brushed her teeth after having some beer one evening as they watched a movie. So, she makes sure to brush her teeth after she has a beer now. It’s not a big deal.

Carina slips back into the hotel room. Maya tips the bottle to her lips, throwing her head back and downing the rest of it. She scrambles up from the chair, ducking into the room. She slips her shoes off near the door as she unbuttons her shirt. She had already pulled it from her pants as soon as they got back to the room.

She glances over at the bed as Maya gathers her pajamas and goes into the bathroom to change and brush her teeth.

Maya neatly folds her shirt and pants and sets them next to her suitcase. Carina is in bed but tonight she’s on her phone instead of reading her book. Maya comes over and gets into bed. “Whatcha looking at?”

Carina hums and tilts the phone so Maya can see. “The pictures of all the pretty flowers I took today.”

“There was one thing I saw today that was prettier than all the flowers.” Maya knows. She spent most of the day just watching Carina take everything in at the gardens.

Carina doesn’t remember Maya saying anything about anything other than the flowers. “What?”

“You.” She smirks.

“Maya.” Carina can’t believe how corny Maya is sometimes.

Maya scoots over so they are shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip. “The way you move about effortlessly, taking in all the beautiful that the gardens had to offer. The awe you had on your face at some of the vibrant color. Simply beautiful.”

Carina smiles softly. “You know, if you weren’t so adorable and I wasn’t so in love with you I would think what you just said was creepy. Did you even look at any of the flowers?”

Maya shrugs. “Some.”

“Here.” Carina has put all the photos from the day into an album on her phone. She starts back at the beginning and goes through the photos one by one, sharing them with Maya.

Maya lays her head on Carina’s shoulder after a while as they flip through the photos. There are a lot. “Did you have a good day? Did it live up to your expectations?”

“I don’t know.” She did and she didn’t. Maybe Carina’s expectations were too high. Maybe she thought she and Maya would have this fabulous day and everything would be magical. But it wasn’t. Not really. Not that there was anything wrong with the day. The day was good. A quality day. There just wasn’t anything special about it, Carina thinks.

“What?” Maya picks her head up and looks up to see Carina with a sly grin on her face, teasing Maya a little with her words.

“Yes, I had a good day. Did you have a good day?”

“It was very pleasant.” Maya lays her head back down. “Calm. No big hiccups. So, overall, a success.”

“I had a wonderful day with you, bella.” Carina presses her lips to Maya’s head, leaving them there for a few seconds. She always enjoys spending time with Maya no matter what they are doing.

Maya tucks her arm behind Carina. “It was pretty good.” She hugs her arms around Carina, locking her hands together on Carina’s opposite hip. “Are you ready for tomorrow?”

Carina puts the phone down. “How can I be ready for tomorrow when you won’t tell me what we’re doing.”

Maya smiles. “I don’t want to ruin it.”

“It’s not something crazy, is it?”

Maya shakes her head. “No.”

Carina settles further into Maya’s embrace. “I’m glad we did this.” Carina says quietly. “It was a good idea.” She feels like she needed this time away to unwind. To just relax and forget about everything for a while. Except for her and Maya. It doesn’t feel awkward or like there’s any added pressure like how it sometimes can be after a falling out and reconciliation. It just feels like them again and Carina absolutely loves that easy feeling. She knows that doesn’t make everything all better magically but it’s good to feel good again.

Maya yawns. It has been good. They’re learning how to be together again without the pressures of work or friends or any other distractions from home. It’s like a reset. “I do come up with a good idea every once in a while.” She yawns again.

“Are you tired?”

Maya just nods. “Can we go to sleep?” It’s pretty early yet. “I slept so well last night.” Maya pulls her arms back from around Carina. “The best I’ve slept in a long time.”

“Only if I get to cuddle you.” Carina smirks.

Maya pauses and looks at Carina for a moment. “Of course.” She scoots down to lay on her back and wait for Carina. It only takes a moment for Carina to lay down too. “How do you want me?”

Carina raises an eyebrow at Maya. “You know- nevermind.” She leaves the seductive nature of that question alone. “Vieni qua.” She opens her arms and Maya practically jumps into them.

Maya doesn’t know what’s changed but she needs Carina’s touch again. Something has shifted in the last two days. Maybe it’s just that they’ve spent honest time together and Maya is feeling comfortable again. More comfortable in her own skin. More confident that she can work through her issues and turn things around with Carina. She needs that feeling. She nuzzles herself into Carina’s chest as Carina wraps her in a tight embrace.

Carina needs it too. She sighs happily at being able to hold Maya again. “How do you feel?” She rubs a hand up and down Maya’s back slowly.

“Right now? Relaxed. A little nervous. But just a tiny bit. Happy.”

“What are you nervous about?” Carina asks.

Maya doesn’t say anything right away. “There’s just-“ It’s hard to put the feeling into words. “There’s this feeling, I don’t know what it is. Uncertainty, maybe.”

“About?”

“Us.”

Carina cranes her neck to try to get a look at Maya’s face.

“I just- what if we can’t get back to where we were. What if I’ve ruined it permanently? We were good, right? We were happy, despite everything that was going on, right?” She just needs to ask. Just one more time. She needs to make sure that Carina is in this with her.

“Si. Yes.” Carina takes Maya’s hand in hers. She interlocks their fingers. “We were. I was. But I am again now so-“ Carina shrugs. She doesn’t see the use in comparing before to now. It just isn’t the same. They were good before, but Carina thinks they have the potential to be so much better now. “Try not to compare then and now. It’s different. Things have changed. And not in a bad way. I feel closer to you now. Not physically but emotionally. You’ve shared with me the worst, most difficult, most painful parts of your life, yourself. We, as humans, are shaped by our experiences. To hear about your experiences, I feel like I understand you better, Maya. I feel closer to you.”

“You’re fucking wonderful.” Maya doesn’t know if she can say the same thing. She doesn’t think she can say she feels closer to Carina or understands her better though. It’s just not true because Carina hasn’t shared anything about her life with Maya. A little bit about Andrew, but that’s not much, just that he was sick. Most of Carina’s past is still a mystery to Maya. Maybe that’s where the uncertainty comes in. In Carina’s lack of sharing.

But she does feel a bit of relief, like she doesn’t have a secret. Not that she saw her father’s abuse as a secret. A weight has been lifted. A sense of security has replaced it in the way Carina has just accepted her for all her flaws. So, in that sense Maya feels more grateful for Carina. Luckier, maybe. She feels like Carina could have anyone in the whole world and she keeps choosing Maya.

“If you say so.” Carina tries to deflect. She doesn’t feel like she’s that wonderful.

Maya lifts herself up onto her elbow so she’s hovering over Carina. “Fucking.” She kisses her. “Wonderful.” She kisses Carina hard, trying to convey her point through her lips. Maya pulls back and looks down into Carina’s eyes. “I love you.” She whispers and waits for Carina to say it too. Maya can’t get enough of those three words coming from the Italian. Whether she says it in English or Italian. Maya’s stomach flips every time she does.

“I love you, bella.” And she does. She loves Maya. She knows that for certain.

Maya sighs happily and resumes her positions on Carina’s chest, waiting for sleep to take her.

Chapter Text

Maya’s activity is visiting a bunch of historic houses/Victorian homes/museums in the area including Helmcken House. Which was built by Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken. A surgeon with the Hudson’s Bay Company. She’s got a whole list, with addresses that she’s mapped out. Maya is well prepared for their journey today.

They enter the property and Carina reads the sign at the entrance telling them what the place is. Maya, of course, already knows. When Carina realizes what the place is she cozies up to Maya’s side and takes Maya’s hand in hers, interlocking their fingers, putting her opposite hand on the inside of Maya’s elbow. “Maya, what is this place?”

Maya shrugs. “Let’s find out.” She leads Carina further into the house. They look around at all the ‘old’ stuff. In the doctor’s office, they see his medical kit. He was the first doctor in Victoria, the first president of the Canadian Medical Association, and a politician.

“Look at that.” Carina bends at the waist to get a closer look at the items. She can’t imagine practicing medicine back in the day. Things were so archaic. There was so much they didn’t know. It was more of a guessing game at times than anything.

Maya hums, standing there with a pleased smiles on her face as she takes in Carina’s enthusiasm. She knows she made the right choice in activity today. It’s not like she doesn’t enjoy this too. Maya loves old buildings, and architecture, and history.

They look over everything and then head outside again. “Should we take a photo?” Maya suggests.

Carina bites her lip and nods, excitement evident in her eyes.

Maya pulls her phone out of her pocket. They position themselves in front of the building, the building being the background for the photo and Maya holds the phone out in front of them. She snaps a few pictures of them. She’s about to stop when she feels Carina lean into her side and a press of lips to her cheek. Maya grins fully and snaps a few photos with Carina kissing her cheek. Carina lifts her hand to Maya’s opposite cheek and turns her face, so she can kiss her on the lips. Maya forgets about taking photos anymore. She puts her hand on Carina’s collarbone and leans into her, deepening the kiss.

They get lost in each other, in their kiss, that is, until a screaming child goes by on the sidewalk with its mother. They split apart and Maya hides her face in Carina’s neck. Carina wraps an arm around Maya, holding her there for a minute. “Someone woke on the wrong side of the bed.” She mumbles about the cranky child.

“Sounds like they need to go back to bed.” Maya adds.

Carina chuckles. “You’re probably right.” She rubs her hand up and down Maya’s back. “Where to next?”

Maya takes a step back, finding Carina’s hand and leading them to the next stop.

Late lunch is had at a taco truck and that’s when Maya learns that Carina loves tacos.

“Just because I’m Italian doesn’t mean I can’t like foods from other cultures.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “I know that. It’s just-“

“We haven’t spent any time exploring that together, yet.” Carina finishes Maya’s sentence. Maya can only lick her lips and nod in agreement.

At the end of the historic house tour that Maya has led them on; Carina asks if they can just stay in on their final night in Victoria. Maya isn’t going to say no to her.

“Whatever you want, babe.” Maya mumbles. “But what about supper?”

“Let’s pick something up now.” Carina pulls them off to the side so she can look up a place on her phone where they can pick up something to eat. “This way.” She steers them in the direction of a local grocery store. “Was there a microwave at the hotel?”

“I think there was one down in the lobby in that little breakfast corner that they have set up.” Maya thinks she saw one there.

Carina nods and grabs two Cup of Noodles. “Vieni.”

Maya follows her around the store dutifully.

“Pick something.” Carina has them come to a halt in the candy aisle.

“I don’t know. I don’t really eat candy.” Her father’s stern voice vibrates in her head, scolding her about junk food.

“I said pick something.” Carina commands.

Maya’s stomach does a funny little flip at the tone of Carina’s voice, the stern command of it, the sexiness. Maya looks over all the candy options. She grabs a bag of Skittles.

Carina giggles.

“What?” Maya feels self-conscious about her decision, already reaching to put them back.

“Taste the Rainbow.” Carina winks at her.

Maya sucks her lower lip into her mouth, chewing on it.

Carina grins like she has a secret and reaches out to grab a box of rainbow Nerds. The perfect match to Maya’s Skittles. “Let’s go.”

“Carina, this isn’t very healthy.” Maya whines as she walks behind her.

“I know. That’s the point.” She gives Maya a mischievous smile over her shoulder.

They go back to the hotel room. Maya is still thinking about the ‘food’ they bought.

“Today was amazing Maya, but my feet are killing me.” She sits down on the end of the bed, kicking her shoes off and bringing a foot up to rub it.

The food leaves her mind. “Sit back.” Maya nods at the bed.

Carina raises surprised eyebrows at Maya. Maya nods again. Carina taking the hint. Maya sits on the side of the bed and pulls Carina’s left foot into her lap, massaging it. Carina tips her head back and closes her eyes. She moans as Maya rubs her thumbs into the arch of her foot. “Dio mio, Maya.”

“That good, huh?” Maya chuckles.

“Si.” She gets lost in the foot massage. Maya switches feet after a few minutes and gives Carina’s right foot the same attention that she gave to the left.

Maya finishes and Carina has her eyes closed, her head back against the headboard of the bed. “You good?” She whispers, unsure if Carina is awake or asleep.

“I’m perfect.”

“Yes, you are.” Maya can’t help herself. The opportunity was just waiting for her.

Carina’s eyes snap open and she stares down the bed at Maya. Maya smiles bashfully and shrugs. She holds Carina’s eyes for a long moment before she has to look away. She feels the bed move and sees Carina get up.

“Let’s go.” Carina grabs the noodles.

“Where are we going?” Maya gets up and follows.

The man at the front desk in the lobby has an eye on them.

“I don’t know if we’re allowed to be using this.” Maya whispers. She looks over her shoulder. The man glares at her. “He’s giving us the evil eye.”

“Let him.” Carina puts the cups in the microwave and starts it. “If they didn’t want people using this then they shouldn’t have put it in a public location.”

“It’s for breakfast.” Maya whispers. She feels like they’re breaking the rules and are going to get in trouble.

Carina glances over at Maya. “Right now, it’s for my dinner.” She wiggles her eyebrows at Maya.

Maya chuckles and shakes her head. She can’t believe Carina is breaking the rules, getting her to break the rules. But she also loves the little bit of rebellion that Carina has gotten them into. There’s something scary and freeing about it.

“Get one those coffee stirrers.” She nudges Maya with her elbow.

“Why?” Maya is too worried about the man at the desk to think properly.

“So I can stir these.”

Maya stares at Carina for moment. “Right.” She takes a step towards the coffee maker and takes a stir stick from the bowl next to it. She comes back and holds it out for Carina to take.

“Grazie, bella.” She gives Maya the softest of smiles.

Carina stops the microwave the second before it beeps to tell them it’s done. She pulls the two cups out and stirs them. She puts the stir stick in her mouth and picks up the cups. “You’re going to have to get the door for me. And hit the elevator button.” She says around the stir stick.

They make their way back to their room. Eat the noodles at the little table. Carina changes into pajamas. Maya flips through the channels on the tv looking for a something to watch. Carina opens up the Skittles and pops a few into her mouth. Maya sits at the end of the bed, the tv directly in front of her.

Carina just watches her for a few minutes. She wants to try something. She crawls down the bed with the bag of Skittles in her hand. She knows Maya probably isn’t interested in having any. And she knows that comes from old trauma from her father, but Carina wants to try to ease that trauma and replace it with something else. She kneels at the very end of the bed, at Maya’s hip.

Maya looks over at her, looking Carina up and down.

“Hello.” Carina smiles.

“Hi.” Maya says suspicious of what Carina is doing.

“Want some Skittles?” Carina offers Maya the bag.

“No thanks.” Maya shakes her head and looks back to the tv.

As Carina suspected. “So, you’re going to make me eat these all by myself.”

“I’m not making you do anything.” Maya mumbles.

Carina frowns. “You’re no fun.” She pouts.

Maya looks over, taking offense to that. She holds out her hand. Carina raises an eyebrow and grins lopsided. “Really?”

Maya rolls her eyes and sighs. She knows she’s being difficult. “Yeah.” She sets the tv remote down on the bed next to her and adds her right hand to her left, holding them out together in front of Carina.

Carina shakes a few Skittles from the bag into Maya’s hands.

“Thanks.” Maya shifts them all to one hand and lifts that hand to her mouth putting them all in her mouth and chewing.

“You didn’t just do that?” Carina gapes.

“I think I did.” Maya says around a mouthful of gooey sweetness.

“Don’t talk while you’re eating. You’ll choke.”

“You know the Heimlich, right?” She continues to talk with ‘food’ in her mouth.

Carina nods.

“Then I’ll be fine.” Maya grins, finishing her mouthful.

Carina laughs. “I don’t want to have to save your life, Maya.”

“But you would, if you had to, right? You wouldn’t let me die?”

“Maya, stop.” Carina wraps her arms around Maya’s shoulders.

“Fine. But for the record, I would save you if you were dying.” She means it to be lighthearted, but it doesn’t hit Carina that way and she knows it as soon as the words leave her mouth.

Carina wraps her arms around Maya tighter and presses her face against her shoulder. “Stop talking about death.”

“You’re a doctor. There’s death there.” Maya thinks of it logically.

“I deliver babies, Maya. There’s not a lot of death there.”

“Oh.” Maya didn’t really think about it. “Have you ever lost a patient?”

Carina shakes her head against Maya.

“Oh. Wow. That’s impressive.”

“Have you?” Carina knows the answer. She doesn’t even know why she asks.

Maya sighs. “Lots. I kept count at the beginning, but then I realized I couldn’t do that. It was too hard. So, I stopped. Plus, the number got to double digits at one point and that seemed way worse than just single digits. Just cuz I stopped counting doesn’t make it any easier though.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Thanks.” Maya reaches up and puts her hands on Carina’s arm that is draped around her sternum.

“Can we stop talking about this?”

“Yeah. Sorry I ruined the mood.” Maya frowns.

Carina lifts her head from Maya’s shoulder. “There was a mood?” She teases.

Maya rolls her eyes. Carina always catches her and makes fun of her for the silly things she says. “I don’t want to make you sad.”

“I know.”

“That’s all I meant.”

“I know.”

“I want you to be happy. I want to make you happy.” Maya locks eyes with Carina.

“Baciami.” Carina whispers, searching Maya’s eyes.

Maya reaches up and puts a hand on Carina’s cheek. She leans in slowly. Very slowly. She checks to makes sure this is alright. Carina nods subtly. Maya closes the remaining distance and presses her lips lightly to Carina’s.

Carina lets out a breath of air through her nose.

Maya rubs her thumb over Carina’s cheek. Back and forth, back and forth slowly. She pulls back, separating their lips and looking down at Carina’s lips. She looks back up and can see the concern in Carina’s eyes.

“Are you sure?”

Maya takes a deep breath. There is some apprehension. “Yes.” She says out loud because she knows they both need to hear it.

Maya stands up, causing Carina’s arms to slip off of her. She holds a hand out, though, and helps Carina stand. She walks them around to the side of the bed.

Maya runs her hands up Carina’s arms to her shoulders and back down again before taking Carina’s hands in hers. She lifts the right hand to her lips and presses a kiss to the back of it before doing the same to the left.

Carina watches intently as Maya moves about.

Maya lets the hands go softly at Carina’s sides. She slips her hands to the Italian’s hips and starts swaying them from side to side.

“What are you doing, Maya.”

“Shh. Dancing.” Maya whispers. She watches Carina’s hips as they sway back and forth.

Carina wraps her arms around Maya’s neck and steps forward to press into her. “That’s not dancing.”

Maya hums as Carina presses their hips together. “I was watching you dance.”

Carina rests her forehead against Maya’s, her hand grasping at the back of Maya’s head, holding her close. She starts to run her fingers through Maya’s hair.

“Can you not do that?” Maya whispers.

“What?”

“T-touch my hair.” She stutters anxiously.

Carina moves her hand immediately. “I’m sorry.”

“No. I just-“ Maya shakes her head, trying to get the thought of her father to go away.

Carina can see her struggling, starting the spin out, losing focus. “Hey, look at me. Focus on me. Listen to my voice. Look in my eyes.” Carina smiles when Maya focuses again. “Come on.” She takes a step back, taking Maya with her before her legs hit the mattress.

Maya refocuses on the magnificent woman in her arms. She reaches down for the bottom of her tank top and starts to pull it up. Carina lifts her arms in the process and Maya tugs it off. Her eyes roam Carina’s chest for a moment before they lift and she’s smirking at Carina.

“Like what you see, bambina?”

Maya leans in and presses her lips to Carina’s collarbone before licking over it. “Mmm, I love you.” She whispers. “All of you.” Her lips move to Carina’s neck.

Carina tilts her head back, reveling in the feeling of Maya’s lips on her neck. She moans as Maya reaches that one spot below her ear and makes her toes curl when Maya sucks on it. “Maya.” She moans out her name.

Carina sits down on the bed, or maybe it’s more that her legs buckle. She looks up at Maya. Maya stands there for a moment before shuffling forward, getting on the bed, sitting in Carina’s lap, her knees straddling the Italian’s hips.

“Hi.” Maya mumbles.

Carina reaches up and tucks Maya’s hair behind her ear before resting her palm on her cheek. “Hi.” She looks down. “Let’s level the playing field.” She says of Maya’s shirt. Maya nods and sits back a little. Carina reaches down, grabbing at the bottom of Maya’s shirt. “Ready?” She asks, just to make sure Maya is comfortable with this. Maya nods and Carina slowly lifts the shirt, Maya lifting her arms at the same time, up and over her head.

Carina wraps an arm around Maya and pulls her into her body, their chests pressing together. Maya closes her eyes at the feeling of skin on skin, taking a deep breath of air into her lungs, her chest expanding, pressing harder against Carina’s. Anxiety swirls in her stomach, that sudden feel of panic, but then Carina’s hands are rubbing up and down her bare back.

“You okay?” Carina whispers. She’s watching Maya. She sees her brow twist and furrow, even with her eyes closed, she can see Maya is going through something. She strokes her hands up and down Maya’s back, still holding her tight to her torso, then running her hands down Maya’s arms from the shoulders to her elbows and back up. She holds onto Maya by the shoulder blades on her back. Carina tilts her head up and presses a kiss to Maya’s forehead. “Hey.”

“Yeah. Yeah. I’m okay.” Maya sighs and opens her eyes.

Carina smiles at her and leans up to nuzzle her nose against Maya’s. “Bene.” She whispers against Maya’s lips before kissing them. “But if you aren’t good. At any point. You need to tell me.”

“I will.” Maya hopes that doesn’t happen, but is willing to be honest with Carina. She takes Carina’s face in her hands and presses a soft kiss to her lips and then one to the tip of her nose and then her forehead. A thank you to Carina for checking in.

She leans back and looks into Carina’s eyes. The brown’s that she loves so much shine back with so much love, so much tenderness. They are always talking about how Maya feels but never about how Carina feels. Maya can see her feelings right in her warm honey brown eyes right now though. She rubs her thumbs over her cheeks before leaning in to press an exploring kiss to Carina’s lips; one that grows, becoming increasingly passionate.

Carina’s hands find Maya’s backside, pulls her hips against hers. Maya rocks in her lap, creating a little friction for both of them. Maya lets out a shuddered breath, her head tipped back, as she rocks harder against Carina.

“Bambina?” Carina tries to get her to look at her.

Maya is lost in the feeling. It’s been so long since they’ve had sex. Since she’s had a release.

“Are you going to come without me touching you?” Carina questions with an amused smirk.

Maya snaps her head back, her desire filled eyes finding Carina’s. “I might just.”

Carina laughs, hooking her hands under Maya’s thighs and flips them around, pressing Maya to the mattress. Maya looks up at her with amusement and desire. “Impressive.” She bites her lip.

Carina reaches up and throws her hair over her right shoulder. “You think that’s impressive, wait til you see this.” She shimmies out of her sleep shorts and underwear at the same time.

“You’re right.” Maya licks her lips as she watches Carina, content to just lay there for a moment to watch the gorgeous woman undress. Not touching her, not kissing her, just watching and admiring her lean figure, her beauty. “You’re beautiful. So beautiful.”

Carina grins. “Off.” She tugs at Maya’s sweatpants. Maya lifts her hips from the bed and Carina pulls her pants down her legs before laying down on top of Maya, fitting her legs between Maya’s, elbows holding her up a little so all of her weight isn’t on Maya. Carina presses a kiss to the hollow of Maya’s collarbone before licking over it.

Maya tangles her fingers into Carina’s hair at the back of her head, holding her as skilled lips explore her chest, leaving a trail of wet kisses that cool in the air and make goosebumps spark on Maya’s pale skin. Carina’s lips find Maya’s again, sharing a hungry kiss. Carina leans back, rolling her body against Maya’s, arching her back, lifting her chest up and away from Maya.

“F-fuck.” Maya moans at the pressure between her legs, so Carina rolls against her body again before Maya pulls her down on top of herself again. Carina smirks and sucks on Maya’s pulse point. “Carina.” Maya whispers. She so worked up that she’s not going to last much longer. All of her senses tingle, her nerve endings on fire.

Carina shifts to the side a little, leaving just enough room that she can snake her hand down between their bodies. She slips her fingers into Maya’s underwear. Maya hisses and jerks at the contact. Carina slowly strokes over Maya until she feels Maya tensing and arching up into her, searching for release. “Let go, bambina.” Carina whispers in her ear, pressing a sweet kiss to her cheek and Maya comes undone with another stroke of her finger.

Maya’s muscles contracting, a strangled gasp coming from her mouth as she holds her breath and her orgasm rocks through her body. As the intensity starts to fade, Maya sucks in a quick breath of air, wrapping a hand around Carina’s back. She moans out as everything fades into pure bliss. Maya breaths hard as she tries to get her breath back.

Carina alternates between nuzzling her nose against Maya’s neck and pressing soft kisses to her skin. Her hand shifts from Maya’s underwear, to her hip, holding her there.

Maya tilts her head to the side, trying to find Carina’s eyes. When she does, Carina smiles and even though she’s not looking at her mouth, she can see the smile in Carina’s eyes. “Good?” Carina asks.

Maya moans. “Embarrassingly short but fucking amazing.”

“There’s not correct length.” Carina reminds her.

“Still.” Maya shrugs. “It’s been a long time and-“

“Shhhh.” Carina kisses her, shutting Maya up. She runs her fingers up and down Maya’s side.

Maya squirms, breaking the kiss. “That tickles.”

Carina grins. She tickles Maya’s side with more intention.

“Stop.” Maya whines, trying to grab at Carina’s hand, but Carina dodges her grasp. Maya takes matters into her hand, rolling over, rolling into Carina, and pressing her back against the mattress. “My turn.”

Carina chuckles. “You mean my turn.”

Maya shakes her head. “My turn to give you pleasure. My turn to watch you fall apart. My turn to hear those wonderful moans. My turn to worship your body. My turn to taste you and feel you. My turn.” Sometimes giving is just as good as receiving.

“Dio mio.” Carina moans, her eyes rolling back in her head, her hands roam aimlessly over Maya’s back and ass, not sure where they want to be.

Maya doesn’t waste any time. She reaches down, slipping her fingers through Carina’s wet folds, finding her center. Carina gasps as Maya enters her with two fingers. “What happened-“ Carina struggles to focus as Maya starts up a consistent rhythm. “-to tasting and feeling.” Not that Carina is complaining about this, but she thought Maya would take more time to appreciate her body.

“Later.” Maya rests her forehead against Carina’s, staring into her eyes. “We’re not just going one round.” Maya has found her confidence again. Her comfortability again.

Carina moans and tilts her head to kiss Maya. It’s a messy kiss that they can barely connect their lips for, opting for just resting their foreheads together instead. Carina pants as Maya works her closer and closer to her orgasm.

“Keep your eyes open.” It’s Maya’s one request.

“Maya.” Carina whines, close.

A few more strokes and Carina is tensing in her arms. She grits her teeth and groans as her orgasm hits, struggling to keep her eyes open like Maya wanted. Maya grins and that’s all Carina needs to keep her focus on her girlfriend’s face.

Carina comes down from her high as Maya is busy kissing her neck and chest, with special attention to her collarbones and shoulders. She reaches down the bed and grabs the bag of Skittles, shaking some out and popping them into her mouth.

Maya looks up, disconnecting her lips for a moment, to see what Carina is doing.

Carina holds up a Skittle. Maya opens her mouth, and holds out her tongue. Carina drops the candy on her tongue with a happy little smile. Maya chews the red Skittle and holds her tongue out again.

“Your tongue is red.” Carina giggles. She finds another red Skittle and puts it on Maya extended tongue.

Maya chews it again and smirks. She leans down and kisses at the underside of Carina’s jaw.

“Have I told you about self-care Wednesday’s.” Maya is thinking about how this is the longest she’s gone without having sex since, she thinks, the stretch right before the Olympics.

“No.” Carina pops some more Skittles into her mouth, chewing them and waiting for this story.

“I have-“ Maya shakes her head. “Had. I had this thing I called self-care Wednesday’s. Basically, I would go out on Wednesday night. Find somebody to hook up with. So, basically having regular sex.”

Carina nods, understanding the premise. “Is that how we met?”

Maya shakes her head. “No. It wasn’t a Wednesday. And I wasn’t looking for sex that day.”

Carina hums. She doesn’t remember what day of the week it was that they met but she’ll never forget that night.

“So, every week or two. At least monthly. So, five weeks without is a long time for me.” Maya says vaguely but hopefully not vaguely enough that Carina doesn’t understand what she’s saying.

“You didn’t do anything in that time?” Carina strokes her hand up and down the inside of Maya’s thigh, teasing. “Touch yourself?” She watches her hand make its slow movements.

Maya swallows and shakes her head. “Did you?”

Carina smirks and looks up to find Maya’s eyes. “Maybe.”

Maya moans at the thought.

“I’ve had long stretches of time, in the past, you have to do something to scratch that itch.” Carina tells her.

“I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel like it. I felt-“

“I know.” Carina won’t make Maya say it.

“How long?”

Carina hums. “I think the longest stretch was like six months.”

“Why?”

“I was back in Italy trying to take care of my dad. I was exhausted most days. I didn’t feel any need. I didn’t want to go out and find a useless hookup either.” Carina thinks back to that time. It was probably one of the most difficult stretches in her life. “So, when I was feeling up for it, which wasn’t often, I took things into my own hands. Literally. It’s perfectly normal.” She’s never told anyone this before. Why would she.

Maya hums. She wonders more about what Carina was doing in Italy and what that period of time was than what Carina did or didn’t do to get a little sexual release.

Carina holds out the bag of Skittles. Maya holds out her hand this time instead of opening her mouth. Carina pours a few into her hand. Maya pops a few into her mouth, sucking on them. The other three she has in her hand she puts on Carina’s belly.

Carina laughs, jiggling the candies. “What are you doing?”

“Hold still.” Maya tells her before pressing her lips to Carina’s throat and then slowly moving them south. She works her lips over the skin of Carina’s collarbone, sinking further into the valley between her breasts, over the faint line that goes down the middle of Carina’s torso that differentiates Carina’s stomach muscles, before finding the Skittles and sucking them up into her mouth. She chews the candies before slipping down the bed so that she can lay between Carina’s legs.

Carina grips the bag of Skittles in one hand and the bed sheets in the other. Maya’s lips driving her absolutely mad, but she absolutely loves it. “Maya.” She moans.

“Patience, my love.” Maya mumbles against the skin of the inside of Carina’s left knees. Her lip work there way up the inside of her legs, kissing and licking at the skin. She kisses her hip bone before sinking down again to Carina’s right leg and working her way upwards in the same manner.

Carina doesn’t remember anything after Maya’s lips come into contact with her most sensitive parts.


Maya wakes up in the morning feeling not as rested as the night before and maybe slightly sore.

She shifts and her senses come back to her. The feel of the arm draped over her stomach, the lingering smell of arousal in the air, the taste of her on Maya’s lips, the sound of the rhythmic breathing of the woman slumbering next to her.

Maya opens her eyes and looks over at her. She’s shocked to see a pair of rich brown eyes glancing back at her. She didn’t know Carina was awake. Maya looks up at the ceiling for a moment.

“How’d you sleep?”

The words bring her back. She rolls onto her side to face Carina, mimic her body position. Maya licks her lips. “Well, someone kept me up late but once I went to sleep it was great.”

“That’s good.”

“Yeah, this bed is amazing. I think it’s done wonders the last few nights.” Maya bites her lip, suppressing her smile.

“The bed, huh?” Carina raises an eyebrow. She knows Maya is teasing.

“Or maybe it’s the amazing woman in the bed with me.” Maya can’t contain the smile that spreads across her face anymore.

“There it is.” Carina sighs happily. She’s been trying to find that big, full, joyous smile that Maya has for the last couple of weeks. At first, she knew she wouldn’t see it. Things were just too difficult. Maya was in such a dark place. But as the days passed and the worst seemed to be in the rearview mirror Carina vowed she would do anything to see that perfect smile again.

“What?” Maya’s smile flatters.

Carina moves her arm from Maya’s waist, reaching up and stroking her thumb across Maya’s lips. “This smile.”

It returns to Maya’s lips.

“This happy, full of joy, blissful smile that you have when you are content and satisfied. Happy.” Carina shrugs a little. “I’ve missed it.” She moves forward to kiss that smile, her thumb on Maya’s chin. Just a brief kiss to Maya’s lips before she’s retreating. She moves her head back to her own pillow. Her thumb stays at Maya’s chin, running along her jaw, before she lays her hand over Maya’s ear.

Maya would blush or give Carina a bashful smile, but that full happy smile remains in place. She’s happy. Truly happy. There’s a ton of work to do but Maya can see the future now, again. That’s not something she’s allowed herself to think about much. A future with Carina. She tried to ruin it and nearly succeeded but knows that’s what she wants. Wants. And it seems possible again.

Instead of saying all of that. “You’re smile is the best smile though.”

“Thank you, bambina.” Carina giggles.

“Did you sleep well?”

“I did.” She moves her hand from Maya’s head to her shoulder and runs it down her arm until she finds her hand, tangling their fingers together, and lifting their hands so they rest between their faces. Carina presses her lips to Maya’s knuckles. “So good.” She doesn’t elaborate further though.

Maya stretches her limbs a little and feels a little pull in her back. She groans. “I think I might be too old for sex.”

Carina chuckles. “No one is too old for sex.”

“Then why is my back sore?”

“Out of training.”

Maya hums. The saying is ‘out of practice’ but Maya doesn’t bother with a correction. She wonders if Carina ever gets annoyed with people correcting her when she mixes up her words. Maya thinks it’s the cutest, most adorable thing in the world when Carina does, and most of the time she understands what the Italian means, so it’s not a big deal to her; but she wonders if it bothers Carina.

“I guess so.”

“I’ll get you back in sex shape, Captain Bishop.”

Maya moans. She loves it when Carina calls her captain.

“Roll over.” Carina pats at Maya’s arm.

Maya complies, rolling onto her stomach. Carina throws the sheet off of them and sits up. She swings around and sits on the backs off Maya thighs, her hands coming down to Maya’s back. Maya moans at the touch. Carina rubs and needs at the tight lower back muscles.

“You have magic hands.” Maya moans about her massage. Carina smirks but doesn’t say anything. “Oh, right there. That’s the sore spot.” Carina rubs her thumbs to the spot and gets a deep throaty moan from the blonde.

Carina rubs some more but then her hands start to wander. She can’t help herself. Between where she sits and where her hands are on Maya’s back, Maya’s ass on is full display. Her hands move down, caressing Maya’s ass.

“Carina.” It’s a half warn, half moan.

Carina smirks and gives each cheek a squeeze before running her hands up the length of Maya’s back, all the way to her shoulder, bending forward in the process, and laying on top of Maya. It’s her turn to moan at the feel of her body presses against Maya’s. Carina unfolds her legs and lays more next to Maya then on top of her.

They lay there and Carina tries to play with Maya’s hair. It’s something that Maya has seemed to enjoy in the past when they lay in bed together. But Maya pulls her head away. “No.”

Carina furrows her brow. “No, what? I thought you I like it. Do you not like it?” Carina thinks it has something to do with the length of Maya’s hair now. She remembers Maya didn’t want her to touch it last night either.

“It’s fine. I just-“ Maya sighs and rolls onto her back, forcing Carina to roll onto her side to give Maya room, folding her arms over her chest. She still feels like her father has a hold of her even though she cut her hair. Not like a physical hold, but that too, like he will always have a controlling grip over her life, no matter what she does to try to change that.

“I told you about Pac-North.” She mumbles.

“Si, about the bombs and explosions and how your team saved the research. You were very proud of that day. And I’m proud of you.” Carina rubs her hand up and down Maya’s arm.

Maya huffs. “He pulled my hair.”

Carina scrunches up her face. “Who? When?”

“At the scene.”

“Pac-North?”

Maya nods. “He pulled my hair, so I cut it off.”

Carina knows there are lots of missing pieces here, so she’s not connecting the dots; but she sees why Maya doesn’t want her to touch her hair now. “I won’t touch your hair ever again if you don’t want.”

Maya snaps her head over to look at Carina. She doesn’t want that. She doesn’t want Carina to have to restrict herself. She opens and closes her mouth to say something, but no words come out.

“Who?” Carina asks again. She runs her finger across Maya’s brow trying to even out the worry lines. “Jack? One of the guys?”

“No.” Carina’s gentle touch soothes her agitated mood. “My father.”

Carina tilts her head to the side. “He was at the scene?” Maya nods. “Why?”

Maya rolls her eyes. “He came to blame me for the things my mom was saying.” Carina frowns. “He accused me of playing captain while my family was falling apart. He literally said that to make me feel guilty about it. I had a job to do though so turned my back to him to get back to work. That’s when he reached out, grabbing my ponytail from under my helmet, and pulled it to keep me from walking away from him.”

Carina sighs. “I’m sorry, bambina.”

“So, I went back to the station and cut my hair off. And now there’s all these feeling associated with my hair. And his face that I can’t get out of my head when I think about it.” Maya explains.

Carina scoots over and rests her hand on Maya’s chest, over her heart. She lays her head on Maya’s shoulder.

Maya wraps her arm around Carina’s back, holding her to her chest. “So, that’s why. It’s not that I don’t want you to, it’s just that you can’t right now cuz then I think about it.”

“Okay.”

They lay there in comfortable quiet for long minutes both thinking about what Maya just said.

“So, what’s on the agenda for today, Captain?” Carina knows that Maya has an itinerary planned out for almost every hour of their little trip. Even if it’s just in her head.

“We go home.” Maya corrects herself. “Back to Seattle.”

“What time?”

Maya looks over at the clock. “We probably have to leave here in an hour or hour and a half to make getting to the ferry reasonable. Why?”

Carina hums, hand on Maya’s shoulder, chin on top of her hand. “I want to call my brother. I haven’t talked to him since we’ve been here. I don’t want him thinking I’ve forgotten about him or something.”

“How is he?”

“Good. He started back at work this week. Half days.” Carina rolls over and pulls her phone from the nightstand before rolling back towards Maya.

But Maya is pushing herself up to get out of bed. “I’ll give you some space then.” She sits up on the edge of the bed.

Carina reaches out and puts a hand on Maya’s shoulder. “No.” Maya looks over her shoulder, back at Carina. “Stay here.” She wants Maya to be here for this. She wants Maya to get to know Andrea. It’s not that she’s been keeping them apart, but Carina didn’t want to introduce Maya to her brother when he was in his manic state. That might be wrong on her part, but she didn’t want him to make a bad first impression.

Maya has a tight-lipped smile on her lips. “But I don’t know him. He’s not my brother.” She feels like the call between brother and sister is personal, should be between only them. Carina hasn’t wanted her to be around when she’s been talking to or dealing with her brother before. Why should now be different?

“Let’s change that.” Carina gives Maya a hopeful smile, asking her without words to stay for the call.

“Yeah?” Maya needs to make sure it’s really what Carina wants. She knows Andrew is the only family Carina has in the Pacific Northwest. She knows he means a lot to Carina. She knows they have a complicated relationship, but that they love each other. Maya feels like it’s a big deal that Carina might want her to get to know her brother.

“Yeah.”

Maya sighs and gets back into back. She rests her head on the pillow again and lays next to Carina, a little nervous all of a sudden. Carina unlocks the phone, pulls up Andrew’s contact info and hits call. As the phone rings she sets it down on Maya’s chest and puts it on speaker. Maya looks at her with confused eyes. Carina raises a finger to her lips to tell Maya to be quiet.

“Carina, why are you calling me at such an early hour on a Sunday morning? Is something wrong? Is it papa?” Andrew answers.

Carina giggles. “No, fratellino.”

They hear Andrew sigh. “Then why have you woken me up?” He yawns now that the alarm is gone. “You know how important sleep is to me now.”

“You can go back to sleep after we are done with you.” Carina tells him.

Andrew is smart, he doesn’t miss anything. “We?”

Carina hums. “Si.” She grins up at Maya. “I have something I have to tell you.”

“I thought you said nothing is wrong.”

“It’s not.” The opposite is true. “I have a significant other.”

Maya wrinkles up her nose at the term. Carina shakes her head for Maya to not question it. She wants to mess with her brother a little.

“Dio mio. Not this again. Which one of my colleagues are you sleeping with this time? Is it Helm? She has a thing for like every hot female doctor at the hospital. Please, don’t tell me it’s her. Or is it someone else, someone worse? Owen, again. I know him and Teddy are a mess but that’s low. I can’t believe you are doing this again.” He rubs his hand over his face.

Maya can’t keep the amused smile from her face.

“No, Andrea. They’re my colleagues too. And it’s not someone from the hospital.”

He doesn’t mean for his relieved sigh to be so audible but both Maya and Carina hear it.

“Don’t be such a wierdo.” Carina scolds him.

“This is what you had to call me about on a Sunday morning?”

Carina gets serious. “Yes, because I care about you and even though you have a funny way of showing it, you care about me too. And don’t try to deny it. And I want you to get to know this person. They really mean a lot to me.” Carina finds Maya’s eyes and smiles for her.

Andrew groans.

Maya can’t suppress her chuckle anymore.

“Oh, you’re with them right now.” Andrew connects all the dots in his head. Early in the morning, meaning they spent the night together.

“That’s what ‘we’ implies. Si.” Carina grins up at Maya. “Say hi, Maya.”

“Ciao, Andrea.” Maya teases.

“Oh my god.” Andrew groans. “Only Carina can call me that. I’m not sure who you are, but that’s not going to fly.”

Carina and Maya laugh. “Can we video chat?” Carina asks him.

“Fine.” He gives in to his sister and her weird antics. He is curious about this mysterious ‘significant other’ that his sister has. He knows it’s probably something that’s been going on for a while but that he just missed it in his manic state. He hangs up the phone and waits for the Facetime call to come through.

Carina sits up and scoots forward. “Sit behind me.”

Maya rearranges herself so that she has her back to the headboard, her legs spread so Carina can shuffle into place between them.

“You know we don’t have any clothes on.” Maya reminds her.

“I know.” Carina smirks. “Andrea is going to flip is cap.”

Maya wraps her arms around Carina’s waist and pulls her tight to her body. “Lid. Flip his lid.”

“Si.” Carina lifts the sheet and tucks it up under her armpits, holding it in place over her chest. She video calls him.

Maya runs a hand through her hair when she sees their image in the phone. “We look like we had crazy sex all night.” She tries to fix her hair to look presentable. It’s not exactly how she imagined meeting Carina’s brother.

“Well, we did.” Carina smirks and holds the phone closer to her face so it’s just her in the screen that Andrew can see when he picks up.

“Hello.”

“Ciao, Andrea.” Carina grins at her brother.

He rolls his eyes. “Ciao. So, where’s this Maya?” Andrew gets to the point.

Carina grins. “Right here.” She extends her arm out away from her body so that their faces are both in the screen now.

“Hi.” Maya says shyly.

“Andrew meet my girlfriend.” Carina looks back at Maya, a twinkle in her eyes, while she introduces Maya. “Captain Maya Bishop.”

“I know you.” Andrew gasps. He points a finger at the phone.

“You and Herrera helped me find that kid that I lost.”

“So, you admit now that you lost it.” Carina can’t believe him.

They both ignore Carina’s comment.

Maya grins. “We did.”

“Oh my god, thanks for that, by the way. I probably would have lost my job if that kid died.”

“It’s my job. Or it was my job. I’m the captain now.” Maya uses her favorite dumb joke.

Andrew grins. “Are you a pirate too?”

“See.” Maya points at the phone. “He gets it.” She squeezes Carina with the arm that remains around her waist.

Carina just smiles at Maya’s enthusiasm. Her arm slouching a little, Andrew’s view of their faces is more like a view of the bottom of their faces and Carina’s shoulders and the top of the sheet.

“Are you in bed?” Andrew asks as things click into place.

“It’s early yet. Si.” She looks back to her brother, trying but failing not to smirk raucously.

“Please don’t tell me you called me without any clothes on.” Andrew grimaces.

“I told you he’d know.” Maya whispers.

Carina just shrug.

“Dio mio, Carina.” Andrew rolls his eyes. He starts off on a string of Italian. Carina comes back at him with her own Italian rant.

Maya observes the pair argue in Italian. She’s never heard this much Italian come out of Carina at once. She wraps her one arm around Carina’s shoulders and leans forward to watch her speak, staring at her profile, her lips.

Andrew’s words slow down. “Penso che la tua ragazza sia un po' stordita.” (I think your girlfriend is in a bit of a daze.)

Carina looks over at Maya. “Stai bene?”

Maya nods, coming out of her trance. “Yeah.”

“Have you been teaching her Italian?” Andrew asks at the lovesick look on both of their faces.

Carina ignores her brother as she looks into Maya’s eyes. “Bene.” She grins and leans in to press her lips to Maya.

“Really?” Andrew throws his hand in the air.

Carina giggles. “I can’t help it.” She lifts her free hand and strokes her thumb on the underside of Maya’s jaw before pinching her chin in her thumb and index finger.

“Where are you, by the way?” Andrew interrupts.

“Victoria.”

“British Columbia?”

“Yes.” She looks back at the phone. Maya rests her chin on Carina’s shoulder and looks at the phone too. “We’re coming back today. We had a little getaway. I just wanted to call and say hi and I wanted to introduce you to Maya.” Maya squeezes her arms around Carina and presses a kiss to her shoulder. “Did you want to get lunch tomorrow?” She asks her brother.

“Sure.” Andrew nods. “What’s your schedule?”

Carina hums. She’s not sure. “I’ll have to check when we get home. But I’ll let you know.”

“Okay, call me or text me later. When you know. So I can get it onto my schedule for tomorrow.” He’s really trying to focus on organization and timing right now with appropriate time for breaks and rest. “Ciao, Carina. And it was nice to meet you, Maya. Even if it was over video chat.” He rolls his eyes. “And while you are naked and-“

Carina hits end on the call before he can continue. She throws the phone down on the bed and looks back at Maya. “So?”

“He’s goofy.”

“That’s one word for him.” Carina mumbles. She runs a hand through her hair, fluffing it up before throwing it all over to the right side of her head. “Prude. Might be another.”

Maya chuckles. “We aren't all as open as you are.”

“It’s cuz he was raised in this country.” Carina leans her head back on Maya’s shoulder. She groans. “I suppose we have to get ready to go now.”

“Unfortunately.” Maya kisses the side of Carina’s head. “But before we do I just want to say that I really enjoyed this weekend and I’m glad that I got to spend time with you. Uninterrupted.”

Carina hums. “It’s been great.” It’s all she says before pushing herself up and out of bed. She hears the sigh that comes from Maya as she walks to the bathroom. Something twists in her chest at the sound.

Maya looks down at the sheets and wonders if she’s doing something wrong or if she needs to be more upfront about what she wants from Carina. She just wants to know more about Carina. Calling Andrew was a start, but there’s definitely something off right now. Maya can feel it.

Chapter Text

They are seated across from each other. Andrew shovels food into his mouth like he hasn’t eaten in days.

“Slow down. We have time. You don’t need to rush and get back to work.”

Andrew looks up and over at his sister. He slows his chewing and nods. He’s still trying to get the hang of being back to work. And working in a way that isn’t so frenzied and chaotic. He finishes his mouthful. “So, this new chick? How long do you think it will last?” He knows his sister goes through partners rather quickly. None ever lasting more than a few months. It’s usually hot and heavy at the beginning but then it fizzles out, or something comes up, or they split on her.

Carina sighs annoyed. “Don’t do that.”

He wrinkles his face up at her. “Do what?”

“She is not some chick. Or a fling or a hook up or whatever you Americans call it.” Carina looks down at her plate. “I just- I don’t-“

“What?” He nods at Carina.

Carina shakes her head, not wanting to say.

Andrew kicks her in the shin.

“Ow.” Carina reaches down and grabs her leg. “What was that for?”

“Why don’t you tell me? You have feelings for her?”

Carina frowns. Feelings? She has more than ‘feelings’ for Maya. “I love her.”

“But?” Andrew can sense a but coming.

“But- I feel like a hypocrite.” Carina slumps in her seat.

“Why?” Andrew thinks it’s a simple question.

“I keep telling Maya it’s good to be open and honest with each other, but I haven’t been heeding my own advice. I make her- well, not make her- but she tells me stuff, like personal, hard stuff, feelings. But then I don’t do the same thing. And I can feel it. I could feel it yesterday. I can feel like Maya wants to ask. Like she wants to ask me to share about my life too. But she doesn’t know how or she’s afraid to because she doesn’t want to take any misstep or do anything that’s wrong, or will make me mad at her, or not trust her, or something.” Carina worries her hands together in her lap.

“I feel I’m missing something.” Andrew points his fork at his sister. “Maybe something that you haven’t shared with me.” He raises an eyebrow.

Carina shakes her head. “I’m doing it with you too.” She admits.

“How long have you two been together?”

“Like in total or since-“ Carina gets quiet. Andrew just waits. “She cheated on me.”

“And you’re still with her?” He is surprised by this. “The Carina DeLuca who once told me to never take a cheater back.”

Carina nods at her food. “I know.” She lifts her head and looks over at her brother. “And I still stand by that- mostly.”

“It doesn’t sound like it.” He grumbles gruffly.

She sighs and shakes her head. “Maya is different. I can feel it. I love her.”

“Is love enough though? Is it worth it? What if she does it again?” Andrew hits her with the hard questions.

“I think that’s what I’m afraid of. I think that’s why I haven’t opened up emotionally. I love her. I do. There’s no doubt about that, but I’m holding back. I can feel it. Not giving into the real emotions. Not letting my true feelings come to the surface because I’m afraid that I’ll get hurt again. Emotionally, at least. By Maya and even my past relationships. I’m emotionally scarred. And Maya talks about her dad and what he did, and I think it put into perspective the relationship I have with papa and how much that’s messed me up. Somehow, I can tell everyone what to do about their emotions and problems and guide them and help them, but I can’t do the same for myself. Does that makes sense?”

“Perfetto.” Andrew smirks. “Perfect sense.”

“So, I’m a hypocrite?”

“Looks like it.” Andrew starts on his lunch again. “You know what you need to do, I feel. You just need to do it. I don’t know Maya, but she deserves that. If you expect her to be honest with you; then you need to be honest with her. Even if it’s scary. Even if you get hurt in the end. If you love her like you claim you do, then you have to tell her what you’re feeling. It’s only fair. Otherwise, she’s going to resent you at some point. And I doubt you want that.”

Carina shakes her head. “I just feel like- I don’t know.”

“Look, I’ve done a lot of therapy lately. And maybe the crazy guy isn’t the best person you should be getting advice from; but you need to talk to her. You care about the important people in your life. I know that. But you need to care about yourself too. It’s not always about everyone else. Your feelings matter. You don’t need to keep being reserved about them and keep them bottled up to deal with at a later date. Eventually, you run out of later dates.”

Carina hums. “Thanks.”

Andrew nods. “Now tell me all about her. What makes her so great?”

There’s a dreamy look in Carina’s eyes as she thinks about Maya. “What makes her so great?” She repeats the question. “She’s funny and quick witted. She’s brave. So brave. With her job and with coming to term with her own demons. So, she’s brave. She can be super cute and adorable. She’s sexy as hell. Dio mio. She can hold a conversation. Even if she isn’t familiar with the topic. I don’t know how many times I’ve told her about work stuff. And she might not understand all the terms and procedures and stuff, but she sits there and listens and asks inquisitive questions. She’s always thinking ahead.” Carina hums. “Maybe that’s not the greatest thing. But the way her brain works- she’s always got a plan for everything. I think that comes from her job. She’s always prepared for like any situation that might arise.”

“That’s all pretty good.” Andrew comments.

“I’m not done. She cares. She cares about people. She’ll say it’s because she’s a firefighter but it’s not. It’s who she is. If you’re in her circle, she’ll fight tooth and nail for you.” Carina sighs. “I told her about you. And your illness.”

“Carina.” He chides.

“I was in a bad place. And Maya made me feel like I could open up with her. She made me feel comfortable and taken care of. I’ve never had that. She listened and she cared. She wanted to do anything she could to help you. That didn’t end up happening- for reasons, but she wanted to be there. She cares. About me. About you. About her best friends. About her crew. About everyone she knows. I just- I don’t know what to say to her. I don’t know how to start a difficult conversation about myself. I can do it for other people. Why am I so against my own thoughts and feelings?”

“Papa.” Andrew shrugs. He’s learned some hard things about himself in recent weeks in relation to his father and the relationship that they have.

Carina sighs. “Maya thinks I’m the most wonderful thing on the planet. But I don’t feel like that. I feel like I’m just like anybody else. There’s nothing that makes me special.”

“But she thinks you’re special.” Andrew raises an amused eyebrow. “That probably means that you are- to her. That’s a good thing.” He reaches across the table and covers his sister’s hand with his own. “Talk to her. Tell her your life story. Tell her about papa. Tell her about mamma. It sounds like she wants to know. I can tell you love her. Like really love her. So, make her happy, tell her what she wants to know. Open up that big heart of yours and let her all the way in. I know it’s scary and I know it’ll hurt like hell if it doesn’t work out; but there’s no reward without the risk.” He shrugs like her just read off last night’s baseball scores and not like he just gave his sister the advice he knows she needs.

Carina nods, knowing her brother is right. “When did you get so smart?”

“I’ve always been smart.” He smirks and Carina chuckles.

Carina needed this. She needed someone to talk to about Maya. She needed a sounding board. She needed advice. She wonders subconsciously if that’s why she asked Andrea to have lunch with her today.


“Did you know Andy and Sullivan were married?” Maya isn’t sure what Carina knows or doesn’t know. So much happened in such a short period of time and then she blew up their relationship and they didn’t talk about anything that happened in their personal lives for weeks. It feels like every day recently they are playing a game of catch up; bringing up things that have happened that the other might not have heard or known about. “Or that her mother is still alive? Or that she and Sullivan are separated?”

“I knew about the first thing.” Carina points at Maya.

Maya raises an eyebrow. “That they’re married?”

Carina nods. “He announced it at the spaghetti dinner.”

Maya hums.

“When you were in your office.” Carina fills in.

Maya doesn’t need the reminder.

Maya hums again. She decides to change the subject. She has other things she wants to talk to Carina about. Last night, when they got in from work, they fell into bed right away. There wasn’t a lot of talking.

The pandemic has hit hard in Italy. “There’s something I want to ask you.” Maya is going to ask about this. She feels like she needs to.

Maya lays there next to Carina in bed. It’s been on her mind a lot the last few days. It’s been the only thing in the news. And Maya knows that Carina already has a lot going on and she doesn’t want to put anymore burden on her, but she is curious about Carina’s homeland.

“It’s about Italy.”

Carina sighs, knowingly.

“What do you think?” Maya finds her hand and intertwines their fingers. “As a doctor and as an Italian?”

“It’s scary. What’s happening. And this virus is new, so we don’t know much about it or how to treat it or stop it from spreading. In a lot of parts of Italy people literally live on top of each other. Whole families in little apartments like yours. Multiple generations in one apartment even. Whole buildings of people like that. That’s not a good situation for trying to contain the spread of a contagious virus. So, it’s scary.” Carina looks down at her hand in Maya’s. She flexes her hand, squeezing Maya’s hand.

“I’m sorry.” Maya sees the sad look on Carina’s face and regrets bringing up the topic.

Carina gives Maya a tight-lipped smile before rolling over into Maya’s side and pressing her face into her neck. Maya wraps an arm around the Italian. “Tell me about it. Italy. Your favorite things, places, people.”

There are lips pressed against Maya’s neck before the words begin. Carina whispers softly in Maya’s ear. “My favorite place is the beach near where I grew up. My favorite thing is the food. There’s nothing better than authentic Italian food.”

“I think I know that.” Maya presses a kiss to the top of Carina’s head. She loves everything Italian that Carina has cooked for her in their time together.

“La mia famiglia.”

“Your family?”

“Si.” Carina starts twirling her fingers in Maya’s short hair, absentmindedly, as she thinks about all the things in Italy. “My aunties and uncles. All the cousins. We have a big Italian family. My parents were disappointments in only having two children.” Carina chuckles.

Maya notices the hair twirling but tries not to focus on it. “That sounds- loud.” She tries to focus on what Carina is telling her, on what she needs.

Carina laughs lightly.

“It is. All of us together. It is.”

“Do you miss it?”

Carina sighs. “Sometimes. But not all the time. Andrew is here and I’ve been in Seattle for most of the last three years. Part of me will always miss it. But my mamma isn’t here anymore and my papa is- well- he’s got his own problems. He lives in his own little world. I doubt he ever really thinks about me or cares what I’m doing.”

“Hey.” Maya tries to look at Carina. “I doubt that.”

“No.” Carina sits up a little and looks down at Maya. “He told me once. You chose a specialty that women have been doing since the dawn of time. He thinks me delivering babies is a waste of time.”

“It’s not.” Maya says softly.

Carina smiles and leans down for a soft kiss. “Thank you, bella.” This is her opportunity to open up. She knows it. “I told you he has Bipolar I. That he goes into these crazy manic episodes. He doesn’t care about anyone else. I handled those situations for years. Me. Why? I don’t know. Why did I think it was my responsibility to do something about? Why did I have to take care of him? Why was it up to me? Why did I stay there and let him yell at me and degrade me? Why didn’t I get help from somebody else? Why did I just let it continue?”

“If he didn’t want help then there wasn’t anything you could really do.” Maya says. She’s happy that Carina is telling her about this. She wanted to ask but she just didn’t know how. And after everything that’s happened the last thing she wanted to do was upset Carina again.

“No, you’re right. There was nothing I could do.” Carina sits up and throws her hands in the air. “There was nothing I could do.” She raises her voice. “And I still stayed. I stayed. For years. I could have moved to anywhere. I could have come here to where Andrea was. I could have gone anywhere and done anything. But I didn’t. I stayed. How stupida is that?”

Maya reaches out. “It’s not.” She knows why Carina did it. It’s the same reason she kept having her dad train her. To try get their acceptance and love, to please them.

Carina runs her hands over her face in frustration. “And then he was sick, and I left here. I was here. In Seattle. And I left. I left the job I had, the research I was doing. I dropped everything and run to him. For what? So, he could yell at me and berate me and tell me that my specialty was a joke. Why? Why do I feel the need to run to him every time there’s a problem? Or every time he asks me to.” Carina waves a finger in the air. “Non piu.”

“How is it that we both have messed up fathers? We’re just a couple of girls with daddy issues.” Maya tries to joke.

Carina pauses, her stream of thoughts interrupted, and makes a disgusted face. “That sounds so wrong. I have to get out of this bed.” She shakes her head and moves to get up.

Maya reaches out and wraps her hand around Carina’s wrist. “Don’t go.” She whines with a little pout.

Carina leans back in. “I’ll be right back.” She pecks Maya’s lips before getting out of bed. She just needs a minute.

She goes to the kitchen and gets a glass of water and downs the entire thing. Carina sets her hands on the counter and hangs her head. She takes a few deep breaths to try to reel her emotions in. But then she remembers what Andrea said.

“Just feel them.” Carina stands tall for a moment before marching back into the bedroom. “He messed me up more than I ever realized. Like I knew. But now, seeing you deal with your father.” Carina waves her hands in front of herself. “Not that I’m comparing or like it’s a competition or anything. I just- seeing that has made me realize how much emotional damage I actually have. I knew it was there. I have this problem. Problem?” Carina tilts her head to the side thinking that’s probably not the right word. “This thing where I just push it to the back of my mind and then I find someone else with problems and focus on their problems and not my own.” She slaps her hand against her chest as she stands at the end of the bed.

“I went back to Italia when he was really bad. I stayed with him for three months. It was the same old bullshit. I did that.” She hits her chest again. “For what?” And again.

Maya gets up onto her knees and crawls to the end of the bed.

“And then he convinced me to bring him back here. To Seattle. He wanted to work with Andrea. He had this crazy idea about a baby in a bag. That’s insane, Maya. Do you know how insane that is? And he wanted to work with Andrea on a gestational sack. Him. That’s my specialty, but no, he wanted to work with Andrea. Not me? He told me I didn’t know English very well and that I could hardly speak the language and that he had no need for me. He told me I couldn’t help. Not that I really wanted to. I just wanted to make sure no one got hurt. That his crazy idea never got off the ground.” She goes to slap her hand against her chest again, but Maya grabs her hand before she can.

“Hey.” Maya puts her face right up in Carina’s face.

Carina narrows her eyes at Maya, suddenly realizing what’s happening. Or that she just went on a long rant about her father. She just blinks at Maya for a few seconds.

“You’re a brilliant doctor.” Maya tells her. “No matter what your dad says or thinks. His opinion doesn’t matter if he’s going to say that your specialty isn’t something that should be a specialty. That’s just his whack theory. But I get it. I get the feeling.”

Carina deflates, all the aggression leaving her body. “He just pulls me back in every time.”

Maya nods, knowing. It’s a hard cycle to break.

“It’s like I can’t resist. I have this need to help people. I don’t know why. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I do it, over and over, and over again.”

Maya smiles. “That’s one of the things I love about you. Though it’s somewhat aggressive sometimes, you have this need to help, you want everyone to be good. What did you tell me that was? In Italian?”

Carina smiles, proud that Maya remembers. “Ti voglio bene.”

“I love you or I want you well.” Maya translates.

“Si.”

Maya lifts Carina’s hand to her lips. She presses a kiss to the palm. “Your dad sounds like a jerk.” Maya smirks and looks up through her lashes at Carina. Carina rolls her eyes but smiles. “And if you don’t want to run to him whenever he calls or needs help, that’s fine. That’s probably healthy. And if he’s not willing to get help for his mental illness then what can you do.”

“I’m a doctor.” Carina tries to defend. Here she goes again. “I can help if-“

Maya raises an eyebrow. “But not one that deals with mental illness.”

Carina shakes her head and sighs. “You’re right.”

“You bet your sweet ass I am.” Maya smirks.

Carina chuckles a little at that.

“How do you feel now?”

Carina shakes her head. She can’t believe she’s been holding all this in for so long. Just in general. But also keeping it from Maya. “It feels good to tell someone.”

“And?” Maya prompts.

“And I’m glad that I did. And thank you for listening. And thank you for understanding.”

“You and me. We’re not that different.” Maya rubs her hands over the hand of Carina’s that she holds. “Sure, there’s lots of differences but we have a lot in common too. Who would have thought?”

Carina hums. “Not me.” If she’s being honest, Carina thought she and Maya didn’t have that much in common, but the more they learn about each other she sees the similarities. In their backgrounds with their fathers, their need for acceptance and love from them, the way they handle emotions by keeping them locked up inside.

Maya moves forward, she leans in and presses a kiss to the now red blotchy spot on Carina’s chest. Maya might beat herself up over things mentally, but she just witnessed Carina literally beating herself up about how she’s dealt with her father. “Please don’t do that again.”

Carina looks down at her chest. “Sorry.” She mumbles.

Maya shakes her head. “No. Don’t say sorry. Promise you won’t do it again.” She knows that’s not a good coping mechanism.

“I won’t do it again.” Carina sighs. She just got so worked up and wasn’t really thinking.

“Now.” Maya shifts her hands to Carina’s hips. “Will you come back to bed?”

Carina rolls her eyes playfully.

“Well, you’re just standing here in your panties.” As if that’s something that is going to convince Carina.

“What if I said no.” Carina smirks.

Maya hums, thinking of a good retort. “Then I would be disappointed, but I would have to accept that. But only if you had a good reason for not coming back to bed. This is our only day off together for the next four days.” Maya pouts. When that isn’t enough to convince Carina, she changes tactics. “I want to hear more about Italy. I want to hear about where you grew up. I want to know what kind of trouble little Carina got up to. I want to know about her mamma.”

That’s what gets Carina. Her mamma. “Maya.” She sighs the name. “She was-“ Carina has to take a deep breath, getting teary-eyed thinking about her mother. “I wish- I wish she could have met you. I think she would have loved you as much as I do.”

“As much as?” Maya smiles.

Carina rolls her head back and forth. “Okay, maybe not as much as. Cuz that would be weird. But I think she would have loved the feisty little blonde firefighter that she got to know.” She sniffles. “She would question whether you have any Italian blood in you. She would feed you until you were stuffed full and then she would try to feed you some more. She would question your intentions and she would threaten you if you ever break my heart that she will break your kneecaps.” Tears are silently streaming down Carina’s cheeks.

Maya rubs them away with her thumbs. “She sounds amazing.” She grins.

Carina nods.

“Come on.” Maya tugs on Carina’s elbow, getting her to lay down again. “Tell me more, please.” Maya covers them with the sheet.

“She was quiet and reserved. Well, as quiet and reserved as an Italian of her generation can be, I suppose. I think I get that from her. I don’t like tons of commotion and yelling. Maybe that has something to do with my papa yelling all the time too. But she kept to herself. She never complained. She did what she needed to, when she needed to, for her family. I loved her very much but when she and Andrea moved, I lost something. We weren’t super close but there was a silent understanding between us, I think. It wasn’t something we ever talked about, but both knew was there.” Carina’s thoughts drift off. She sort of just stares at Maya.

Maya runs her hand up and down Carina's arm as they lay facing each other.

“She was gentle and kind, caring. Smart too. Not a doctor but a teacher. She taught grade 3. She loved kids. She and Andrea moved to Wisconsin, and she went to night school to learn English. She got a job in a school teaching Italian. Which I’m told isn’t a language in high demand in Wisconsin. Or most states for that matter.”

“It’s mostly Spanish that kids learn in this country. Or French.” Maya adds her two cents.

Carina nods. “So, she was lucky to get that job. They lived well. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. To leave her husband, her family, the only country she’s ever known, to go to another country where no one speaks the language. She was very brave.”

“Why Wisconsin?” Maya asks. It seems like an odd place to immigrate to. Not that Maya knows much about Wisconsin other than that they are known for cheese.

Carina chuckles. “They have one of the best hospitals in the country in Madison. Even my mother- I think she knew someone that worked there. A friend of hers from when she went to university in Italy. They moved to Madison and worked at the hospital. That’s why she and Andrea moved there; I think.”

“Makes sense. If you only know one person in another country-“

“Move to where they are.” Carina finishes. She sighs. “That’s why I came to Seattle. Cuz Andrea was here.”

“And I’m glad you did.” Maya presses her lips to Carina’s forehead.

“Me too.”

“I’d visit them over winter break. It was always so cold and snowy. I couldn’t understand why they wanted to live there. Mamma would tell me that it was amazing to experience all four seasons. That’s not something we get in the South of Italy. But I didn’t like it. I could live my entire life without seeing snow and I would be fine with that.”

Maya chuckles. “You’re silly.”

“And Andrea would come to Italy in the summers. Mamma would come bring him and stay for like a week to visit her family but would go back to the states. She never stayed very long. But then when Andrea was old enough and in college she moved back to Italy. I saw her more often. She lived in a different city from where we lived when I was a kid. From where my papa lived. And from where I had gone to school and was working. But I got to see her more often.” Carina takes a deep breath. The next part is hard.

“And then she got sick. Or, I have a sneaky suspicion that she knew she was sick when she moved back to Italy.”

Maya hums sadly.

“She wanted to be home when she went.” Carina starts crying again. She rubs at her blurry eyes. “I think that was a comfort to her. Knowing she was home. That they wouldn’t- wouldn’t have to-“

“It’s okay.” Maya runs a hand over Carina’s head.

“Ship her body back.” Carina sobs, rattling her body.

“What do you need?” Maya asks softly.

Carina wraps her arms around Maya, throwing her leg over Maya’s, pushing Maya onto her back, holding onto her in a bear hug, laying on top of her. “I miss her.” She whispers into Maya’s neck. “I wish she could see me and Andrea now. They split us up but we’re back together. Me e fratellino mio.”

“I’m sure she can. And I’m sure she’s proud of you both.” Maya whispers and it causes the tears to flow harder. She holds onto Carina, rubbing her back gently and just holding tight.

The tears subside after a few minutes, but they remain locked together like that with Maya gently rubbing her hands up and down Carina’s back or over her arms, just holding onto her securely, not letting go.

Carina lifts her head from Maya’s shoulder and finds her eyes. “I’m sorry.”

“For what, babe?” Maya doesn’t see any problems with what is happening here.

“For not telling you. For keeping it to myself. For making you tell me things when I wouldn’t do the same. I was just scared.”

“Of what?” Maya wonders. Carina is the most selfless, proud, confident person she knows. What can she be afraid of?

“That you’ll hurt me.”

“I would never hurt you.”

“Not physically.” Carina whispers.

Maya hums. It clicks. “Oh.”

“You already have. Emotionally. And I’m scared that it’s going to happen again. That’s why, I think, I’ve been holding back. I have been hurt before. Not just by you. I feel like if I get too close, open up too much that it’s going to happen again.”

Maya nods. It’s hard to hear but she knows she needs to hear it and she knows Carina needs to say it. “I just want to get to know you. Where you come from. What makes you who you are. I want to know everything about you. I want to love every part of you. Even the not so nice parts. I want to grow and develop together. I want to-“ Maya takes a deep breath. “I want to share this life with you. I want you in it. I want you to be the most important part. And yes, before you say anything, that means more important than my job. Carina, I have all these wants now. I never allowed myself to want anything before. But now-“ She sighs. “I have this amazing woman and this amazing job and I think I could have an amazing life and not just be going from one task to the next. Focusing on the next thing. Carina, I love you. I don’t want to ever hurt you. Not intentionally, at least. Emotionally, physically, or in any other way. I need you to know that. I also need you to know that I know it’s hard. To open up. Look at me. You can do that too. I know it’s scary.”

“It is.” Carina runs her fingernails up and down Maya’s arm. She doesn’t know if she’s doing it to soothe herself or Maya.

“It’s hard to be vulnerable.”

“Yeah.”

“I want you to be comfortable enough with me to be vulnerable.” Maya says. “Is there something I can do that will help?”

Carina sighs. She knew Maya was wonderful and caring and always willing to offer help but right now, gosh, she’s the most wonderful person in the whole entire world. “This helps. This conversation. You holding me. You telling me it’s going to be okay.”

Maya nods. “Anything else.”

“Continue asking me about my past, my background if I don’t- if I’m not open enough about it. Or if you feel like I’m holding something back. Because I probably am.”

“Okay.”

“I want this to work, Maya.”

“So do I.” Maya kisses the side of her head. “So do I.”

Chapter Text

They spend the night out with Maya’s crew after their shift. They go to the bar. Go back to Maya’s place and wake up in the morning to find everything in Seattle is shutting down. They are aware of the rise in cases, both being in first responder professions. But to have everything shut down all of a sudden is jarring.

Seattle is hit hard. It’s one of the first place in the US to really be hit hard.

Maya sits in front of the tv with the local news on, in her underwear, completely entranced by the news coverage. She wants to get as much information as she can. She knows she’ll be getting more when she goes into work but she’s trying to glean as much as she can right now.

“Why don’t you come eat something?” Carina suggests.

“In a minute.” Maya waves Carina off.

Carina frowns. She’s seen the cases steadily rising at the hospital. She knew this day was coming. The rules of the game have changed and now they are down, and the opponent has taken the lead. It’s not fair but it necessary.

“Maya?”

“Yeah?”

“We need to talk.”

Maya’s head snaps away from the tv at that. Those are the dreaded words that nobody in a relationship ever wants to hear. “Why?” It’s hard to hide the panic in her voice.

Carina comes over and sits next to her. “It’s not bad, bambina. Well, it is, but not like I’m breaking up with you bad.”

Maya clenches her jaw.

“Things are likely to get bad here. In Seattle. At the hospital. I might be working longer hours. I might be working different shifts. I might be handling Covid patients and not just OB patients.” They’ve already warned all the doctors at the hospital that this virus is going to affect them all. Schedules, rotations, specialties. All of it will likely be flipped on its head. It’s the nature of the business.

“And?” Maya knows there’s more.

“We might not be able to see each other.” Carina tells her. It pains her to say this, but she knows that’s what must happen so that they are safe, and they are keeping everyone else safe. They need to prepare for the possibility.

Maya nods slowly. She’s thought about that already. She just pushed it to the back of her mind deciding that if it happens, she can deal with it then, but until then she wasn’t going to think about it.

“I just want you to know. And I just want to make sure you are okay with it.”

Maya pops up from her seat. “Okay with it?” She runs a hand through her hair. “How can I be okay with it? No, I’m not okay with it.” She paces the room.

“Maya, there are rules and protocols at the hospital already. They are only going to get more restrictive as this thing moves forward. I’m sure the same will happen with the fire station.”

Maya furrows her brow. She wonders for a moment who at the station is in charge of making the protocols and rules and making sure they are followed. Is it her?

She sits down again. “Sorry.” Maya mumbles.

Carina takes Maya’s hand. “We’ll talk every day. I’ll call you whenever I can. Video calls too. Even though they’re not my favorite because I’d much rather see this beautiful face in person.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “You’re just trying to sweet talk me now.” She smirks.

“Maybe. But it’s still true.”

Maya leans in and kisses Carina. “I love you.” She whispers.

Carina hums and kisses Maya. “Ti amo, bambina. Ti amo.” She sighs and rests her forehead against Maya’s for a few seconds, just taking this moment in. “Why don’t you come eat now? Enough of the news for a while. We’ll see plenty of stories and firsthand accounts. This is going to affect your job too.”

Maya is not looking forward to it. “I know.”


“Hey, babe.” Maya answers the phone. Carina doesn’t usually call her during the middle of the day, during the middle of her shift. But it’s been happening more often since Covid.

“Maya.” Carina cries. “I lost another one.”

The sounds of Carina crying is heart wrenching and Maya would give anything to be able to go to her, and comfort her, and hold her, and just be with her, but she can’t. And it frustrates Maya beyond belief. Carina set up the rules and how they can’t see each other because of all the Covid restrictions and protocols but she hates it. Maya absolutely hates it.

She can hears Carina hyperventilating. “Just breath. I know it’s hard to. But just breathe for me baby.” Maya hears the puffs of struggled breath through the phone. “One at a time. In and out.” She coaches her through it. The crying slows down, it’s more like sniffles after a few minutes. Carina hiccups and Maya finds it simply adorable. “Are you better?”

Carina sucks in a deep breath. “Yeah, grazie.”

“Not a problem. That’s what I’m here for. You lean on me, I lean on you.” Maya repeats the words Carina used on her when she was at her lowest point. “If you need me, you call me, anytime, day or night. I’ll be there.” She wants to do more. She wants to go to Carina. She wants to wipe away her tears and kiss her cheeks and hold her in her arms.

She been thinking about breaking the rules for days. She’s thinking about just saying screw it and going to find Carina. The responsible fire captain side of her keeps Maya in check though. Carina who hasn’t lost any patients before Covid and who has now lost multiple patients. Maya knows that Carina cares so much for her patients. How can you not as an OB? You are with them through their entire pregnancy. You develop a relationship and a closeness in some cases. A genuine care. And she knows Carina cares about each and every one of her patients. So, it’s even more devastating when she loses them or their babies.

She wants this Covid mess to just be over so she can see Carina again in person. They were just getting to a really good place again and now they have to be separated because of a virus and rules and restrictions. The whiny, needy part of Maya just wants it all to end.

She sighs because she is needy when it comes to Carina sometimes. It’s disgusting. Maya has never been that person. She takes a deep breath and tries to reel it in. Maya doesn’t need Carina to be okay herself. She’s okay. She can handle work, and Covid, and life, by herself.

Except that she’s still thinking about asking Carina to move in with her. The thought just won’t leave her brain.

“Tell me one good thing that’s happened so far today.” Maya asks.

“I delivered two babies and there were no complications and they or their mothers didn’t have Covid.”

“See, that’s good. Think of the positives.”

“But it’s so sad. They are all alone. Usually, the daddy or partner is there. And sometimes the grandma or an auntie. They have to have baby all alone.” Carina is nearly in tears again.

“But you’re there so they’re not alone. You probably don’t realize it, but they are probably super grateful that you are with them. Not just as a doctor but someone to support and encourage them. I’m sure it means a lot, especially since they can’t have any family there.” Maya encourages.

“Maya.” Carina sighs. She’s going to cry again at Maya’s sweet words.

“You got this, babe. You’re an awesome doctor.” She hates that Carina isn’t her happy, bubbly self because work and Covid are so sad and devastating.

Carina sniffles. “Thank you, Maya. I miss you.”

“I miss you too.” Maya looks around to make sure no one in the station heard her. People have an uncanny way of sneaking into her office without her noticing or without permission. “And I love you. And you are amazing. Just remember that.”

Carina sighs. “I love you too.” She’s just so overwhelmed sometimes by everything that’s going on. It’s good to call Maya, to hear her voice, to hear her encouragement. To remember that she has people to support her. She just needs to let Maya support her. Carina isn’t really good at that. She’s always the one supporting everyone else. A role she thrives in, but when it comes to herself, it’s hard to ask for help or seek out support from anyone. But then here is Maya learning how to support her and noticing and figuring out that Carina need support.


She just can’t take it anymore. It’s the third patient she’s lost. It’s three too many. Carina isn’t used to feeling like this. Feeling the devastation, the despair, like she’s doing something wrong, or that she’s failing at her job.

Carina hurries down the stairs. She can’t wait for the elevator and then if there’s restriction on the number of people in an elevator at one time. She rushes down the first flight, then another and another.

She feels the tightening in her chest; the labored, inconsistent breathing. She needs fresh air, to take her mask off. Is this what Maya feels like when she’s having a panic attack?

The ground floor is busy when she gets out of the stair well. She rushes through the people that are separated by six feet that fill the entire room. She pushes the door open and rips her mask off taking deep breathes of fresh air from the ambulance bay.

Carina doesn’t even see Ben standing there at the back of the ambulance. She paces and starts ranting about how she lost another mother. And the baby. And how they were alone and how after her shift is over, she’s going to be alone.

Carina thought she was fine with being alone. In the past, she was fine with it. She needed her space, she needed her alone time. Just time away from everyone and anyone. It was good. It was healthy. But since Covid, she doesn’t want to be alone. She doesn’t want to be separated from her friends, from her family, from her brother, from anyone. She wants to be able to touch them and hug them and put a hand on their shoulders when they are having a bad day or need comfort. She never realized how much she needed human contact until it was completely taken away from her.

Ben gives her advice. Advice that she desperately needs. “What the hell is the point of finding your person if you don’t get to weather the storms together.”

Carina nods through her tears.

“Go get your girl.” Ben turns back to the ambulance. He hopes his parting words stick with the Italian. He knows it’s difficult. And Maya and Carina quarantining apart is a noble thing to do. But it also might be the dumbest thing he’s heard from them. He knows they have their issues, everybody does. But he also knows that they have a solid base for their relationship and a connection like he’s rarely seen. There’s something there that makes what they have special. He can see it when he sees at the pair together. It’s the silent conversations they have with their eyes. It’s the gentle touch of comfort or just to say I’m here. It’s the smiles that light up their faces, even on the worst of days, when she see each other. That’s rare. And that’s special.

Carina feels guilty, still, that Ben and Miranda are apart, but he just gave her his blessing. What that means for her and Maya, though, Carina isn’t completely sure.

Should she go see her? Maya practically begged her to come down to the station for a little visit. Would they still have to wear masks and stay six feet apart? Would she be able to restrict herself to that? Carina doesn’t think so. She doesn’t think she could ever be in the same room as Maya and not go to her at some point. That just seems cruel.

Should they still not visit each other’s apartments? Should they not share meals together? What should they do?

Carina runs over all the possibilities in her head. She needs to be able to hold Maya and kiss her and see her smile and look into her eyes. There’s only one real possibility.

She thinks it over and over, in the spare minutes she has on her lunch break, before it’s back to work and thinking about that instead.


The next day, Carina takes two rapid Covid tests from the testing area. She makes sure it’s okay to take them though. She doesn’t want the supply to run low or out because she took two for personal use. Jackson tells her it’s fine, so she goes.

The walk to the station is a quick one. Probably because Carina is so anxious to get there and to see Maya and to ask her to move in with her. It’s something she thought about yesterday, and something she’s slept on. Carina has no idea how it’s all going to work out, but they need to be in the same place if they are going to get through Covid and still be together. That’s what she wants. For them to be together. She knows they both have to work, and Carina is working longer hours, so she’s not going to be home a lot of the time, and they won’t be home at the same times most of the time. But that all makes this even more important; that they are in the same place, so when they do get a few hours together they can actually be together and not in separate apartments.

She enters the station. The first door is open, but the second door is locked. It different and she knows it’s because of Covid but it reminds Carina that she hasn’t been to the station in quite some time. Carina knocks and looks inside to the reception desk. She sees Vic sitting at the desk and waves at her.

Vic buzzes her in. She’s about to stand up and greet Carina but remembers Covid protocol, even if Carina is a friendly face and not some random civilian.

“Is Maya-?” She points to the closed office door, the blinds drawn.

Vic nods. “We just-“ She waves off what she was about to say. “She’s on the phone, but go in.”

Carina hides the tests behind her back and slips into the room quietly. Maya has her back to her at first and it gives Carina the opportunity to just take in Maya with her eyes. The captain, in her uniform, on the phone. She hurries over to the other side of the room as Maya spins around and spots her.

At first, Maya can’t believe Carina is standing there. And then she beats Carina to the question. “Move in with me.” And Carina can’t believe it. She stands there, a bit stunned and listens as Maya continues to talk, giving her reasons and explanation.

“-but I’m hoping that me asking you to move in with me is a sign that I’m all the way in.” Maya has never been more sure about something. She’s all the way in with Carina. Everything. All of it. The good and bad. Anything and everything.

“Actually, I came here to ask you the exact same thing.”

The little lip bite and dopey smile that Maya gives her is well worth it. Carina pulls out the tests from behind her back.

“I’ll do yours if you do mine.”

“How do you make even nasal swabbing sound sexy.”

Carina grins, happy that they are on the same page. This has gone better than Carina could have imagined.

Maya puts her mask back on. “So, we’re doing this, huh?”

Carina nods. She holds one of the tests over to Maya. “If our tests come back negative.” She tilts her head back. Maya takes a step forward and as gently as possible sticks the swab up Carina’s nose. She moves it around, making sure she gets a good sample. She collects the sample and takes a step back. Carina puts her mask back on and does Maya’s test.

“It’s extremely difficult to be this close to you and not touch you.” Carina mumbles.

Maya can hear the disappointment in Carina’s voice. “I know.”

Carina sets the tests aside. She has to get them back to the hospital soon.

Maya comes over to Carina, holding her hand out. “Did you come right in here when you got here?”

“I didn’t want to come into contact with anyone. I saw Vic at the reception desk, but I came straight in here.”

“You didn’t see all the commotion then?”

Carina shakes her head, thoroughly confused. “What’s happening?”

“Come.” Maya drags Carina behind her. She knows it’s breaking protocol but since they are going to be moving in together, she figures it doesn’t matter. She just won’t let Carina within six feet of anyone else. And they’ll keep their masks on. They go up the stairs and stand over the barn on the skywalk. “Look.”

Animal Control has the tiger cornered. All they have to do is catch it, but they’ve been trying for thirty minutes, and the tiger has outsmarted them at every move. They are currently setting up a big cage in the other corner of the barn. The last thing they have to do is put some meat in there.

“How did a tiger get in here?” Carina whispers.

Maya shrugs. “We’ve been looking for it all afternoon. I’m glad it’s here and not out in the community.”

“They’re not going to hurt it, are they?”

“No, they’re taking it to the zoo.”

“Bene.” Carina hums.

“Yeah.”

“Hey, Carina.” Jack walks by behind them.

“Hi.” Is all Carina can muster. She doesn’t want to be mad or hold a grudge or anything but seeing Jack makes her stomach turn.

He stops, much to Carina and Maya’s displeasure.

“Listen, I’m sorry-“

“Keep walking, Gibson.” Maya tells him in a clipped tone.

He looks down at his feet. “Right. Okay.”

Maya looks over to Carina. “Are you okay?” She puts a hand on the small of Carina’s back. Carina nods but Maya doesn’t think she’s okay. She rubs her back though as they stand there watching Animal Control do its job. Fifteen minutes later, the tiger is in the cage and everyone in the station claps and cheers as they bring it outside.

“I’ve missed you.” Maya admits. “Just this. Being in your presence.” She’s just standing next to Carina, but she feels better than she has at any time in the last three weeks.

“I’ve missed you too. So much. You don’t know how much I want to kiss you right now.” Carina tells her. It’s like her fingers and toes are itchy, like they needed to go to Maya, to reach out to her. She knows they have to wait for the test results. “I should go. Get the tests back to the hospital. So, we can get our results.”

“When do you want to move in?” Maya blurts.

Carina chuckles lightly. “Tomorrow?”

Maya laughs. “This is too fast, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” Carina knows it is. But the alternative is not seeing Maya for many many more weeks. “We’ll make it work. When is your next day off?”

“The day after tomorrow?” Maya informs her of her schedule.

“I’ll see if I can get that afternoon off. But I need your help.” Carina goes through logistics in her mind. Maya raises an eyebrow, waiting. “I don’t have much time. And if we want to do this in two days then I need you to go get boxes and then go to my apartment after your shift today and start packing my belongings.”

“I can do that. Can Vic help?” Maya asks, she wants to make sure that it’s okay if Vic is in her apartment and touching her belongings. It’ll give Vic something to do to.

“That’s fine. Just get the clothes and all the stuff in the kitchen. Towels, laundry, anything in the cabinets or cupboards. The furniture can all stay expect for the table next to the bed and the coffee table. Those things are mine. The rest was there when I moved in.” Carina gives Maya the instructions. “Oh and the art. Don’t forget the art.”

Maya nods, committing it all to memory. “Got it. I’ll asks Dean and Ben if they could spare a couple hours to help move all the boxes.”

“You’re not going to do it all yourself?” Carina jokes. She knows Maya totally would.

Maya thinks about it. “I could but-“

“I’m joking.” Carina finds Maya’s hand, giving it a squeeze. It’s not a kiss, and it’s not a hug, but it’s the best she can do for right now. “I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

“I’m strong.”

“I know you are. That’s not the thing. It’s the number of boxes, and going up and down the stairs over and over that I would be worried about. So yes, ask the guys, get a couple extra pairs of hands so you don’t have to do it all. Cuz I love you and I don’t need you injured.”

Maya sighs. “Okay.” She knows realistically she can’t do it all herself. She just needed to hear someone, Carina, say it out loud.

Chapter Text

Maya gets an idea. She grabs a few things and sets up as Carina is unpacking a few things. To be honest, it’s irking Maya a little that Carina is moving some of her stuff around to make room for her own stuff. Carina always asks before she moves something; but being a control freak, it bothers Maya a little. Even though she knows that it is required for Carina to move in. She knows their things need to mingle together. She knows she has to allow room and space and the possibility for her things to be moved or changed.

She’s done this before. Not the moving in with your girlfriend thing. This other thing. Maya pushes the door open. It’s starting to get dark outside. She puts down the items in her hands on the rooftop and looks around at the city from this vantage point. She sighs hoping Carina will like this and not think it’s cliché.

Maya returns back to the apartment after she has everything set up. She finds Carina in the bedroom, folding clothes. “Whatcha doing, babe?”

“Oh, I’m almost finished with my clothes. Did you need something?” Carina looks over her shoulder.

Just you. Maya hums and wraps her arms around Carina’s waist from the side. “I have a surprise for you.”

“A surprise?”

“Yeah, will you come with me?”

Carina nods and leans in a for a slow kiss.

“See, now, if you start doing that we won’t get to the surprise.” Maya kids playfully.

Carina just shrugs. She’s not sure what this surprise is, but if they forgo the surprise for sex Carina wouldn’t be mad.

“Come on.” Maya tugs Carina along. They exit the apartment and Maya locks the door. The walk down the hall is short before they get to the door.

“What are we doing?” Carina is suspicious now that they are standing in front of the emergency exit. “Maya this is the emergency exit.”

“I know that.” She grins at Carina and puts her hand on the bar to push the door open.

“The alarm is going to sound.” Carina warns her.

“No, it won’t.” She smirks.

Carina raises an eyebrow at that. “What did you do?”

Maya shrugs. “Just turned the alarm off so it doesn’t bother anyone.”

“You can do that?”

Maya holds up a set of keys in her hand. “Sometimes when you are the captain of a fire station you get special privileges from the building manager where you live in exchange for keeping an eye on the building and making sure everything is sound and passes inspection.”

“He gave you keys to the roof?” Carina asks the words that Maya isn’t saying.

Maya chuckles. “Yep.” She pushes the emergency exit door open. “Well, maybe not keys to the roof because these are emergency doors and can’t be locked, but the key to turn off the alarm.” She winks at Carina and gestures for her to go ahead of her. There is a tiny set of stairs that leads them up to another door that Carina pushes open, and then they are on the roof.

There are two blankets and two pillows and a bottle of wine with two glasses sitting in the center of the rooftop.

“Maya, what is this?”

“Your surprise.” Maya shrugs. It’s not really a big deal. Just something she threw together at the last minute. “I thought we could celebrate you moving in with a glass of wine and a look up at the sky. I don’t know how good it’s going to be because of all the city lights; but if we can’t see the stars then we can just pretend.”

“Oh, bambina. It’s wonderful. Grazie, bella. Grazie.” She wraps Maya in her arms, sealing her words with a sweet kiss.

“You’re welcome. Let’s lie down.” She holds her hand out to the blanket.

Maya opens the bottle of wine and pours them each a glass.

But after the first glass of wine Carina needs something to eat. “As wonderful as this is, I can’t drink wine on an empty stomach.” She can’t just drink wine. She already feels it going to her head, making her lightheaded.

“Oh, shit. What should I do?” Maya sits up and panics. “Do you need like something special? A candy bar?”

Carina chuckles. “Can you just go get some bread or cheese or a sandwich? I’m feeling a bit lightheaded.”

Maya nods vigorously. She’s so dumb. She should have thought of having a whole meal up here. She didn’t think about the food part. “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” She gets to her feet. “I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere.” Maya runs off. Literally, she runs.

Carina chuckles. “Where am I going to go?” She mumbles to herself. She lays back and looks up at the sky. It’s a beautiful night. The stars are slightly obscured by the city lights, but they can see them enough to make them out. Carina closes her eyes and waits for Maya to return.

It takes a few minutes, but Maya comes back with a whole loaf of uncut bread, a plate of cheese and crackers and some sausage. “What would you like?” She puts everything down at Carina’s hip.

“You.” Carina whispers. She reaches up, latching her hand to the back of Maya’s neck and pulling her in for a quick kiss. She nuzzles her nose against Maya. “Thank you for going to get this.”

Maya nods against her forehead. “Anything for you, babe. I should have thought to bring food with. How dumb of me? You probably haven’t had anything to eat all day.” Carina worked all day, and then came home, and spent the next hour unpacking boxes, and then folding clothes and putting them away.

“I did have lunch, but I haven’t had anything since.” She fills in.

“I should have made supper for us instead of worrying about this silly rooftop surprise.” Maya deflates.

“Shhh.” Carina puts her finger to Maya’s lips. “It’s not silly. It’s perfect, wonderful, and amazing. So thoughtful and sweet. I love it.”

Maya breathes a sigh of relief.

“But I need to eat a little before we continue with our wine and looking at the stars.” She presses a kiss to Maya’s cheek. “Let’s eat.” She picks up the loaf of bread. “Did you bring a knife?”

Maya sighs and shakes her head. She’s totally messing this up right now. She wanted it to be perfect and it’s not.

“Okay.” Carina lifts the loaf to her mouth and takes a bite out of it. Maya stares at her in disbelief. “What?” She says around her mouthful of bread.

“Very lady-like.” Maya grins.

Carina holds the loaf out to Maya. Maya grins and takes a bite from it like Carina did. They laugh at their own silly antics.

After a little food, they lay back. Maya puts her arm out and Carina lays on it with her neck over it. “Do you know anything about the sky?” Maya asks after a few silent minutes.

“Well, a little but mostly about one constellation.”

“Oh.”

Carina nods. She rolls her head to the side to glance at Maya. “There is a constellation named Carina.”

“No way.” Maya is surprised and thrilled to know this. “I didn’t know that. That makes tonight that much more special.” She scoots a little closer to Carina.

Carina says “Well, you can’t see it from here. It’s a southern constellation. It’s the 34th largest constellation in the sky.”

“Wow.”

“That’s all I know.” Carina shrugs. “Well, about the constellation, that is. It’s also a medical term. Carina tracheae.”

“Really?” Maya didn’t know that either. Carina is imparting some serious knowledge on her tonight.

Carina nods. “It’s the point in the trachea where the bronchi split into left and right. It’s a rigid of cartilage. It’s what triggers the cough reflex.”

Maya watches Carina with wide eyes. “What else?”

“I’m not an encyclopedia. But-“ She looks over at Maya and sees the awe in her eyes. “The name Carina is a form of Cara which in Italian means beloved or dear.”

“You’re kidding?”

Carina shakes her head. “Nope. In Latin, it means keel. That’s why they named the constellation Carina. It’s a part of a bigger constellation that looks like a boat or ship’s keel. So, it has a maritime meaning as well.”

“That’s so cool. It’s a wonderful name. Beloved.” Maya speaks softly. “Perfect for you.”

It’s late and Carina thinks maybe it’s time to go back inside. She’s got more unpacking to do. She has to work tomorrow too so she has to get to sleep.

Maya has other ideas though. She lifts herself up onto her elbow so she can look down at Carina. Even in the dark of the night, she can see the beauty in those rich brown eyes. She leans in and kisses Carina. Her right hand slipping up under Carina’s shirt, her fingertips dancing over Carina’s stomach, taking a northern route. She palms Carina’s right breast, getting a moan from the brunette.

“Maya.” Carina squirms. “We’re outside.” It’s not her biggest concern but it’s what comes out of her mouth.

“So?” Maya wiggles her eyebrows.

Carina rolls onto her side, effectively putting an end to Maya’s wandering hand and lips. “Besides that- we can’t.”

Maya sighs and pulls her hand out of Carina’s shirt. “Can I get a reason why?”

Carina runs her finger down the bridge of Maya’s nose all the way to the tip. “Not tonight.”

Maya pouts. “But it’s been so long. What if I just-“

“Not tonight, bella. I’m tired. Exhausted. I just want you in my arms. I just want to sleep.” Carina explains. She’s feeling a bit needy, clingy. If they had started with the sexy stuff earlier in the night, Carina doesn’t think she would have said no. But now, it’s late and she’s tired and she has to go to work in the morning.

Maya nods. She can live with that. “It’s been so long since we’ve had that too.”

“Si.” Carina kisses Maya softly. “Can we go to bed now?”

Maya nods and gets to her feet quickly, so she can reach out her hands and pulls Carina to her feet. “I know you’ve been working a lot. I get it.”

“Thank you for understanding.” Carina finds Maya’s hand. “I really enjoyed tonight, though. So, thank you for that.”

Maya nods and smiles. “I wanted to celebrate a little. And since everything is locked down-“ Maya shrugs and leads Carina back to the door to the roof.

“What about the stuff?” carina looks over her shoulder.

“I’ll pick it up in the morning.” Maya tells her. “Come on, my love. Let’s go to bed.” Maya thinks about the fact that they get to go to bed together every day now. Well, except when Maya is at the station. But every day she gets to come home and go to sleep with Carina. That might just be one of the best aspects of Carina moving in. Her just being there at the end of a day, no matter what.


Everything is unpacked. Maya looks around the apartment. It’s not the same as it was before. The kitchen especially. Maya wants to go around and move all of Carina’s things. Her fingers itchy to go around and touch everything, to move it. She doesn’t know where to, but just move them to somewhere so they aren’t cluttering up the apartment.

She goes over and picks up a book on the arm of the couch. She knows she should just put it back, but she can’t help it. She moves it to the bookshelf and then goes into the kitchen. She’s not sure why it bothers her so much, Carina’s stuff, but it does.

Well, she knows why, it’s because she’s a control freak, and everything has to be where she needs it to be. She knows she shouldn’t do that. She knows that it’s silly and stupid. But it irritates Maya. Carina’s things.

She and Andy leave for work. Maya departing with an aggressive ‘I love you’. A reminder to herself mostly that she loves Carina and just because she moved in doesn’t mean she loves her any less. It’s just an adjustment that she isn’t used to yet.


They get back from the call and Maya takes care of her paperwork and goes into the storage room. The hoses need to be stacked. She was going to have Jack do it, but he had to leave because Marsha collapsed, so she’ll do it herself. She needs a workout anyway and maybe she can let go of her irritation about Carina’s stuff during her workout.

Andy walks in on her after a minute or so.

She’s not surprised but doesn’t bother stopping when Andy questions why she’s stacking hoses. She goes into the reasons why and vents a little to someone who isn’t Carina. She can’t vent to Carina about Carina. Well, maybe she could, but Maya isn’t sure how that would turn out. Into a yelling match. Or her shouting at Carina like her father shouted at her. And she definitely doesn’t want that.

“Am I broken?”

There’s that word again. The word that Maya can’t seem to get out of her head. The word that she still thinks describes her perfectly. The word that she might always use to describe herself.

“Look I’m still working on this one myself Maya, but I think being afraid to be like your dad is the first step to not being like him.”

Maya smiles faintly at Andy. Andy might have a point. It makes her feel a little better.

“But Maya-“ Andy isn’t finished. “-maybe you should be telling her all this and not me.”

Maya hums and nods. “Yeah.”

Andy leaves and Maya stands there for a moment thinking about everything. She thought about telling Carina but was too afraid that she would end up yelling, so she just avoided it and kept it inside. Until now. Maya lets out a long breath and hangs her head. She pulls her gloves off and puts them on a shelf and exits the room. She stomps over to her office, digging through her backpack until she finds her phone. She checks for messages but there aren’t any. She opens up her message thread with Carina and starts typing. She types out a message and reads it and then deletes it and then types out another message and deletes that one too.

Not sure when your shift is over but I need to talk to you when we are both home again.

Maya hopes it doesn’t sound too ominous and hits send. She puts the phone down on her desk and runs a hand over her hair.

Maya comes home the next morning and goes to kiss Carina, but Carina tells her she has to shower first. The frustration level in Maya skyrockets. She can’t let this go any further, so she asks why the kitchen has turned into a cheese cellar.

“Maya, my home is really scary right now. It’s worse than here and here is really bad. I’m scared for my dad.”

Maya hangs her head. Here Carina is again caring about her dad, even when he is halfway around the world, even when he puts her and her career down, even after they talked about him and the terrible things that he has done. Carina is trying to protect him, defend him. It frustrates Maya even more, but she understands it at the same time. “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to be.” Carina goes to get ready to leave for work.

Maya stands there and watches her move about the apartment. She knows it’s not fair to criticize Carina’s Italian kitchen makeover. She knows now that it’s how Carina is trying to cope with everything. With the pandemic, with work, with her father and her family back in Italy. It’s a stressful time.

“I’ve got to go get ready to bring some babies into this terrifying world.” Carina grabs her jacket.

“I did that today.”

“You did what?”

“I brought a baby into this terrifying world.” She goes over to Carina.

She doesn’t want the Italian to leave yet. She still has to talk to her about the kitchen and her father and why it drives her crazy and terrifies her. She knows she missed her opportunity when Carina was talking about how the kitchen reminded her of the good memories of Italy. Maya being too lost in her own head about what was happening. And now Maya is second guessing herself. Finding a distraction.

“Brought? Maybe- maybe more like caught.” She rolls her eyes. That woman at the scene literally just dropped that baby into her hands.

That piques Carina’s interest. She loves when Maya comes home with stories from work. She loves it even more when they involve delivering babies. She gets her coat on and is ready for the abbreviated reason. “Tell me, everything.” Well, maybe not so abbreviated. She needs details, as a doctor.

“Well, first I’m going to shower.” She grabs Carina by the waist and spins them around. “And then I will tell you all about it. Naked. In bed.” She pulls Carina into the bedroom.

“No. No. Maya.” Carina grabs onto the door frame in a pathetic attempt to stop Maya.

“I have to go to work.”

Maya hums and pulls her shirt over her head. “You don’t have fifteen minutes to spare?” She finds Carina’s hand and pulls her into the bathroom with her. She puts on the puppy dog eyes.

“Don’t do that.” Carina can’t help but fall for them every time.

“Do what?” Maya asks innocently.

“You know what?”

Maya shimmies out of her pants and turns to start the water for her shower, giving Carina a full view of her ass.

Of course, Carina’s eyes rake over Maya’s body. She just can’t resist. Her shift at the hospital starts in half an hour. She knows she has to leave but she reaches out her hands finding Maya’s hips, stepping into her from behind.

Maya smirks. “I thought you said I had to shower first.”

Carina groans. “Si. Shower.” She releases Maya.

Maya spins around. She grins at Carina as she is slipping her sports bra over her head and pulling her underwear down her legs.

“Fucking tease.” Carina says under her breath.

Maya laughs and hops in the shower. She starts talking about the call where she showed up and the woman was clearly in active labor and the husband had a needle in his cheek.

“It was total chaos. When I got there this pregnant woman was singing in the front yard. She had a baseball bat and there were beer cans and cigarette butts everywhere. That poor kid.” Maya explains from the shower.

Carina leans against the sink and listens.

“She hit the husband with the baseball bat. He was in the house trying to stitch up the cut in his face with a needle and thread. They wouldn’t wear masks. Wouldn’t go in the ambulance because we transport sick people in there. She ran into the garage. Her water broke. We finally got her to come with us to the hospital. But then she started pushing. I had to fucking catch that baby before it’s head hit the floor.”

“I did that once. A woman pushed out a baby in the hallway at the hospital. I was there to catch it.” Carina thinks back.

“When we got back to the station, Andy asked me if that family reminded me of my own. It didn’t really. My dad didn’t throw things at us or swing bats at us. He wasn’t on drugs or drunk. He just had angry and had control issues.” Maya peels back the shower curtain. “I have that too.” She looks directly at Carina. “I made myself into an exact copy of him to please him. I didn’t realize that until yesterday morning. I looked at all your stuff in the kitchen and I felt this rage. It’s stupid I know.” Maya ducks back into the shower.

Carina furrows her brow. This took a turn she wasn’t expecting. She thought she was just going to hear about the bambino and then maybe get a little handsy or have a little quickie before she went off to work.

“Rage?” Carina questions.

The shower turns off. Maya pulls the curtain back and reaches for her towel. “Yeah. It terrifies me. That I’m just like him. It really has nothing to do with your pasta or your cheeses. It’s all about control. He controlled me. I have this need to control my life. My space. Every inch of it.” Maya dries herself off. “That’s what I told Andy. And you know what she said.” She waits for Carina to shake her head. “That me recognizing that I’m like him is the first step to not being like him.” She wraps the towel around herself, tucking it under her arms. Maya steps in front of Carina. “I don’t want to scare you or make you feel like you aren’t welcome here because you are. I want you here.”

Carina nods but has a frown on her face. “Do you?” She wonders if Maya means it or if she’s just saying it because she doesn’t want Carina to leave, doesn’t want to be lonely.

Maya frowns too. “I do. Very much so. I just- all your stuff. And I understand why you are doing it. And that’s totally fine with me. I get it. It’s good for you. I just need to learn how to let go of that control that I want to have over everything.”

“Maya.” Carina is worried. “If you don’t want-“

“Don’t even say it.” Maya cuts her off. “I do. I do want you here. It’s just an adjustment that I have to make. But it made me realize just how much like him that I am. And I need you to know that. I needed to tell you. And I don’t want you to change anything. You are doing what you have to do to cope with all this Covid bs. And you just moved to somewhere new. It’s a lot of change. We probably shouldn’t have done this in the middle of a pandemic when we are both stressed, working long hours, and worried about our friends, families, co-workers, everyone.”

“Maybe not, but here we are.” Carina wouldn’t change anything if they could go back to do it again. She would move in with Maya one hundred times out of one hundred. She finds Maya’s hands, holding onto them. “I have to go to work.”

“I know.” Maya sighs. “Can we talk more about this later? Don’t let me push it away.”

Carina pushes herself away from the sink. “Okay.”

“And I want to hear more about Italy from you. About the things in the kitchen and how and why they bring back good memories. The meaning behind them for you.”

Carina smiles softly. “I absolutely love you.”

Maya giggles a little at Carina’s wording. “I love you too. Can I kiss you now that I’m all clean and shit?”

“Make it a good one. I have to spend the next 12 hours in the Covid zone.”

Maya hums. “It’s always a good one.” She shuffles forward, Carina wraps an arm around her back, and Maya presses her lips to Carina’s, tilting her head, deepening the kiss, but keeping it short so Carina isn’t late for work.

“You’re right.” Carina thinks their kisses are always good too.

Maya winks. “Now go kick Covid’s ass, Doctor DeLuca.”

“We’ll see how many Covid patients I have today. Hopefully, not many.”

Maya crosses her fingers and shows them to Carina. “Hopefully.” She knows how hard it is on Carina seeing pregnant women coming in with Covid.

They share one final kiss before Carina is slipping out of the bathroom and then out of the apartment.

Chapter Text

Carina has a rare day off from the pandemic. She lays in bed as Maya gets up and gets ready for work. She’s gotten more comfortable with living at Maya’s, now their, apartment. It took a little while to fall into a routine that suited both of them well.

Carina had her reservations about moving in after Maya came to her and told her that she was struggling with Carina being in her space. While she was thankful that Maya was honest, it put everything into a different perspective and understanding Maya’s need for control. It was interesting to find out. Sure, Carina knew that Maya controlled all aspects of her job. She had a pertinence for organizing their trips. But she never really saw it as control issues or Maya having to control everything.

So, she was a little tentative the few days after that, trying not to step on Maya’s toes or get in her way, or put her things somewhere that Maya might not like. But then Maya caught her doing it, telling her that she was fine with Carina being there. Saying that she wanted her there. She very emphatically told Carina over and over that she wanted her there, until Carina believed it and was then able to relax into herself and their new living arrangement.

Maya gets out of bed and starts to get dressed for the day. She pulls her pants on and looks for the shirt she set out the night before that was on top of her pants. She’s not sure where her shirt went. The whole point of setting out clothes for the morning was so she wouldn’t have to find them in the morning.

“Where’s my top?”

And Carina smirks, still lying in bed. “I’m right here.”

Maya stops, dead in her tracks, not even trying to look for her shirt anymore. She slowly, almost as if in slow motion, turns her head to look over at Carina. She stares at her for a moment. The smirk on Carina’s face never fading. “Funny.” She says dryly. “Very funny.”

“Yes, I am.” Carina grins, biting her lip.

Maya shakes her head and then breaks out into a laugh. A full belly shaking laugh. “God, that’s awful.” It feels good to laugh. So good. With the pandemic and Carina moving in, things have been stressful, so it’s good to be able to have a good laugh to release some of that built up stress.

Carina shrugs and runs her hand back and forth over the sheets.

Maya looks around the room more for her shirt. “Where’s my shirt?” She steps into the bathroom and finds her shirt sitting on the countertop. “Did I put that there?”

“You must have. I didn’t.” Carina says. She sits up in bed, her back to the headboard.

Maya steps back into the room and Carina takes her picture with her phone as Maya is pulling her shirt over her head. “I heard that.”

“Heard what?” Carina puts her phone down.

“You just took my picture. I’m sure it’s unflattering. Delete it.” She narrows her eyes at Carina.

“No.”

“I was pulling my shirt over my head. Yes.” Maya comes over to the side of the bed and reaches for Carina’s phone so she can see. But Carina is faster and grabs the phone before Maya can snatch it up.

“N-no.” Carina laughs.

Maya pouts. “I have to go to work.”

“So go to work.” Carina grins.

“Delete it.”

Carina shakes her head.

“Come on.” Maya groans. “At least let me look at it.”

Carina brings the phone over and opens the photo up. She grins. Maya looks silly. “You look like your shirt is stuck.”

“Carina.” Maya whines. “Let me see.”

Carina flips the phone around for Maya to see. Maya looks at the photo. She looks ridiculous. “Delete it. There’s no reason to have a photo like that.”

“It’s my phone. I’ll do with it what I like.” Carina holds her head high, defiant.

“Fine.” Maya gives up. She knows Carina has an entire photo album with photos of her. Some are nice, some are goofy, and some are like the one she just took. Maya in awkward positions, or half dressed, or putting her shoes on, or taking a bite from a spoon or fork. Eating, sleeping. She knows there’s even one where she just got out of the shower and barely had a towel wrapped around herself before a photo was being taken.

“I’ll see you tonight?” Maya asks.

“I’m not going anywhere today.” With Covid it’s not like they can go out to dinner or do anything else in public places that aren’t the park. “Just to the store.” Carina is going to restock the cupboards and get something special for dinner. “Try to get done on time.” She reaches up and wraps her hand around the back of Maya’s neck, pulling her down for a kiss.

Maya hums into the kiss. “It’s not fair that I have to go to work and my super sexy girlfriend gets to stay home in my bed.”

“Our bed.” Carina reminds her.

“Our bed.” Maya kisses her again. “I’ll be home as soon as shift is over.” She doesn’t usually make promises because she knows if they are on a call their shift can run over, but she’s feeling hopeful today.

“Bene.” Carina scratches her fingernails into the hair at the base of Maya’s skull. “Ho in programma una cena speciale.”

Maya hums. “I didn’t get all of that but something special.”

“Cena. Dinner.”

Maya nods. “Then I’ll make sure we are done on time today.” She kisses Carina one more time before she goes. “I love you.”

“Ti amo, Capitana.” Carina smirks devilishly.

Maya bites her lips. “You’re trouble.”

Carina wiggles her eyebrows. “So, you’ve told me.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “I have to go.” She makes a move towards the bedroom door, Carina’s hand slipping from her neck as she does so.

“Just remember your top is right here if you’re looking for it.” Carina jokes. She doesn’t get a reply from Maya. Just the shutting of the apartment door. Carina tips her head back against the headboard and laughs.


Carina chops all the vegetables that she’s going to cook and add to the stuffed eggplant that she’s making. She has Maya’s laptop open and the ‘Carina’ playlist playing. She notices some songs have been added since the last time she listened to it. Carina dances over to the computer and looks at the playlist.

Electric by Miki Ratsula.

That’s the first song that she hears that she hasn’t heard before. It’s what makes her look at the list.

You’re My Best Friend by Queen is another.

REO Speedwagon’s Can’t Fight This Feeling.

Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl

Carina smiles at the list. “Maya Bishop, you are something special.” She feels light, happy, her heart is full, her whole body tingles with warmth and Maya isn’t even in her presence. Just thinking about her right now makes Carina feel like that. There’s a sense of security, peace of mind. There’s just something about Maya that makes her feel like no matter what happens in life she’ll be okay if Maya is by her side. The two of them taking on all the challenges that life will present themselves. Every day. A sense of togetherness. A team having each other’s backs; building on what they have every single day.

She dances back over to the counter and finishes with the vegetables. Carina pops everything in the oven and starts washing up.

She hears the door open and then close. Maya hums as she comes in.

Maya wraps Carina in her arms, giving her a sweet kiss. “There’s my little housewife.” She jokes.

Carina scoffs. “Don’t ever say that to me again.”

Maya gets serious. “Okay. It was just a joke. I didn’t mean anything by it. You are so much more than a housewife.” Maya hums and snuggles closer to Carina. “You are so soft and comfortable. My little pillow.”

“Stop, Maya.” Carina tries to push Maya away.

“Oh, come on.” She reaches up and runs her finger over Carina’s forehead, smoothing out the frown lines. “You are incredible. An incredibly badass doctor. An incredible friend. My best friend. An incredibly caring sister. My favorite person. An incredible lover.” Maya winks.

Carina rolls her eyes. “You’re so cheesy sometimes.”

“Only for you.” Maya leans in for a kiss, which Carina meets her for. “A great kisser.” She giggles against Carina’s lips.

“How are you doing?” Maya asks.

“I’m fine. What do you mean?”

Maya shrugs. “It’s been a few weeks. How is the adjustment to living here? I know this isn’t your home. Or wasn’t. You had your own space. It must feel different?” Maya picks at the bottom of her shirtsleeve nervously.

Carina hums, thoughtful. She never would have imagined Maya asking this question a few months ago. It just shows how much Maya has grown and learned in recent weeks. “Thank you for asking. Honestly, at first, I was leery. I didn’t want to do anything to- set you off.” Carina grimaces. “Which sounds terrible, I know.”

“But, understandable.” Maya doesn’t disagree.

“Overall, I think everything has evened out. I just, and you, just needed to find the right center point. Which I think can be hard to do with someone. Especially when you first live together. You don’t know how much time spent together is too much or too little.”

“Everyone needs their own space. Whether that’s at work or at the gym or exercise or some other hobby that doesn’t involve their partner.

“Exactly.” Carina grins brightly. She puts her hand on Maya’s cheeks and pulls her into a kiss. “How are you doing?” She wants to check in with Maya too.

Maya sighs. “Some days, especially if there is clutter laying around, I tend to struggle more. But mostly, I’m good. I’m so happy you moved in and that we are living together. If that makes me cheesy, fine.”

Maya takes a step back. “But, who I am with you. I’m not that way around anyone else. I never have been that way around anyone else. You’ve unlocked something inside of me, I think.” Carina raises an eyebrow at that. “You make me a better- no, you fixed- no, that’s not right either.” Maya sighs, frustrated she can’t articulate her feelings. “You’ve changed me. I’ve changed myself because of you. Because you love me and support me and believe in me. And I’ve never had that before. At least, not in this way. Not in a healthy way.” Maya smiles. That’s better. Sometimes it’s hard for Maya to articulate.

“It’s called growth.” Carina leans forward and nuzzles her nose against Maya’s. “And your growth is absolutely beautiful, bambina.” She seals her words with a kiss.

Maya is getting better at taking a compliment too from Carina. Not great, but she doesn’t try to hide away from them anymore. “Thanks.” She blushes a little, still.

“Since we are talking about moving in and being comfortable, can I have Andrea over for dinner one day? All three of us. I want you and Andrea to meet in person. I want my two most important people to meet and get to know each other. That is my biggest wish in life right now. With everything crazy going on.”

“Of course, babe.” Maya grins. “I want that too. How is he?”

“Good. Really good. He is helping at the hospital with Meredith’s Covid care. He seems to have taken charge of that.”

“It’s crazy that she got sick with it.” Maya comments. When she heard from Ben that Meredith had Covid she didn’t really believe it.

“It is and it isn’t. The odds are that someone was going to get it. Right? Unfortunately for her, it was her. She’s got those kids at home. Can you imagine? Three little kids, they lost their papa and now their mamma is fighting for her life.” Carina shakes her head. “If I had kids, I’d be terrified that I would bring it home to them. Or that I would get sick and then not be there for them. It’s so awful what this disease is doing to so many families. And just people in general. But we are doctors, we took an oath. We must do our jobs, regardless of the disease.”

Maya understands the sentiment. She took an oath too. She wraps Carina tighter in her arms, knowing that something could happen, that either of them could get sick from Covid or that, for Maya, she could get into a situation at work one day that she can’t get out of.

“I have Sunday and Monday off. We could do it one of those days.” Maya suggests.

“I’ll ask Andrea and see what day works good for him.” She releases Maya. “Now, for our dinner today.” She checks on the stuffed eggplant in the oven. “I believe it’s done. We were just waiting for you.”

“We?”

“Yeah, me and the eggplant.” Carina grins.

Maya laughs. “I’ll wash my hands and set the table.”

They sit down and eat.

“I was listening to that playlist. As I was preparing dinner.” Carina mentions.

“Yeah.”

“I noticed some new songs.”

“Yep.” Maya grins.

“Brown Eyed Girl?” Carina grins.

Maya shrugs. “What can I say?”

Carina laughs lightly. “Ti amo, tanto.”

“And I love you.” Maya smiles happily. “And thank you for making dinner. Is it for something special?”

“No.” Carina shakes her head. “Just because.”

“Well, it’s delicious. Compliments to the chef.” She raises a fork full in Carina’s direction.


Maya has been working three days straight. Which isn’t a long time in the history of the world, but Carina has needs and urges and sometimes she just can’t wait for Maya.

She wakes up in the morning after a particularly vivid dream, wet dream. She rolls over onto her back and feels the stickiness between her legs. She groans, wishing she didn’t just wake up alone and that her girlfriend was in bed with her.

Carina is too warm too. Product of the dream. She throws the blankets back. Carina could get up and shower. Or she couldn’t get up and shower.

It’s not something she’s done since she’s lived with Maya. It’s not something that she’s needed to do. Her right hand runs down her torso and slips into her panties. She moans at the wetness she finds. Carina runs her fingers through her folds, collecting the moisture before stroking over her clit with two fingers.

They are in the way, so Carina slips her panties off, leaving her in just a camisole. Carina is a few minutes into her ministrations when she hears the front door open and close. She smirks. This could get interesting.

She hears Maya walking through the apartment and then the bedroom door opens.

“Oh.” Maya stands in the doorway, shocked at the sight of her girlfriend on the bed, naked from the waist down, her hand between her legs. She stands stock still watching, eyes focused on that hand.

“Like what you see, bambina?” Carina spreads her legs open further.

Maya’s mouth hangs open, at a loss for words. She looks up and meets Carina’s eyes.

“How was work?” Carina asks.

Maya wrinkles her brow. “Work?” She can’t think straight right now. “What are you-?”

“What does it look like?” Carina smirks. “Are you just going to stand there?” She’s not sure if it’ll be hotter if Maya just stands there and watches or if Maya gets in bed with her. Carina doesn’t really care at this point.

Maya shakes her head and pulls her shirt over her head quickly. She takes two long stride to get to the bed and crawls across the top, hovering over Carina. “Couldn’t you wait for me?” She presses her lips to the side of Carina’s neck.

Carina moans and shakes her head.

“Naughty.” Maya husks. Her lips travel over Carina’s skin, kissing her neck, then her cheek before finding her lips. “That was quite the sight to see when I walked in the door.”

Carina tips her head back wanting Maya’s lips on her neck again. When Maya doesn’t do that, Carina removes her hand from between her legs and reaches up and grabs Maya’s chin with it. Maya moans at the wet fingers on her cheek. She turns her head, capturing those fingers between her lips. There are twin moans as Maya sucks them into her mouth.

“Touch me, Maya.” Carina begs. “I was so close before you walked in.” She squirms on the bed, begging for Maya to relieve the ache between her legs.

Maya doesn’t waste any more time. She slips her arm between their bodies. Carina sighs when Maya’s fingers touch her, stroking over her most sensitive area. “Si, bambina.”

Maya’s lips reach for the hollow in Carina’s collarbone, she licks over the spot before sucking on it, leaving a mark there, pulling another moan from Carina. An arm wraps around Maya’s back, fingernails, digging into her shoulder.

She could get used to this. Coming home from work in the morning to her girlfriend primed and ready for sex. But today, Carina was more than ready. She was nearly finished. Maya wonders what got the woman so worked up in the first place for her to walk through the door to her openly masturbating in their bed.

“Maya.” Carina moans followed by a string of Italian words that Maya has no idea what they are.

Maya focuses her attention on Carina’s sensitive bundle of nerves. She knows that’s all it’s going to take today. A few strokes before a few circles. “Cum for me, baby.” She whispers in Carina’s ear.

Carina groans and arches up into Maya.

“That’s it.” Maya coaches her through her high. Carina lets out a long moan before flopping back down to the mattress.

Maya smirks at the blissed out, dopey grin on Carina’s face as she tries to catch her ragged breath. She kisses all over Carina’s face, avoiding her lips for now so she can breathe. “Absolutely breathtaking.” Maya mumbles.

“Maya?”

Maya doesn’t think she’ll ever get sick of the way Carina says her name. “Yeah.”

Carina has her eyes closed. “You’re amazing.”

Maya laughs. “What got you all worked up this morning?”

“I had a dream.”

“Oh?”

“About you.” Carina opens her eyes and searches Maya’s face.

Maya rolls onto her side, she puts her elbow in the mattress and her hand on the side of her head, and she gazes at Carina. “And what was I doing in this dream?” She runs her index finger over Carina’s collarbone.

Carina moans, she shifts her legs against the mattress. “You were working.”

Maya frowns. “Working? That doesn’t sound very sexy.”

“But it was.” Carina licks her lips. “I don’t really remember everything, but you had an axe, and you were swing it around like it was nothing. You got too hot, so you took your jacket off. Just wearing a t-shirt with your turnout pants. The shirt tight on your biceps as you swung the axe over and over.”

Maya hums. “And?”

“And then I woke up and you weren’t here, and I was all worked up and wasn’t about to waste that.”

“So, if I’m understand this correctly, you had a wet dream about me.” Maya can’t help but tease.

“Si.” Carina confirms with a proud smile.

Maya laughs. “You really are the orgasm doctor, aren’t you?”

Carina nods. “And I take pride in it. But my study wasn’t ever about me.”

“But you reaped the benefits. Or maybe I reaped the benefits.” Maya smirks.

“Ya know.” Carina runs her finger down the center of Maya’s chest. “I did learn a thing or two from my study.” She hooks said finger into the waistband of Maya’s sweatpants pulling the material away from Maya’s skin before letting it snap back. “But I learn more about the best ways to make you feel good through experience.”

“S-show me.” Maya stutters.

“Certamente.” Carina turns onto her side. She gently pushes Maya onto her back and straddles her waist, her wet center pressing against Maya’s lower abdomen.

Maya moans as Carina grinds down against her. Her hands find Carina’s hips.

Carina removes Maya’s hands from her hips. “No touching.” She husks.

Maya moans. “What? That’s not fair.”

Carina removes herself from on top of Maya. “Take the rest of your clothes off.”

Maya frowns but removes her clothes.

Carina sits astride Maya again, this time a little lower, across her thighs. She bends so she can whisper in Maya’s ear. “Tell me what you want, bella. But no touching me.”

Maya tips her head back, exposing her neck.

Carina chuckles. “Use your words, Maya.”

“Can you-“ Maya tries to wiggle her hips. “-kiss my neck?”

“Don’t ask me. Tell me.” Carina hums.

Maya moans. “Kiss my neck and then suck on my earlobe.” Maya fists her hands in her bedsheet.

Carina grins, doing as Maya says. “What next?” She whispers in Maya’s ear.

The warm breath sends a shiver through Maya’s body.

“Cosa ti farà stare bene, bambina?”

“You. All over.” Maya replies.

Carina sits up a little and looks down at Maya’s face. “You understood all that?”

Maya shakes her head. “Just the beginning. What? And the end. Good.” Maya smiles lazily. “I’ve gotten pretty good at guessing what you’re saying or being able to fill in the words in between that I don’t know.”

Carina grins triumphantly. “Dio mio, sei fantastico. You are amazing.” Carina crashes their lips together, forgetting about the little game they were playing were she wanted Maya to tell her what to do. Carina palms each of Maya’s breast.

Maya moans into Carina’s mouth. “You are the fantastico one.” She arches into those magnificent hands.

Carina nips at Maya’s lips before drawing her attention lower. She sinks down the bed, down Maya’s body, dragging her nipples down Maya’s chest, across her stomach, hissing at the contact. Her lips attach to Maya’s left nipple, rolling her tongue over the nub before sucking it into her mouth fully. Maya’s left hand coming up to the back of Carina’s head, threading her fingers into her hair.

Carina looks up to see Maya with her eyes closed, biting her lip, her head titled to the side. She releases the nipple with a pop. “Bellisima. Assolutamente.” Her hand replaces her mouth again, her fingers pinching at Maya’s nipple.

“Voglio tanto sesso con te per il resto della mia vita.” (I want so much sex with you for the rest of my life.)

If Carina got to experience Maya like this for the remainder of her life, she knows she would die happy. As crazy as that sounds. And as much as she was never someone to settle into a relationship, for whatever reason, she wants to settle here and never leave. It’s not something she’s ever felt before with anyone. There is no feeling of missing out or what could be if she were with someone else or somewhere else. Everything is right here. In this spot. In this city. In this apartment. In this bed. In this woman.

Carina scoots down the bed until she can kiss at Maya’s hipbone, kissing and licking over the spot before moving over to the other side.

“Carina.” Maya groans, spreading her legs, needing the girlfriend between them in some way or another. “Whatever trip you’re taking-“ She moans when Carina sucks at her skin. “-make it quick.”

Carina giggles. “Okay, bambina.” She lifts her head and looks in Maya’s eyes. Carina shifts and lays on her stomach between Maya’s legs, hooking her arms under Maya’s thighs and then up and over so she can hold onto her. That hand of Maya’s is still in her hair. “Ready?”

Maya nods, consenting.

Carina dives right in, licking through Maya’s folds, stopping when she reaches Maya’s clit and sucking. She knows it drives Maya absolutely insane. Which happens in the form of Maya bucking her hips up into Carina’s mouth.

She works Maya through her orgasm. A brilliant dance that they are slowly perfecting.

Carina is playing with Maya’s hair. “You know how I know it’s good for you?”

Maya bites her lip, looking at Carina to answer.

Carina runs her finger across Maya’s collarbone. “Here.” And then wraps her hands loosely around Maya’s throat. “And here. Get’s all red and blotchy.”

Maya knows her pale white skin has that reaction to great sex. “And is it?” She knows the answer is yes.

Carina nods, pulling her hand down from Maya’s neck and placing it flat on her chest. “Si.”

“What time do you work today?” Maya asks.

“I think my first appointment is at noon. I should probably be there by ten though. I have other things to take care of.”

Maya hums. “Too bad we can’t lay in bed together all day.”

Carina taps at Maya’s chest. “That wouldn’t be a very productive day.”

Maya smirks. “Depends what you consider productive.”

Carina laughs. She chews on her lower lip. “I love spending days in bed with you.” They are few and far between right now. “Oh, by the way, Andrew said he could come over Sunday evening.”

Maya wrinkles up her face. “Where did that come from?”

“I wanted to tell you before I forgot.” Carina grins, guilty. “Sorry. Not very sexy to talk about my brother after sex, is it?”

“Hmm, no.” Maya wraps an arm around Carina and pulls her to her chest. “No more talking. Just cuddling until I fall asleep.”

Carina laughs. “You sound like a guy.”

“You cuddle with lots of guys?”

“No.” Carina shakes her head lightly. “The falling asleep part.”

“Oh, right. Well, I have a good excuse. I just worked a 24 hour shift.”

Carina hums, that lazy post sex bliss pulls her towards sleep too. “You know-“ She yawns and reaches for her phone, setting an alarm. “I could get a few more hours before I head into work.”

“I like the sound of that.” Maya already has her eyes closed as she rubs her hand up and down Carina’s arm. “Goodnight, babe.”

Carina presses her lips to Maya’s shoulder. “Goodnight, bella.”

Chapter Text

Maya anxiously paces the living room.

“You need to calm down.” Carina sighs lightly as she stirs the pot on the stove.

Maya stops. Her back to Carina. She grimaces and slowly turns around. “What did you just say?”

Carina looks over her shoulder at Maya. She raises an eyebrow at her. “I said- you need to calm down. You’re going to wear a hole in the floor.” Carina gives her a soft smile before returning to her pot.

Maya frowns and stomps out of the living room into the bathroom and closes the door a little harder than she probably should have. She wraps her hands around the edge of the sink and stares at herself in the mirror. Rationally, Maya knows she needs to calm down. She knows she’s overthinking this. She knows that Carina didn’t mean what she said with any malice, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t grind her gears a little.

She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. Maya has been working on that lately. Controlling her breathing when she’s starting to feel out of control. It works some of the time to calm her down, but not always. She knows it’s not a good thing for a fire captain to be having panic attacks. She also knows it’s from the stress of everything that’s been happening in her life with her father and in the world in general with the pandemic and basically every other issue that has come up in the last couple of weeks.

There’s been a lot going on.

And now, today, she knows. She knows it’s not a big deal and she shouldn’t be so anxious about it, but she is meeting Carina’s brother. Like properly meeting him. They’ve seen each other in passing. And the meeting over the phone when she and Carina were in Victoria. But that doesn’t count. Now counts. And Maya wants to make a good impression. She wants to show Andrew that she can be trusted, that is she honest, and that she loves Carina.

So, today is different. They are having dinner together. Andrew is coming over and they are going to have proper conversation and share a meal. He is the closest family member that Carina has, and she knows that he is an important part of her life. She also knows that the siblings don’t always see eye to eye but he is her little brother.

Maya knows a thing or two about that. A wave of guilt crashes over her thinking about her own brother. She wonders where he is and how he’s doing. She wishes she could help him like Carina has helped Andrew.

There’s a knock on the bathroom door.

“Yeah.” Maya mumbles.

The door opens slowly, and Carina peeks her head in. “Stai bene?”

Maya closes her eyes and shakes her head. Carina pushes into the bathroom. She slides up next to Maya at the sink, putting a hand on her shoulder. “What’s happening?”

Maya opens her eyes and looks into the mirror, looking at Carina through the mirror. “Don’t tell me to calm down.” She mumbles, feeling silly.

Carina hums. She wraps her arms around Maya’s shoulder and leans in and press a sweet kiss to her cheek. “I’m sorry.” She presses her forehead to Maya’s temple. “I didn’t mean it in a negative way. I just know how you get sometimes.”

Maya sighs and turns into Carina, wrapping her arms around her waist. “I’m just nervous.”

There’s a chuckle from Carina. “Dio mio. He’s just my stupid baby brother.”

Maya smiles and rolls her eyes.

Carina runs her hands down Maya’s arms until she finds her hands on the small of her back. She grabs the wrists and unwraps Maya’s arms from around herself. “Come help me. Take your mind off of it.” She pulls Maya out of the bathroom with her and into the kitchen. She holds out the spoon to Maya. “Stir.”

“I don’t think this is going to help.”

Carina takes Maya’s hand and literally puts the spoon in her grasp and then puts her hand over the pot with the spoon dipping in and stirring. She wraps her body around Maya from behind as they stir the pot together.

“This is ridiculous.” Maya grumbles but secretly she loves it. She loves the feel of Carina pressed up against her. She loves that they are ‘cooking’ together.

Carina tilts her head down and presses a kiss to Maya’s shoulder. And then another to the side of her neck. She feels the involuntary shiver in Maya’s body. She nips a bit at Maya’s skin with her teeth and it pulls a slight moan from Maya. “Ridiculous now?” Carina teases. She knows the effect she can have on Maya and uses that to her advantage to distract her.

There’s a knock on the door and they both turn towards it. “I’ll get it.”

Carina answers the door. Andrew leans against the doorframe with a smirk on his face. He looks into the apartment sees Maya standing a few feet behind Carina. He thinks that’s suitable for what he’s about to say. “Playing house with a firefighter?” He teases. Carina told him all about how she was moving in with Maya and he could see just how happy and excited Carina was.

“Shut up you poop head.” Carina groans.

“Shit head.” Maya says under her breath correcting Carina, but she is utterly confused by what Andrew said.

“Tradition.” He holds out the bottle of wine to his sister. “Even though I can’t drink any. My hope is to get you drunk enough to reveal all sorts of embarrassing stories about yourself.” Andrew wiggles his eyebrows at Maya.

Maya tilts her head to the side.

“Are you going to invite me in? Or should I just stand here in the doorway all evening?” He’s a bit of a smart ass.

Carina rolls her eyes but opens her arms and Andrew steps inside and she wraps him up in a hug. “You look good, fratello.”

“Grazie. I feel good. Maybe for the first time in a few months, I feel good.”

Carina hums, so happy for him. She’s seen him at work, but seeing him now, outside of work with a smile on his face and a little hop in his step, he looks good.

“Okay, next.” He pushes his sister away playfully. “The infamous Captain Bishop.”

Despite herself, Maya blushes. She doesn’t know what it is about these two and their compliments and flirting but it has Maya all frazzled. She can tell they are siblings just from that alone. “I hope you’ve only heard good things.”

“Oh, well, mostly.” Andrew plays around. He holds his arms out and Maya steps into his embrace.

Carina watches with her arms crossed casually over her chest. Andrew winks at her over Maya’s shoulder.

“I did hear about the not so flattering sidestep you took with Jack.”

“Andrea!” Carina nearly yells.

Maya takes a step back, pulling away from Andrew’s hug, she stares down at the floor.

“Hey, we all have our issues and flaws. Just look at me.” Andrew is embracing the fact that he has bipolar. It’s not something that he is ashamed of anymore. He just needs to learn how to stay healthy and live with it now.

“Yeah, but you didn’t cheat on your girlfriend because you were messed up.” Maya still feels guilty about it.

“True. But I didn’t have a girlfriend either, to cheat on. Hey.” He puts a hand on Maya’s shoulder, and it gets her to look up. “I’m not here to berate you or shame you or anything like that. It was meant to be lighthearted. You know, I’ve also heard that you are both past that. And that we are here to celebrate you having moved in together and my improved health.”

Maya nods and gives him a weak smile.

“How about I open this?” He raises the bottle of wine that is still in his hand.

“There’s a corkscrew in the drawer to the right of the sink.” Maya mumbles.

Andrew steps away from her to go find the corkscrew. Carina steps in to replace Andrew. “You okay?” She wraps Maya in her arms.

Maya takes a deep breath. “Yeah.”

“Bene. Ti amo.” Carina kisses her briefly. But it’s never one brief kiss with them, though. It’s one short kiss and then another slower exchange.

Andrew turns around and sees them standing their kissing. “Oh, god. How does this always happen?” He goes off into a long string of Italian sentences that Maya only can pick a few words out of.

For her part, Carina sucks her bottom lip into her mouth to try to suppress her giggles.

He switches back to English and points at Carina. “Did she tell you that I found out that she was in Seattle by walking into the place where I lived and there she was, half naked, making out with Arizona Robbins on the couch?”

Carina scoffs. “My shirt was just unbuttoned.”

“Or about the time at the intern mixer when I was walking down the hall with Robbins and we were talking about me moving out because she had a lot going on with her daughter and-“ He waves his hand at Carina. “And that I was going to move in with Owen and there Owen and Carina were making out in a supply closet.”

Andrew throws his hands in the air. “And now this.”

“Except you don’t live here.” Carina points out.

“Thank god for that.” He rolls his eyes before pouring two glasses of wine.

“Is all of that true?” Maya asks.

“Yes!”

“Don’t listen to him. But those things did happen. It’s not a big deal. Andrea is just weird about sesso.”

“I am not. I’m weird about having to watch my sister have sex.”

“I wasn’t having sex.”

“But you did after I saw you, both times. Yes?”

Carina shrugs. “Well-“ She’s not going to deny it. Carina goes over at takes the wine glasses from the counter and brings one back to Maya.

“So, what’s for dinner?” Andrew switches the subject like he never brought it up in the first place.

“I made risotto.” Carina tells him.

“No pasta?” Andrew asks.

“Sorry, no. Maya says we eat too much pasta, so I thought I’d change it up.”

“I wasn’t complaining.” Maya buts in.

“I know, bambina.” Carina reaches up and puts her palm on back of Maya’s neck, scratching lightly at the skin there with her fingertips.

Andrew hums. Pasta is his favorite, so he’s just a little surprised that Carina didn’t make any sort of pasta dish. But he can see how much pull Maya has on Carina and even the influence on what she makes for their dinner tonight. It’s very evident as they stand there across from him. Maya with her wine glass in her left hand and her other arm around his sister’s waist. He thinks they look good together. “It’s crazy but you guys look perfect together.”

Maya scoffs. “I’m not perfect.”

“Maya.” Carina scolds softly. A whisper.

“But she sure is.” Maya adds.

It’s Andrew’s turn to scoff. He turns his back to them and looks into the pot of risotto. “She’s far from perfect. Trust me. She’s stubborn and has a terrible Italian temperament.” He stirs the dish. “What are we waiting for if this is ready?”

“The bread.”

“You have a nice apartment, Maya.” He says it to get a rise out of Carina.

“Hey, I live here too.” Carina takes offense to that.

“Thank you, Andrew. But it is our apartment now.” She smiles up at Carina and is rewarded with a sweet kiss.

Andrew spins around and leans against the counter. “I do like this though.” He nods at them when they are through with the kiss. “You have my approval.”

Carina rolls her eyes. “I don’t need your approval. Or anyone’s approval. I do what I want, not what other people want.”

“And that is another one of your flaws. Miss Independent, who doesn’t stick to one thing for very long. Whether it’s a place, or a job, or just a research project, or person. It’s always about the next thing and never getting bogged down with one thing. Sometimes life can be great if you just keep it simple.”

“Oh, please. You are the same way. It’s the doctors in us. We are always looking for improvements in our patients lives, in our lives, it’s just in our nature. And don’t try to deny it.”

Maya watches them argue. She wonders about Andrew’s point and if he is correct about his sister.

“If papa were to have another episode, would you go back to Italy and tend to him?” Andrew brings up an interest point.

“No.” Carina hugs an arm around herself. The other still holding her wine glass.

“You say that, but you’ve done it before. What’s stopping you from doing it again?” Andrew challenges.

“Maya.” She says matter-of-factly.

Her eyebrows shoot up at the mention of her name. “What?” Maya was just an innocent bystander in this conversation until now.

“Really?” Andrew asks. “Wow.” He knows that means Carina is serious about this relationship.

“Oh, don’t do that.” Carina sets her wine glass on the counter. “Move.” She shoves Andrew out of the way to get at the stove. She checks on the bread and then stirs the risotto. “I know what you are thinking.” She mumbles to her brother. “But you know what. I am serious. It’s two things mostly.” She rolls her eyes at herself. Carina raise her index finger on her left hand, counting. “I’ve seen what Maya has gone through with her father recently and it made me reassess the relationship that I have with our father. He doesn’t care about me. He berates me to my face. He’s even thrown my specialty in my face. I don’t need that. He’s mean and angry and that is focused on me a lot of the time when I’m with him. So, no, I won’t go back. Someone else will have to help him because I’ve spent enough of my life wasting it on his problems to get nothing in return for it.”

Andrew stands there with his mouth hanging open. He looks from Carina over to Maya who is still standing on the opposite side of the island from them. The bewildered look on Maya’s face is hilarious.

“And-“ Carina raises her middle finger to add to the index finger. “Two, I found something that is worth staying for.” At that, she turns around and holds her hand out towards Maya. “Vieni qua.”

Maya takes a few steps and slips her hand into Carina’s. “More than a research project, more than a job, more than my annoying baby brother.” She looks right into Maya’s eyes.

“Hey.” Andrew doesn’t say it with any real offense though. He smiles at the pair.

“Don’t listen to him. I’m not going anywhere.” Carina makes sure that Maya knows.

“Good cuz I kinda like you.” Maya smiles.

“Only kinda?”

Maya shakes her head. “No, I love you.” She whispers.

“Good cuz I love you too.”

The oven beeps to let them know that the bread is ready.

“Perfect.” Andrew helps himself to getting the bread out while the couple is too busy making heart eyes at each other.

They all sit down to eat. The conversation turns to what is happening at the hospital. Maya listens as they talk in medical terms. She knows some of them but not everything they are talking about. It’s a new interesting thing that she’s found she enjoys. Listening to Carina talk about medical stuff and delivering babies. It might be her new favorite part of the day. Getting to come home or Carina coming home and Carina just telling her about her day at work.

She’s zoned out and hasn’t realized it until there is a hand on her thigh.

“What are you thinking about?” Carina asks her.

Maya hums. “You.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah. I like when you come home from work and tell me about your day at the hospital.”

“A lot happens there sometimes but most days aren’t too exciting.” Andrew tags into the conversation.

“It’s amazing that you bring babies into this world.” Maya praises her girlfriend.

“It’s not that big of a deal.” Andrew mumbles. “Babies are born all the time.”

“You sound like papa, Andrea, stop it.” She glares over at him before turning back to Maya. “You’ve done it too.”

Maya chuckles. “Yeah, but you are far most skilled and prepared for it than I am. I’m just freaking out the whole time.”

“And you call me every time and I talk you through it again. You just have to let it happen. It’s all natural.”

“But what if there’s a problem one time.” Maya has heard about all the possible problems that could arise during childbirth from Carina and now it freaks her out that something could happen the next time she has to help deliver a child on a call.

“You’re a professional. You’ll be fine.” Carina squeezes her thigh. “Eat.” She points her spoon at Maya’s bowl.

Maya rolls her eyes. “I’m not a child.”

“Then eat your dinner.” Carina says playfully. “Or you can’t have any tiramisu for dessert.”

“Next time, Maya you’ll have to make something from your family. Bishop, what is that?”

Maya hums. “I’m not sure. I think I’m part English and maybe German from my father’s side. I don’t know about my mother. She never talked about it.”

Andrew hums. “Well, are there any dishes that your parents made that were special, as a kid?”

“Not really. My father insisted that we eat healthy. Or that I ate healthy. I never had dessert so when Carina moved in and made lasagna and tiramisu all the time, I knew I hit the jackpot.” She jokes.

“Her lasagna is very good. Just like mamma’s.”

“You don’t need to tell me. That’s how she hooked me. She brought lasagna to my office one day when I was working.” Maya smirks over at Carina.

Carina just shakes her head. “It was more than that.” She knows she didn’t win Maya over with just her lasagna.

“But the lasagna.” Maya moans. “Even as a leftover in a Tupperware. It was amazing.”

Andrew chuckles. “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” He points his spoon at Carina. “As they say.”

“As they say.” Carina repeats.

“So, Andrew, what was Carina like as a kid?”

Andrew hums over the question. “Pretty much the same as she is now. Caring and loyal. A bit goofy. A huge nerd. She always had to be learning something new. But she was all gangly long legs and arms. A stick of a thing. Oh, I know, she had this one blanket when she was little that she carried around everywhere. I mean everywhere. Outside, through the dirt, out on the street where we played. In the house, to school for a while. Everywhere. It was so disgusting. I remember the day mamma took it away and threw it in the garbage. Carina went in the garbage that night and got it out and brought it to bed with her. The next morning mamma found it in bed with her and had a fit because it had been in the dirty garbage and here it was in the clean bed with her. Papa came in, and this is the part I remember really, cuz I was so young. He came in and found out what was happening and started yelling. He ripped the blanket out of her hands and went to the kitchen, Carina crying and following after him. He got the box of matches out from the top of the tallest cabinet and lit one and started the blanket on fire. He held it over the sink until the whole thing burned.” Andrew’s voice is softer now at the end. The cute story turning sad.

Carina adds her part. “Carina you have to grow up, you can’t be a silly little baby forever.” She huffs. “That’s what he said to me.”

Andrew gives his sister a sad smile. “Now that I think about it, he was always so hard on you. Even as a kid.”

Carina gives a single nod.

Maya reaches over and takes Carina’s hand in her own. “Only happy stories from now on.”

“Remember when we used to go down to the beach with mamma.” Andrew switches to a happy story.

“You loved the water.” Carina says of Andrew. “I would try to build a sandcastle just about every time we went.” Carina turns slightly in her seat so that she is facing Maya. “And Andrea would splash around in the water for what seemed like hours. And then at some point he would run through and step on and destroy my castle.”

“Silly brother.” Maya says.

“And you would huff and get upset but each time we went you would start on a new sandcastle even though I would always come through and destroy it. It never deterred you from making a new one.”

Carina smiles, a little twinkle of nostalgia in her eyes. “I think the beauty in it was that each castle could be different. Something new every time. There was an excitement in that. Even if silly brothers would eventually ruin it.”

“When I moved and would come back just for summer. We were older and we’d spend half of our time at the beach.”

“Andrea thought he was smooth. He’d always try to pick up girls at the beach. And maybe his Italian worked on the girls in the US but the Italian girls didn’t understand his lack of accent and the unusual way he said some words. It was pretty comical. I don’t think that skinny little boy body that you had was helping either. Maybe you should’ve kept your shirt on.” Carina teases.

“Oh, please. They loved me because I lived in the US. It was intriguing to them. I was like this foreigner, but I knew the county and the language. It was the best of both.”

“If you say so.” Carina saw it entirely differently. “What was that one girl’s name that you had a crush on for the longest time? Gina? Ginger? Something.”

“Oh, I remember her. She didn’t want to have anything to do with me. We would see her every time we were at the beach. She was always hanging around. I would try to talk to her, but she wasn’t really interested, I could tell, but that didn’t stop me. She was so pretty.”

“She was.” Carina agrees.

Andrew shakes his head. “Yeah, that’s the problem. She didn’t want to have anything to do with me. It was you she was interested in. I think she had a crush on you, Carina.”

“She did. She even gave me her phone number.”

“What?” Andrew nearly jumps out of his seat. “And you never told me this.”

“I didn’t want your feelings hurt.” Carina shrugs.

“Oh, boy.” Maya looks between the pair.

“So, what happened?” Andrew calms down a little bit again.

“Oh, you know.” She shrugs again.

“I don’t know. You’ll have to be more specific than that.”

“I don’t know if I should be with your sensitivity to sex.” Carina smiles a little.

“I’m not sensitive to sex- wait you had sex with her.” Andrew throws his hands in the air. “You can’t remember her name, but you slept with her.”

“Yeah. I guess.”

“What do you mean you guess?” Andrew is all riled up about this.

Carina grimaces. “It wasn’t very good.”

They all laugh.

“We were young and had no idea what to do. I don’t think either of us had been physical with a woman before. It is what it is.” Carina shrugs it off.

“Wow.” Andrew sits there, stunned.

“Wow.” Maya mumbles along with him.

Andrew shakes his head. “I can’t believe it.”

“That your crush was interested in me?”

“Exactly.”

“I told you it was that skinny little body and your weird accent. Not appealing. I, on the other hand-“ Carina looks down at her body, motioning over it with her hand.

“Yeah, we get it, you’re hot.”

“I agree with Andrew.” Maya smirks. “You’re hot.”

Carina leans in and presses her lips to Maya’s. “I’ll get dessert.” She pushes herself up from her chair.

Carina goes to the kitchen. She can feel both of their eyes on her as she moves about. She thinks this is going well with Andrew which she is happy about. Carina knows it could be a total disaster. And she knows it sort of started out that way, but he’s redeemed himself.

“What about you, Maya? Any annoying siblings?”

“I don’t know if he’s annoying, but I have a brother. A younger brother. But I haven’t been in contact with him for a while now.” Maya hangs her head.

“Oh, sorry to hear that.” Andrew leans back in his chair. “Two older sisters with younger brothers.” He smirks. “I’d like to meet him one day. If you ever do get in contact with him, that is. We could bond about our annoying older sisters.”

That gets a little smile from Maya. “Sure.” She mumbles.

Carina comes back with two plates, placing one in front of Maya and then Andrew. “Well, try it. Tell me how it is.”

They both dig into their dessert and take a bite. Carina gets twin moans in reply from them. She laughs and goes back for her own plate. She sits next to Maya again and they eat in relative silence.

“What are your plans for the rest of the evening?” Carina asks her brother.

“Nothing much.”

“We were just going to watch a movie.” Carina tells him.

“Sunday night is movie night.” Maya adds.

“If we are both home. Sometimes with Maya’s weird schedule she’s not home on Sunday nights.”

“Three out of every four Sunday’s I’m home. I told you that.” Maya has tried to explain her schedule to Carina on more than one occasion, but it hasn’t stuck yet. She’s thinking of just getting a calendar and writing it all down for her. Then Carina won’t have to ask what shift she’s working every day. It’s not really that complicated once you get it down. But then again, she enjoys that Carina asks what her schedule is every day. It makes her feel cared for and important enough that Carina wants to know.

“Yes, but I don’t know which Sunday’s those are.”

Maya rolls her eyes playfully. “You can join us for movie night if you’d like Andrew.”

“Oh, no thanks.” He holds his hands up in front of him, palms out. “I wouldn’t want to interrupt that. Nothing like being a third wheel on date night.”

“It’s not a date.” Maya says. “We are just sitting on the couch watching a movie.”

“Sounds like a date night to me.” Andrew smirks.

Maya thinks about it. It never dawned on her that that is what their movie nights are. “Oh.” She mumbles.

Carina laughs at her side. “You are so clueless sometimes. How is that possible?”

“It just- I never thought that’s what is was. Especially since you moved in. It’s just something we did. Do. I don’t know. Wow. I’m so terrible at this relationship stuff sometimes. It’s just that it doesn’t feel like a date. There’s no pressure or anything. It’s just you and me hanging out.”

“It is.”

“It’s just so easy.”

“I know.” Carina can see the wheels turning in Maya’s head. “Don’t overthink it, bambina.” She presses a kiss to Maya’s temple.

“You guys are disgusting.” Andrew pushes out his chair. “I mean that in the best way possible. Like, disgustingly cute. And I think that is my cue to make my exit. We need to do this again sometime. And Maya, I was serious. You need to cook something next time. You better not be making my sister do all the cooking for you.”

“I don’t.”

“She doesn’t.”

“Good.” He seems satisfied with that answer. Andrew has only heard Maya talk about how Carina cooks and how great it is. No one has said anything about Maya cooking. “Cuz every great romance should be a shared experience. A give and take. I shared back and forth. Not all the responsibility falling on one person.”

“Andrea.” Carina sighs.

“What?” He shrugs.

“Are all you Italians romantics?” Maya chuckles.

“Si.” Carina and Andrew say at the same time.

They all laugh.

“I’ll leave you to your movie night. Thank you for inviting me to dinner. I had a lovely time and I’m glad we were able to do this.” He means on a bigger level than just them getting together for a meal. He knows a few weeks ago this wouldn’t have been possible. He is thankful for his improved mental state.

Maya stands from her seat. So does Carina. “It was nice to properly meet you, Andrew.” Maya reaches out to shakes his hand.

Andrew takes Maya’s hand but instead of shaking it her pulls her into a hug. “Us Italians, you’ll learn, are big huggers.” He whispers in her ear. “Take good care of my sister.”

Carina can hear what he says as she’s standing right next to them. She rolls her eyes. She wants to remind him that she can take care of herself. But that’s not really the point.

“I will.” Maya promises.

They release from their hug. Andrew points a finger at Carina. “I’ll see you at the hospital.”

Carina nods and gives him a brief side hug. “Goodnight, Andrea.” She waves him out the door. Before she even can shut the door and turn around, she hears a sigh come from Maya. “What?” Carina spins around.

“That went well.” Maya is relieved.

“I told you.” Carina chuckles.

“I know- I just-“

Carina steps up to her and wraps her arms around Maya. “You were nervous. I know.” She gives Maya a sweet kiss. “Now what movie are we watching for date night.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “I’m not going to live that down, am I?”

Carina shakes her head. “Not for a while.”

“I’ll clean up from dinner. You go change and pick a movie. Nothing scary though.”

“Sounds perfetto.”

Chapter Text

“So, I heard you moved in with firefighter Barbie. How’s that going?” Amelia asks from the other side of the circular table. They are having a socially distanced lunch, trying to catch up a little since Amelia has been on maternity leave.

Carina nods. “There have been a few bumps in the street, but I think, good overall.” She stabs at her salad with her fork.

“How’s the sex? Still good? Cuz now the dynamic has changed. It hasn’t messed that up, has it?” Amelia is always asking about people’s sex lives; she can’t help it.

“It’s good.” Carina smiles at her food, thinking about the other day when Maya came home from work in the morning.

“Just good?”

“Well.” Carina shrugs. “There hasn’t been much time for that lately.”

“Fuck Covid.” Amelia grumbles.

“Right.” Carina points her fork at herself. “Either I’m working longer or more shifts or Maya just isn’t home because she’s on her regular schedule. But I’m glad that we moved in together because I don’t think I would have survived if I kept isolating by myself. Going home to an empty apartment every day after being at the hospital all day dealing with this mess of a disease. Humans aren’t meant to be alone. It isn’t just Maya. It’s not being able to see friends or Andrew or go anywhere. I got so lonely. I didn’t realize how much I needed people and human contact. I’m glad I have Maya. She’s so amazing.”

“She’s a bit of an enigma to me. I haven’t figured her out yet.” Amelia thinks there something very mysterious about Maya. Maybe it’s her closed off nature when she doesn’t know someone, but it makes her mysterious and sexy.

“You just don’t know her well yet. You should come over sometime. Not anytime soon, of course. Once Covid calms down or when there’s vaccinations. And bring baby Scout with you. Link can come too if he wants.” Carina invites the whole family. She obviously hasn’t talked to Maya about inviting them over; but Maya was all for inviting Andrew over so what’s to say Carina can’t invite some of her friends over too. She really is at ease with living with Maya now. It took a few weeks. So comfortable now though. So welcomed and at home. That word keeps finding a way to repeat itself in her head and it feels good.

Amelia grins. “I’ll take you up on the offer sometime. I don’t know if Link would want to come though. But maybe if I tell him more about Maya he might be intrigued.” Carina raises an eyebrow at that. “He knows us. Thinks we’re boring. Getting to know someone new would be exciting to him. He’s like a social butterfly sometimes, it’s weird.”

Carina nods. She can see that in him. “What’s the rest of your day look like?”

“I have to check in on Meredith. Other than that, whatever comes in. I’m just getting back into the swing of things. I’ve never spent so much time at home. I was hoping to be back to work sooner but then everything happened with Meredith and her Covid. I’ve been looking after the kids mostly. It’s exhausting. I’m secretly hoping I get some good cases today. Something to boost my serotonin levels. Something that gets me back in the mood.”

Carina hums. She doesn’t know how she would handle a house full of kids in the middle of a pandemic. She applauds Amelia for what she is doing. “I hope your day is good then. I just hope I don’t have anyone that dies. I can’t handle that shit.”

“I would imagine not. That probably doesn’t make the happy baby doctor very happy.” Amelia grins.

Carina points at herself. “Not a baby doctor.”

Amelia waves a hand at Carina. “You know what I mean.”

Carina chuckles. She does.


Carina has been working all night. The hospital basically having all hands on deck as Seattle Pres was at capacity and sending their patients over to Grey-Sloan. It’s not the shift she envisioned but thankfully no one has died on her watch.

She comes outside in the morning, the sun slowly rising in the sky. It seems like it could be a beautiful day. Too bad she plans to go home and sleep and isn’t able to enjoy the day. Carina is walking to her car when she spots her brother.

He walks towards her, a bit frantic, as he tries to trail Opal without her spotting him. He fills Carina in on what’s going on. She agrees, reluctantly, to help him.

They rush over to Carina’s car. Andrew throws his bike helmet in the back seat and hops in the front seat. “Go. Go. Go.” He buckles in and leans forward in his seat.

Carina throws the car in reverse, backing out of her parking space before putting it into drive and pulling away. They follow Opal’s car at a good distance.

“Don’t get too close.” Andrew warns.

“I won’t.”

“But don’t loose her, hurry up.” He waves his hand as Opal turns a corner in front of them.

She glances over at her brother, annoyed with his contradictory remarks, her eyes returning to the road after a second.


The phone rings and rings and rings. Carina had texted her to tell her she was going to be stuck at the hospital all night but that she thought she would be done come morning. Maya thinks, as the call goes to voicemail, that Carina has probably gone home to sleep and that’s why she’s not answering her phone.

She rambles on the voicemail. She knows she’s doing it. Maya just wanted to talk to Carina. To hear her voice. For her to say ‘you’ve got this.’ Her confidence in her decision making is shaken after yesterday and last night. Maya wonders if she should have let Dean go into that house and not wait for the police to arrive. And then when they did arrive, they didn’t do anything to help. So, she’s a little rattled.

Carina sees the phone light up out of the corner of her eye. It’s on silent. She focuses back on the road and the car that they are tailing.

Maya groans as the voicemail cuts her off. Yesterday didn’t end well and today isn’t starting off very well either. She tries to focus on the task at hand, getting everything ready for the inspection. It annoys her that Sullivan had to remind her that it was today. It makes her seem like she doesn’t know what is going on. She knew the inspection was today but with everything going on and having to spend the night at the police station trying to get two of her firefighters released from jail, it slipped her mind. And Sullivan being the one with the remind makes it worse because he was the one locked up. Maya wonders if, because he didn’t have anything else to do but sit there, that he was hyper focused on the inspection.

She clenches her jaw and gets out of the chair. Her anxiety is bubbling just below the surface. She knows that next unnecessary or bad thing to happen today is going to make it skyrocket.

Maya start worrying about the inspection. There’s so much they need to get ready before the battalion chief shows up. She makes a mental checklist.

Andrew and Carina call Maya asking her to get the police involved. That anxiety, it’s skyrocketed, it sets everything in Maya body on high alert.

Maya works her magic and calls Carina back and says that the police are coming. But Carina hangs up on her when Opal gets out of her car at the transit station. Maya panics and tries to call Carina back, but it goes to voicemail.

“Damn it.” Maya slams the phone down. She clenches her fists. Andrew is a good man. She just wishes he didn’t have to have a hero complex on the day that she’s got inspections. How is she supposed to focus on that when Andrew and Carina could be walking into a dangerous situation?

Carina for her part remains calm, she knows they shouldn’t be doing this. She knows it could be dangerous. She grabs her phone and keys and gets out of the car to follow Andrea. She just hopes that the police can help when they get here.

Maya can’t leave the station though. She paces her office trying to think of anything that she can do to help them from where she is. She’s already sent Warren and Gibson. The police are on their way as well. There’s not much more she can do.

Maya goes into her bunk and puts her dress uniform on.

It’s on and she’s dressed, and she looks in the mirror. It’s wrong. It looks wrong right now. Maya tugs at the tight collar, the tie. It’s all wrong. Maya goes back into her office and logs out of her computer and straightens up her paperwork.

Andy walks in. Maya takes her uniform jacket off. The decision to leave has been made.

Andy talks about inspection day, but Maya isn’t focused on that anymore. She tells Andy she has to go. She gives her reasons and she’s fine if that means it’s her last day as captain. She’s going to follow her gut, do what’s right. She didn’t do that yesterday with those girls and look what happened. She didn’t help those girls then, but she can help them now.

She puts on her boots, ties them, up and leaves Andy in charge. She grabs the keys to the station truck and hurries off to the train station.

Carina sees him lying there. She doesn’t believe it’s him at first. But the closer she gets the more it sinks in that it is in fact her brother lying on the hard floor of the train station. She has no idea what’s wrong or why he’s lying there. Things aren’t adding up.

What her eyes see when she finds them it not what she wanted to see. Maya blinks rapidly as she wraps her arms around Carina, pulling her back away from Andrew so Warren and Gibson can work on him, get him onto the gurney and on the way to the hospital.

They hurry behind the gurney as Ben and Jack quickly get Andrew out of the building. Everything a confusing swirl.

Maya briefly wonders how this can be happening. They get into the back of the ambulance. It’s been a long time since she’s been in the back of an ambulance. Maya looks around, getting her bearings before assisting Ben in treating Andrew.

It’s hard to watch as Andrew lays on the bed in the hospital groaning in pain. It’s harder to watch Carina and see her fear and panic. Maya holds onto her, tight, trying to keep them both grounded.

It seems like it was just yesterday that they had Andrew over for dinner. And that they were telling stories and laughing and eating. That wasn’t that long ago and now here he is laying on a hospital bed with an abdominal stab wound.

Carina begs to go with them. Maya holds her back as Andrew and Owen tell her no. They go in the hall and watch as Andrew is taken away.

Maya looks around as Carina starts crying harder. She needs to get them out of the hallway. “Is there somewhere we can go?”

Carina doesn’t answer her. She feels herself shutting down though. She hears the question but can’t come up with a response even though it’s a simple question.

“Okay.” Maya wraps her arm around Carina’s back. “Come on.”

Carina goes with her, out of her own control, she’s glad that Maya is there to guide her. If she weren’t Carina would probably just collapse on the floor and crumple into a little ball. This pain and uncertainty are unbearable.

She doesn’t know how but she is sitting on the couch in her office. Maya is kneeling in front of her, taking her shoes off.

Maya runs her hands up the outside of Carina’s calves until she reaches her knees. “Is it okay if I look for some different clothes in your-“ Maya points over to the little standalone cabinet in the corner of the room that she knows Carina keeps a few spare changes of clothes in. Things happen in a hospital and bodily fluids sometimes get on clothes. It’s good to have a few options.

Carina nods. The tears have stopped. She thinks she might be done with them for now. Maybe it’s just the shock. She watches Maya move about the room, gathering things before coming back to stand in front of her.

“You don’t have any comfort clothes here.” Maya chuckles trying to lighten the mood.

“I’m a professional.” Her voice coarse, stiff.

Maya nods. “I know. How about jeans and this loose blouse?” Maya holds them out. “Maybe we can find a sweatshirt somewhere. I think that would be more comfortable.”

Carina stands up on shaky legs.

“Woah.” Maya grabs her by the elbow. “You okay?”

Carina nods and unbuttons her pants and slips them down her legs. Maya holds up the jeans and Carina slides them up her legs. She takes her coat off. Maya holds her arm out and Carina lays it over Maya’s arm.

Maya takes the coat over to the coat rack and hangs it up as Carina changes her shirt. She comes back over and sees Carina looking down at her feet. “There’s sneakers under the left side of my desk.”

Maya goes to retrieve them. “Sit.” She brings them back over and has Carina sit down on the couch again. “Where can we find you a hospital sweatshirt or something?” Maya knows there must be some somewhere. They have Station 19 t-shirts and sweatshirts in the storage room at the station.

Carina hums as she watches Maya put her shoes on. She feels like she could do that herself but lets Maya do it anyway. She’s feeling a bit better. Things aren’t as chaotic in here as they were downstairs in the ER. She’s still worried about Andrea but she knows Owen will do everything he can to treat him and make him all better.

“Carina?” Maya sits up in her kneeled position a little when she doesn’t get a response from the doctor.

“Your shirt, bella.” Carina reaches out at the red spot on the left breast of Maya white dress shirt.

Maya looks down and shrugs.

Carina doesn’t know when Maya took off the gown or gloves or googles that she was wearing downstairs. It must have been between then and now though.

“It’s just a shirt.” Maya mumbles. That’s not what she’s worried about right now. She looks down and finishes tying Carina’s shoes.

“Did I do that?” Carina wonders out loud.

“Probably.” Maya doesn’t really know. She thinks its probably a smudged handprint of Carina’s. A lot happened so fast. She gets up and sits on the couch next to Carina. She folds Carina’s clothes and stacks them neatly on the arm of the couch. They can stay in her office for now. “Now, about a sweatshirt.”

“There’s some in the storage room on the first floor.”

“Perfect.” Maya hops to her feet. She holds out Carina’s phone that she took from her coat pocket and her mask for her to take. “Lead the way.” Maya opens the door and waits for Carina to exit first. She hurries out after her and finds her hand, taking it.

They go down and get a sweatshirt and Carina throws it on over the shirt she is wearing and zips it up, putting her phone in the front pocket. “I need an update.” Maya just nods and follows Carina through the hospital.

They go to the surgery board and see that Andrew is in surgery. Carina has the urge to go and watch. To go sit up in the gallery and watch as they work on her brother. She looks down the hallway in the direction that the gallery is.

But Maya tugs on her hand. “Come on.”

“Where are we going?” Carina asks.

Maya doesn’t say anything. She’s never been a religious person. She wasn’t raised in a particular religion. Maya remembers her mother going to church when they were little, but they never went with her. She remembers her father yelling at her mother before she would leave the house to go to church. She remembers her mother stopped going at one point. Probably because she didn’t want to get yelled at about it anymore. Maya wonders if her father really prevented her mother from participating in the religion that she practiced.

They get to the chapel doors and Maya pushes the right door open. She doesn’t know what religion Carina was raised with. Italians are Catholic, right? So maybe this is the right place for them to be right now while they wait on news of Andrew’s surgery.

Maya feels her phone buzz in her pocket. They walk to the front of the chapel. There’s no one else in the room. Maya doesn’t know if that’s good or bad. Good, she thinks, no one else’s family members are dying.

Dying.

Is Andrew dying? Is it that bad? Maya isn’t sure. She could asks Carina. She knows Carina knows. Maya doesn’t know all the medical terminology and how bad the condition is to know if what happened to Andrew is critical or not.

A second buzz pulls Maya from her thoughts. She pulls her phone from her pocket as Carina goes over to the stand with all the candles on it.

Maya reads the message and sends out a reply.

Carina lights a match and lights a candle for Andrea with shaky hands, saying a little prayer that he’ll be okay before shaking the match out. Which was a dumb move know that she thinks about it. She wants to light a candle for her mother too. She’s not really thinking though. She gets another match and tries to light it, but the match won’t light.

“Warren got called to a four alarm downtown.”

Maya’s words float into her brain. Carina strikes the match against the box. Why won’t it light?

“Do you have to go?” She breathes out shakily. She’s ready for Maya to leave. Carina thinks maybe Maya would rather go back to work than deal with all of this hospital stuff. It’s not really Maya’s cup of tea. Maybe it’ll be better that way. Carina can take care of Andrea herself. She’s been doing it her entire life. Why would today be any different?

“Carina. I’m not going anywhere.” Maya watches Carina strike the match aggressively against the box. “Hey. Hey.” Maya wraps her hand around Carina’s wrist. She takes the match from her hand before something happens. They don’t need to start any unnecessary fires in the chapel. Let the firefighter light the match. She strikes the match on the box lighting it and then lighting a candle.

Carina starts talking about her mom as soon as Maya touches the flame to the wick.

Maya listens intently, watching Carina’s face the entire time she’s talking, seeing her eyes light up at the memory of her mother and of her and Andrew when they were little. They sit and Maya smiles at the cute memory with Carina.

“Two parts of one whole.” And then Carina is crying again.

Maya rubs her hand up and down Carina’s thigh, hoping to comfort her but she isn’t sure if it’s working. Maya doesn’t know what to say. She doesn’t know if Andrew is going to be alright. She doesn’t want to make false promises.

They sit there for a long time. Carina tells more stories about Andrew from when they were little kids. That seems to be the place Carina is stuck in. Those memories seem to be the purest. They seem to be what Carina remembers most fondly of her years with Andrew. Maya knows it’s because they were split up for much of their lives after that. It’s nice to hear about Carina and Andrew’s childhood memories. Maya wishes the circumstances were different when she got to hear about them though.

Carina feels tired. It’s been a long exhausting day. She lays her head on Maya’s shoulder. “Is it okay if we just sit here in silence?” Carina doesn’t want it to be weird.

Maya squeezes her thigh. “Whatever you want.” She whispers and rest her head on top of Carina’s.

“Grazie.” She stuffs her hands into her sweatshirt pocket and tries to think positive thoughts. Things to help her stay positive and to let the universe know that she is positive and that she’s not giving up on Andrea. She knows he is a fighter and that he’s fought through so much already he can get through this too.

Teddy and Owen come in to say that Andrew pulled through surgery.

“He’ll be okay.” Maya whispers, still holding onto Carina. She rocks them back and forth.

“I hope you’re right. I’m so scared right now.”

“I know you are. I know.” Maya leans back, her hips still pressed to Carina’s but her shoulder pulled back so she can look at the sad beauty in her arms. Maya reaches up and pulls Carina’s mask down so that it sits on her chin. She wipes the tears from her cheeks.

“Devo vederlo. Andrea.” Carina sniffles. “I have to see him.”

“Okay, we’ll go. Or do you want to go by yourself?” Maya second guesses herself. She’s not sure what the correct action is here. She wants Carina to do what she wants but she also doesn’t want her to be alone or in need of anything right now. It’s not a situation Maya has ever found herself in before.

“You come with me.” Carina mumbles and turns away from Maya to leave to chapel.

Maya grabs her hand just before Carina can get out of her reach. She squeezes Carina’s hand. Carina looks down at their hands and then up to Maya’s face. Maya gives her a soft sympathetic smile. “Pull your mask up.” She whispers.

Carina smiles in thanks, pulls her mask up, and leads Maya out of the chapel.

Her heart pounds loudly in her chest as the walk the halls of the hospital. Carina doesn’t know what room he’s in but knows where he’ll be. It’s only a handful of rooms that he could be in. They get to the area and her palms are sweaty, her stomach gurgles, the anxiety present in every tense muscle of her body. The only thing keeping Carina still, present, grounded is Maya’s hand in hers.

Owen is standing there with a nurse. He leads them to the room. He starts talking but Carina can’t really focus on his words as she sees her brother lying in the hospital bed. She goes to his side and takes his hand in hers. She smiles through her tears. Her brother is alive. He’s safe. He’s here.

She tells him that they arrested Opal and the man who stabbed him and that because of his actions many children will be saved. She scolds him but is just happy to see his eyes open.

They sit together for a few minutes before Andrew gets sleepy.

Carina tells him it’s okay to have a rest. She sits there after he falls asleep, still holding his hand.

“He has the best sister.” Owen says at Maya’s side.

Maya jumps a little. She forgot that she was in a hospital. Or that Owen was standing at her side.

She had just been standing in the hallway. Letting Carina go in and see her brother by herself. Maya doesn’t need to be in there. She’ll give them time and then maybe go in later to sit with them. So, she stays silent in the hall.

Maya glances over at him. Looking him up and down. Her eyes come to rest on his forehead, just above his eyes when she speaks. “He does.”

Owen smiles his half smile. A little lift of one side of his lips.

Maya looks up at his hairline. The orange-red patch of hair that sticks up on the top of his head. She wrinkles her brow together before turning away from him and looking back through the window and Andrew and Carina.

It’s weird. Standing here next to Owen. She’s grateful for him and everything he’s done to get Andrew to where he is right now, but there’s a little bug in the back of her brain that screams “Carina slept with this man” and she can’t quite put it out of focus right now. She’s not threatened by him but it’s still awkward. She has no idea if Owen even knows who she is or her relationship to Carina and Andrew. She doesn’t have anything else to focus on at the moment so that’s the thing that sticks with her as she watches Carina and Andrew.

Carina comes out into the hallway after about fifteen minutes. She yawns. “Let’s go get a coffee.” She holds her hand out for Maya to take. It’s been a long day. It’s dark outside when they exit the hospital. The little coffee cart is closed so the go down the street to the nearest café.

“Go sit. I’ll order.” Maya tells her and presses a kiss to Carina’s cheek.

Carina thinks about her day. Well, today and yesterday. And how she was up all night last night because the hospital was crazy busy with all the extra patients coming in from Seattle Pres. And tonight looks like it might be another sleepless night.

Maya comes over with the coffee.

“Thank you, bambina.” Carina wraps her hands around the warm mug as Maya sits across from her.

“How are you doing?” It seems like the obvious question.

Carina hums. “I feel like all my nerves are fried. Everything is sensitive. Any touch, smell, taste has a sensation of too much.”

Maya nods. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Carina smiles sadly. “Maya, you just being here helps tremendously.”

“Good.” Maya nods. “Good.” She takes a sip of her coffee. “I’m guessing you want to go back to the hospital after this.” Carina nods. “Okay, that’s fine. I can bring you back and then maybe, if it’s okay, I’ll go home and change my clothes.” She looks down at her blood stained shirt, her tie, the jacket.

“That’s fine. Will you stay there or come back?”

“What do you want?”

Carina wants Maya by her side. It’s selfish. She knows Maya needs to sleep. She knows Maya has a job to go to in the morning. But she can’t help it right now. “Come back to the hospital. I’ll have them set up a cot in Andrea’s room for you to sleep on.”

Maya nods. She’s not worried about sleep right now. She’s worried about Carina. She’s worried about Andrew. She can get sleep some other time. Maya is used to being up all night and pushing through the lack of sleep the next day. She’s already thinking about calling into work and having Andy take over for her again tomorrow. Maya looks down at the time on her phone. 10:24pm

“I’ll be right back.” Maya goes over to the counter and orders two croissants and two muffins. They need to eat something. Maya isn’t hungry and she knows Carina won’t be either, but she knows they need these at some point. She gets them to go and the café worker puts the pastries in a paper bag for her. “Grazie.” Maya says to the woman without thinking about it. She turns away from her, stops and looks back. “Thanks.” She says in English.

Maya shakes her head. She thinks it’s just the long, exhausting day that has her doing that.

She comes back over to the table and sits down.

“What’s that?”

“Food.” Maya reaches up and loosens the tie around her neck and unbuttons the top button of her dress shirt. “I just thanked that woman in Italian.”

Carina grins, proud.

They finished their coffee before heading back to the hospital. Ready to go back to Andrew’s room, and then Maya to go home and change and come back. But all of that changes when they get back to the room and it’s empty.

Carina tries not to panic and go to worst case scenarios. She goes to the nurse’s station. “Did they take Andrea for another CT or something?”

The nurse looks up at her and Carina can see the fear in her eyes.

“No.” Carina shakes her head.

Maya wraps her arms around Carina.

“They had to take him back to the OR.” The nurse explains.

Carina’s knees buckles. “I shouldn’t have left.”

Maya guides her over to the chair in Andrew’s room. “You didn’t know what would happen.” She reminds Carina. She knows logically Carina must know this.

“No, but I shouldn’t have left.”

Chapter Text

They sit in his room for what feels like hours but is only really half an hour. Carina has her head resting on Maya’s shoulder. Maya with a protective arm around Carina. Maya sees them standing out in the hallway before Carina is aware that Teddy and Owen are even in their presence. Maya tries to lock eyes with Teddy but Teddy is just standing there, a vacant look on her face. Maya shifts her gaze over to Owen. He shakes his head at Maya.

Maya inhales deeply trying to stave off the impending dread as Teddy and Owen step into the room.

Carina hops to her feet anxious to hear about her brother. “How is he?” She worries her hands together in front of her. Before either one of them speaks she feels Maya’s arms come around her waist from behind.

“I’m sorry, Carina-“ Teddy starts.

“There was too much bleeding. His heart stopped and we tried for forty minutes. He’s gone.” Owen delivers the blow.

Maya is lucky she is strong because Carina turns to dead weight in her arms. The sob that comes from Carina is heartbreaking to hear. Truly heart wrenching.

Tears prick in Maya’s eyes as it hits her too. She hardly knew Andrew but she’s still sad about his death. “Let’s sit down.” She guides Carina back to the chairs, she doesn’t know how much longer she can hold Carina upright.

“When you’re ready, if you want, you can see him, say goodbye.” Owen says.

“Okay, thanks. I think we’ll need some time.” Maya tells him as she gets Carina to sit down.

“I’ll be out here when you’re ready.”

They sit for a while. Carina cries. She doesn’t say anything, just cries. Maya doesn’t know what to say. Eventually she asks Carina if she wants to go see Andrew. Carina nods for Maya.

“Now or do you want to wait a little longer? Get your feet under you a little better.” She’s worried Carina will just collapse on their walk to the OR.

Carina makes it there with a steadying arm from Maya around her waist. Owen lets them in.

“It’s going to be a shock to see him. They cleaned the blood from his face.” Owen folds the white sheet down to reveal Andrew’s face. He then nods at Maya and leaves the room to go stand outside to give them some privacy.

Two stools have been set out for them to sit on. Maya takes the stool further down Andrew’s body with Carina sitting on the one near his head.

Carina leans down and presses her lips to Andrew’s forehead. She doesn’t know what to think or say really. She runs her hand through his hair repeatedly.

Maya sits there with a hand on Carina’s back.

Carina leans down and sort of lays on the bed. Her arm on the bed above Andrew’s head, her head on her own arm. She starts singing in Italian to him. She sings and cries.

Maya tries to keep it together. She does a pretty good job until Carina starts singing. She tries sniffling to prevent from crying but it’s no use. She’s not sure if she’s crying because of Andrew’s death or because of how sad and broken Carina looks and sounds.

“I want to have him cremated.” Carina’s raspy voice breaks the silence that has occupied the room since the singing stopped some time ago.

“Okay.”

Carina sits up. She glances over at Maya for the first time since they’ve been in this room. “I want to take him back to Italy with me.”

This sentence alarms Maya.

They are in the middle of a pandemic, for one. Two, Carina is thinking about going back to Italy. After she said she wasn’t going anywhere. The reason she came to Seattle was because of Andrew. Maybe now that he’s gone, all that changes. There’s no reason to stick around. Maya resigns herself to that being a real possibility. “Okay.” She’ll support Carina in whatever way possible.

“We can’t have a funeral here.”

Maya thinks it’s because Carina will have one when they get back to Italy.

“He didn’t deserve this.” Carina breaks out into tears again.

“Shhh.” Maya rubs her back. “No, he didn’t.”

“What are we going to do?” Carina asks through a sniffle.

“I don’t know.” And Maya doesn’t. She has no idea. “I’ll give you some space.” She stands up. “Let you say goodbye.” She turns to leave the room.

Maya only makes it one step before she hears a very stern voice. “Don’t you dare leave this room.” Maya looks over her shoulder at Carina. And even in her cloudy, tear filled eyes she can the desperation, the need, there.

“Okay, I won’t leave.” Maya sits back down.

“You need to say goodbye too.” Carina tells her gentler, softer.

Maya hums. She thinks about it. She never really got to know Andrew that well, but she liked him. He was generally a good guy, from what Maya could understand. He was much like his sister in the fact that he had a need to help others. That need ultimately cost him his life.

“I didn’t get the opportunity to get to know you as much as any of us probably would have liked, but I’ll miss the opportunity to hear more stories about Carina from you. About you teasing her. Or the ability to hang out and just kick back and relax on a Sunday afternoon or something. I understand that you needed to help. And that was honorable and brave but maybe you should have sat that one out and let the cops handle it. I had a bad feeling and well-“ Maya sighs. She doesn’t know if this is helping any of them. She reaches out and puts a hand over the sheet that covers his torso. “I know you and Carina have a special bond. I know that is broken now. And I have a feeling it’s going to be difficult moving forward. But life goes on. And I want to make a promise to you right now-“ She looks over at Carina. Carina is just watching her with tears streaming down her face as Maya speaks. “I promise to always look after your sister. I promise to do whatever is in my power to make sure she is safe. I promise to try to be what she needs. I promise to love her with everything that I’ve got.”

“Maya.” Carina reaches over and wraps her arms around Maya’s waist, shoving her face into her stomach.

Maya’s hand moves from Andrew’s body to Carina’s shoulder. She holds Carina’s head to her stomach with her other hand. “It’s okay.” Maya whispers.

“No, it’s not.” Carina cries.

“I know. It’s not.” Maya sighs. She’s at a loss for words. She doesn’t know what to say or do to make it better.

Carina pulls herself together after a few minutes. Just enough so she can say some things. “Andrea, you have always been my baby brother.” She speaks in English so Maya can understand. “You will always be my baby brother. This doesn’t change that. I shouldn’t have let you follow that woman. I should have stopped you.” Carina takes a shaky breath. Her not doing something to stop Andrea might always be one of her biggest regrets. She already knows that. “It’s like Maya said. You should have let the cops handle it. But you needed to help. And maybe it is a family curse. But I understand it. I just wish the outcome were different. I’m going to miss you and I’m going to miss teasing you about stuff. I’m sad that this is where it ends, your life. There are so many things you didn’t get to experience yet. So, it’s not fair. Try not to worry too much about me. I’ll be okay.” She looks over at Maya. She’s not sure if she should say anything else. What else is there to say? Carina could say a thousand things and it still wouldn’t be enough.

Maya shrugs. She doesn’t know what Carina wants her to do.

“Goodbye, my brother.” Carina places a soft kiss to his forehead. She stands up and gets one final look at his face. She reaches out and finds Maya’s hand. Carina takes a deep breath. “Okay, let’s go.”

They go out into the hallway and Owen is still standing there. “We can get someone from the funeral home to come and speak with you.”

“It’s the middle of the night.” Maya reminds them.

“We can wait til morning to make any decisions then.” Owen offers. The hospital can keep the body until the funeral home has a chance to speak with Carina about what she wants to do.

“Thanks, Owen.” Carina mumbles.

“Is there anything else that we need to do?” Maya wants to take Carina home.

“No.” He shakes his head. “Not right now. As far as the hospital is concerned you just need to speak to the funeral home so we can release the body to them.”

“Got it.” Maya gives him a tight-lipped smile. “Let’s go home.” She starts guiding Carina to the exit.


They get home and Maya changes and gets ready for bed. She’s not sure how much sleep she’s going to get though. She’s more worried about Carina than anything. Carina is just sitting there on the edge of the bed.

“Hey, why don’t you get ready for bed.” Maya sits next to her.

“I don’t think I could sleep if I wanted to.”

“Okay, but at least get ready. And try. Maybe just lay down. You don’t know, maybe you’ll fall asleep.”

Carina nods. She gets up and goes to the bathroom and washes her face. She feels like a zombie. Numb. Like there’s nothing inside. Like she’s just a shell. She comes back to the bedroom and changes out of her clothes and into a t-shirt and pajama pants.

She’s not sure where Maya went. Probably out in the kitchen. Carina gets into bed and lays under the covers staring up at the ceiling. It’s not uncomfortable but lying in bed feels wrong somehow. She had the same feeling when she found out that Maya cheated on her. Like the bed was too comfortable for the horrible way that she was feeling.

Maya comes back and turns the light out. She gets into bed and snuggles up at Carina’s side. “Close your eyes. Try to get some rest.”

“I can’t. I just see his face.”

Maya doesn’t say anything. She just rubs her hand up and down Carina’s arm.


Maya fell asleep at some point. She wakes up and rubs her eyes. Carina isn’t in bed. Maya stretches and sits up and looks around the room. No sign of her. She gets dressed thinking maybe Carina went to sleep on the couch. Or just lay on the couch as to not disturb Maya in her sleep. She exits the bedroom and there she sees her. Laying on the floor in the kitchen. She stops and looks at Carina for a moment before continuing down the hall.

Maya’s got a list in her head of the things that she needs to do today. Or things that Carina needs to do. Life moves on. And Maya is great at making lists and checking things off the list. So she focuses on that.

They have to talk to the funeral home director. They have to pick up Carina’s car from the transit station. Carina has to decide if she wants to have funeral or not. Maya knows she said she wanted to take Andrew back to Italy with her but she’s not sure what that means exactly. Her brain jumped to Carina up and leaving and taking Andrew to Italy and never returning. But thinking on it more, Maya knows that’s probably not the case, it was just the way Carina worded the sentence or her grief talking. She’s not going to worry about that now. Maya’s first focus is on Carina and making sure she eats and sleeps and that she talks to the funeral director.

Those three things take priority. Everything else comes second.

The funeral director takes the ball right out of her hands when he calls Carina’s phone just after 10 am. Maya answers the phone. “Hello, Carina’s phone. This is Maya speaking.”

“Ah, hello.” The director isn’t caught off guard by this greeting at all. He often finds other people answering a call then who he is looking for. A common thing in dealing with people who are grieving. “Is Ms. DeLuca available? I got a call from the hospital about Andrew DeLuca.”

“Yes. Just a minute.” Maya takes the phone from her ear. “Carina. The funeral director is on the phone. You have to talk to him.”

Carina has moved to laying on the rug on the living room floor. She holds her hand up for the phone. Maya hands the phone over and goes back into the kitchen.

“Hello.” Carina’s voice is rough, scratchy.

“Hello, Ms. DeLuca. I’m sorry about the loss of your brother.”

“Thank you.”

“And I know it’s a difficult time, but I need your permission to take the body from the hospital and bring it to the funeral home. There is some paperwork that needs to be signed as well.”

Carina sighs. “Do I have to do it today?”

“Well, the sooner the better. Then we can start on funeral arrangements.”

“I don’t know if I want to have a funeral.” Carina says.

Maya’s ears perk up at that.

The funeral director tells her that’s fine and that she doesn’t have to decide today but that he needs to know what to do with Andrew’s body.

Carina hangs up the call. “We have to go to the funeral home.”

“Okay.” Maya comes back into the living room. “When do you want to do that?”

“Now.” Carina pushes herself into a seated position and then to her feet.

Maya nods. She waits for Carina to put shoes on and then they are out the door. “How are we getting there? We can take my car. Your car is still at the transit station.”

“Okay.”

They go to the car and Maya starts driving. Carina gave her the address. “Maybe we can stop somewhere on the way back for some breakfast.”

“It’s nearly lunchtime, Maya.” Carina snaps.

“Or lunch.” She doesn’t care what meal it is as long as she gets Carina to eat something. The pastries she bought last night at the café went untouched. Maya doesn’t even know what happened to them. She just hopes that someone ate them at the hospital and didn’t just throw them away.

Maya had peanut butter on toast for breakfast this morning but that was all. She asked Carina if she was hungry, and she just said no.

The trip to the funeral home doesn’t go as bad as Maya would have thought. The vacant stare on Carina’s face sort of scares her though. She answers all of the funeral director’s questions except the one about actually having a funeral.

“Did you want to pick something up to eat?”

“I’m not hungry.”

“But you have to eat.”

“Soup.”

“Soup it is, my love.” Maya drives them to get soup and then back to the apartment. She gets Carina to have a little soup and then cleans up and puts the leftovers away.

Carina goes into the shower. She doesn’t want to cry anymore. She doesn’t want to sleep but she knows she needs sleep. The bed is too soft and too comfortable. So that’s not an option.

So, she sits in the corner of the shower, her knees to her chest, her head against the shower wall to see if that well help.

Maya comes in and suggests screaming but she can’t scream either. Nothing works or is helping right now. She makes Maya leave when she tells her that her hug is too soft. Carina can’t handle that right now. She can’t handle Maya hovering and wanting to hold her and touch her. She can’t.

“I want to scream. Until my throat hurts more than my head and my stomach and my chest. I just want to scream so that some of this pressure goes away.” Carina paces around the hallway outside their bedroom, waving her hand franticly in the air.

“So, scream. Do it. Let it out.”

“I can’t.”

Carina goes back into the bathroom and sits in the shower.

Maya finds the number for the funeral home. She calls the funeral director and tells him to just get Andrew’s body cremated and that they don’t plan on having a funeral or service of any kind but that if that changes, she will call him and let him know.

Next, she finds Andrew’s address in the book of addresses that Carina has made and put in a drawer in the kitchen. Because what if you lose your phone or it stops working. You need a backup, she told Maya.

She contacts the landlord and finds out about ending Andrew’s lease. She asks if it would be okay if they came over sometime to pick up his stuff. And says that she doesn’t know if they have a key to Andrew’s apartment but that she can check. The landlord tells her that if she doesn’t find a key that he’ll have to arrange someone to meet with them and let them in.

Maya remembers Carina mentioning the bank but she knows she won’t get far with that item on the list, so she skips it until she has more information. Like even what bank Andrew uses. She knows that might be something that they’ll have to do after they go over to Andrew’s apartment and look through his records.

She makes Carina a sandwich. Maya is just about done. “Carina, I made something for you to eat.”

Carina comes into the kitchen. Maya brings it over to the table. She tells Carina she did the list.

“No one’s ever done that for me.”

Maya closes the fridge a little surprised at Carina is saying. But now that Maya thinks about it who would do something like that for Carina. Not anyone from her family. Maybe a close friend but Maya doesn’t know who that would be. It’s maybe one of the saddest things Carina has ever said to her. That she hasn’t ever had anyone to support her or look out for her. The look on Carina’s face is so hard to see. She just wishes she could take all of Carina’s pain away.

Carina sits in the shower and thinks about Andrea again.

Maya comes in after a few minutes. She has Carina’s phone in her hand. “You don’t have to look at this.” There are some messages on the phone. Maya has answered a few calls from names she recognizes from the hospital but lets the rest go to voicemail. There are texts too. Maya leaves them unread so that Carina can look at them later. “I’m going to go out for a little bit. Maybe an hour. If you need anything, you call me.”

She glances over at Maya but doesn’t move any other body parts.

“Okay.” Maya sets the phone down on the shower floor. “I’ll be back.”

Maya goes out. She’s got her running shoes. She runs. She runs down to the transit station that Carina’s car is parked at.

She unlocks the door and gets in. The run refreshing her a little. Maya drives the car back to the apartment, stopping at the store on the way to pick up some groceries since they’ll be at home for a week.

Maya puts the groceries away, giving Carina some space. The problem is she still has all this anxious energy. Maya pulls her shirt over her head and starts with pushups.

Carina comes out, showered. They talk about guilty and blame. But Carina starts to cry, and she doesn’t want to cry again. She wants to be done crying.

“Too soft.” Maya says with a pained look on her face.

Carina is thankful that Maya gets it. Thankful that Maya gets up and walks away. Thankful because she doesn’t know how long she can keep her temper on the short leash that it is currently on. The lack of sleep and the crying and the constant thoughts that are running through her brain have made her exhausted and irritable.

She sits there, on the edge of the couch. She hears Maya start on something for dinner. Carina wants to cry again. But this time because Maya is being so wonderful. She’s doing things that Carina hasn’t asked her to do, wouldn’t ask her to do. She’s cooking meals, and making sure she eats, even if it’s just a little bit. Maya didn’t say anything, but Carina knows she went to go get her car. So, she gets up and goes to sit at the island in the kitchen and watch Maya cook.

Neither of them say anything but when Maya turns around and sees Carina sitting there she gives her a soft smile. She recognizes what Maya is cooking just by the ingredients and what she’s doing. Onions, garlic, tomatoes, wine, basil, black pepper. She’s making homemade pasta sauce.

The water is in one pot on the back of the stove. Maya has the burner on waiting for it to come to a boil before adding the linguine noodles she wants to pair with the pasta sauce. It hurts not to be able to touch, or hold, or comfort Carina right now. She understands it, but that doesn’t make her hurt any less. Maya is just hoping that by cooking something that is somewhat easy, and she knows how to do without messing up, and that is Italian, that it will be of some small comfort to Carina.

She gets all the ingredients into a sauce pan and heats them up. The water starts to boil, and she adds the noodles. She should have thought of baking some bread but it’s too late for that now. The bread wouldn’t be done in time.

“Maya.”

She hears Carina’s voice just as she’s getting the noodles into the pot.

“Yeah?” She turns around to face her girlfriend. Carina sits there, her arms wrapped protectively around her stomach, her lip trembling, tears in her eyes. And it hurts to see her like that.

“I- I love you.” Carina stutters out.

Maya moves. She goes to Carina’s side and presses a kiss to the side of her head. “I love you too.” They share a look where Carina says thank you and Maya says you’re welcome before Maya moves back over to the stove. She stirs the pasta sauce and then the noodles to make sure nothing is sticking or burning. “Now, it’s probably not as good as yours. Or it probably doesn’t taste as Italian as yours but I tried my best.”

Maya gets out the strainer and puts it in the sink. She gets plates and forks and knifes and puts them on the counter. She thinks about asking Carina if she wants some wine. It’s opened and sitting right there on the counter. Maybe it will help her sleep. But Maya shakes her head. Water is better. Especially if Carina is dehydrated from crying. She gets out two glasses and fills them with water. She grabs them and turns around. “Where do you want to eat? Here? Or at the table?”

Carina doesn’t want to move. For some reason the kitchen feels like the safest, most comfortable place. It’s not too soft but at the same time reminds her of all the things she loves. The best of Italy, of her brother, of the day they had him over for dinner. It reminds her of Maya. Maya is literally standing right there cooking her an Italian meal in the kitchen that they now share, where the chalkboard on the wall says Home Is Whenever I’m With You. She feels like she needs to stay where she is.

“Here.” Carina clears her throat. She doesn’t explain why, and she hopes that Maya doesn’t ask.

“Okay.” Maya sets the glass down. One in front of Carina and the other opposite here. “I think it’s almost ready. So just a few more minutes.” She turns back to the stove. Maya stirs the pasta sauce and then brings the spoon to her lips to taste test. She hums, not sure if it’s quite right. “Can you try this?” She carries the spoon across the kitchen with a hand underneath it to catch any drips. “Is it okay?” She holds the spoon out for Carina.

Carina wraps her lips around the tip of the spoon, pulling some sauce into her mouth. It’s good. She hums. “Add a pinch of salt.”

Maya goes back to the stove and adds some salt, stirring it in. She feels like she needs to talk, to say something. “I went to the store earlier. Since we’re going to be home all week.”

“You didn’t have to do that.”

Maya turns and narrows her eyes at Carina, confused as to why Carina would think she didn’t have to go get groceries for their household. “We need to eat. I don’t want to starve.”

Carina smirks a little. It’s the first time Maya has seen anything other than sadness and despair on her face since she found Carina kneeling over Andrew on the floor of the train station. Just a little curl upwards of one side of her lips.

“I meant you didn’t need to take a whole week off of work.”

Maya hums. “Oh.” She turns back to the stove. “Well, I wanted to. I think I might have said this one time-“ She knows she definitely told Carina this. “-that you are more important to me than my job.” She stirs the linguine noodles and picks one out to see if they are done. “Plus, I never take vacation or time off.” Maya chuckles a little. “Maybe one day this week, if you’re feel up for it, we can go to the park. The one where we’ve watched the sun set.”

“I would like that.”

“Good. I know it sucks with Covid and everything. We can’t even have a proper funeral for Andrew. We can’t go anywhere. We can’t go to places that aren’t restaurant or cafes or whatever. Not that we would be going anywhere fun this week. I just- you know- it doesn’t help. It makes this- Andrew’s death that much harder. We should be able to have a funeral and have everyone from the hospital that he knew there. We should be able to have family fly in from Italy to be here for the funeral. We should be able to do those things, but we can’t.”

Maya doesn’t even realize she’s doing it, but Carina sure does. We- we- we- we.

And every time Maya uses the word we Carina’s heart heals back together just a little bit. She lets Maya keep talking though. She knows Maya is rambling because she’s anxious and doesn’t know what else to do. And she loves Maya for it.

“It’s not fair. But maybe after Covid is over we can do something. I don’t know, what do you want to do. I know you decided that there wasn’t going to be a funeral. Did you get that text from Chief Bailey?” Maya looks over her shoulder. “About the memorial for Andrew.” Maya only knows because Ben text her about it too. “Ben text me to make sure you got the message. I guess it’s the day after tomorrow. In the evening, in the parking lot. You will go, right?” Maya turns around to look at Carina for the first time since she started talking. Carina hasn’t said anything.

“Carina?” Maya catches Carina’s eyes. She has her brow furrowed, like she’s in deep thought.

“Yeah, I’ll go.”

“Okay, Ben offered to drive us there. Should I tell him we’ll take him up on the offer?”

“Sure.”

“Great. Dinner’s ready.” Maya removes the noodles from the stove and drains them. She turns the sauce off from its simmer. The linguine noodles go on the plates and Maya spreads some sauce over them before bringing them over to Carina. “Buon appetito.” She sits down across from Carina.

The rest of the evening is quiet. Carina doesn’t sleep in the bed with Maya. Maya doesn’t sleep well and gets up every few hours to check on Carina. She finds her in the kitchen. Sitting at the island, with her laptop in front of her, listening to music, or watching a movie. But Maya doesn’t think she’s really actually paying attention. She would be more worried about Carina if she wasn’t eating, if she wasn’t communicating at all. But she is, so she doesn’t worry too much. Maya knows that everyone goes through death and the grieving process differently. There are many different forms of grief. Sometimes even within the same person. She knows Carina wants space and doesn’t want to be too soft, so she just leaves her be with the hopes that she’ll make it through this process. She knows there’s many steps to go through. Carina’s done the shock, denial and anger, and bargaining. All rather quickly. But life comes at you quickly.

Carina just wants her brain to shut off. For the constant thoughts to stop. The only way that she’s gotten them to stop is to drown them out with music. Or her favorite movies, ones that she can get lost in. So she sits and tries to lose herself in those things. She can see Maya sometimes out of the corner of her eye. Or even just feel her lingering.

Chapter Text

In the morning, Carina calls her father.

“If you do it first thing in the morning then you don’t have to dread doing it all day. It’s done with. No matter the outcoming.” Maya had told her.

So, she calls.

“He heard.”

“What?” Maya is gob smacked.

“He heard that Andrea died two days ago and he didn’t call me.”

Maya’s mouth hangs open at the news. She hasn’t liked much of what she’s heard about Carina’s dad so far but this. This makes her absolutely hate his guts right now. How can you not have any contact with one of your children after your other child dies? Even you are aren’t close to them. Even if you are in different countries. Even just to call and say ‘hey I heard about this’ or some form of acknowledgement.

Carina walks away from Maya. She’s not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that he already knew. On one hand, Carina didn’t have to deal with his emotions after she told him that Andrea died. He already knew and he already processed his emotions about it and wasn’t able to take them out on Carina over the phone. On the other hand, she thought maybe they could bond over their shared grief. She could lean on him over the phone, so to speak. That didn’t happen either.

Carina doesn’t know how to feel about what just happened. She tries not to linger on it. It’s just something else that she has to pile onto top of her already huge pile of issues that she has to deal with. She sits at the kitchen island and goes back to watching video on her laptop.

Maya busies herself with cleaning. She cleans the bedroom, does the laundry, washes every surface in the bathroom, moves everything out of the cupboards in the kitchen and cleans inside them thoroughly. Carina watches her do that one. Once she’s done in the apartment she goes out and cleans her car out. Not that there’s really anything in there but she brings her mini Shopvac out and vacuums out every inch of the car. Then she goes to Carina’s car.

She opens the door to the back seat and sees it. Maya is surprised she didn’t see it when she drove the car home from the train station. She stands there and stares for a moment. Thinking of what to do.

Andrew’s motorcycle helmet stares back at her.

“Shit.” She mumbles and doubles over, leaning against the roof of the car with her forearm, as a wave of sadness hits her.

Maya realizes this means there’s something she forgot to do. Something that wasn’t on the list. Something that Carina didn’t think about. Andrew’s motorcycle. Maya assumes it’s still in the parking lot at the hospital.

She sits down in the back seat next to the helmet and thinks for a few minutes. She needs a plan. Maya doesn’t want to upset Carina by bringing it up. She doesn’t want Carina to have to deal with this too. She doesn’t want to add another thing to Carina pile of crap she has to deal with.

So, Maya gets her phone out and looks up storage unit places. She knows where one is not too far from where they live but that’s not an option because it’s the one where Captain Herrera died. So, she looks at ones farther away from here. If she has to drive farther, so be it.

She finds the number and calls. She rents a unit with the promise that she will come down sometime today and sign the paperwork and go through the checklist and inspection of the unit. She calls a tow truck company next. She’s got a few that she knows through the station that are reliable and sets up a time this afternoon to meet them at the hospital.

Maya just has to figure out what to do with the helmet. She wants to put it in the closet in the spare bedroom. It’s getting it into the apartment that might be the problem. She’d wait until Carina is asleep and do it then, but Carina hasn’t really slept in days. Maybe she can get inside without Carina noticing. The woman is off in her own little world most of the time right now.

Maya grabs the helmet and the vacuum and heads back inside. She pops the door open and looks inside. She doesn’t see Carina, so she hurries in and goes straight to the spare bedroom, putting the helmet in the closet.

She finds Carina in the bathroom. She’s sitting on the toilet reading something. “Whatcha reading?” She asks.

“Are you done cleaning? I didn’t want to be in your way.”

“I’m done. You can come out of here, if you’d like.” Maya would really like for Carina not to isolate herself. She knows she can’t say anything about it because Carina is grieving but it so sad to see her keep to herself and not allow Maya to touch her or hold her or anything.

Carina nods, closing her book. She didn’t really read anything. She just read the same paragraph over and over, not processing the words, not understanding them. Her brain not letting her rest.

She yawns.

“You need to sleep, love.” Maya tells her. She reaches out to run her palm over Carina’s head, but Carina moves out of her reach.

“I can’t sleep. I’ve tired. My brain won’t shut up.”

Maya wrinkles up her face. She hates that Carina won’t let her touch her, comfort her. Carina who always wants touch, needs touch. Until now. She needs to find something to do that will let Carina rest. “I have to run out for a little bit. Some errands and I have to stop by the station quickly, pick up some paperwork.”

“Okay.” Carina says quietly.

She wishes she could get more out of Carina than short sentences. “I love you.” She doesn’t know if that helps Carina any.

Carina looks over at the blonde and locks eyes with her. It’s like she’s just remembering that. Love. How can she love when everything is so wrong, everything hurts and is broken? It’s such a contradictory thought, feeling. “I love you, Maya.” She mumbles out the words anyway, not really feeling them, meaning them.

Maya smiles and steps out of the bathroom, holding her sigh of frustration inside. She grabs her car keys. The first stop she has to make is at the fire station before she meets the tow truck at the hospital and then goes with him to the storage unit that she just rented. She sighs, now that she’s out of the apartment, as it’s turning into an expensive day real quick. She doesn’t have to worry about money usually but renting and insuring a storage unit for six months and then having a tow truck pick up, move, and drop off a motorcycle on a flatbed truck is going to put a dent in her bank account.

She pulls into the station parking lot and parks her car. She would have walked if she didn’t have other stops to make. Maya goes inside, says hi to Cutler at the reception desk and goes into her office. The paper she needs isn’t hard to find. She grabs that and looks over the latest files on her desk. The newest calls that they’ve had.

A Crew is off duty today so Andy isn’t around so she can’t ask her about it. Maya exits her office, knowing she doesn’t have a lot of time. She goes through into the barn. The ambulance is gone but the engine and ladder truck are there. She walks around them before standing back at the front and looking up at the trucks. That’s when it hits her. She knows what to do. Maya hurries out of the station with a pleased smile on her face.


“Will you come with me somewhere?”

“Not if you’re being all secretive and mysterious.” Carina retorts.

Maya huffs. “Fine. Will you come to the station with me?”

Carina sort of stares at Maya. “Fine.”

They drive down to the station. Carina looks out the window the whole time, not saying anything. She doesn’t like whatever Maya has planned. She’s not up for a field trip. She doesn’t want to have to interact with people. So, she’s really not having it but she’ll humor Maya because she knows Maya is worried about her.

“I thought you were already here today.” Carina says as she eyes the building.

“I was.”

It’s dark out. Maya knows that there’s a shot that the engine won’t be there, but she hopes it is or her plan won’t pan out. She waited for the cover of darkness, so she had less eyes on her, them. She knows D crew is in the building somewhere but hopes they leave them alone.

Maya gets out and goes around to open Carina’s door and help her out of the car. Maya holds out her hand for Carina.

The Italian glances at Maya’s hand before looking up to find her eyes. “I’ll just stay in the car. You can go in and do- whatever it is you need to do.” She looks away from Maya, out the front windshield of the car. “I’m not in the mood to see people or talk to anyone.”

Maya frowns. She had an idea this would be the case. She licks her lips before braving the question. “Do you trust me?” She keeps her hand held out towards Carina.

Carina’s head snaps over to Maya again. “Maya.” She sighs, wondering if Maya is really questioning that right now. Carina thought they were past the whole trust thing. “I trust you. I do.”

The blonde smiles, tight-lipped. She knew they were still working on getting that trust back. Maya felt like Carina mostly trusted her again, that things could truly being forgiven. “When I asked you to move in with me, I said I wanted to do everything. For real. Everything with you. That means the good and bad. Even now. Even this. So, if you trust me, take me hand. My intention is not for you to have to talk to or see anyone inside the station. I wouldn’t make you do that right now. Just me and you.”

Carina chews on her lip. She doesn’t want to cry anymore. But this time she feels like crying not because of Andrea but because of her wonderful, amazing girlfriend. Carina grabs her mask in one hand, the other finding Maya’s hand.

She let’s Maya pull her from the car, shut the door, and lead her into the fire station. No one seems to be around. Carina wonders if Maya planned it that way. They go in by the trucks. The ladder truck is gone so Carina thinks maybe the crew is out on a call.

She doesn’t understand what Maya is doing or why they need to go by the engine.

“What are we doing?” Carina asks but allows Maya to tug her along.

Maya turns to her but doesn’t say anything. They keep walking. Maya goes to the engine door and pulls it open.

Carina thinks she knows what Maya is doing. She’s not a little kid. She doesn’t need to see the fire truck to cheer her up. That’s not going to cheer her up anyway. She doesn’t need to sit in the seat and play pretend. She doesn’t need to go for a fire truck ride. Not that she thinks Maya would go that far.

She has to say something when Maya steps up into the truck. She pulls her mask off to make sure Maya hears her. “Okay, Maya, I’m not a child I don’t need a fire truck ride to feel-“

Maya turns on the sirens.

“MAYA.” She covers her ears.

Maya steps down from the truck and turns to her in one fluid motion.

“Scream.”

“What?”

“Scream.”

This is the cover that Maya thinks Carina might need to be able to scream, to be able to let that emotion out. To final get that pressure off her chest so she can feel like she can breathe again. So she can sleep.

“I can’t.” Carina starts to back away from Maya.

“Do it.”

Maya pleads in frustration. Carina needs to let that anger and sadness and guilt and just everything out. If she doesn’t Maya doesn’t know what’s bound to happen.

“No. I can’t-“

As soon as Maya hears the word No she lets out all her anger and sadness and frustration in a guttural, chest burning scream.

Carina stares at Maya. She can’t believe her right now. It’s ridiculous. Maya screams at her. A loud, painful scream. She has to turn away.

“Come on. Do it.” Maya screams again as Carina walks away from her.

She’s determined to not give up on this just yet. At the very least, Maya is able to let out some of her own pent up emotions. She screams until her lungs are burning from lack of air, until her throat is raw with pain. Long and loud until she can’t anymore.

Carina turns around and lets it out. Bending at the waist to expel a loud scream. Hands clenched in fists. She’s crying and she walks back towards Maya.

Finally, Maya thinks as Carina screams and screams some more. Maya joins in with her. Both screaming at the top of their lungs. Carina turns away again and Maya takes a deep breath. She sees Carina screaming, she can see the pain, she can feel it. She screams with her, in solidarity, until Carina is pounding her fist on the side of engine. Maya doesn’t even care right now. She’ll make sure somebody polishes it in the morning.

She holds out one arm when Carina turns back to her. She knows Carina doesn’t want to be touched, or held, because it’s been too much for her. Too soft. But maybe now after this release she can let Maya in again. That hopeful arm catches Carina as she falls into Maya’s embrace. Maya wraps her arms around Carina’s waist and holds her tight. Carina leans into Maya, reaching around her shoulders, finally letting herself be held.

Maya rocks them back and forth in the spot for a good minute. Now that they aren’t screaming the siren becomes obnoxious.

“Let me turn that off.” Maya talks into Carina’s ear. She tries to let go of Carina, but Carina holds onto her tight.

“Okay.” Maya rubs her hands up and down Carina’s back as she cries onto her shoulder.

Out of the corner of her eye, Maya sees someone up on the skywalk above them. She gives them a wave to say that she’s got this handled and that they don’t need to worry. She’s not sure who it is. It’s night so not all the lights are on.

“Carina. I need to-“

Carina releases her. Maya leans back in and shuts the siren off. “There.” She shuts the door and turns back to Carina. The woman wipes at her tear stained cheeks. “How do you feel?”

“Thank you.” Carina sighs, tired.

“You don’t have to thank me, babe.” Maya finds both of Carina’s hands. “I came down her earlier and had this idea. I thought it might help, work. And it did. How do you feel?”

Carina takes a deep breath, assessing. “Like garbage.” She smiles a little. Something has been released though with the screaming so there’s a bit of a sense of, maybe not peace, but something close to that. Relief, maybe.

Maya grins. “Let’s go home.” She hopes Carina will be able to sleep now. Or at the very least, be able to let go of that ball of emotions that was trapped. It’s been released now. Maya will come down here with Carina everyday if she has to and they will scream with the sirens just to get that release.


Maya wakes up the next morning to the feel of Carina, in bed, spooning her from behind. She smiles into the pillow knowing that everything would be okay again one day, maybe not today, but one day. She was relieved to see Carina sleeping, in bed, last night when she brought tea in for her. A heaviness lifted from her shoulders at the sight.

She slips out of bed, letting Carina sleep while she goes out and starts coffee and breakfast. The blonde is anxious to see what kind of mood Carina will be in today. She wants to know if the screaming and subsequent sleep helped any or if they are going to be stuck in the same pattern that they were in before.

Maya is working on waffles and scrambled eggs when Carina comes out and wraps her arms around Maya from behind. Carina leans into her, nuzzling her face against the back of Maya’s shoulder. “Smells good.” She whispers, sleep still in her voice.

“Are you hungry?” Maya asks.

Carina hums. “Maybe a little.”

“Okay.” Maya wants to ask how Carina slept but doesn’t.

Carina starts pressing kisses to Maya’s shoulder, working her way to her neck, placing just one kiss there before her lips are on Maya’s cheek.

“How do you feel?” Maya asks.

“Tired. Sad. But better. Not as suffocated as the last couple days. Sleep helped. You helped. The fire truck, the sirens. You’re a genius.” She squeezes Maya and breathes her in. A big deep breath full of everything that is Maya.

“I don’t know about that. But I’m glad it helped.”

“I feel like I can breathe again. Like everything isn’t just sitting on my chest. That pressure is gone. It still hurts. It’s still sad but-“ Carina trails off. She’s super grateful that Maya stuck around. That Maya didn’t just go on the call that Warren had to go on. That Maya basically dropped everything for her. To take care of her. Carina has never had someone who cared as much as Maya or who was willing to drop everything to take care of her. She doesn’t know what she would do without Maya right now. She’d probably just be a shriveled up ball on the floor, too traumatized to move or do anything. She knows Maya’s attention and care and space and love has gotten her through the worst part of all of this. She knows it’s not going to be easy moving forward, but the worst might be over.

“The waffles and coffee are ready. I’m just finishing the eggs.”

“Il mio preferito, uova, strapazzate. Sei fantastico.” (My favorite, eggs, scrambled. You are amazing.)

Carina steps to Maya’s side and starts plating the waffles. “Come sono stato così fortunato?” (How did I get so lucky?)

“Though, you need to work on your Italian dishes. Maya, every time you make breakfast. It might be my new favorite thing. Even if it’s Americano breakfast. È sempre incredibile.” (It’s always incredible.)

Maya grins. “I am pretty good at breakfast foods. Mostly cuz they are easy, but nothing is better than your French toast.” She leans over with a pinch of eggs between her thumb and index finger, holding it out in front of Carina’s lips. “You’ll have to show me how to make French toast some time.”

Carina grins and wraps her lips around Maya’s fingers (and the eggs). She hums. “Si. Bene. Add a little salt and pepper e sarà perfetto.”

Maya is kind of enjoying all the Italian coming out of the Italian this morning. She’s curious as to why it’s so much though. She briefly wonders if it has something to do with Andrew.

Chapter Text

“Ready to go?”

Carina finishes tying her left shoe. “Yeah.” She stands up. Maya holds her hand out and Carina steps to her side, taking Maya’s hand in her own.

Maya lifts their interlocked fingers and kisses the back of Carina’s hand. “If at any point this is too difficult you need to tell me.”

Carina nods.

“I need to hear you say it.” Maya half smiles.

Carina licks her lips. “I promise, Maya. If it’s too much I’ll stop or I’ll tell you.”

“Okay. Let’s go.” Maya opens their apartment door.

They drive over. Maya has never been to Andrew’s place. She doesn’t know what to expect. A bachelor pad, maybe. A mess everywhere, perhaps.

She unlocks the door. Carina is wrapped around her from behind. She pushes the door open and steps into the room. She reaches to her right and flicks the light switch. It’s clean, clear. There’s hardly any clutter. The only thing that seems out of place is the tv remote laying at an angle on the middle couch cushion.

“What do we need to do?” Maya asks.

“Find his important information. I’m sure it’s in a safe or something.”

Maya hopes it’s not because then they need to find a key or know a combination. “Okay.” She takes another step but Carina clings to her. “Are you alright?”

“Y-yeah.” Carina stutters.

Maya is able to spin around. “Hey.” She takes Carina’s elbows in her hands. “Look at me.” Carina finally pulls her eyes up from the floor. “You can do this. I need your help.” Maya smiles. She knows Carina will respond to that. Carina always wants to help someone even if it’s at a detriment to herself. Maya is going to use that to her advantage right now. Not that she wants Carina to cause herself any harm or damage. She just wants Carina to know that she needs her.

Carina looks around the room. It’s a little unnerving being in Andrea’s apartment but she’s been her before so it’s somewhat familiar so that tamps down on the anxiety of it all.

Maya takes a deep breath. Slowly breathing in and then releasing it. Carina copies her on instinct, and it makes the blonde smile. “We need to find bank account information. Cell phone info. Passwords. Something. Something that can give us a start. A birth certificate. Social security card. Is he a US citizen?”

“Si.”

“So, yeah. Social security card. That’s important. You have his driver’s license?”

“Si.” Carina nods.

“Okay.” Maya takes a step backwards. And Carina takes a step forward. When Maya sees her moving, she lets go of Carina’s elbows and turns away from her. She starts opening all the drawers in the kitchen looking for anything that might be important.

It’s a small one bedroom apartment, so there’s really not a lot of area to cover. Carina walks into the living room portion of the room. It’s an open floor plan where only a little half wall separates the kitchen and living room. She goes over to the bookshelf. Her finger running over all the bindings on the books. She stops on the last one. A photo album, not a book. Carina pulls it from the bookshelf and tucks it under her arm. She goes over to the little table that sits at the end of the couch. She pulls open the drawer and finds take out menus in there. Carina laughs.

Maya’s head snaps around at the sound. She can’t believe she’s hearing Carina’s laugh right now. “What?”

Carina lifts them from the drawer to show Maya. “Take out menus. In the table, next to the couch.”

Maya smirks and shakes her head. “I’m gonna go in here.” She points at the bedroom. The fire captain really hopes she doesn’t find anything crazy in Andrew’s bedroom.

She goes into people’s homes all the time. Maya’s seen just about everything in her time as a firefighter, so not much surprises her. Whether it’s gross and dirty, beer bottles and cans, cat and dog shit covering the floor, dirty laundry laying everything, piles of trash. She’s seen it all, but there’s something different about seeing the private space of someone you know.

Maya pushes the door open slowly. There is a pile of dirty blue scrubs at the foot of the bed, but that’s about it. She goes to the nightstand and looks over the items on the top. Two books. A half glass of water. A bottle of pills. It’s a reminder that this place was lived in. That someone was here with the intention of coming back.

She sits on the bed, trying to get that thought out of her head. Maya breaths out a shaky breath and pulls the little drawer on the nightstand open. Inside, she finds a three full sized Milky Way candy bars and a handful of condoms. It’s her turn to laugh.

“What?” Carina is standing in the doorframe now.

“Look.” Maya points into the drawer. She’s not going to pick up the items like Carina did with the menus.

Carina comes into the room and looks. “Dio mio.” She shakes her head.

It’s hard being in her brother’s room. It smells like him, for one. And two, the items in and on the nightstand explain Andrew down to a T.

“You want under the bed or the closet?”

Maya’s question and focus distracts her though. “Under the bed. I just hope I don’t find any used condoms under there.” Carina jokes.

Maya stands up and wraps Carina up in the hug. “Can we stop thinking about your brother having sex?”

Carina slips her hand up to the back of Maya’s skull. She turns her head and presses a kiss to Maya’s temple. “I’m not thinking about it, you are.” She whispers.

“Sure.” Maya rolls her eyes. She pulls back and gets a look at Carina. She seems to be holding it together pretty well. Maya wonders if there will be repercussions later from this visit though. “Do you know if he was seeing anyone?”

Carina shakes her head. “No. He wanted to focus on himself for a while and just being stable and getting his footing back at work. My guess is those condoms are months and months old.”

“Should we do something with them?” Maya grimaces as soon as the words come out of her mouth.

Carina gives Maya the most puzzling look. “What would we do with condoms?”

Maya rolls her eyes. “Can you forget I said anything?” She rubs a hand over her face in embarrassment. “I just- if it were me, I don’t think I would want someone coming in and finding my condoms.”

Carina’s puzzled look towards Maya gets even more puzzling, if that’s possible. “Maya, I-“ She doesn’t even know what to say.

“I’m gonna stop talking. Just look under the bed. I’ll look in the closet.” She watches Carina squat down before getting on her knees to look under the bed.

Maya goes over to the closet and pulls the door open. A bunch of dress shirts, and pants stare back at her. Maya looks up at the shelf above the clothes. She spots a box on the shelf. She reaches up to grab it but it’s just out of her reach. Maya jumps and tries to grab it, but she ends up pushing it further back on the shelf. She jumps again. This time with a little grunt as she stretches to reach the box.

Carina comes up behind her and puts a hand on the small of Maya’s back. Maya steps to the side. Carina reaches up, standing on the tip-toes and gets the box in her hand.

“Show off.” Maya mumbles.

“I’m not that much taller than you, bambina. Don’t get all turned out of shape about it.” Carina kisses her cheek.

Maya just grins at Carina little an idiot.

That is until Carina shoves the box into Maya’s stomach with a smirk. She saw Maya looking at her with those lovesick puppy dog eyes.

Maya grunts but doesn’t say anything. She wraps her hands around the box and Carina lifts the lid.

“Bingo.” Maya whispers.

“This is what we need.” Carina says.

“I just said that.” Maya looks up from the box.

Carina shakes her head. “No, you didn’t. You said bingo.”

“Well, that’s what I meant. That’s what bingo means.” Maya takes a step away from Carina, shifting the box to one arm and flipping through its contents with her other hand. “This is everything. We can go now.” She thinks the quicker they get out of here the better.

“Maya.” Carina’s lower lip starts to quiver at the thought of leaving. There has been something soothing about being in the place where Andrea spent his spare time. Carina didn’t think it would be that way at first. She was terrified to come here; but Maya said she should come so she didn’t have any regrets of not coming. But now that she’s here she doesn’t want to leave. If she leaves, if they close the front door, that’s it. He’s gone.

Her eyes fill with tears, her legs are shaky.

Maya sees it all happen. She throws the box on the bed and catches Carina a second before she crumbles to the floor. She wraps her arms around her waist and gently lowers Carina to the floor. “You’re alright. You’re going to be alright. I’ve got you.”

Carina turns in Maya’s arms, fisting her shirt in her hands, sobbing into her shirt. “He’s gone.” She sobs.

Maya closes her eyes and clenches her jaw. “Yeah. He’s gone.” She whispers shakily. She rubs her one hand up and down Carina’s back the other remains holding her around the waist.

She doesn’t know how long they sit on the floor. Maybe thirty minutes. Carina stopped crying a long time ago. She hasn’t said anything since though. Maya doesn’t rush her, but they can’t sit here all day. “Do you think you can stand?”

Carina nods against her chest.

“Okay. I’m going to stand up first. You stay here.” Maya gets to her feet and holds out her hands. She waits until Carina puts her hands in her own before pulling Carina to her feet. “Good?” Maya raises an eyebrow.

Carina nods again.

“Okay.” It makes Maya a little nervous that Carina hasn’t said anything. “Let’s go home.”

Carina shakes her head.

“We have to, baby.” Maya wants to roll her eyes at herself. Baby? She doesn’t say that. But it’s trivial right now. “Here.” She lifts her arms. “Wrap your arms around me. Hold on tight.”

Thankfully, Carina does as she asks. Maya turns and grabs the box and slowly starts to make her way out of the bedroom. As they pass the couch, Maya grabs the photo album that was resting on the arm of the couch and tucks that under her arm along with the box.

They make it to the door before another heartbreaking sob escapes Carina. She grips onto Maya tighter as Maya shuts the door. Maya shuffles them out of the building and into the car.

Back at their apartment, Maya gets her a glass of water as Carina goes into their bedroom and crawls into bed. She ends up sleeping the entire afternoon.

And Maya lets her. She goes through the box and sorts through the information. The photo album sits on the other end of the table. She wants to look at it but knows she should wait for Carina. Maybe they can look at it in few weeks when some of the pain fades and Carina can talk about all the pictures and share stories about Andrew with her. At least, that’s Maya’s hope.


Ben is picking them up at six. The memorial is to start at seven.

Maya woke Carina up at four-thirty after she heated up some soup, thinking that Carina probably wasn’t going to be hungry. But knowing that she had to eat something to keep up her strength; knowing that soup will likely be the easiest to get down right now.

Maya feels it too. She has no appetite. She’s not hungry at all. Today was hard. And tonight, is going to be hard. She knows. Maybe it’s the anxiety of tonight that keeps Maya’s appetite at bay. She’s worried about all the people. Carina’s grief, and some of Maya’s own, has only been dealt with in private. The way it should be, Maya thinks. But tonight, they are going to be surrounded by Andrew’s colleagues and friends. It almost puts an unfair pressure on Carina to act a certain way, to present herself in a certain way. Maya isn’t going to bring it up though. She doesn’t even know if Carina has thought about it. Probably not. She’s got too much else going on to think about her hospital co-workers and what they might think of her grief or her grieving process.

She gets Carina to eat a little and then suggests they take a shower, together.

“Maya, that’s not appropriate.” Carina scolds her lightly.

Maya smiles. “Not like that, silly. Let me wash your hair. Let me take care of you.”

Carina closes her eyes. “Maya.” She sighs.

“I know. Come on.” She tugs on Carina’s hand getting her into the bathroom. She pulls Carina’s sweatshirt over her head as Carina lifts her arms. She lets Carina unbutton her pants and pull them down her legs herself, Maya getting undressed herself in those moments. She starts the water and waits a second before stepping into the shower. “Carina.” She holds her hand out.

Carina takes a deep breath and puts her hand in Maya’s and steps into the shower. The warm water cascading over her head. Maya swipes her wet hair back away from her face before wrapping her arms around Carina’s waist.

Maya sways them back and forth lightly. “I love you.” She whispers before pressing her lips to Carina’s collarbone.

Carina wraps her arms around Maya’s shoulder. “I love you, bambina.” She actually feels it this time.

“Good. Let’s get you clean.” Maya rubs her hands up and down Carina’s sides.

That gets a little giggle out of Carina.

As promised, Maya washes Carina’s hair, and then uses a washcloth to wash the rest of her body.

“What about you?” Carina asks when Maya is finished.

“Don’t worry about me. I got me.” Maya squirts a little bit of conditioner into her palm. “Turn.” She instructs and when Carina turns, she rubs the conditioner into the long dark tendrils of hair. She knows it’s not appropriate timing, but she can’t hold her thoughts in as she looks over Carina. “You’re so beautiful.” Even when Carina is sad and in pain, Maya can still see how absolutely beautiful she is.

“Maya, stop.”

“Sorry.”

Carina turns around, putting her hand on Maya’s throat, staring at her. Part of Carina wants to just dive in and kiss Maya senseless. Something about trying to push the pain away. She’s done that before. With Maya. And she doesn’t want to use Maya like that again. She doesn’t want to use sex with Maya to try to forget about Andrea or her problems. Not this time. Not ever again. Maya means more to her than that.

“Carina?” Maya isn’t sure what the look in Carina’s eyes means. She’s still trying to learn them all, but Andrew’s death has thrown a whole bunch of new looks in Maya’s direction in a short amount of time. “Are you-“

“I’m okay. Stop asking me that.” Carina huffs angrily and gets out of the shower.

Maya stands there with her mouth hanging open. “O-kay.” She tries not to dwell on the anger that Carina just threw at her and focus on showering herself and then getting dressed for the memorial service.


Carina finds Maya’s hand in the darkness as Ben drives them to the hospital. She needs to apologize. They are both sitting in the back seat. Though, Maya is keeping her distance now. She’s all the way on the other side of the car, pressed up against the opposite door.

Maya glances over at Carina. She thinks about pulling her hand out of Carina’s but knows it would be seen as unnecessarily cruel by Carina. She knows Carina didn’t mean to get angry with her. She knows Carina is just frustrated and grieving. And she also knows Carina is trying to make amends right now.

Maya squeezes Carina’s hand. She can see the tiny hint of a smile it brings to Carina’s face.

“I’m sorry.” Carina whispers.

“I know.” Maya gives her a small nod.

Ben pretends like he doesn’t hear them right behind him.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you. I’m just tired, and overwhelmed, and everything feels so raw and like it’s too much most of the time.”

“Come here.” Maya lets go of Carina’s hand so she can hold her arm open.

Carina undoes her seat belt and slides over to the middle seat, buckling in there, sitting next to Maya. Maya wraps her arm around Carina. She presses a kiss to the side of her head. “Don’t worry about it. Thank you for apologizing. You are very much forgiven. I know you didn’t mean it. I know you are grieving.”

“Ti amo, Maya Bishop.”

Maya hums. “I love you too.”

“We’re pulling up now, ladies.” Ben informs them.

Carina straightens up, running a hand over the front of her shirt. Have to look presentable in front of all these people. She takes a deep breath as the car comes to a stop.

Maya finds Carina’s wrist quickly, giving it a gentle squeeze. “You’ve got this.” She whispers.

Carina nods.

They get out of the car.

After the memorial service. They go home in silence. Maya turns the lights on after she unlocks the door. Carina follows her into the apartment. They don’t say anything while they undress and get ready for bed.

There’s a weird feeling in the air. Maya doesn’t want to bring it up, but she can feel it. With one look at Carina, she knows Carina feels it too. With the memorial service over, it’s done. That’s the weird vibe, feeling. Maya wonders what’s next. She’s never had to bury a family member before. It’s uncharted territory for her. She knows there’s no playbook for this kind of thing, but it would be helpful right now. She wants to ask Carina all sorts of questions, but she knows she shouldn’t. She knows it would be too much right now, so she keeps the silence.

Carina focuses on the buttons on the front of her silk pajama top. Her mind surprisingly calm right now. She doesn’t know if it’s peaceful calm or some sort of other calm. The calm before another impending storm. Just a brief respite before another wave over grief comes along. The hand on the lower part of her back makes her jump a little. That’s something that she’s been doing. Jumping at any little touch from Maya. She doesn’t mean to, but everything was too much for a little bit. She doesn’t want Maya to think that she doesn’t like or appreciate her touch because she does. It’s one of the only things that makes her feel grounded right now. It’s just the initial contact that she jumps at. She’s jumpy about other things too, she finds. Sudden loud noises, the lightest touch, cars honking their horns outside. Carina hopes it doesn’t linger, doesn’t last long, and she can shake it off as time goes on.

“You good?” Maya careful not to ask if Carina is okay or alright.

“Yeah.” Carina’s voice comes out rough, scratchy. She tries to clear her throat, but she feels the soreness, the sandpaper-like feeling.

“I’ll make some tea.” Maya offers as if she can feel Carina’s sore throat.

Carina nods, looking over at Maya with what she hopes is a thankful smile.

They have tea and go to bed. Carina tosses and turns all night. Maya wakes up multiple times to it. She always wraps herself around Carina and holds her close. Carina usually snuggling up against her and falls into a light sleep again.

Chapter Text

In the morning, Maya wakes up and thinks about going for a run. Just to get rid of the excess energy and anxiousness she feels. But she doesn’t. She slips out of bed, making sure that Carina remains asleep. She uses the bathroom and goes out the kitchen and makes a protein shake. She grabs her laptop and goes back to the bedroom. She slips back into bed, sitting up with her laptop on her lap. She decides to do a little research. Or studying as Maya likes to call it. Learning about fires.

She does a search for the deadliest fire in US History.

Why the deadliest? She doesn’t know. Maybe it’s because they’ve been thinking about and dealing with death the last few days. So, the two connect themselves in Maya’s mind.

Carina wakes up about an hour later. She rolls over and slips her arms around Maya’s waist. She looks at the laptop on Maya’s lap. “What are you doing?”

Maya doesn’t want to say ‘I didn’t want to leave you alone so I’m just sitting here while you sleep’ but that’s basically it. “I’m learning about this fire. There’s a video that I want to watch but I don’t have my earbuds and I didn’t want to disturb you, so I’ll watch it later.” Maya starts to close her laptop. She’s sure that the last thing Carina wants to do is think or talk about a deadly fire.

But Carina stops her. She pushes the screen back open. “Tell me about it.”

“Are you sure?” Maya cranes her neck to try to get a look at Carina’s face. “How did you sleep?”

“Not great. I kept waking up.”

Maya runs her palm over Carina’s head, pressing a kiss to the top of it afterward. “I’m sorry.” She’s thankful that Carina is accepting of physical affection again as she wraps her arm around Carina.

Carina presses herself tighter against Maya’s side, almost lying with her head on Maya’s stomach. “Tell me about it.”

“Okay.” Maya sighs. She scrolls back to the top of the article that she was reading. “You know about The Great Chicago Fire?”

“I mean, I think I’ve heard of it, but I don’t know any details. Just that it was bad. And in Chicago.”

“Okay. True. But this fire.” Maya taps at the screen. “Was way worse. And it happened on the same day as the Chicago Fire. It’s the Peshtigo Fire. And it’s the deadliest fire in US history. The reason the Chicago Fire and the Peshtigo Fire and other fires that day were so bad was because of the wind and a drought in the upper Midwest in the months previous. A cold front brought strong winds into the area spreading the flames with ease. In the Peshtigo Fire, there was a firestorm. That’s when superheated flames move on winds over one hundred miles an hour, throwing flames up to ten thousand feet in the air. It’s like a massive nuclear bomb going off. Fire jumping rivers and small bodies of water. Fire tornados. Just crazy, unimaginable stuff. I couldn’t imagine living through that. Well, most people didn’t. They died. They just combusted or melted on the spot. The ones that did survive did so because they submerged themselves in the river or laid out in a dirt field. Up to 2400 people died in that fire. It burned a huge area of land in a matter of hours. 1.5 million acres. Just massive. There was almost nothing left. Just one building in Peshtigo that had been recently put up. And a church in another area. Everything else burned. They know 1200 people died for sure, but it could be up to 2400 or 2500. So many people died no one could vouch for the dead. Just whole families wiped off the face of the earth. And it was a time of industry and a boom in the area for logging. There were people coming in from other areas, that didn’t necessarily live there and probably were in that unsure number of deaths.”

Carina hums. “How did it start?”

Maya looks down at Carina. “Do you really want to talk about this or is it just a distraction?”

Carina looks up, a half-smile. “Both. I love your enthusiasm and passion about fires. Fire history. I love hearing you talk about it. And yes, it’s a nice distraction.”

“Okay.” Maya does a little clicking around. “So, it was a dry summer, drought, and some small fires were already burning in the area. Forest fires, or wildfires. Not a real threat to villages or towns. This was in 1871. And fires were started by farmers who were clearing land, cutting down trees, burning stumps and piles of brush. Carelessness. Houses were built almost entirely out of wood.” Maya chuckles a little. “Seems so silly now. Building your house out of flammable materials. But that’s what was available and what was easiest. With how dry it was it was probably like kindling.”

“Yeah, probably not the smartest.”

“No. So that’s about it.” Maya shrugs. “I was just going to watch this video that a professor did, but I’ll do it some other time.”

“You can watch it now.”

“We should get up and eat something. Maybe do something today. Do you want to go to the park and watch the sunset later today?” Maya’s been thinking about something for them to do today. She doesn’t want to sit inside all day.

“Okay.” Carina shrugs.

“What do you want for breakfast?”

“I’m not really hungry.”

“You need to eat. How about we start with coffee and espresso.”

“Okay.” Carina agrees.

After a little grumbling from Carina, they get up and get dressed. Maya wanders into the kitchen to start on espresso for Carina. She’s not really hungry, either, after her protein shake.

Carina comes out of the bedroom, on the phone, she talking to the utility company to have Andrew’s utilities shut off. After they went over to his apartment a few more things were set into motion. The movers have been arranged to go there on Friday, now that Carina’s been there and seen what needs to be done, she can tell them what to do. After the movers have everything out of the apartment the utilities can be shut off, thus the phone call she is on right now.

There is a knock at the door.

Maya wonders who it could be. They aren’t expecting anyone as far as she knows. She grabs her mask and goes to answer the door.

She has no idea who the woman is or what she is doing her but apparently, she knows Carina, and knew Andrew. Maya stands there in stunned silence as the two greet each other.


After the espresso fiasco, they all retire to the living room. Gabriella takes the spot on the couch next to Carina as Maya tidies up the kitchen a little.

Maya sits in the armchair. She never sits over here so that seems weird. It’s also feels wrong that she doesn’t get to sit next to Carina. It’s even worse when Gabriella picks up the photo album that they retrieved from Andrew’s apartment and opens it up and starts talking through all the photos with Carina like Maya isn’t even in the room.

She sits there stewing about being left out. Maya’s hope was that one day she and Carina would go through the photo album. As a way to get to learn more about Carina and Andrew and their parents and their life. But that’s not going to happen now, clearly, as Gabriella talks about each photo with Carina. Maya folds her arms over her chest, knowing it’s stupid and irrational to feel the way she does, but she can’t help it. This woman has come into her apartment and stolen all of the thunder.

Maya is grateful that she gets a text from Jack and lies to Carina about Andy needing something so she can removes herself from this agonizing situation.


They get finished with the photo album and Gabriella gets up and goes to the kitchen to get some water.

“So, this little blonde American? She doesn’t speak any Italian?” Gabriella turns back to Carina, folding her arms over her chest.

“Maya?” Carina tilts her head. “She doesn’t know much, no. But she has picked up a little from me. I think she just, even if she did know some, she wouldn’t be confident enough to speak it in front of anyone until she perfected it.”

Gabriella scoffs. “So, just a dumb American.”

Carina frowns. “What?” She doesn’t think Maya is dumb. Just because she doesn’t know or understand most of the Italian language doesn’t mean she’s dumb. She doesn’t like Gabriella attacking Maya like this. Maya hasn’t done anything wrong or anything to show to Gabriella that she might be ‘a dumb American’. Carina also isn’t asking Maya to be someone she’s not or to learn an entire other language or ancient Italian recipes or anything like that; so she doesn’t understand why Gabriella has such a problem with it. She doesn’t think that’s fair to Maya.

“That’s not fair, Gabri. You don’t know Maya.” She tries to defend her girlfriend but wonders why she needs to. Gabriella is one of her best friends. She should just accept that Maya is someone in her life now.

Gabriella puts her hands on her hips. “And why not?” She raises an eyebrow at Carina. “Whose fault is that? All I’ve ever heard from you is her name in passing. And then you were suddenly living here with her. What’s that about?”

“She’s my girlfriend. I love her. We moved in together during the pandemic because-“ She knows it’s going to sound crazy when she says it “-because we didn’t want to be apart.”

Gabriella just stands there, waiting for more.

Carina sighs. “I don’t have to explain anything to you. I know she’s not Italian and that’s fine with me. And she doesn’t have to be. There’s no rule saying I have to date only Italians. If there were, I’d have to move back to Italia cuz there aren’t many around here. Or maybe New Jersey.” She jokes.

Gabriella smirks a little, glad to get Carina riled up about this. “So, what is it about her?”

Carina smiles softly thinking about Maya. “I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s that simple. Or if it’s one thing. It’s just Maya. She’s just-“ She sighs, content, happy. “There’s just something about her that makes me feel drawn to her. Like I want to be around her all the time. She makes me feel safe and cared for, loved. Like I matter and I’m the most important thing. She puts me above all else. Even this week. She took the whole week off of work. And Maya’s not someone who takes off of work. She hardly ever does. If she has an appointment, she makes sure to schedule it for a day that she has off already. She didn’t have to do that, but she did it for me.”

Gabriella hums.

“What?” Carina wonders about that hum. “Tell me.”

“Nothing.” Gabriella shakes her head. “She seems a bit odd, that’s all. Like I got a weird vibe from her.”

Carina frowns again. “It’s cuz you don’t know her yet.”

Gabriella hums. “I’ll make dinner for you. When’s your girlfriend going to be home?”

That’s a good question. “I don’t know.” Carina finds her phone and sends Maya a text to ask.


Instead of going back home after her visit with Jack, Maya goes to the park. The one that she asked Carina if she wanted to go to earlier in the day so they could watch the sunset together. She goes to the cliff edge and sits down about ten minutes before the sun is about to dip past the horizon.

She feels like an idiot. Maya just can’t shake the feeling that Gabriella knows Carina better than she does. That she’s always going to know Carina better than she does. It doesn’t seem fair to her. Maya knows that she wants to spend her life with Carina; but now, now that Gabriella is here, she is having second thoughts about that.

She thought they were good together. She thought she was starting to develop a shorthand with Carina. She thought they knew each other well. But then Gabriella walked through the door and proved her wrong on all of those fronts. She could see the strong bond and connection that Carina and Gabriella have. The history there. All the experiences in life that they’ve shared. It makes Maya mad. She thought they were so good and now here is someone else who is so good with Carina. Better, even. And it hurts to think about. And she’s mad and jealous that this other person even exists. That someone has swooped in and wrapped Carina up and made her feel safe and loved, and it bothers Maya more than she’s willing to admit.

Her feet kick at the edge of the cliff. She looks down over the edge. It’s so far down to the beach below. The sun is setting. She looks out over the water, having missed most of it. Maya thinks about the times she’s come here with Carina. This was their spot. They were supposed to come here today.

Maya waits until it’s almost dark before getting up and going back to the car. She sits there for a few minutes thinking about what she should do next. She doesn’t know what the best thing to do is. So, Maya sticks with the basics. Eat, sleep, get up the next day. That is her only plan right now. She does wish though that she hadn’t taken an entire week off of work now. Now that Gabriella is here, she doesn’t know how long she can just sit in the apartment and watch her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s ex-lover all cozied up together. It’ll just be torture.

Maya stops and gets some food for all of them on her way home. She walks in the door and smells the scent of food that is either being cooked or has just been finished cooking. Her shoulders sag in defeat.

“Oh, good, Maya, you’re home. I was wondering when you were coming back. I sent you a text. Didn’t you get it?” Carina is sitting on one end of the couch, her feet folded up underneath her, with Gabriella sitting on the other end of the couch.

“I made dinner, Maya.” Gabriella says. “There’s some on simmer on the stove for you.”

“Thanks.” Maya’s eyes flick between the two of them. Each with a full wine glass in hand. “Sorry, I didn’t get your text. I think I put my phone on silent.” She pulls the phone from her pocket and looks at it. Sure enough, the text from Carina is there. “Sorry.” She mumbles, feeling inadequate for more than one reason now. Maya isn’t sure how she keeps messing things up, but knows that she is. “And I didn’t know you made dinner. So, I picked something up. I’ll just put it in the fridge for tomorrow or whenever.” Maya lifts the bag of take out in her hand, to show it off.

The blonde turns and heads into the kitchen with her take out that isn’t going to get eaten today. She was looking forward to it too. She ordered from Carina’s favorite Italian restaurant in Seattle. It was supposed to be special. She takes the items from the bag as Carina and Gabriella restart their conversation again. Maya tries not to eavesdrop on them but can tell that they are talking about their medical school days.

She gets the food in the fridge and then goes to look at what’s in the pot on the stove. It looks good. Maya isn’t sure what it is and she’s about to try some when Gabriella says something in Italian and Carina laughs. Like full on, head thrown back, laughter. Maya looks over her shoulder at the pair and sees their happy faces and smiles and laughter.

Maya wets her lips. “I’m really tired. Andy had me moving furniture around all afternoon. I’m going to head to bed.”

“Are you feeling okay?” Carina asks.

Maya nods and walks over to the couch. “Just tired.” She places a kiss to the top of Carina’s head as she walks past.

“I’ll be in in a little bit.” Carina tells her.

Maya nods and goes into their room. She’s not sure what constitutes as a little bit but knows it will be more than a few minutes just by how much wine is in their wine glasses yet. And then if there’s another glass of wine, minutes could turn to hours.

She changes and climbs into bed, curling up into a little ball, sulking like a child. She knows it’s dumb. She knows she’s jealous. She knows she shouldn’t be. Maya doesn’t want to be. She’s never been jealous before. At least not over another person. But this is Carina and she’s never had a Carina before. And so, she’s jealous that the bond that Carina and Gabriella have is stronger than the one that they have.

Maya tries desperately to fall asleep before Carina comes to bed but it just doesn’t happen. She can’t get her mind to stop going over ever little detail of everything that’s happened since Gabriella showed up.

Carina comes in and changes into pajamas and crawls into bed. “Are you awake?”

Maya doesn’t move. She tries to keep her breathing even. She tries to pretend that she’s asleep and hopefully Carina will think that she is and not bother her. In the end, Carina sighs, and wraps an arm over Maya’s waist and cuddles up next to her.

It eats Maya up, all night, that she lied to Carina about her whereabouts today, that she said she was going to Andy’s when she went to Jack’s. And she knows it’s worse because it was Jack.

In the morning, as soon as Maya wakes up, which is early because she had a hard time sleeping at night she goes out in the kitchen to try to make espresso. She has to get this right. She needs to. Maya tries not to make a lot of noise because she knows Carina needs sleep and that Gabriella is sleeping.

But the kitchen noise wakes Gabriella. She puts a sweatshirt on and heads out into the kitchen. “Why are you making so much noise and such an early hour?” She sits down at the island counter.

Maya jumps, startled by Gabriella’s voice. “I have to get this right.” She huffs.

“What, exactly?”

“Espresso.”

Gabriella hums, with a smirk. It’s clear to her that she’s gotten under Maya’s skin. Which is good, in her opinion. It just means that Maya is aware of Gabriella’s presence and what it means for her and Carina. Or that Maya feels like she needs to impress and prove herself. Either way, Gabriella is happy with that. She wants to see what Maya’s got. She wants to see if this woman has enough stuff to handle Carina, to keep up with Carina, to be what she needs.

She watches as Maya struggles with the espresso.

“Don’t you have anything better to do.” Maya doesn’t like that she’s being watched.

“Not really. I came here to support my friend. And she’s sleeping so-“ She shrugs. “And you seem to have other things handled.”

“I’m making breakfast.” Maya tells her.

“Okay.” Gabriella gets up. She’s tortured Maya enough. “I’m going to shower.”

“Okay.” Maya sighs, glad that she will be left alone again.

She gets the espresso done and sets it aside and starts on breakfast. Today, a little less involved. Toast and fruits. Berries in a bowl. Yogurt. She gets it all ready before going back to the bedroom to let Carina know that breakfast is ready.

Her conscious gets the best of her before she can even make it out of the bedroom though.

“I need to tell you something.” Maya stops with a hand on the door. “I lied to you.” She huffs out a breath and rests her forehead against the door. “Yesterday. I lied to you.”

Carina rubs her hands over her face and sits up in bed. This isn’t really what she wants to hear first thing when she wakes up. Her brain isn’t really functioning properly yet. “What?”

Maya spins around to face Carina. She balls her hands into fists. “I lied to you yesterday. It’s eating me alive. I lied to you. I said Andy had a family thing and she didn’t. I didn’t go over to Andy’s. I went to see Jack.”

That rattles the cobwebs out of Carina’s brain. “Jack?”

“Yeah.” Maya takes a step closer to the bed. “I didn’t sleep with him.” She puts a knee on the end of the bed. “Don’t worry.”

Carina doesn’t know what to say.

“His girlfriend was there.” Maya tries to explain.

“So, are you saying if his girlfriend wasn’t there, that you would’ve slept with him.”

“No.” Maya puts her hands on the mattress and crawls towards Carina. “God, no.” She reaches out to put her hands on Carina’s cheeks, but Carina’s pulls her head back.

“Why are you telling me this?”

“You need to know?” Maya isn’t sure.

“Are you sure about that?”

“Yes. Yes. I’m sure. I lied. And I don’t want to lie to you. Ever. I don’t want to do anything to hurt you. And I feel like I have again. So, I’m telling you now that I lied. Jack text me and said that Marsha took a turn. I used it as an excuse to get out of the apartment because I felt uncomfortable. I went over there. I was only there for a few minutes. Then I drove around for a couple of hours before I ended up at the park.” Maya looks down at the blankets. “I sat there and watched the sunset.” She tries to keep the hurt out of her voice.

“Bambina.” Carina puts a hand on Maya’s upper arm, rubbing it up and down. “I’m sorry. We were going to do that, weren’t we?”

“It’s fine. Your friend is here. It would be rude to leave her alone or change plans or something.” Maya shrugs. “Speaking of, she’s awake. So, I made breakfast, Gabriella is awake, and I let you know that I lied to you. That’s all I’ve got.” Maya starts to back away from Carina, before stopping. “Oh, and I have to help Jack and Marcus and Inara with something later today. I don’t want to keep that from you. No lies.”

“Okay. What is it? Can I ask?”

Maya shrugs again. “I have to get the ladder truck over to the hospital. They want to surprise Marsha.”

Carina smiles at that. A big grin because her girl is so kind and caring and wonderful. “Can I come with?”

Maya hums. “You should stay here with Gabriella.” She’s not saying it to be mean or spiteful. Maya just doesn’t want Gabriella to think she is rude by them going to a thing when they have a guest.

“Oh.”

“I mean, unless she wants to come with. You can both come. It’s not really going to be anything exciting or anything like that. I’m just doing Jack a favor.” Maya tries to downplay it as much as she can.

There’s a knock on the bedroom door. “Carina?”

“Come in.”

Maya sits down on the end of the bed and watches as Gabriella sticks her head in the door.

Gabriella looks between the pair. “Am I interrupting?”

Maya thinks the answer is yes. She just wants like ten minutes alone with Carina but can’t get it.

“What’s up?”

“Oh, well, I was just wondering if you were up, and I wondered where Maya ran off to. But I’ve found her.” Gabriella smiles. “I’ll be out here, having breakfast.” She exits and closes the door.

Maya runs her hands through her hair. “I made espresso. I hope she doesn’t try any.” She mumbles. “You don’t have to try any either.”

“Bambina.” Carina sighs. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Just this thing with Jack. I’m sorry.” She stands up. “I’ll see if Gabriella will make espresso for you.” Maya moves towards the door. “Again, I’m sorry. I hope you won’t hold it against me.”

“Maya.”

Maya opens the door.

“Maya. Stop.”

She closes the door.

Carina scrambles to get out of bed. She comes over and wraps Maya up in her arms. “Do you not like that Gabriella is staying here?”

“It’s fine. She’s your friend. She can stay here. You have every right to let her stay here.” That’s not really Maya’s problem with Gabriella. She feels like she’s inadequate in Gabriella’s presence. That’s a her problem though and not a Carina problem. Maya feels like Carina should mainly be focused on her grief and the loss of her brother, not Maya’s petty jealous problems.

“That’s not what I asked. I asked if you were okay with it. And now that I’m thinking about it, I didn’t ask you yesterday if you were okay with it. So, I’m sorry, bella.” She rests her chin on Maya’s shoulder. “I should have asked.”

“That would have been nice but it’s really okay. She’s your friend. She can stay here.”

“Okay.” Carina isn’t convinced. Maya’s body language isn’t convincing her that everything is okay, but she drops it for now. “Did you make me breakfast again?” Carina asks, slipping her hands to Maya’s hips, swaying them from side to side.

“Sort of. Does putting toast in the toaster count? I set out berries and yogurt and made toast. And espresso that probably tastes like trash.”

“Hey.” Carina spins Maya around so they are facing each other. “I like when you make espresso.”

“You mean try to make. I see your face when you taste it. You don’t like the taste.”

“I’m getting used to it.” Carina shrugs. “Baciami. I haven’t had my morning kiss yet.”

Maya smirks a little at that. “You’re such a diva, aren’t you?” she teases.

Carina smiles, happy that Maya’s mood is a little lighter right now. “If you don’t kiss me, I might have to be.” She puts her hand on Maya’s waist and presses into her. “Kiss me.” She whispers. Carina knows very well that she could just kiss Maya but she’s going to make Maya do it.

Maya leans into Carina, taking in the gorgeous Italian in front of her as she does so. Because Carina’s beauty is something that should never be forgotten or ignored. She reaches up and tucks Carina’s hair behind her ear. “You are always so stunning to me.” She whispers.

“Maya, I just woke up.”

“Yes. And?”

“I have bed head. I don’t have any makeup on. I need a shower.”

“I don’t care. You don’t need any of that.” Maya tilts her head to the side. “I mean, maybe you could brush your hair, but it looks amazing like this too.” She smiles. “You are the most beautiful woman alive.”

“Stop it.”

“No. I feel like I need to tell you that everyday. I don’t say it enough.” Maya feels a little wistful right now. After feeling inadequate. She needs to remember what’s important.

“Maya, come on.” Carina whines a little. “Bella.”

Maya hums and finally leans in for a kiss. It’s just a simple press of the lips together. Short but as sweet as ever. “I love you.” Maya whispers.

“I love you too.” Carina giggles. “You’re in a strange mood this morning.” Maya nods. “I’m not sure what to do with it.”

Maya smiles. “You just keep being you and you don’t have to do anything with it. How about we eat?” Maya finds Carina’s hands.

“Sure. Before Gabriella barges in again.” Carina wiggles her eyebrows. “I love her, but you can’t leave her to her own devices for too long or you’ll have a whole five course meal in the making or a remodel project started without your permission. She’s not someone who does well with idle time. She’s always got to be doing something or worrying about something.”

“Kinda like me?”

Carina shakes her head. “You two are nothing alike.”

Maya furrows her brow. “Really?”

“Yeah, you know how to relax and not do anything.”

“No, I don’t.” Maya argues.

“Okay. Maybe not entirely. But, since I’ve known you, you learned how to just relax and just take time to not do anything that involves work or a tasks or getting ahead at something.”

“That’s only because of you. I want to spend my free time with you. I want to lay in bed with you on my mornings off. I wouldn’t be doing that if you weren’t here. I would get up and go for a run. You’ve changed my patterns.”

“No, you’ve changed your own patterns.” Carina smiles. “I’m just the reason why. It’s good, bambina. It’s good.”

“You really think we’re nothing alike?” Maya asks. Carina nods for her. Maya hums that makes her think differently about Gabriella. If that’s true, than maybe it’s not so much a competition between her and Gabriella.

“Come on.” Carina turns Maya around and opens the door. She pushes Maya out of the room, walking out behind her, her hands wrapped around Maya’s biceps.


“Are you sure you’re okay with staying here by yourself?” Carina asks again.

“I’ll be fine. Go with your girl.” Gabriella assures her friend. She’s seen them sort of tiptoe around each other all day. She knows something is up. She has a feeling that it’s probably her presence in their apartment. Gabriella wonders if she was too harsh on Maya.

“Thank you.” She presses a kiss to Gabriella’s cheek. “I need to do this for her. With her.”

Gabriella nods. She doesn’t understand it, but she nods. “What is it that you’re doing?”

“I’m supporting Maya, who is supporting her friend Jack, who is supporting a mother and son, who are supporting their mother figure, who is in the hospital with Covid.”

It’s a lot to understand but Gabriella raises an eyebrow. “Jack?”

Carina rolls her eyes. “Yes, Jack.”

Gabriella rolls her eyes. “You’re asking for trouble.”

Carina doesn’t think so. She thinks she is preventing trouble. “Listen, I know you don’t understand. And I know you didn’t support me taking Maya back but- but I love her.” Carina sighs. She knows it’s so much more complex than that, but it’s easy to sum everything up but saying that she loves Maya. She does. She loves her so much. She loves Maya more now than she ever has up to this point. With everything that she’s been through in the last few days and how Maya has been there every step of the way. She doesn’t know how she couldn’t love her more.

“Do you think this is appropriate?” Maya steps out into the hallway. “Or should I dress up more.” She looks up at Carina’s outfit. “Oh.” Carina is dressed up more. “I should change.”

“No. Stop.” Carina waves Maya over. “Vieni qua.” She wraps an arm around Maya from behind as soon as she gets close enough. “You look amazing.”

Maya looks down at her outfit. “I’m just wearing a Henley and jeans.”

“And you look amazing. You told me earlier how amazing I looked, now it’s my turn to tell you how amazing you look.”

“I think what I said was stunning and beautiful.” Maya corrects.

Gabriella chuckles. “You guys are funny.”

Maya glances over at Gabriella.

“Put your coat on, let’s go Captain.” Carina holds her hand out, waiting for Maya. She watches Maya put her jacket on. “Even better.”

Maya hums and steps over to Carina, taking her hand. Carina pulls her into her side. “Some days I can’t believe I get to walk around with a sexy fire captain at my side.” She whispers into Maya’s ear.

“Oh.”

“In a pair of jeans that make her ass look amazing. And a shirt that hugs all the right places. With an amazing jacket to top it all off. What’s not to like.” Carina forgets to whisper this time, forgets that her friend is sitting right there. Not that Carina cares what she says in front of Gabriella, but she knows Maya probably does.

Maya ducks her head. “Okay, let’s go.”


“It’s ours. It’s just ours.” Carina grabs Maya’s face and presses against her, kissing her. “Okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay.”

She twists some of Maya’s hair around her finger.

“But if you wanted to keep making your point-“

Carina hums and kisses Maya again.

Maya grabs onto Carina’s waist. She doesn’t know if she’s ever going to get enough of this woman. Part of her hopes not because that would mean that every day will be amazing.

They sway back and forth as they kiss in the parking lot. The swaying stops when Maya is pushed up against the back of Carina’s car.

“Oof.” Maya grunts, breathless.

Carina slots a knee between Maya’s legs, pressing her into the car. “Should we go home, bambina?” Carina licks up the side of Maya’s neck.

A shiver runs through Maya. “Y-yeah. It’s getting late.”

Carina pulls back and laughs. “It’s getting late?”

Maya shrugs. “Well, it is. We can’t stay out all night. And Gabriella is back at the apartment. You were the one who said not to leave her to her own devices for too long.”

Carina groans this time, forgetting that her friend is back at their apartment. “Okay.” She separates herself from Maya. “Let’s go.”

They get in the car and Carina drives them home. Maya unlocks the door, and they walk in. It’s quiet. There is no sign of Gabriella. The spare bedroom door is closed though.

“Shhh.” Maya puts her finger to her lips and turns to Carina.

“Fuck that.” Carina pulls her jacket off, throwing it over the couch. In the next motion, takes Maya’s hand and drags her into the bedroom.

“What are you doing?” Maya asks and Carina peels the jacket from her shoulder.

“What does it look like?” Carina reaches for the bottom of Maya’s shirt and pulls it up. “Raise your arms.” Maya does and she pulls the shirt over her head.

“Gabriella is in the next room.” Maya reminds her girlfriend.

“So.”

Maya’s eyes go wide as warm hands caress her sides. Those hands roam around to the small of her back before traveling upwards and deft fingers flick open the clasp on her bra. Then hands are cupping her breasts, thumbs stroking over nipples. “Carina.” Maya moans, knowing she’s not going to be able to stop this now.

“Yeah, bella?” Carina smirks.

Maya moans again.

“You like that?”

Maya grabs Carina by the back of the neck and pulls her into a searing kiss. “I like that.” They kiss again. “And I love you.” Carina giggles into the kiss.


Carina comes out of the bedroom to get something to drink the next morning. Gabriella is standing there, leaning against the kitchen counter, mug in hand. “Did you kill her?” Gabriella asks.

“What? Who? No.” Carina has no idea what her friend is talking about.

“Maya? Did you kill her?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Or was that you? No nevermind, I know what you sound like in bed.” Gabriella shrugs. “Well, now I know what Maya sounds like in bed too.” She winks.

“Oh, dio mio.” Carina runs a hand over her face. “Ah, what can I say?”

“You don’t have to say anything. I get it.”

Carina notices the bags by the door. “Are you leaving? I thought you were staying until tomorrow.”

“Si, it’s clear that Maya has things handled here.” Gabriella might get a weird vibe from Maya, but she can tell that Carina is being well taken care of by the blonde.

Carina doesn’t blush but if she did now would be the time.

“That girl loves you. She seems a little stubborn about it, but she loves you and would do anything for you. So yes, I’m leaving because I know that no matter what happens you are in good hands. And that’s all I can ask.” She pulls Carina into a hug. “Was it fabulous?”

“Was what fabulous?” Carina is having a hard time keeping up this morning. Gabriella is throwing all these questions at her and now she’s leaving.

“The sex.” She raises an eyebrow. “Last night. Cuz it sounded-“ She rolls her head from side to side. “Fabulous.”

Carina smiles happily. “Yeah. It usually is with her. Fabulous.”

Gabriella laughs. “Good for you.”

Carina smirks at that. She releases Gabriella from the hug. “Thanks for coming.”

“Of course. It was good to see you. I just wish the circumstances would have been different.”

Carina sighs, sadly. “Me too. Poor Andrea.”

Gabriella nods. “Okay, goodbye. Now, you, get back to the sex lair.”

Carina nods. “Maya’s still sleeping. Which is rare. Usually she’s up early.”

“You tired her out.” Gabriella winks. She heard them. They were going at it for almost two hours.

Carina pulls Gabriella into one final hug to prevent her friend from seeing the giant smile on her face. “Ciao, Gabri.” She presses a kiss to her cheek.

“Ciao. And I’m serious about the sex lair. Get back in there. You seem happy with her. And I’m not just talking about sex.”

Carina looks down at the floor. “I am. She makes me feel-“ Carina smiles and looks up at Gabriella. “She makes me feel. And I haven’t felt like that in a long time. The way I feel around Maya I don’t think I’ve ever felt that. I feel. Do you know how amazing that is?”

Gabriella smirks. “I can imagine.” She shakes her head. “I’ve got to go. I have a flight in two hours.”

They hug once more before Gabriella is gripping her suitcase handle and backing out of the apartment. “Ciao.” She blows Carina a kiss.

Carina blows a kiss back. She stands there for a moment, thinking about her conversation with Gabriella just now. Thinking about the blonde in bed. Carina feels it. She feels happy with Maya. Like Gabriella said. With happy thoughts in mind, Carina skips towards the bedroom.

Chapter Text

Maya walks into the bedroom with two cups of coffee. She’s getting better at the espresso after Gabriella gave her some tips in a text message, she sent the blonde a few days after she left. It was odd, at first, receiving a message from her girlfriend’s best friend. Maya still isn’t sure how she feels about them being best friend knowing what their past is. But, she’ll have to live with it. They had exchanged a few messages. Gabriella to check on how Carina was and Maya to thank Gabriella for coming which lead to the message with the tips about espresso.

“Are you coming back to bed or just bringing me my morning coffee and leaving?” Carina reaches out her hand towards Maya. The past few days have been great, well, not great because she is grieving her brother. But being able to wake up every morning in bed with Maya and be in no rush to be off to work. That was great.

“Here’s your coffee. And I’m getting back in bed.” Maya rounds the bed.

Carina takes a sip of her espresso and moans. “So much better.”

Maya chuckles. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“It is.” Carina leans over and presses a kiss to Maya’s cheek.

“What do you want to do today?”

“I don’t want to be stuck inside all day.” Carina tilts her head back against the headboard. They’ve been inside a lot. “But I also don’t want to leave this bed.”

“Well, you can’t have it both ways sweetheart.” Maya takes a sip of her espresso. She starts scrolling through her phone.

Carina turns onto her side and runs her foot up the outside of Maya’s leg. Maya looks away from her phone and raises an eyebrow. She lifts her cup to her lips and takes another drink as she eyes Carina, wondering what she’s up to.

“Do you have any sexual fantasies?” Carina husks.

Maya starts coughing and choking on her espresso.

Carina giggles. “Are you okay?”

Maya puts a hand on her chest and tries to get her breathing back to normal. “Where did that come from?”

Carina shrugs. “I don’t know. I was just wondering.”

Maya hums.

“So do you?” Carina wants an answer.

“What kind of fantasies?” Maya tries to skirt around the question. “Do you?” She thinks if she flips this around, she can get out of answering it.

Carina tilts her chin up at Maya. “I asked you first.”

That technique isn’t going to work. Maya rolls her eyes. “Nothing in particular. Or out of the ordinary. Not that there’s anything ordinary. Ugh. No.” She knows it probably makes her boring in Carina’s eyes. She’s sure Carina has seen and done just about everything in bed. She is the Orgasm Doctor, after all. So maybe this conversation was bound to happen at some point. “I don’t want to be tied up or anything like that.”

“Oh, no. Not that. I was thinking more like toys.”

“Oh.” Maya mulls it over. “I don’t know.” She takes another sip of her coffee. “Why? Do you? Have fantasies?”

“Si.” Carina grins.

“Like?”

Carina gets a little nervous and usually she doesn’t get nervous talking about sex stuff. She looks down, away from Maya’s eyes. “Maya, do have a cock?”

“W-what?”

“I want to ride your cock.”

Maya has to swallow down the lump that has formed in her throat. She eyes Carina carefully. It’s not the craziest idea but it’s not what Maya expected. She didn’t know what to expect really. She sets her cup of espresso down on the nightstand carefully.

Carina watches her. “So? Do you?”

“I, uh, do not.”

Carina’s grin grows. “Oh, this could be fun.” She thinks of all the possibilities.

“I don’t like that look on your face.” Maya folds her arms across her chest. “What are you thinking?”

“We could go shopping?”

“Like to a store?” Maya voice gets higher than she would like it to be.

Carina shrugs. “Online. If you’re more comfortable with that.”

“Online, please.” Maya grumbles.

Carina kisses her quickly and runs out of the room to get Maya’s laptop from the coffee table. She’s back in a flash.

“Someone’s excited.”

“Aren’t you?”

Maya shrugs. “Well, not really. I’ve never-“

“You’ll be alright. I’ll be with you every step of the way.” Carina sits back down and opens up the computer.

They spend over an hour looking at options before making a decision.

Maya is self conscious and worries all of a sudden that she isn’t fulfilling Carina sexually. “Does this mean you want to go back to men?” She voices her concerns.

“Cosa? No.” Carina sees how Maya can get the wrong idea here. “No. No. No. No. No.” She takes Maya’s face in her hands. “No, bambina. No. not at all.” Maya just stares blankly at her. “Do you hear me?”

Maya nods but she’s still lost in her head. “Am I not doing something right? Am I doing something wrong?”

“No. There’s nothing wrong. I absolutely love and thoroughly enjoy our sex life.” Carina sets the computer aside and climbs into Maya’s lap. “Look, we don’t have to change anything if you don’t want. I just thought something different might be nice. Fun. This is me saying I am so comfortable and feel so safe with you that I want us to try different things, but we won’t if you aren’t comfortable with that.”

Maya breathes a sigh of relief. “It’s not that I’m opposed to the idea. I just-“

“It’s new.”

“It’s new. I think I need to wrap my head around it. Think about it. Ya know.”

Carina kisses her forehead. “You and your brain. I know. I’ll leave it totally up to you. No pressure. Okay?”

“Okay.” Maya wraps her arms around Carina and pulls her to her chest. “I like the idea of something different though.”

“Good.” Carina runs her fingers through Maya’s hair. “Would you like to hear more about my fantasy?”

“That wasn’t all?”

Carina shakes her head. She puts her hands on Maya’s shoulders and sits up. “There’s the first part. That I told you about. I want to sit in your lap, like this, and ride your cock. Then I want you to flip us over, I lay on my stomach, and you fuck me from behind.”

Maya closes her eyes. “Jesus.” She whispers.

“And then I want to roll over with you on top of me and we make slow passionate love where both of your hands are free to hold me and touch me. I want to feel you cum with your cock inside me. I want to cum with you. Without fumbling hands or legs or anything else.”

“That sounds amazing.” Maya moans.

“I want to get to that point. We aren’t going to be there right away.”

“I fucking love you. Let’s do it.” That was all the convincing Maya needed. She’ll do just about anything to feel closer and more connected to Carina.

Carina laughs. “You’re halfway gone. Aren’t you?”

“I’m fucking soaked. So yeah.”

“Should I keep going?” Carina reaches down and slips her hand into Maya’s briefs. They both moan at the feeling.

“Y-yes.” Maya stutters out.

Carina runs her fingers through Maya’s folds, teasing her entrance. She leans forward and whispers in Maya’s ear. “I want you to wear your cock in your pants. Maybe in your uniform pants even. When you come home from work? After a long exhausting day. And you’ll sit down on the couch, and I’ll come over and undo your pants, pulling your cock out, stroking you, before bending down and sucking you off.”

Maya bucks her hips. “Keep going.” She groans, her fingers digging into the skin at Carina’s hips.

Carina slips two fingers into Maya. “I’ll pull my panties off and rub myself on your cock.” She moves her fingers to a steady rhythm inside Maya. “Getting you soaked with my juices.”

Maya squirms, looking for her release. It’s so close. She just needs a little more.

Carina tilts her hand, thrusting deeper into Maya.

Maya moans, close.

“And then I’ll slowly lower myself down onto your cock until I’m taking your full length.”

“Carina.” Maya moans, her orgasm exploding within. “Ohhh.” She moans out as Carina presses her thumb to Maya’s clit, intensifying her orgasm. She grinds herself up into Carina’s hand, riding over the waves of pleasure.

Maya rests her forehead on Carina’s shoulder as her whole body tingles. “I can’t feel my legs.”

“That good, huh?”

“Amazing.” Maya presses a kiss to Carina’s shoulder and focuses on breathing properly again.

Carina runs her hands up and down Maya’s back softly.

“You’re trouble.” Maya says once her breathing evens out again.

Carina laughs and tilts Maya’s head up with a finger under her chin. She leans in for a slow kiss.

“Dirty, sexy, trouble.” Maya mumbles. She reaches for the bottom of Carina’s tank top. “Take this off.” She removes the item herself, revealing pert breasts. Maya takes one into her mouth, humming.

Carina tips her head back, closing her eyes, lost in the feeling of Maya sucking on her nipple. So lost that she doesn’t realize Maya is moving, until she is being spun around and flipped onto her back. Her eyes snap open as she grins up at Maya. “It’s so sexy when you do that.” She reaches up and squeezes Maya’s strong biceps.

Maya grins, devilishly. “How about when I do this?” She starts kissing down Carina’s torso. She reaches the elastic band on her underwear, licking across it. Her fingers hook into the sides. She kisses her way down Carina’s right thigh as she pulls the underwear down tanned legs. She removes the item and then looks up to find Carina staring down at her. “Is that a yes?”

Carina licks her lips and nods. “S-s-si.”

Maya laughs. “Good.” She puts her hands on Carina’s knees, spreading her legs. “How about this?”

Carina rolls her eyes. “Dio mio, Maya, stop talking and just do it already.”

Maya laughs. “Okay, no more teasing.” She gets in position, lapping her tongue through Carina’s folds as Carina moans out Maya’s name and broken sentences in Italian until she is coming undone.


“Okay, I’m ready to go. Are you?” Maya calls out. She’s anxious about today. And it has nothing to do with her own life. Well, in a way it does. Carina is going back to work today for the first time since Andrew’s death. While Maya had taken one week off of work, Carina took two.

The plan was that they were going to stop somewhere for breakfast and then Carina was going to bring Maya to work and then head to the hospital.

“Y-yeah.” Carina doesn’t feel like she’s one hundred percent ready for this, but she also knows that she never will be. It’s just one of those things you have to do. Just rip the band aid off.

Maya moseys into the bedroom. “Let’s go hot doctor lady.” She tries to keep the mood light.

Carina grins. She knows what Maya is doing but she totally loves and appreciates it.

They get to the restaurant and are seated six feet from any other table. It’s a little odd. Neither of them have been to a restaurant and had a meal since before the pandemic started. They have been in a café or coffee shop or two, but this is a little different than those times.

Maya can almost feel the anxiety wafting off of Carina. She reaches across the table with both hands. Carina is busy looking at the menu. “Dammi -uh, your hands.” Maya says nervously.

Carina looks over at Maya at that. “Did you just-?”

“Dammi is give me, right?”

“Si.” Carina grins. She puts down the menu and puts her hands in Maya’s.

“I know you’re anxious about today.” Maya runs her thumbs over Carina’s knuckles. “I know that. But you can do it. You’ve got this. Just- I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to help you. But I want to.” Maya sighs, frustrated. “If you need to talk or need something else just call me. Don’t hesitate. Don’t wait until it gets too overwhelming. Okay?”

Carina bites her lip. “Maya. Maya, thank you.”

Maya shakes her head. “Don’t thank me. If I don’t answers my phone or my office phone, call the reception desk at the station. I’ll have Vic working reception today. She can let you know where I am, or if I’m on a phone call, or an actual emergency call. Tell her you need to talk to me and she will let me know and I we call you back as soon as I can.”

Carina takes a deep breath. She doesn’t know if what Maya says is going to help but just knowing that Maya is trying to help and make herself available means everything. “Okay.”

“Great.” She squeezes Carina’s hands before letting them go. “Now, where’s our waiter, I’m starving.”


The day starts out well. Carina has appointments with clients all morning. Appointments that got rescheduled or pushed back or couldn’t be picked up by the other OB’s while she was off work.

Carina has her lunch break and can’t help but think about Andrea as she sits alone at a table in the cafeteria. She wonders about Amelia, and then Meredith, and then Teddy. The last she heard Meredith was still in the hospital, still had Covid or Covid complications. Teddy and Andrea were the ones who were running Meredith’s Covid care. And then Teddy was in on the surgery that they did to try to save Andrea. So, she wonders on what’s happening with all that.

Part of her wishes everyone at this hospital wasn’t tied together and interconnected. It would make grieving Andrea’s death easier.

The afternoon isn’t as busy for Carina. She’s mostly going over charts and catching up on her patients that have been seen by other doctors in her absence.

It’s not until she gets a page, that she has to go down to the ER to look at a pregnant woman that was just brought in, that things change.

Carina looks around, trying to spot the woman.

“Dr. DeLuca, in here.” Helm calls her into the trauma room.

Carina starts to walk over but stops in the doorway. It’s the same room Andrea was in. Everything about that day comes rushing back.

“Carina.” Owen gets her attention.

She moves into the room. “What do we have?” Trying to focus, keep her mind present.

“Thirty-two year old woman, thirty-two weeks pregnant, blunt force trauma to the head.” Amelia fills in. “We need to get her up to CT, but I need you to check on the baby first.”

Carina tries to put Andrea out of her mind as she works on the patient. She does an ultrasound and doesn’t see anything that indicates there is anything wrong with the baby. The fetal heart monitor shows that the baby isn’t in any distress. “You’re good to go.”

“Let’s go.” Owen calls out. Everyone rushes out of the room with the patient, leaving Carina standing there, alone.

She tries to breathe through the sadness and anxiety that is bubbling up. She looks around the room. It’s eerily like it was the day Andrea was here. Just like when they moved him out to go to surgery. The only difference right now is that Maya isn’t here to hold her.

Carina’s legs are shaky, her heart beating faster than it should be, her eyes watery. It’s like it’s happening all over again. She can picture it all again. Andrea laying on the bed, gasping for air, moaning in pain. The frantic frenzy going on around her and Maya. The arms around her waist. Except they aren’t. She looks down at her midsection.

A nurse Carina doesn’t know or recognize comes into the room to clean it up and get it back in order for the next trauma that will inevitably come in. That’s all this room is. A revolving door of trauma. Someone is brought in. They are worked on. The doctors determine what’s wrong and they go for surgery or scans or both and try to fix it. If they can’t fix it, this is the last room that person is ever in alive.

“Are you okay?” The nurse asks.

Carina turns her head, staring over at the woman. They just stare at each other for a moment before Carina shakes her head and hurries out of the room.

There are only a few hours left of her shift, but she can’t continue. She knows she can’t. Her head is a mess now. Carina goes to her office and gathers her things before walking out of the hospital. She knows it’s probably not a good idea to drive home so she starts walking.

Carina pulls the front door open. She vaguely knows this isn’t her home but maybe it’s starting to be, in a way.

“Carina, hey.” Vic calls out as soon as the Italian steps through the door. She knows something is up when Carina doesn’t smile like she usually does and greet her in return. She sits up a little straighter in her desk chair. The vacant stare that she sees from Carina, the arms wrapped around herself have Vic glancing over at the captain’s office. Maya had mentioned something to Vic at the start of the day about Carina calling and letting her know right away. She hadn’t asked questions but had agreed.

Maya is just over a few steps away in her office. Vic notices that Carina doesn’t make a move to go over there. She needs to intervene when she notices something is off with the doctor.

“MAYA!” Vic yells and gets out of her chair, rounding the desk. She puts a hand on Carina’s shoulder.

The office door opens, and Maya comes flying out. She stands right in front of Carina.

“She just walked in.” Vic supplies.

Maya searches Carina’s eyes for clues as to what is happening. “What happened? What’s wrong? You’re supposed to be working.” She checks her watch to make sure she is correct on that last part. She is. There’s just under two hours left of Carina’s shift.

“Andrea.” Carina mumbles.

Maya heart sinks. “Okay, come on.” She leads Carina into her office with a gentle hand on her lower back. “Thanks, Vic.” Maya calls over her shoulder.

As soon as Maya closes the office door, Carina turns to her and wraps her arms around Maya, burying her face against Maya’s shoulder.

“Okay. Okay.” Maya wraps Carina up in her arms. “Let’s go in here.” She moves them over to the bunk. “Sit.” They sit on the edge of the bed. “Can you tell me what happened?”

Carina shakes her head. The sad look in her eyes, on her face, tears Maya up inside. “Okay.” Maya pulls Carina against her side. Carina lays her head on Maya’s shoulder.

After many minutes of silence, Carina finds the words. “There was a pregnant woman that came in. They needed me to check on the baby. Except that she was in the room they had Andrea in.”

Maya lets out a long sigh. “Maybe you shouldn’t do consults in the pit for a while.” She suggests.

Carina nods. That’s probably a good idea. She’ll have to talk to Owen and Dr. Bailey about it.

“I just left. I had to leave. I didn’t even tell anyone.” She feels bad about it now that she’s at the fire station.

“Okay. It’s okay.” Maya is going to have to call the hospital.

They sit there for a while in silence. Maya goes over everything in her head. She wonders if this is going to keep happening or if this is a one time thing for Carina. She knows she would avoid a place if it gave her triggering memories of a bad situation. That’s kind of difficult to do when you work in that place though.

“How’d you get here?”

“I walked.”

Maya hums. “Do you want me to bring you home?”

Carina shakes her head and wraps her arms around Maya. “Can I stay here? Tonight. With you.”

Maya frowns. That would be against the rules, and she knows she can’t afford to break any rules now. After with what happened with Sullivan and Miller and the police. The department has extra watchful eyes on Maya and her team right now. Though, she knows that nobody on her team would rat her out about Carina staying here overnight.

“Let me go talk to Andy and Gibson.” Maya presses a kiss to Carina’s temple and stands up to go find her lieutenants.

Carina sits there, on the edge of the bed, head hung low. She feels like a failure. She feels like she should have just sucked it up and finished out her workday. She’s going to have to go back to the hospital tomorrow, she’s going to have to go back to work. What happens then?

Maya is right. She’s going to have to talk to Owen and Dr. Bailey about not working in the pit for a while. She puts that thought aside and stands up. She goes over to the table and looks over all of Maya’s personal effects. There’s really not much. A picture of her and Mason from when they were kids. A photo Carina has never seen before. Maya looks about ten or eleven years old in the photo. Mason even younger. They both have seemingly happy smiles on their faces. Carina shakes her head, wondering where it all went wrong for them.

She moves along to the picture of the fire family that sits next to the photo of Maya and Mason. She smiles at it. Carina wonders when it was taken and what the occasion was. Perhaps a few years ago because Pruitt is in the photo and there’s a guy in a police uniform too that Maya has mentioned as Ryan.

There is one more picture propped up there. It’s a photo of herself. Carina reaches out and lifts the photo to get a closer look at it. It’s nothing spectacular in Carina’s opinion. She doesn’t even remember the photo being taken. Carina is just sitting on a park bench, her side profile, a smile as she looks off into the distance. Something strikes her though, looking at the photo. The posture of the woman in the photo, the ease with which she sits there, the content and tranquil everything about her, and the happy smooth smile on her face. Carina didn’t realize she looked that happy. Sure, she feels happy, but to see it in a photo is a whole other dimension.

She puts the photo back and looks around the rest of the tiny room. Some of Maya’s clothes are in a little open faced closet thing in the corner. She goes over and pulls on a hoodie over her scrub top. It’s not until now that she realizes that she didn’t even change before she left the hospital. Carina puts her hands in the pockets and pulls the hoodie tight around her.

Maya finds Carina sitting on the bed again when she comes back. She’d wonder if Carina even moved since she left but knows she has because the Italian is wearing her hoodie.

“Andy is going to take charge if we have any calls. But she said you have to eat dinner with all of us if she is going to fill in for me.” Maya smirks.

Carina closes her eyes. It feels good to be wanted. That Maya’s fire family wants her around and doesn’t just brush her aside as some silly woman that keeps showing up at the station. They actually want her to be around. They might even care about her and her well being.

“You okay?”

“I’m good. I’m better. I just needed to get away from the hospital.”

“About that- I called the hospital. I spoke to- I don’t know who- someone that works with, for Dr. Bailey.” As Captain, Maya has Miranda’s contact information at the hospital in case something were to happen with Ben. It comes in conveniently right now. “I let them know what happened. Where you were. She said she will let the appropriate people know that you had an emergency and had to leave.”

Carina sighs. “It wasn’t an emergency.”

“I know. But they don’t need to know that.” Maya reaches out her hand. “Come on, dinner’s almost ready.”

They climb the stairs hand in hand.

“Hey, guys.” Carina says timidly to the crew as they sit around the table.

Maya has threatened them all not to bring up Andrew or why Carina is here when she should be at work.

There is a chorus of ‘hey, Carina’ from the bunch.

Travis gets up, giving up his seat. “Cap, you and Dr. DeLuca can sit here.” She references his seat and the open one that was next to him.

“Thanks, Montgomery.” Maya tugs on Carina’s hand. “Let’s get something to eat before we sit down.”

“What are we having?”

“Chili.” Maya says.

“Yeah, Miller makes a mean chili.” Jack adds.

Maya leans into Carina’s side as they approach the stove. “That’s the only thing he knows how to make.”

Carina smiles a little. “I’m sure that’s not true.”

“Well, that and baby food. Though I can’t actually say cuz I haven’t tried anything that Pru eats.”

“I heard that.” Dean swoops in and grabs a few more slices of garlic bread from the cooking sheet on top of the stove.

Maya ignores him. She puts a hand on Carina’s back. “Here are the bowls.” She points to the cabinet with the bowls in them. “And the spoons are in the drawer to the right of the sink.” Maya opens the door to the cabinet and gets down one bowl and sets it on the counter and then grabs another. “How much do you want?” Maya grabs the serving spoon in one hand. The hand that was on Carina’s back comes around to hold the bowl.

Carina reaches up, putting her hand on the back of Maya’s neck, massaging the skin there. Her caring, considerate girlfriend making sure she is okay, making sure she is fed properly, making her feel welcomed and loved and not silly for showing up at the station unannounced and in a panic. “I can do it myself.” Carina whispers in her ear as she leans against Maya a little, craving closeness.

Maya rolls her eyes. “If you insist.” There’s a playful tone to her voice.

They are completely lost in their own world. No idea that behind them everyone is watching their interaction in silence.

Maya gets a helping of chili for herself and sets a slice of garlic bread on top of the bowl. She steps to the side a little to let Carina at the pot on the stovetop.

Carina scoops some chili into her bowl. She takes two pieces of garlic bread. “Okay.”

“I’ll grab spoons.” Maya puts a hand on Carina’s elbow for just a second. “Go sit down.”

Carina does as she’s told. She sits in the chair Travis vacated. She looks around at the crew. No one is talking. It’s a little weird. She wonders if it’s her that makes it weird. She tucks into her bowl of food trying to ignore the weird vibe in the room.

“So, Jack.” Travis starts trying to save the room from awkwardness. “How is that kid you brought to the hospital yesterday? Did you get any updates? I know the parents were very grateful to you.”

Jack scoffs. “You mean the kid that puked all over me.”

“GUYS.” Maya yells as she gets to the table. “No gross talk at the table while we are eating. We have a guest.” She nods in Carina’s direction and sits down.

Carina chuckles a little. “I think you forget-“ She reaches over and rubs her hand up and down Maya’s thigh. “-I am a doctor. I work at a hospital.” She addresses the table. “You can talk about gross stuff. I don’t mind. We talk about gross stuff at the hospital all the time when we are eating.”

Jack takes that as a clue to answer the question. “No, I haven’t gotten an update. That kid was really sick though. I don’t know why his parents did bring him the doctor sooner. They waited until he was so sick they had to call an ambulance.”

“Covid.” Dean mumbles.

“Oooh.” Jack nods. “Right.”

“People are so apprehensive about Covid that they are putting off routine doctor’s appointments, not going to the hospital when they are sick or in pain. Just, in general, trying to avoid catching Covid. Which I don’t blame them. I don’t want to catch Covid. I mean, it’s just awful. I’ve had patients putting off care. Not as much anymore but at the beginning. Which lead to complications. Which lead to death. Not only am I dealing with Covid deaths; I’m dealing with women dying from pregnancy complications that shouldn’t be. I’ve never had a patient die until all of this. It’s just so hard. On everyone.” Carina vents. It’s not necessarily aimed at anyone, or Jack, but he is the one who brought it up.

The room is silent after that.

“She’s right.” Ben tries to add in. “Let’s try not to judge anyone for the decisions they are making during this pandemic. Obviously, you shouldn’t go out and murder someone over a roll of toilet paper, but everyone is stressed.” He thinks he’s adding to the conversation, agreeing with Carina, having a discussion.

Except Maya knows it’s doing more harm than good when she sees Carina tuck her chin to her chest. She puts her hand on top of Carina’s that is still on her leg, holding it, giving it a squeeze. “Let’s talk about something else than fucking awful Covid.”

The conversation goes to Mariners baseball and Maya is thankful for that. She looks over and waits until Carina meets her eyes. Maya nods. Carina sends her a thankful smile and a nod to let Maya know that she’s alright.

“Montgomery, when you’re finished can you swap with Hughes so she can eat.” Maya orders.

“Sure thing, Cap.”

Carina thinks it’s interesting to see the crew now. Now, they all respect and listen to everything that their Captain says. Carina never witnessed it when that wasn’t the case, but she heard about it from Maya. It’s good to see that Maya has gotten the respect from them that she so desperate wanted at one point.

Maya removes her hand from the top of Carina’s so she can eat. She looks around at her team and is grateful that she has all of them as her team. As her family. That they don’t have a problem with Carina being here with them. That they are open to her joining their silly little family.

“What time is first pitch?” Dean asks Jack.

“7:05, I think.”

“I’ll race you.” Dean takes off running over to the lounge room with the recliners. Jack runs after him knowing he’s already been beat. They wrestle over the tv remote, even though they both would be turning the baseball game on.

“They’re silly.”

“Yep.” Maya nods.

Vic comes in and gets some food and sits across from Maya. She’s happy to see that Carina has come out of whatever stupor she was in when she arrived. “What are they arguing about?”

“Not arguing.” Maya says and takes another bite of her chili.

Carina finishes for Maya. “Grappling over the television starter.”

“Remote.” Maya whispers.

“Remote.” Carina grins.

Vic smiles at the pair. She thinks they are absolutely adorable together. She’s never seen Maya this content in her entire time knowing her. So that says something in itself. But to have Maya willingly bring someone in to ‘hang out’ at the station is another thing. Vic eats quickly so she can get back to the front desk.

It's Vic that sees them reenter the captain’s office about an hour later. The crew had to go to a call just as dinner was wrapping up. Maya, since Andy was taking over for this call, stayed behind. She said she’d do the dishes, put everything away.

So that’s what Carina and Maya did. Cleaning the table, putting the dishes in the dishwasher, putting the leftover chili in the fridge for later for when the crew returned and would likely be hungry again. Carina commented that they must go through a lot of food. Maya told her that they usually went to the grocery store everyday or every other day. Lots of hungry mouths to feed.

“Night, Vic.” Maya mumbles.

Vic nods at the pair as the go into the office. She’s not shocked, in the lest, to see that Carina isn’t going home. She knows that Carina’s brother died. Everyone does, but she doesn’t know what the Italian has gone through today specifically to lead her here this evening.

“Do you mind if I do some paperwork?” Maya asks. She doesn’t really want to tell Carina that when she’s at the station for an overnight she doesn’t usually sleep much. She’s either out on a call or doing administrative stuff until midnight. She’ll lay down after that, but not much restful sleep is had.

Carina takes that as Maya wanting to be alone. She second guesses being here. “Should I go?” She looks over at the office door. “I’m just going to go. I don’t belong here.” She takes a step towards the door.

Except Maya won’t let her out of their handhold. “Yes, you do. You belong here. If dinner didn’t convince you, I’m saying it right now. I got you. We’ve got you. We are a family here. A sometimes deranged, often dysfunctional, family here. Those guys-“ Maya points in the direction of the beanery. “-they’ve got your back too. With Andrew. Jack and Ben, they- they did everything they could. Dean wanted to go after the traffickers, but I wouldn’t let him. Andy stayed here when I left. She was acting captain when I took off work. They all did those things for you. For Andrew. For those kids. For me, but as far as I’m concerned, most importantly, for you.”

Carina falls into Maya’s arms and cries against her shoulder. It means so much for Maya to say all that. Andrea was her family here in Seattle, now he’s gone. For Maya to say that she has a family in this station is almost more than Carina can handle right now. It’s hard to be so raw and open lately but with Maya, Carina feels completely safe in her vulnerability.

Maya runs her hand up and down Carina’s back, holding onto her tight around the waist with her other arm. “Hey.” She tries to get Carina to look at her. Maya puts a hand on the back of Carina’s head. “Hey, Carina. Let’s go lay down. I won’t do any paperwork tonight.”

Carina nods against her shoulder before sniffling. She lifts her head and finds Maya’s eyes. Maya smiles her just for Carina smile. “I love you.”

Carina closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. “I love you too, Maya.”

Chapter Text

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.”

“Okay.”

“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.”

“Yeah.”

“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.

“When?”

 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.”

Chapter Text

“Here.” Maya gets some pajamas out of the drawer for Carina. She already has her own on. When they go home Carina insisted on neatening up the kitchen. Maya knew it was a distraction or avoidance technique on the Italians part, so she went and got ready for bed, changing her clothes, washing her face.

She holds the t-shirt and shorts out to Carina. “Go put your jammies on, get ready for bed.” She ushers Carina into the bathroom.

For her part, Carina doesn’t argue or whine about Maya forcing her to get ready for bed. It’s not like she would have resisted. Carina doesn’t need to be told what to do though. She takes the clothes and turns and heads into the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face and change. She feels emotionally drained. It was a long day at the station with the Covid testing and then the news that she had to tell Maya about returning to Italy. Maya had mentioned that Carina wasn’t someone who wanted to be taken care of and Carina thinks she hit that point spot on. Like she needed to be reminded of that herself. But right now, Carina is thankful and lucky that Maya cares.

While Carina is in the bathroom, Maya hurries around the bedroom. She knows she only has a limited amount of time before the brunette returns. She goes around the room and ‘lights’ some battery powered candles. Once half a dozen are lit, she gets the lavender oil and adds a few drops to the diffuser that they recently purchased after having a discussion on ways that they can aid in calming down and relaxing lately. Maya isn’t sure if the lavender oil diffuser has helped any though. She’s a skeptic but she sets the thing up anyway. After that, Maya shuts the lights off, the candles providing a low warm glow to their bedroom.

That’s when Carina comes back into the room. She gasps.

Maya hops on the bed quickly, sitting with her back against the headboard, spreading her legs, and patting at the mattress between them. She gives Carina an inviting smile.

Carina closes her eyes for a moment, just taking it all in. The lighting, the lavender scent in the air, Maya who has done all of it while she was getting ready for bed.

When Carina doesn’t move and instead closes her eyes; Maya leans over and pulls the drawer open on her nightstand and pulls out her secret weapon. “You can’t have this if you don’t come to bed.” Maya grins devilishly.

Carina opens her eyes and shakes her head lightly at the item in Maya’s right hand. “And what if I said I didn’t want it.” She jokes.

Maya raises an eyebrow at that. “Oh really, you can’t resist this.”

She puts a knee on the end of the bed and challenges Maya. “You wanna bet?”

“A bet you’re going to lose.” Maya reaches out with her left hand. “Come here.” She needs Carina closer.

The Italian doesn’t waste anymore time and gets into position between Maya’s legs. Maya wraps her arm around Carina’s midsection as she settles back against her. There is a quick kiss to Carina’s cheek once they are both done moving about. “I love you.”

“Ti amo. I love you.” The long sigh that comes from the Italian is warranted and perhaps telling. At least as far as Maya is concerned.

“Now, are you sure about this?” Maya asks again of the item in her right hand.

“I think it is you who can not resist.” Carina teases.

Maya shrugs. “Well, you’re right about that.” She gives in and opens the chocolate Hersey bar and breaks off a piece for herself and then breaks off a piece and offers it to Carina, holding it out in front of the brunette.

Carina opens her mouth instead of taking the chocolate with her fingers. Maya laughs and places the pieces of chocolate on her girlfriend’s tongue. “Will you tell me about them?” She asks softly.

There is another long, sad sigh as Carina finds Maya’s right arm and wraps it around herself to go with Maya’s left that is already around her waist. “It was early on.” She starts on the story on her nonna and uncles.

“This information was all fed to me by my cousin, and you know how we like to embellish sometimes in our storytelling but I’m sure that all the major details are accurate.” Carina prefaces.

“I know, okay.” Maya lets her know that she gets it.

“It was early on. Not like super early but-“ Carina is just putting this all together in her head for the first time. She’s mostly just blocked it out, not thought about it until now. “I know when it was. It was when we were super swamped with Covid patients at the hospital here. When I was losing patients. When I was working crazy long shifts, working odd hours, helping out wherever I could. When it was the worst here. So I guess that wasn’t super early on for Italy. But to me it felt like it was. But to them-“ Carina shakes her head.

“Another chocolate?” Maya wiggles the bar in her hand.

Carina smiles a little. Maya just knows how to lighten the mood. Carina takes the chocolate bar from Maya and breaks off a piece for herself and then puts it in her mouth sucking on it, letting it melt on her tongue. She then breaks a piece off for Maya. “We shouldn’t have anymore or we won’t sleep.” She puts the chocolate bar back in Maya’s nightstand.

“Always so smart.” Maya squeezes her arms around Carina. “So, what happened?”

“My uncle, zio Antonio. Or zio Nio as we liked to tease him. He hated that- that-“

“Nickname?”

“Yeah, that. He said he’d rather be Tonio, or even just Americanized Tony than Nio. Anyway, I guess he got it first. They think he picked it up at work. He was one of the few people that was allowed to work because he owns a small shop. Like a corner grocery store or convenience store in this country. Those places were some of the few places that were still open so people could get food and essentials.” Carina explains. She folds her arms over Maya’s, finding her hands, her fingers, lacing her fingers between Maya’s as they hold around her. “He didn’t know he had it. And he went to go check on his mother, my nonna, to bring her groceries. He must have- I don’t know- messed it up somehow. Didn’t wear a mask, didn’t wash his hands, gave her a hug- I don’t know. A few days later he, zio Nio, was real sick. And a few days after that he was in the hospital. My mother’s brother.” She squeezes Maya’s arms, squeezing them tighter around herself.

“It’s okay.” Maya presses a kiss to her shoulder.

“No, it’s not okay, Maya.” Carina starts to get agitated. “He died. That’s not okay. He died and I didn’t tell anyone about it.” She tries to remove Maya’s arms from around her and get up but Maya holds tight.

“Stay.” Maya just whispers. “Stay here.”

Carina shakes her head from side to side. She knows she needs to do this. She knows she needs to talk about this. Carina takes a moment to try to compose her thoughts. “He gave it to my nonna. And she died. She refused to go to the hospital. So she died at home. My other uncle, Francesco, he volunteered to look after mi nonna and that’s how he got it. He stayed with her until she passed and then he let them take him to the hospital to get treatment, but it was too late for him too.”

Maya sniffles from behind Carina.

“Are you crying?” Carina tries to turn to look but Maya ducks her head and buries her face in Carina’s back, between her shoulders.

“Yeah.”

“This is why I didn’t tell you.” Carina adds.

“Because I would cry.” Maya chuckles dryly. “Gee, thanks.”

“Because it’s sad, Maya. Because everything has been so sad for us.”

“Not everything.” Maya knows, and she knows Carina knows, that not everything has been sad. “You moving in wasn’t sad.” She nuzzles her nose against Carina’s right shoulder.

Carina sighs. “No, you’re right about that. But I didn’t want to bring more sad here. I didn’t want to bring sad home with me from the hospital. I didn’t want to bring sad in from Italy. I just didn’t want it. So I didn’t talk about it. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.”

“Don’t be sorry, my love.” Maya presses a kiss to her shoulder. She tilts her head and stares at the side of Carina’s face. She moves her right hand, placing it over Carina’s heart. “You don’t have to deal with your sad all by yourself. Or feel like it’s not warranted or allowed. Here, in this room, I like to think of this as our safe space. Where no matter what happens, it’s just you and me and whatever we are dealing with that day. Together. Or separately, but together, but in this room. You asked to come home. This is what you meant, right? To sit in this room. To feel safe and then be able to talk about your family.” Carina nods. “Okay, good, I’m glad I got that right.”

Carina chuckles a little. “You get so much right, bambina. So much.” She doesn’t think she’s ever felt so seen by someone the way that Maya sees her.

“Your family sounds amazing. Taking care of each other like that. Even though-“ Maya doesn’t want to leave that thought on a sad note. “They sound lovely.”

“Thanks, bella.”

“Now. Shall we sleep?” Maya releases Carina and presses her hands to the mattress on either side of her hips. “Or do you want to tell me more?”

“Not today.” Carina doesn’t know how much more sad she can go through in one day. “But this was nice. Not the part where I talked about my dead relatives but the candles and the lavender. Thank you, bambina.” Carina turns, finally looking back at Maya.

Maya can see the tear tracks on her cheeks. “Oh, love.” She reaches up and wipes at Carina’s cheeks with her thumbs. She didn’t know Carina had been crying. They must have been silent tears. “Come on, let’s get some sleep. You’ll feel better in the morning.”

“I hope so.” They lay down and Carina nuzzles up against Maya’s side, her head on her chest. “How do you feel about going to Italy?”

Maya rubs her hand up and down Carina’s back. “Not today.” She uses Carina’s words from before and presses a kiss to the brunette’s head. Maya thinks they need to only focus on one thing at a time. First, this conversation about Carina’s family. The travel to Italy and all that’s going to entail can come tomorrow or the next day.


“I need to sign all my patients over to the other OB’s, I need to clean out my office, but first I need to talk to Dr. Bailey about resigning.”

“Okay.” Maya is folding laundry at the end of the bed, the basket on the mattress next to her.

Carina is in the bathroom. “I just don’t know how to even start that conversation. I set up an appointment with her for the day after tomorrow but how does that even go?”

“I’m sure she’ll understand. There’s nothing you can do about your immigration thingy, right?”

Carina rolls her eyes. Glad that Maya can’t see her. “No, there’s nothing I can do about my visa or it’s status right now.”

Maya nods. “She’ll understand.” She doesn’t really enjoy this conversation. Because it means that when Carina quits her job that her leaving to go to Italy is solid, it’s real, it’s happening. Maya’s not dumb, maybe a little naïve, but not dumb. She knows it’s going to be difficult. She knows her going is going to be difficult. They haven’t talked about it yet, but Maya thinks the idea is for her to go with Carina. For like a week and then come back. That seems like enough time to get Carina settled and help out a little and then come back to Seattle without missing too much from work. That worries her a little bit right now. The situation with PD isn’t getting any better. Miller and his lawsuit against PD have only made things worse. Maya fully supports her firefighters, but she wishes that things weren’t the way that they are right now. The timing is terrible.

Carina comes in and puts her hand on the small of Maya’s back, placing a kiss on her cheek. “I’m going to have tea before bed, do you want some?”

“No thanks.” Maya tries to keep her anxiety at bay. She doesn’t need Carina worrying about her right now. She’s worried about PD, and this upcoming trip to Italy. She’s worried about Carina and how long she’s going to be gone. She’s worried about their relationship while they are away from each other. She can feel everything simmer there, just beneath the surface.

“Are you going to see your family while you are in Italy?” Maya calls through the apartment.

Carina shows up back in the door, leaning against the doorframe. “I doubt it.” She folds her arms across her chest. “I’ll be busy. And most of them don’t live near Paolo Calvino. I’ll see Gabriella though. She’s there.”

“Oh.” Maya didn’t know that.

Carina smirks. “Now don’t get all jealous on me, bambina. My eyeballs are only for you.”

Maya laughs at that, releasing some of the anxiety. “You’re funny.”

Carina hums and comes over. She wraps her arms around Maya from behind. “I’m glad you think so.” She presses her lips to the side of Maya’s neck, kissing her lightly.

“That tickles.” Maya squirms.

“I could do it harder. Then it wouldn’t tickle.” Carina husks in her ear, her hands roaming Maya’s stomach and sides.

Maya moans at the touch. “I’m trying to- do the laundry.” She cranes her neck to give Carina better access though.

“I see that.” Carina kisses her hard on the neck, cupping Maya’s right breast.

“Carina.” Maya closes her eyes and moans. She almost hates that she’s always so responsive to Carina’s touch, to the feel of her hands on her body, the lips on her neck. It’s like she can never get enough. It’s not a bad problem to have though, Maya thinks.

Carina kisses along Maya’s neck, to her ear, taking the lobe between her teeth. “Finish the laundry.” She husks and steps away from Maya. Just then the kettle on the stove starts to whistle. “Perfetto.” Carina chuckles and exits the bedroom.

Maya hangs her head with a soft groan. She shakes her head wondering how she got so lucky to be with this amazing sex goddess that is inside Carina. She wonders if it will always be like this or if that feeling will fade with time. That as time goes on, as they grow older, the feeling of wanting each other all the time will fade or go away. Part of her hates that she has to question or second guess everything. Maya wonders why she can’t just live in the here and now and be happy with that. That’s what Carina does. Why can’t she be like that? Why does she always have to think about every little thing and analyze and overanalyze everything? She shakes her head trying to shake of the thoughts.


Carina scheduled her appointment with Dr. Bailey for first thing in the morning. Or well the first available time that Dr. Bailey has open on a typical morning. She wanted it that way so she could get it over with and not feel anxious about the meeting all day.

Except, she’s sat in Dr. Bailey’s office waiting for her and Carina feels nothing but anxiety. It’s reminiscent of the very first time she met with Dr. Bailey and discussed her research with her and was looking for an opportunity to do that research at Grey-Sloan. She wonders if she was just as anxious back then. She knows she was. Carina always is when it comes to talking with a superior about a career related topic. She knew back then that Dr. Bailey had a reputation. For both as a strict no nonsense doctor and teacher but also a reputation as a surgeon that proceeded her. She was respected, renowned. There is a certain intimidation factor involved because of all that.

And today, she feels like she is letting Dr. Bailey down somehow. The Chief is going to be losing a doctor at her hospital. Not just someone who came here to do research. A practicing doctor who is a part of her team, during a global pandemic when everyone is stretched beyond their limits.

Part of her wonders if Dr. Bailey already knows. She doesn’t know what or who Maya told what about her visa expiring. She has a suspicion that Andy knows. But does Ben know and did he tell his wife. Carina wouldn’t be surprised by that at all. Maybe Ben knows but didn’t mention anything to his wife. He is loyal like that. It’s not his news to tell.

Carina can’t ponder on it anymore as Dr. Bailey walks in the room.

“Dr. Bailey, good morning.” Carina stands. She waits for Miranda to sit down before retaking her seat herself.

“Good morning, Dr. DeLuca.” She folds her hands together on the desktop. “What do I owe this pleasure? More crazy female orgasm research that you’d like to do?” She jokes.

The joke doesn’t land. Carina frowns. “No, actually.” She looks nervously down at her hands. “I need to resign. Effective immediately. Or as immediately as possible.” She looks up and over at Bailey. There is a look of shear confusion on the chief’s face. “I need to go back to Italy.”

“Need or want?” Dr. Bailey is upset that a doctor is bailing on her. “I know it’s difficult there but it’s difficult here too with the Covid.”

Carina shakes her head lightly. She isn’t wording this correctly. She takes a deep breath and tries again. “My visa is expiring. I have to go back to Italy. I don’t really have a choice. Immigration is shut down and-“

“Dr. DeLuca, why didn’t you just start with that?” Dr. Bailey smirks a little, folding her arms over her chest. “You’ve been one of my best doctors, most consistent, most professional, always here, always ready for whatever.” Miranda isn’t happy to lose one of her best doctors but if there’s nothing that can be done about the visa situation then she doesn’t have a choice. “Wait. Why resign? Are you not coming back?”

Carina sighs. “I want to come back. I have- there are important- Seattle is-“ She tries to hold her emotions in check. “I just don’t know what’s going to happen. It might be weeks, or months, or longer. That time period is not determined. I don’t want to leave you and the hospital in limbo. And if I can’t get my visa renewed, and I can’t return, then that’s not fair to you.” Carina knows that Dr. Bailey will need to find someone to fill her position in the next few weeks. “I would like to work this week on switching my patients over. Calling them all and letting them know what’s going on. And then after that-“ She shrugs.

“Be done.” Dr. Bailey says with finality. “Well.” She claps her hands and stands up. “Dr. DeLuca, Carina-“ She holds out her arms as she rounds the desk. “You came here under unusual circumstances but have become an integral part of this team. I don’t know what I’m going to do without you or that wonderful personality. You are an asset. Any hospital will be lucky to have you. And I mean this, truly, I’m going to miss you.” She pulls Carina in for a hug even though she knows they shouldn’t. It’s a quick one. She pulls away with a little sniffle. “And Andrew was-“ She shakes her head and closes her eyes. “How am I losing two DeLucas in a matter of a month.” The tears start though, and Dr. Bailey can’t get them to stop. “Oh, it's not fair.” She wipes at her eyes.

“No, don’t cry. It’ll be alright. I’ll be alright.” Carina starts crying too. “You have given me an opportunity here, and for that I will be forever grateful. And because of that I have done some very important research and helped a lot of people in Seattle. I have also met some amazing people. Like yourself, and your husband, all his co-workers. They are like my family now. After Andrea-“

“Bishop.” Dr. Bailey whispers as the realization hits her.

Carina grins, cheeky. “Oh yeah, and Captain Bishop.” She chuckles a little. “Maya is-“ She sighs. She doesn’t know what Maya is. Well, she does but she doesn’t know how to describe it. Maya is amazing. Simply put. And maybe that’s a good summary.

“She is coming with me. For a little bit, to help me get settled. Which is a little silly. It’s Italy. It’s my home but- it’s- it- doesn’t really feel like it anymore. So, maybe it’s not so silly. I think she wants to do it because she’s afraid. Which is understandable. There’s a little bit of me that’s afraid too. I’m mostly scared about the time. How much time it could take to get back here, to Seattle, to her.”

“Aww.” Miranda holds her hand over her heart. “That’s so-“ She hums.

Carina rolls her eyes. “Anyway-“ She doesn’t really feel like talking about Maya or the trip to Italy. “-I have to go back to Italy. And I don’t know when I will be back.” She shrugs. That’s the basis of it.

“Wow, I wish you the best of luck Carina. I really do. It’s a tough position to be put in. Only made worse by Covid.”

“Well, if there is a bright spot, I’m hoping to help out the community where I did my residence. At least I can do that much.”

“See, that’s why you are such an asset.” Dr. Bailey pats her on the arm. “What’s the rest of your day like?”

“Well, I was hoping to go over to the firehouse.” She feels like a little kid under Miranda’s watchful eyes. Like she’s asking permission to go see her girlfriend.

Miranda grins. “Get out of here.” She waves her off. “Go find your girl. Tell her you quit your job.”

“She already knows. But yeah-“ Carina feels that anxiety again surrounding the uncertain future.

“Come back tomorrow and start getting things sorted out. I won’t schedule you past the end of this week but you are free to come and go as you please until you have to leave.”

“Thank you Dr. Bailey.” Carina stands up. “You’ve really done so much for me. I don’t know how I can ever thank you enough.”

“No need. Just go. Before you make me cry again.”

Carina bites her lip a little. “Sorry about that.” She chuckles, awkward.

“Go. Go find Bishop. And if you see my husband, tell him I say hi.”

Carina grins. “I will. Thank you.” She spins on her heels and is gone in a flash.

Dr. Bailey is left standing in her office shaking her head. She feels for the Italian and everything that she’s gone through in recent weeks and months, it can’t be easy. Carina is still standing though, and she knows it’s a testament to the people in her life, the people she has surrounded herself with. The same people that Miranda has the pleasure to call her family too. The people at the hospital and maybe more so for the both of them, the people at the fire station.


Carina leaves the hospital as soon as she’s done with Bailey. It’s not that she doesn’t want to be there right now but there are other places, people, she wants to see right now. Her priorities have shifted. Sure, she has to pack up her office and transfer her patients, but she has a few days to do that, with Dr. Bailey’s blessing.

In the past, Carina quitting a job and moving wasn’t ever a big deal. It was something she did when she needed inspiration or felt bored with her life in a certain place. She picked up and moved and looked for a new adventure, a new challenge, a new inspiration.

Now. The thought would never enter her mind. When Carina first got to Seattle it wasn’t supposed to be permanent. It was supposed to be to keep an eye on Andrea, see how he was doing, and hopeful do her research. But things change. Carina never would have imagined Seattle feeling like her home when she first showed up but now it does. It feels like the place where her people are. She has family back in Italy, but she has a family here now too.

Her movements lead her to that family. She arrives at the station and Ben buzzes her in. She looks in the captain’s office for Maya but doesn’t see her. Ben tells her they are out on a call. She’s a bit disappointed. She wanted to tell Maya how it went with Dr. Bailey. She feels a little loopy right now. She just quit her job, the future is uncertain, and it makes her head spin a little. She was hoping to see Maya so she could help ground Carina, stabilize her emotions. She gets that from Maya now; this sometimes overwhelming sense of safety, security, the grounding presence that she is.

Instead, she gets Ben. He is great. He’ll listen and maybe understand as a physician but he’s not Maya. They talk about her resigning and returning to Italy. He thinks he understands when Carina says Italy doesn’t feel like home anymore. He explains how he started out at UCLA and how that was his birthplace in medicine. It’s not what Carina needs to hear though she understands his point of view and how he is trying to sympathize with her. It’s kind and generous and he is a good man, but - he’s not Maya.

Then the pregnant couple arrives at the station and Carina’s medical training and need to help kick in. She pushes her concerns and anxieties to the back of her mind for now. She puts on a face shield and gown and gloves and helps Ben assist the couple into the station.

At the scene, at the ice rink, Maya doesn’t have any idea how to safely put out the fire on the rogue ice resurfacing machine. She tries not to allude to that to her team. She tells them her best plan of attack for now until she can think of something better.

One of the problems is, Sullivan questions Maya’s authority while she’s trying to figure everything out. He doesn’t overtly undermine her but doesn’t comply with her instructions the way she would like. She’s gotten the sense now for a long time that Sullivan doesn’t like being bossed around by a woman. That’s pretty clear to her. He asks her who is going to be in charge of the station when she goes to Italy. She’s shocked that Andy told him that she was thinking of going to Italy and tells him that she hasn’t decided yet. She’s irritated that he’s asking her this during an active fire. His head clearly not of the fire but more focused on getting her job. That’s clear to her. She doesn’t say anything but files it in the back of her mind for now, trying to refocus on the fire.

Maya comes back to the shock of seeing Carina on the floor in the barn, between a woman’s legs. The woman clearly pregnant and in the middle of giving birth. Maya jumps into action when Carina tells her to. She holds the newborn baby as she watches Carina work on the woman in awe at the way her girlfriend handles this situation as if it’s nothing. Maya knows if it were her by herself, or her with one of her team, she would be panicking.

Carina smiles over at Maya. Thinking that it is amazing that she gets to do this in Maya’s fire station. That she gets to be here to help, to do this, like it was meant to be. She knows it’s not Maya’s station only but it’s amazing that she gets to be a part of Maya’s team. A part of the fire family that Maya has told her so much about. It gives her a sense of welcoming. Or sense of home. A sense of finding a place in life. Even though Italy is calling. She knows she’s going to come back here, to Seattle, to this place.

They wash up in the bathroom. Maya realizes she can’t go. Because of Covid and the PD tensions. But also, she knows if she leaves, Sullivan is going to take her job and she might not get it back. He is Andy’s husband and Andy is her best friend, but she’s struggling really hard with finding any love for him right now. He just rubs her the wrong way. And now today, him coming for her job. That was the last reason she needed to know she couldn’t go. The whole time there’s been this nagging feeling. Maya wants to go. She wants to be there for Carina, but she feels like there’s too much to risk if she does that. She’s been putting Carina before her job, before her career, for weeks now. It feels like a selfish thing to do, to say she has to stay, but Maya feels like that’s what needs to happen. She just hopes Carina will understand.

Carina knew Maya wouldn’t go to Italy with her. She knew from just about the beginning when Maya said she would go. She knew Maya couldn’t leave her job without risking her career. She understands that but is still a little disappointed that Maya is choosing her job over her. She can’t blame her though. If she were in Maya’s place she would probably make the same choice.

“We’ll be okay. I’ll be back before you know it.” Carina draws closer to Maya. “I’ll be back.” She presses into Maya for a soft kiss.

“Promise?” Maya whispers before Carina can kiss her.

Carina nods, bringing her hand up to her neck, stroking her thumb over Maya’s cheek, finally kissing her. “Prometto. Tornerò.” (I promise. I’ll be back.)

Maya leans against Carina, slipping her arms around her waist. “Are you done in here?”

“Si. Perché?”

“Lets go to my office.” She takes a step back from Carina, waiting for the brunette to gather her belongings before walking out of the bathrooms together.

They get to Maya’s office, and she flops down in her desk chair, feeling a little more secure in the office than the bathroom.

“What’s wrong?” Carina asks.

“Other than everything.” Maya sighs, being dramatic.

Carina nods. “What haven’t you told me? Did something happen today?” She knows Maya is holding something back. She knows it’s because she doesn’t want to add more to their problems or that it’s something to do with her reasons why she can’t go to Italy. Carina rounds the corner of the desk, pushing Maya’s chair back.

Maya watches Carina’s every move, biting her lip, trying to keep from saying something.

Once there’s enough space between the chair and the desk, Carina has a seat on Maya’s lap, wrapping an arm around the back of her neck. Maya’s hands automatically find Carina’s waist and she rests her head on Carina’s shoulder.

“I don’t want to make this about me.” Maya worries.

“It’s not, Maya, it’s about us.” Even though Carina has no idea what Maya is referring to. She can only assume that it has something to do with her visa and having to return to Italy.

“Sullivan.” Maya mumbles and looks down. “Do you know what he said to me today?”

Carina shakes her head and sucks her bottom lip into her mouth.

“It was during the middle of our call. Which was a first for me actually. An ice resurfacing machine, unmanned, on fire, driving around the ice rink. Anyway, not the point, but I was trying to figure out how to handle the situation and he came up behind me and ask who was going to take over the station while I was in Italy.”

“Oh, dio mio.” Carina shakes her head.

“I know, right. I knew in that moment. Well, two things went through my head. One, Andy told him about a conversation I had in private with her about my concern about traveling to Italy. I was looking for advice. But that’s another issue all together and not really something that I want to address right now. But the second thing was that this man, this man, is coming for my job. I knew in that moment and that was the final thing that made me realize I couldn’t leave. Because as soon as I do, he’ll take my job. How fucked up is that?”

“Very.” Carina moves her arms so that her hand is on the back of Maya’s neck, rubbing the skin of her neck and shoulders. “What are you going to do about it?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s anything I can do without making a bigger deal about it. Nothing other than stay here and keep an eye on my position. I’ve never felt like it was in jeopardy until now. I know everything should be about you right now but this-“ Maya groans. Her head is a jumble. There’s so much going on and so much to think about and Maya knows the focus should be on Carina and getting her ready to go to Italy. And she knows she’s being selfish, and she can’t help it. She just wants to be a good girlfriend but sometimes it seems so hard.

“Don’t worry about me right now. We have time. I have three weeks before I need to leave. There’s time. Today we can focus on what happened today only. That I quit my job and that Sullivan seems to have ulterior motives.” Carina continues with the neck massage.

Maya closes her eyes. “I love you.” She plays with the fabric on Carina’s shirt between her thumb and index finger of her right hand.

Carina leans back a little. “Look at me.” She waits until Maya does. “I love you.” Carina seals her words with a kiss.

Maya nods and returns to her previous spot, with her head resting on Carina’s shoulder. They sit like that for quite some time, silently. Each just sitting in their own thoughts, hands caressing or touch the other the entire time though. A soft, intimate moment shared in the chaos of a fire station.

“You should go home.” Maya whispers.

“You trying to get rid of me, bambina?” Carina jokes.

“No, but you’re making me sleepy. With your magic hands.”

Carina laughs. “Okay.” She moves to get up.

Maya grips her around the waist, holding her there. “No wait. One more kiss.”

Carina giggles. “You are too cute.”

Maya stops, halfway to a kiss. “Don’t call me cute.”

“But you are.”

“I am not.” Maya puts her hands on the arms of the chair and puffs out her chest, a serious look on her face.

“Now you are being goofy.” Carina giggles at her some more.

Maya rolls her eyes. “Fine. But don’t you ever call me cute in front of other people.”

“I can’t make any promises, but I will try.” Carina smirks. “Baciami, bambina.” She hooks finger into Maya’s collar at the front of her shirt and pull her in for a kiss. “My sexy, sexy captain.”

Maya hums. “Mmm, Carina.”

“I know. I have to go. I just came to let you know how it went with Dr. Bailey and look what happened.” She chuckles a little.

“Crazy.”

“Crazy.” Carina agrees, patting her hand against Maya’s chest above her badge before she gets up.

“Let me walk you out.” Maya follows her.

Carina leaves with one more brief kiss at Maya’s office door and an exchange of I love you’s. Maya watches her exit the station with a content smile. Things are crazy but she feels happy about her relationship. It brings a sense of stability and normalcy to her currently hectic life.

She jogs up the stairs comes into the lounge where everyone is around the tv, looking at what is happening in Minneapolis. She stares at the tv and knows this doesn’t mean good things for her or her team involving the police situation. She then takes in the crew. All their faces, their reactions and realizes that there’s no way that this is going to be good for them.

Chapter Text

Maya gets home at her usual time. It’s quiet in the apartment and Maya wonders if Carina is still asleep. She doesn’t have to go to work early so she figures she probably is. Maya had text her last night after she found out about the happenings in Minneapolis and the death of George Floyd. Carina hadn’t heard yet, so she told her to turn on the news. If she knows Carina like she thinks she does then she knows Carina probably stayed up late watching the news, looking up information on her phone or laptop, learning and educating herself about the situation.

It's one thing Maya has learned about Carina. If she doesn’t know something, especially something specific to the United States, then she will sit down and educate herself on that subject. Which is a bit nerdy but in Maya’s opinion nerdy is good. The ability to educate oneself on a subject, to admit that you don’t know what you could about a subject, to want to better yourself on that subject is very sexy. Or maybe it’s just that Maya finds Carina’s intelligence and willingness to learn, anything, exceptionally sexy. Her sexy girlfriend with her big smart brain, worldliness, her use of multiple languages is very sexy indeed.

She quietly pushes the bedroom door open and sees Carina still asleep. Maya’s breath catches at the sight. Her girlfriend, laying on her side, one hand tucked up under her chin, the other wrapped around a pillow, Maya’s pillow, against her chest.

She kicks her shoes off near the bedroom door, sliding them out of the way with her foot so no one trips on them and makes her way across the room. Maya doesn’t bother with the covers, instead she lays down on top of them, gently pulling that pillow away from Carina. In her sleep, Carina lets it go but a little wrinkle forms between her brows. Maya leans in closer, so her body is inches away from Carina’s. She leans in until her lips can press to the little furrow, kissing the spot before pulling back a little to look at Carina’s face. The wrinkle stay there so Maya reaches up and rubs her thumb over it, smoothing it out.

That’s when Carina shifts, the touch waking her. “Maya?”

“You better not be calling anyone else’s name in our bed.” Maya jokes lightly. Carina frowns at her words. “Okay. No jokes this morning.”

“It’s not appropriate after last night.”

“I know.” Maya runs her hand over the side of Carina’s head, dragging her fingers through her hair.

“How was last night?” Carina asks, rolling onto her back, finally opening her eyes.

“Rough. I felt so out of place. My team, my crew – they’re- I could see them struggling. No one would admit it if you asked. I think everything is too fresh yet, but you could see in Ben’s eyes, in Vic’s the emotion. What emotion? I’m not sure. I felt it too. To see that, to see a human being be killed like that-“ Maya doesn’t know what to say really. She sighs, knowing the next thing she says isn’t going to be right. “Why can’t anything be easy right now?”

Carina holds her arm out, inviting Maya in for a cuddle. “It’s not about you.” She says as Maya tucks into her side, head on her shoulder, arm bent, hand over Carina’s heart.

“I know it’s not. I just feel that way.” Maya runs her index finger back and forth across Carina’s chest.

“It’s okay to feel that way but it’s not about you.”

“But it effects all of us.”

“It does.” Carina agrees.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

“About?”

Maya scrunches up her face. Is Carina not understanding this? “My team. I’m not- not- black. I don’t know what that’s like. I’m not going to pretend like I do. That’s not right. There’s going to be emotions from them that I can’t and won’t understand. I want to support them. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t know an appropriate way to do that.”

Maya pushes herself up onto her elbow, so she is hovering over Carina. “My team is half, more than half- Me and Jack are the white people. And it’s crazy because usually it’s the other way around but we are the minority. Our station is-“

“Diverse.” Carina finishes.

“Yeah.”

“I don’t see any of them as anything other than my friends, my firefighters so it’s such a foreign concept that there could be racial issues within a workplace or society. But it exists. As we’ve seen on tv. As the country has been divided more and more in recent years. These racial tensions are coming to the forefront. And I guess it’s my white ignorance but it’s not something I’ve really put much thought or effort into. How do you feel about it?”

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around how someone could be so cruel to another person, so much so that they kill them. No matter the situation. And I’m still learning about this country and I’m finding that there is a lot that I don’t know. Like you, I feel ignorant. Racial injustice and inequality isn’t something I’ve ever really been around or dealt with or even I don’t know, what’s the word-“ Carina runs her hand up and down Maya’s arm. “I know it exists, but it has never been a my problem. It was always someone else’s problem. Or I felt like it was someone else’s problem. And maybe that’s part of the problem. Not enough white people, or not even white, just there aren’t enough people standing up for black folks. I’ve faced prejudice and being profiled so I know what that is like. I know that feeling. So, I more than understand that part of it.”

“You have?” Maya scrunches up her face.

“Si.” Carina chews on her bottom lip. “I have an accent. I’m an immigrant. I’m not from this country. People hear it when I speak, and they know. They might not know where I come from, but they know it’s not from here. There are dirty looks. Some people mumble things under their breath. Others will turn away from me or put more distance between themselves and me.”

“Why- why haven’t you told me this?” Maya’s head spins. Is it really that difficult for Carina to live in this country?

Carina shrugs. “It’s not something you just bring up. And it doesn’t happen that often.”

“I haven’t ever noticed it.” Maya mentions. She tries to recall all the times they’ve been out in public and can’t remember anything like what Carina is describing as happening.

“My point exactly.” Carina finds Maya’s hand, locking their fingers together, palm to palm. “But it does happen. I think the worst time was-“ Carina swallows thickly. “Was-“

“It’s okay. You don’t have to- if you don’t want to.”

“No. I need to.” Carina takes a deep breath. “When Andrea and I were in the train station. We were speaking in Italian. A guy heard us and made a comment about how we got in this country and that we, as Italians, were all carrying the coronavirus. Then a lady sitting across from us on the train heard us speaking in Italian and she clutched her bag closer to her chest before getting up and moving to a seat on the other end of the train from us so, yes, I’ve been profiled. It happens. I understand it. I get that feeling. I know it’s not the same as your firefighters or any black person in this country, but it’s not all that different.”

“Well, now I’m learning. Wow.”

“The reasons for profiling or prejudice against someone like me or a black person might be different, but it all comes from the same underlying place. That racism is inherently the same. We need to find ways to combat that. You, tesoro, need to acknowledge your privilege. While not a male, you are still a white woman in the United States. There is a certain privilege associated with that still.”

Maya hums. “I’m realizing that now. And I don’t know why I haven’t realized that until now. Sadly, it might have something to do with my father. He always instilled in me that I was better than everyone else. Male, female, black, white. It didn’t matter.” Maya wonders about her father for a moment. Just a moment though. She knows exactly how he is reacting to the news of a black man being killed by police in Minneapolis. It makes her cringe. “He- he wanted me to be the best. No matter what. He tried to turn me into him. He tried to turn me into someone like him.”

Carina leans in and kisses Maya. “You aren’t him. You are so much better than him. You have so much love and empathy for your fellow human beings, you could never be like that. You’re a firefighter. You help people.”

“Police are supposed to help people.”

Carina hums. “You’ve got a point there.”

“What do you think I should do? For my crew.”

Carina is quiet for a few minutes. “I don’t know.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “You’re a lot of help.” She chuckles.

“Maya. I can’t tell you what to do. The same as you can’t tell them what to do or how to feel. I think you probably just should be a supportive ear. Ear? Just support them if they need it. Maybe do what you’ve done with me.”

Maya raises an eyebrow at that. “Fall in love with them?” She teases.

It gets a genuine laugh from Carina. “No. Definitely don’t do that. Create a safe space so if they want to talk or need to talk, they don’t feel threatened or pressured.”

“You’re so freaking smart.” Maya kisses her. One kiss turns into two and then three and then Maya is caressing Carina’s face, trying to gain as many little kisses from her as she can. It dawns on Maya what she should do. “I know.”

“You know what?” Carina smirks before licking her lips.

“I’ll bring in Dr. Lewis.”

“Now you’re the smart one.” Carina teases. “That might be a good idea. As long as you, and she, make it clear that no one is being forced to talk to her. It’s optional. Everyone processes things differently.”

“Yeah.” Maya sighs. She feels like maybe she is onto something now. It’s not a solution but it’s a starting point. “When do you have to go to the hospital?”

“Later. Why?”

“Cuz I’d really like to keep kissing you and if you have to get up and get ready then I don’t get to do that.” Maya pouts a little.

Carina tips her head back and laughs. “I freaking love you.”

“Good cuz I love you too.” Maya’s tips Carina’s head back towards her. “Now come here and make out with me.”

Carina doesn’t need more convincing than that as she giggles as Maya kisses her.


Carina is in the kitchen. It’s her first day where she doesn’t have to be at the hospital for any reason. Her office is cleaned out, her patients have all been transferred, everything is pretty much wrapped up.

And she doesn’t know what to do with herself to occupy the free time that she has. Carina already went for a morning walk. Maya is at work so she can’t use her as a distraction or to occupy her time. She feels more stressed out than she has been lately. Which is saying a lot because there has been a lot of stress. There are just over two weeks until she has to leave and there is a certain apprehension surrounding that. She has anxiety about leaving for Italy, about being in Italy. Now that Maya isn’t going with, it seems worse somehow. She worries about how long she is going to be gone. Everything is out of her control. It’s not like Carina is a controlling person or has to have every detail mapped out like Maya, but she needs some sort of reassurance that things will work out. And she just can’t find any right now.

So, she’s in the kitchen, cooking. She’s already on her second dish of the day. There is more food than she and Maya can eat. It’s all going to be packaged up and put in the freezer. It’s just a happy coincidence but now Maya can have all these Italian meals to eat while she is gone.


Maya is second guessing her decision to bring Dr. Lewis into the station today when she sees Miller and Sullivan angry about her bringing Diane in.

She pulls her phone from her back pocket as she gets to the rear of the engine. Maya knows what she needs. She hesitates for a moment because she also second guesses making this phone call. In the past, she wouldn’t have made it. She would have made her decision and stuck with it no matter what. She wouldn’t need a second opinion or encouraging words. She wouldn’t need someone to hold her hand or talk her through something. Maya wouldn’t need and didn’t want any of that. It made her weak, it made her less than, it made her feel like a failure.

But now, as she pulls up Carina’s contact and hits the call icon, she knows it doesn’t make her weak, it doesn’t make her a failure. Those things that her father drilled into her have been released, they are less of a burden now. Maya knows that she has someone to support her and her decisions. She has someone that she can go to, turn to, for advice or support. To just listen. Things Maya felt like she didn’t need or couldn’t have because of her father.

“Ciao, bella. Cosa sta succedendo?” (What’s happening?)

Maya sighs. “Ciao. Some of my team seem upset or mad that Diane is here. Did I do the wrong thing? I didn’t want to upset them. I just wanted to- to do something. Ya know.” She feels a little panicky as the words leave her mouth.

“You’re bold. And you’re trying. Right or wrong, you tried something today. You tried something to help.” Carina thinks that’s the most important part. That Maya is trying something, doing something to try to help.

“Thank you.”

“I love you.”

Maya rolls her eyes and blushes a little, smitten with this wonderful women who is there to raise her up. She pauses for a moment to collect that feeling.

“I love you too.” Maya is uncertain about the next thing she is going to say. “Carina, I-“

“You can call me anytime today. I will be here. Do not worry about it. I’m off work. You are not interrupting. I will answer.” She reassures Maya, that no matter what might arise she will be there.

“Thank you.” Maya sighs. “I love you.”

“Te amo, bambina. Now get back to work.” Carina jokes.

Maya grins and hangs up the call.

The second time Maya calls Carina it’s with renewed confidence. She knows what she wants to do now. She knows she doesn’t and can’t silently support her team. She has to lead, to be a leader. She has to tell her team that she supports them and their decision to protest if they so choose. She needs to make that clear to Carina too. She knows there’s a risk involved with supporting her team. Maya feels like she needs to get Carina to understand that it’s not so simple to just give them support. She knows that the chief has a close eye on her and everything that she does. She knows that one misstep could lead to further consequences for her. Maya is very aware of what is at play with PD and SFD and how everything she does is being analyzed and scrutinized by multiple people.

“Why aren’t all the brothers, why aren’t all the friends, why isn’t ever member of the police force in the streets demanding systemic change? Why?”

Maya realizes that Carina isn’t on the same page with this as she is; all while she understands Carina perspective, her point of view, her argument.

“Because it’ll take them off a track.” Maya can’t just derail her career train off its track. Can she?

Ultimately, she decides to support her team. She calls Carina once more that day.

“Hello?”

“Ciao.” Carina yawns.

“Were you asleep? Did I wake you?”

“Si.”

“I’m sorry.” Maya closes her eyes when she looks at her watch and sees that it’s quarter past ten. “I’ll let you go back to sleep.”

“No. Don’t hang up.” Carina stretches her arms over her head on the couch. She was watching some cheesy Hallmark movie and fell asleep. “I’m awake now. What’s up?”

“I just wanted to call to say that I’m going to the protest in the morning. I’ve decided. Bureaucracy be damned.”

“Good for you. Do you want me to join you?” Carina doesn’t know if she should be there or not. She doesn’t know if it’s a crew thing only or if she’s welcome.

“Of course, Carina. Of course.” Maya sighs, hating that they are talking on the phone. “You know what?” She hears Carina hums. “I’m going to hang up.”

“Maya.” Carina whines. “I told you it was-“ The phone beeps on Carina’s ear and she pulls it away from her face to see that Maya has hung up on her. “Rude.” She pouts, until the screen lights up with Maya’s face on it with a video call. “Bambina.” Carina grins as she accepts the Facetime call.

“I know it’s not the same, but I needed to see your face.”

Carina shakes her head lightly. “I probably look all sleepy and tired.” She turns her head to the side. “Are there lines on the side of my face from the pillow?”

Maya grins. “Maybe slightly but you are as beautiful as ever. Absolutely gorgeous.”

“Maya, stop.” Carina bites her bottom lip.

“I tell no lies.” She winks. “So, I’ll see you in the morning? I can text you when we are ready to go.”

“Sure.” Carina yawns.

“Go back to sleep, my love. I’m sorry I woke you. I should have checked the time before I called. I will next time.” Maya wonders how many next times there are going to be while Carina is still in Seattle. The days are dwindling down. She knows it. Carina knows it. Neither of them have brought it up yet. But it hangs over them. “I love you.”

“I love you, Maya.”

“Good night.” Maya smiles.

Carina closes her eyes. “Good night, bella.”


“I want-“ Maya starts but stops. It’s still a hard thing for her to do, to say what she wants. It seems selfish.

“What?” Carina prompts. She runs her hand up and down Maya thigh where she sits next to her on the couch.

“Can we- I know you’ve been cooking a lot lately to help with your anxiety and fears and stuff about Italy but-“

Carina puts her book down and turns to Maya. “Cosa?”

“And it helps you cope.”

“Is this about the mess I’ve been making? Because I try to clean everything up every time. Sometimes the dishes are a bit much and I leave them for the next day, but I didn’t think that was that bad.” Carina explains knowing how Maya is with her space and messes.

Maya smiles. “No. You are perfectly fine.” She learned to live with a few things laying around. It helps that they are the love of her life’s things though. If it were just one of her friend Maya would probably have more issue with their stuff laying around.

Carina raises an eyebrow. “I know what fine means. I don’t want to be fine. I will do all the dishes the same day from now on.”

“Carina.” Maya takes Carina’s hands in hers. “You are good. You are so good. I don’t mind a few dishes in the sink. As long as everything else is cleaned up.” She winks. Carina hangs her head. “I’m kidding. Come on.” She tugs on Carina’s hands, getting her to move over a little so that Carina’s left leg hangs over Maya’s legs. “No pouting.” She lefts Carina’s chin. “No sad times. Only happy. Okay?”

“Si.” Carina nods.

“Good. Now, I want us to do something together. I was thinking of cooking. Like you could teach me one of your most favorite Italian recipes. And then while you are away, I can make it myself and try to prefect it for when you return.”

“Really?” Carina tries to hide her hopeful smile but it’s no use when Maya nods in confirmation. “God, I love you.” She throws her hands around Maya’s shoulders and pulls her into an embrace. “I love that idea.”

“Let’s make a mess in the kitchen together.” Maya grins as she holds onto Carina.

And a mess it turns out to be. There is flour everywhere.

“I think there’s flour in my underwear.”

“Probably.” Carina grins. She knows there is. It was on her hands when she slid them around Maya’s waist and into her pants, grabbing her bare ass with her hands.

“It’s absolutely everywhere.” Maya looks around the room. “Is it always this messy when you make pasta?”

“Not always but I don’t always have a sexy assistant chef in the kitchen with me.” Carina wiggles her eyebrows.

“So you’re going to blame me.”

“I’m not blaming you, bella. I’m just saying.”

Maya grunts. “Can’t I just buy pasta from the store, in a box, and boil it.”

“I thought you wanted to make something authentic and something that I enjoy.” She raises a challenging eyebrow at Maya.

“I do but-“ She shuts her mouth with that. “Let’s continue.”

“And it’s so easy. Even you can do it.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Maya puts her hands on her hips, offended.

“That unless it comes in a package or from a box you struggle with homemade meals.” She boops Maya on the nose, getting some flour there.

Maya wiggles her nose, trying to shake it off.

“Okay. It’s ready.” Carina gets the ‘sheet’ of dough how she wants it. “We just need to run it through the machine now to cut it into strips of pasta.”

“And then what?” Maya watches carefully.

“We throw it in the boiling water, so it cooks. Then presto, buon appetito.” Carina winks over at Maya. “Ah, si, pero today we are going to make alfredo anche.”

“So, we’re making fettuccine alfredo?”

“Si.” Carina nods. “One of my favorites. Don’t tell la mia famiglia but I like how it is here. Where you add little chickens, or shrimps, or salmon or broccolis. In Italia it’s just the pasta tossed with butter and parmesan cheese. It’s very good like that but here- The cream, the added flavor with the chicken or shrimp or broccoli.” Carina raises her hand in the air, her fingertips pressed to her thumb. She brings them to her lips, kissing them before opening her hand. “Fantastico. It’s more of a meal that way. In Italia it’s kind of a side dish or a starter.”

Maya stands there, staring at Carina in awe. She reaches out, her fingertips find Carina’s jaw, tilting her head so that she’s facing Maya. Carina grins. “Cosa?” Carina recognizes that lovestruck look on Maya’s face.

Maya pulls her into a heated kiss. Carina wraps an arm around Maya, pressing her to the counter. Her hands roam Maya’s body as her hips keep Maya pressed to the spot. She brings her hand up to Maya’s face, her thumb slipping between their lips, tugging down on Maya’s bottom lip. “You want to do this now?”

Maya groans. She really does but she wants to know about the rest of this meal that Carina is showing her how to cook. “N-no.” She pushes Carina gently away from her. “Let’s finish this first. I’m eager to see what this tastes like.” She turns around so that she is facing the counter and Carina is behind her.

“Bambina, you’ve had my fettuccine alfredo before.” Carina comes up behind Maya and presses into her.

Carina words sound like something they’re not in Maya’s mind. She shudders as Carina runs her hands down her arms, finding her hands, locking their fingers together.

“We should-“ Maya swallows thickly. “I want to learn this. For you. With you.” Her eyes close as Carina places one single open mouthed kiss to the side of Maya’s neck.

“Okay.” She decides that’s enough teasing Maya for now. “You get a pot and fill it about halfway with water. Put it on the stove and turn the heat on. I think we have broccoli so get that out and rinse it and when that water boils throw the broccolis in.” Carina runs the pasta sheet through the machine to cut it into strands as she explains everything.

“Okay. Then what?”

“We make the alfredo.” Carina finishes with the pasta and sets it aside. She gets out another pot and puts water in and starts that to boil for the pasta. She gets a pan out. “Get the butter and cream.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Carina glares playfully over in Maya’s direction. Maya has her head stuck in the fridge, so she doesn’t see it. Maya comes back with the items and Carina takes them from Maya’s hands. In exchange, she gives Maya a block of Parmesan cheese. “Grate that. We need about two cups worth.”

Maya looks from the cheese her hands up to Carina’s face. “Why-“

“There’s a reason I keep all these cheeses and vegetables and seasonings and spices just laying around.” She uses air quotes around the last three words.

“I didn’t mean it like that when I said it.” Maya pouts. Of course, Carina doesn’t forget that day when Maya was crabby and having a bad day and she knocked a block of cheese off the counter when she was making a sandwich and mumbled ‘why do we have all this stuff just laying around’.

“I’m just giving you a hard time.” Carina makes up for it with a sweet kiss. “I know you didn’t mean any maliciousness. And I appreciate you and you letting me have my stuff laying around.”

Maya rolls her eyes.

Carina puts the cream and butter in the saucepan and turns on the heat, so it can come to a simmer. She then grabs a clove of garlic and minces it up and adds it to the pan.

Maya stomach grumbles.

“Is someone hungry?” Carina laughs.

“No.” Maya lies. “That was a noise from outside.” Except her stomach betrays her by grumbling again.

“Sure it was.” Carina laughs.

Maya can’t help but smile at the sound of that laugh. It’s one of her most favorite sounds in the world. “I love your laugh. It’s so rich. So carefree.”

Carina comes up behind Maya as she’s grating and wraps her arms around her stomach. “Is that so?”

Maya nods and Carina rests her chin on Maya’s shoulder as she watches the blonde grate the cheese. “That’s probably enough.” Carina takes the cutting board with her right hand and slips it away from Maya. She adds the parmesan cheese and starts whisking everything together. “Can you get the salt and pepper?”

“Si.” Maya grins.

Carina glances over at her with a slight shake of the head. “My little Italian in training.” She mumbles under her breath but loud enough that Maya hears her.

“Here you are, my wise Italian teacher.” Maya puts the salt and pepper on the counter next to the stove. A hand goes to the lower part of Carina’s back, up underneath the bottom of her t-shirt so it’s skin to skin contact.

Carina flinches. “Oooh, your hands are cold.”

Maya smirks. “Sorry.” She’s not sorry though.

“The pasta water is boiling. Oh, so is the broccoli water. Can you add those?”

“Certamente.” Maya smirks, remember and using some Italian.

“So, you are learning some?” Carina wiggles her eyebrows while she whisks.

“I have a very wise teacher. I think I just mentioned that. But, si. You know what helps. Stuff like this.” Maya stirs the pasta into the boiling water. “I’m a visual learner. I learn best and remember best when