A/N: I just want to take a moment at the start of this final chapter to thank each and every one of you, dear readers. This has been a long and difficult ride for all of us. Thank you for sticking with me to the very end. I hope you have enjoyed reading my story as much as I have enjoyed the journey of writing it.

I must also give a very special shout out to my dear betas, Jami and Sabrina, without whom this chapter would never have seen the light of day! Words cannot convey my deep gratitude for the many ways you helped me through the writing of this entire story.

This chapter, in particular, I feel belongs to all three of us, thanks in large part to the sheer pain, effort, and drama I caused each of you during the "labor and delivery" of this fan fiction closure. Thank you for handling my "baby" with such loving care and patience!

And, lest anyone miraculously forget, I still own nothing of "The Good Wife." Happy reading, and here's to (what I hope will be) a happy season 7 of the series! xo

Alicia slowly began to wake. She stretched her legs out languidly, feeling refreshed…lighter. Like a weight had been lifted. As she moved around, enjoying the coolness of the sheets, her foot brushed against a leg that wasn't her own, and she instantly became more conscious. A smile spread across her face, remembering. She turned over as delicately as possible then, wanting to face her husband but trying not to wake him.

Peter was sleeping peacefully on his side, facing her. It had been a long time since Alicia had really looked at him intently, but she indulged herself, thinking of how much she had always loved to watch him sleep before…to listen to his steady breathing. It calmed her back then, soothed the anxious chatter in her mind.

His face had aged, and he was grayer around his temples than she remembered. He needs a haircut. She thought, resisting the urge to run her fingers through it. She noticed the faintest of smiles on his lips, and the sight caused one to spread across her own face as well. He looked so content, and she felt an unexpected sense of pride that she played a part in that.

Taking stock herself, Alicia was able to acknowledge to herself that she also felt content in that moment. It was as if the disjointed parts of her heart that had gone missing when the scandal erupted had been reconnected. She felt at home again, complete, for the first time in several years.

The realization caused tears to make her eyes damp, but not because she was sad for a change…because she was truly happy. She was so glad she had stayed now…happy she had come at all considering how reluctant she had been that morning. But it had been a good decision to stay and talk through their issues. She felt they had really made some progress together in their conversation, and their coupling afterwards felt like a homecoming and a new beginning all at once.

Letting her eyes wander down across Peter's jaw line, biceps, and body, Alicia allowed her mind to replay their love making.

There was a palpable mix of skittish anxiety and slow burning lust between them as they made their way to their former shared bedroom. Alicia entered first, taking a moment to scan the space that contained so many of their most intimate moments together and, she thought with a smile, was about to witness one more.

Peter closed the bedroom door, and Alicia laughed his favorite laugh when she heard the sound of the lock behind her. "You know you don't have to do that, right? No kids here tonight…"

He responded to the rare and special sound with a delighted chuckle of his own before answering, "Old habits from being unexpectedly interrupted." Then he reached out to encircle her waist from behind. "Besides," he teased, nibbling along her ear, "it might slow you down if you try to bolt on me again."

She turned her head to meet his lips then, pouring her heart into the kiss. Twisting around to face her husband, she looked him directly in the eyes and stated with conviction, "I don't want to run from you anymore. I want you. Make love to me, Peter."

At her invitation, he gently reached for her face, kissing her softly before gazing deeply into her eyes. He led her to the bed and silently guided her to lie down. Then he started a long, slow, tender process of showering her with his love.

With every kiss, he paused to tell her the symbolism of the different flowers he had sent to her and how their meaning reminded him of her. The themes of loyalty, internal and external beauty, graciousness and strength, faithfulness and friendship, of his open heart towards her and his undying love for her wove a common thread between them.

Peter's ministrations were so rich with depth and love. Alicia began to allow herself to actively feel the love she still held for Peter that she had hidden away so deeply. When he held her gaze and said, "White tulips are for seeking forgiveness, and I am seeking yours, Alicia," she was undone.

Peter gently placed his palms against hers, interlocking their fingers, and looked at her with eyes that seemed to plead for her to let him back in…to give their relationship another real chance.

Alicia paused for a moment, holding his gaze. She took a deep breath before responding sincerely, "I forgive you, Peter. I love you too." Then she pulled him into a passionate kiss.

With that confirmation, he slowly joined them together in body as their hearts also began to reunite.

Afterwards Alicia molded herself into Peter's side, lying with her head on his shoulder and his arm around her back. In that moment, she allowed herself permission to cry again. She reassured Peter that it was a healing mixture of happy and sad tears. Peter gently kissed them away, holding her more securely to himself and running a soothing hand along her arm and back.

"I love you, Alicia. So much. That's what the forget-me-not's symbolized." He held her hand, bringing it to his lips. "I love all the wonderful memories we have created over time. I sincerely hope we can start over together again."

Alicia looked in his eyes and whispered, "I know… I want us to work too, but I'm still scared, Peter."

"Me too," he admitted, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear. "But we'll get through it together. One day at a time."

"I need you to be honest with me, Peter—always. Can you do that?" she asked, running her thumb along their intertwined hands.

He squeezed her hand, stating with conviction, "Yes. I can, and I will, Alicia. I promise."

She sat up enough to lean her forehead against his, and took a deep breath.

"Okay then," she agreed, smiling slightly.

"Okay," he said, returning her smile before kissing her lips tenderly.

She settled back down next to him, then, and they fell asleep in each other's arms.

As she lay there watching Peter sleep, Alicia felt full of life, and hope, and love again.

Their love making had been so slow, tender, and intentional. Alicia smiled, remembering how Peter wouldn't let her move things along any faster, saying, "Let me," he said gently. "I have wanted to do this for so long, Babe. Just relax and receive my love, okay?"

He refused to rush their progress; instead she felt how sincerely he wanted their coupling to be about reconnecting with her at every level…not just an opportunity to ease some sexual tension.

Peter, she could tell, had been all in during their lovemaking, and she sensed that completely. Alicia had not felt so genuinely cherished by her husband in at least a decade, and the sensation was overwhelming.

She had allowed her own inhibitions to dissolve, allowing their lovemaking to become a truly sacred encounter…a mingling of souls…in a way that they had not experienced together before, maybe ever.

It reminded her of what Grace had said, and even though she wasn't religious, she had to admit that the imagery of 2 people in 1 body and totally separate lives joining together to become one unit again did fit their situation well.

She wanted to kiss those lips again…to be held by those strong and comforting arms…but she knew she had to go, or she would never make it home before Zach's curfew was up. Since he knew she was with Peter, his suspicions would be heightened if she arrived home after him. Alicia definitely did not want to have to face that conversation with her son any time soon.

She succeeded in getting out of bed without Peter noticing, but as she tried to redress, he woke and sat up, confused. She could tell that he was alarmed because she was trying to leave without saying anything. His concern was almost palpable, so she offered him the best answer she had for now. She leaned over and kissed him softly, trying her best to calm his fear. She hesitated...resting her forehead against his for just a second before smiling reassuringly and saying "We'll talk soon, okay?"

"Okay." Peter said as she prepared to leave. "I love you, Babe." he said, his voice full of emotion. She smiled again, reaching out to brush her hand through his hair affectionately. "I love you too." she replied. Then rubbing his chest tenderly above his heart, she added, "Happy Anniversary, Peter," before heading downstairs to get her things and drive home.

He smiled and replied, "Happy Anniversary, Babe," watching her until she disappeared and listening for the front door and her car.

Peter rolled over to Alicia's side of the bed then and cuddled her pillow, inhaling her scent. He smiled to himself, encouraged. He was not sure where their evening together left them, but he knew she was willing to try now...with baby steps. There was hope for their marriage. It would not be fast or easy, but there was hope.