by TaleWeaver

"Careful, he might hear you."

Alec's grin flashed in the dark. "Joshua won't mind."

"Yeah, but he'll comment on it tomorrow morning in an announce-it-to-the-world tone."

"What? 'Max and Alec getting busy'?"

"Can't you just hear him already?"

Alec's look was level. "Max, I may have done some fairly exotic things when Manticore first burned, but a threesome with Joshua is not on the cards." At Max's incredulous expression, he clarified, "There is only room in this bed for you and me. No one else. Besides, I think Joshua knows that we've been 'getting busy' for some time now, not to mention anyone else who might hear him. It's not exactly news." Alec reached under his pillow and withdrew a small velvet bag. "Speaking of which, happy anniversary."

Max frowned, puzzled. "Six months? That's not 'til next week."

"Actually, Max, it's tonight. Six months since our first kiss. Next week is six months since we started sleeping together."

Max blushed and nodded. "Sorry, Alec. I didn't mean to imply-"

"That sex is the most important thing in this romance? We both know better than that."

"We've never talked about it."

"Some things you don't need to talk about. You just know. It's one of the reasons we fit together so well, Maxie. Once the siege started and we were forced to really get to know each other, we understood each other better than anyone else."

Max sat up in their bed, the bag in her hands, and looked at her mate ruefully. "You can say it, y'know." At Alec's raised eyebrows and not-quite smirk, she continued, "You understood me better than anyone else right from the start; in the field we meshed like the gears on my Ninja. It was me understanding you personally that we had to work on once the siege started."

Alec just gave her a sexy smile. Max resisted the urge to thwap him with her pillow, and opened the velvet bag, tipping its contents into her hand. With Max's feline vision, she had no trouble seeing in the dark.

It was a silver necklace, just long enough to encircle her throat - short enough that she could wear it anywhere, without risking getting it caught on anything. Both the chain and the pendant had a matte, rather than shiny finish, so no betraying glints of light would give away her position. The small pendant was exquisitely detailed, and Max recognized the figure immediately.

"A Chimera! Very fitting." Max took a closer look, and asked, "Is that a ruby chip in it's claws? What's that for?"

"It's my heart."

Max looked at him sharply. They didn't talk about things like this, either. They didn't need to.

"I love you, Maxie."

Max leaned down and kissed him deeply. "I love you, Alec."

Both spoke the words with confidence, sure of their reception. Even though these words had never been spoken between them before.

Alec paused to slip the necklace around Max's neck, before trailing kisses down her throat. Max moaned in reaction, and pulled him down on top of her. "Happy anniversary."

Those were the last words spoken until dawn. But they weren't the last sounds.


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