A/N: Mkay. It's after 2am. I can barely keep my eyes open. I've never written for this show before. I'm impulse-posting. But these two are one of my OTPs and tonight's ep's ending left the door open for SO MUCH ANGST and SO MANY WAYS TO FINALLY ADMIT THEIR FEELINGS. And I couldn't not write something for it.
Magnum didn't say a single word to her the entire drive to the airport.
She couldn't blame him.
It shouldn't have meant as much as it had. Almost getting married.
It shouldn't have hurt as much as it did. Breaking it off.
But it had.
And it did.
He remained silent as he parked, as they got out. She could see him instinctively reaching for her luggage, instinctively reaching to help her, but he drew back before he got too close. Before they could accidentally look each other in the eye. Before they could accidentally touch.
She couldn't blame him for that, either.
Besides. She was a big girl. She could get her own luggage. It wasn't a big deal.
So why did the action feel so empty without him?
She busied herself with taking out her suitcases, setting them on the sidewalk, checking one last time that she had the necessary identification and documentation, ignoring that her hands trembled, and when she finally turned around, he was attempting to act casually, leaning on the Ferrari's hood, his arms crossed too tightly over his chest.
She pursed her lips. "Stop leaning on the car, Magnum."
A forced smile lit up his face, and his voice carried more than a hint of a plea. "If I don't stop, will you stay?"
"No." A breeze blew some hair into her face, and she swiped it away. "You know I can't."
The words clawed her throat on the way out, but the pain paled in comparison to the way her heart shattered when Thomas's face fell, his attempt at humor dying in a heartbeat. "I know," he said, pushing off the car and starting to turn away. "Goodbye, H-higgins."
"Goodbye, Mag-" She stopped, the formality catching in her aching throat. "Thomas. Goodbye, Thomas."
He didn't quite look at her.
He almost managed a smile.
She almost managed to return it.
Silence hovered between them.
She felt there should've been more to this. Joking, perhaps, knowing Thomas. Her goodbye to Zeus and Apollo had been wordier than this. Her goodbyes to the others had been less painful than this. She would miss them all, of course, but Thomas…
She forced herself to turn away and take hold of her suitcases.
"I would've married you."
He spoke quickly, blurting the words out, yet his voice was stronger, more certain than it had been since she broke off their engagement. She clenched the suitcase handles in white-knuckled grips, trying to convince herself that she wasn't as bad as his ex for leaving him like this.
Despite the hustle and bustle surrounding them, she heard his footsteps as he finally, finally crossed the distance between them, and rather than startling her, the touch of his hand to hers relieved her, as if she had been waiting for it, holding her breath until she could connect with a part of her she hadn't even fully realized was missing. It was light, hesitant, a silent question, a silent request for permission.
Before she could think better of it, she gave him that permission, releasing the handle to clutch his hand instead.
With tears beginning to well in her eyes, she turned to face him, prying her other hand away from the suitcase to cup his cheek, to hold him, and she was breaking his heart, but his eyes were still so soft. He was selfless to a fault, loyal through thick and thin, and here he was, falling apart in her hands and still caring for her through his pain.
His fingertips brushed her cheek, trembling, tender. "And I would've loved you," he finished, his voice barely louder than a breath.
She smiled, tiny, wavering. "I know," she said, just as quietly. "And that's why I can't stay."
You would burn in hell for me, but I cannot risk sentencing you to another prison.
Thinking perhaps a kiss might say things she couldn't begin to put into words, she leaned in for his cheek.
He tilted his head at the last second, and she caught his lips instead.
He pulled back immediately, eyes wide, and started stammering an apology, that he should've thought before he acted.
A day ago, a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, she would've demanded he finish it.
She certainly wouldn't have been affectionately amused by his antics.
She certainly wouldn't have wished he hadn't ended it.
And she certainly wouldn't have slid her hand into his hair and pulled him back for more.
Today, she did all of that.
He tensed, startled, and then he was grabbing her, tangling his hands in her hair, deepening the kiss, holding on for dear life. She wrapped her freed arm around his waist, clutching a fistful of his shirt, and they pressed into each other, and where they had been a million miles apart in the car, now they eliminated every millimeter of space between them, knowing this would be the last time for far, far too long that they would be able to hold each other.
Her passport said she was going home, but in this moment, home was in Thomas's arms, and the rest of the world didn't exist.
They broke apart only to breathe, foreheads leaning against each other, their tears mingling on each other's cheeks, their hands, their lips. Somehow, she laughed, sounding more like a sob, but a laugh nonetheless. "What wonderful timing we have," she commented in a dry rasp.
Thomas let out a ragged laugh of his own. "No kidding."
Slowly, knowing it would begin to end the heartbroken magic of the moment, Juliet opened her eyes, taking him in, this new side of him she had never been privileged enough to know before. His grip had softened as the heat of the moment faded, leaving him holding her like a priceless treasure, holding on to a moment he wished could last forever, and with his eyes closed, he was vulnerable in a way she had never seen. Beautiful in a way she had never seen.
She had never truly appreciated that before, how beautiful he was, this man she had almost never met, this SEAL who had been dragged into hell and fought his way out. Not just his looks, but his heart, his heart that took care of everyone before himself, that made the sun shine when all else seemed cloaked in eternal night. His fight hadn't been for her, she knew, not always, but for just a minute, she let herself believe that everything they had fought through had been designed to lead them here.
The thought felt as cruel as it did romantic.
"You should go," he said.
He didn't move.
Neither did she.
Until they both moved at the same time, but not to leave.
Instead, they met in another kiss.
This one was tender and slow, gentle and lingering. His hands fell to hold her waist, and she draped her arm around his shoulders, letting him carry some of her weight, and she carried some of his in return, sharing this burden, sharing this pain.
They smiled at each other when it ended. Smiled through their tears.
It wasn't I love you. It couldn't be. Not yet.
But it was I care about you.
It was I'll miss you.
It was I wish you would stay.
It was I wish I had married you.
And for now, that would have to be enough.
"Goodbye, Juliet," he whispered, and she could tell it took all of his strength to let her go.
It took all of her own strength to let go of him.
Wiping her tears away, she gathered her suitcases, walked into the airport, and left Thomas behind.
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go
Only know you love him when you let him go
And you let him go