That’s why I still love this woman.

She put on the mask of a killer to survive Galentron.

But she never let it take her soul.

And now that bright, airy soul led us to Mandolin.

Led us here, to a quiet life where we never have to hurt anyone again.

And that soul shines out bright and warm today, in misty grey eyes as Fuchsia smiles at me nervously, squaring her shoulders.

“Do…do I look okay?” she asks. “Do you think she’ll like me?”

“She’ll love you,” I promise, reaching for the door as a second knock sounds, slower, more tentative, and I can already picture any child of ours scouting escape routes and wondering how many assassins are waiting behind the door because something seems a little too fishy.

But Fuchsia holds a hand out to stop me.

“Wait,” she says breathlessly. “Let me.”

And I get it.

This is the moment she brought down a massive global megacorporation for.

This is the moment that was always in her head when she helped save a small Montana town.

This is the moment she fought with everything for, nearly sacrificed her own life for several times over.

This is her moment.

And it’s ours.

And I’m right here to see how beautiful she looks before I play my part.

Fuchsia flashes me another quick, shaky smile, then dips to the bowl on the table and picks up a piece of candy, palming it.

She’s breathing a little fast, flushed. God, I’ve never seen her show her emotions this freely.

My throat feels tight, this wonderful weight in my chest, as I watch the woman I love lift her chin and stride forward with those red-bottom heels flashing, putting on the warmest smile I’ve ever seen on her face as she opens the door.

A tall girl stands outside. She’s got my brown eyes and the same natural white streak as Fuchsia’s in hair as black as night. She’s got Fuchsia’s no-nonsense mouth and my stubborn chin, and as she stares up at her mom with her cheeks going red and her breath sucking in and her eyes widening in a sort of awed, shy recognition, Fuchsia grins.

“Hey, kiddo,” she says, holding out the pink-wrapped candy from Sweeter Things. “Would you like a piece of candy?”


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