Tag to 3x13: Pinned. Anonymous prompt on tumblr: madney + the post-sex kinktober prompt
She always felt safest right after they'd finished. Right after Howie fell over her, panting. He always kissed her shoulder, almost desperately, and held her close, rolling to her side. She moved into him, laid on his shoulder, and his arms wrapped tight around her.
She could feel his chest rise up and down. He leaned to kiss the top of her head, and she looked up at him. "Hi," she whispered.
"Hi," he whispered back, and their lips met.
These quiet moments were what got her through the day. These quiet moments were what soothed her after a nightmare when Howie had a late shift, and couldn't do it in person. All she had to do was think of him, of how it felt to be really, truly loved...and she could sleep again.
She pushed herself up, so that she was above him, and he gazed up at her. "What's on your mind?" He finally asked, reaching to smooth her hair behind her ear.
"Nothing...and everything," she sighed, and leaned to kiss him again. He kissed her back, as he always did, and licked his lips as she pulled away. "What's on yours?"
"You," he said simply, and she smiled. "You're always on my mind," he continued. "At work, then I'm wondering if you're the one who sent this call to us. In my free time, I'm wondering what you're doing without me. I just think about you, all the time."
Maddie's hand was on his chest, feeling his beating heart. "I can't picture my life without you in it," she said softly. "I don't know what Los Angeles looks like without you. I don't know what I would have done. I probably would have ran, after, you know. I wouldn't have looked back, I would have been on the run forever."
"I don't know where I'd be right now either," Howie said. "But I know one thing. I would have been miserable. Fuck, I was miserable. My life was empty, I sure as hell didn't know how to give it meaning."
She rested her head on his shoulder again. "I just never want these moments to end," she said, voice just a whisper. "Every time we're here in bed together, I just make a silent wish that this time it lasts. That we never have to say goodbye, we never have to go to work. We're just together."
"Well, that's what makes this time so sweet," he said. "That we have to leave. We look forward to coming back to each other. It's what keeps us going through hard days."
"Yeah," she said. They were quiet then, just basking in the moment.
The hotel room was silent, and her mind returned to how busy the night had been. Of course their quiet date night had turned into rescuing a woman from a moving table. That was just how this worked, both Howie and Maddie just seemed to attract trouble.
But that was okay, because they dealt with it. They just got it done.
They took care of it.
Howie always took responsibility, always leapt into action. She never had to ask him to do something twice, indeed, she rarely had to ask him. She'd bought a new bookshelf at Target, and it was still in the box in her living room one night when he came over. She was planning on putting it together that weekend, when she had time.
He'd put the whole thing together, just while waiting for her to get off work. It had been waiting for her in the living room, and she'd placed a hand over her mouth. Her feelings were overwhelming. Doug had lost his temper in the middle of putting together a new bedframe. He'd stormed out, she'd had to calm him down with a case of beer.
And here was Howie, coming out of the kitchen, holding out a wine glass. "You're home," he said, a smile on his face.
She'd almost cried, then and there. She was so overwhelmed by her feelings for him, so utterly done in by the way he showed how much he cared for her.
He wasn't doing it for brownie points. He wasn't doing it to score. He was doing it because he loved her, because he wanted to make her life easier.
She loved him too. She didn't say it, she couldn't say it. The words had been twisted from years of Doug using it to manipulate her.
"You're my wife, you have to love me."
"You still love me, right, babe?"
"Babe. I love you. I'm sorry."
The wounds were too deep. She knew they would heal, eventually. When time had passed, when she'd had a chance to breathe, and change.
Then she'd be able to say it back.
She'd always known, from her years of nursing school, that after seven years every cell in the body renewed.
In six years, Maddie would quite literally have a body that Doug had never touched.
That was also the thought that kept her going, the reenforcement that change was good, that change saved lives.
Change was life, after all. Living organisms changed, and that was what differentiated them from nonliving matter.
So Maddie knew, in her heart, that she would get there. She would get to the day when she'd look over at her partner and say "I love you" and there would no pain. There would always be scars, but they faded. They'd become marks of what she'd overcome, not of what held her back.
Someday, after a lot more moments like these, spent in bed with Howie Han, she'd tell him she loved him. She'd say it over and over. The words would echo the walls, and if Buck or Albert was still staying with one of them, they would hear every word.
Because she did love him. She did love Howie.
She leaned up to kiss him again, trying to pour every feeling she had into the gesture. From the way he cradled her in his arms, the way he carefully cupped her face in his, she knew he could tell what she was saying.
I love you. I love you. I love you.