Amongst Marina Lights
A/N: One-shot, post "A Leopard on the Prowl"
Disclaimer - I own nothing.
Where'd she go? Thomas Magnum scanned the room, his eyes moving steadily over the crowd dancing and singing with Rick and T.C. out on the floor. Gordon and Robin were in a deep conversation about their last set of adventures and Kumu had offered to grab another round of drinks at the bar. His partner had excused herself at the same time, and as Kumu and one of Rick's staff returned to their table 10 minutes later, Magnum slid out of the booth as Kumu took her seat again, his eyes wandering the crowd looking for the familiar face. He felt a restless urge to find his partner, which clearly didn't escape the cultural curator's notice.
"Juliet stepped outside," Kumu explained, grasping Magnum's forearm. "I think she needed a minute to gather her thoughts." She handed him two beers. "Probably wouldn't hurt to check on her. It's been a big day." Magnum smiled at her, bending to kiss her on the cheek.
"Thanks, Kumu," he said softly, heading for the side door. Rick had been refinishing the side patio, so the majority of the tables and chairs had been relocated to the main outdoor seating area in the front. That made it easy to spot the petite blond curled up onto a large deck lounger she'd clearly moved further down from the stack of extra chairs and loungers in the corner. She'd managed to find a pillow as well. The door closed softly behind him, dropping the noise volume considerably. "Higgy? You okay?" She didn't straighten up, but her head shifted on the pillow and he could see her smile softly at him. He approached slowly, content to watch her.
"Magnum. Yes, I just needed a bit of quiet." He tilted one of the bottles he carried her direction, and she reached up and took it from his fingers. He stood next to her, just out of her direct sight, ostensibly admiring the view of the marina as the sun disappeared on the horizon, but his gaze fell on her. She'd slipped out of her sandals, and they were sitting neatly – very Higgins-esque - next to the chair. While the lounger was made for two and plenty big for her to lay out fully, she'd instead curled her legs under her so her feet almost disappeared under her skirt. She took a sip, rested her beer on her knee, let her head rest more fully on the pillow, her eyes slipping shut.
"You cold?" He asked softly, feeling the breeze pick up across the deck. She smirked, but her eyes remained closed.
"No, but it is a bit blustery this evening," she responded. "Are you cold?"
"Well, if I say yes, will you let me sit with you?" He asked cheekily, and grinned at her. She finally tilted her head back, opening her eyes and contemplating him.
"I suppose, if you behave," the teasing tone of her voice spurred him to move, coming around the back of the lounger and then lowering himself down next to her. He smiled at her, giving a gentle and playful tug at the pillow.
"Don't push your luck, Magnum. I'll push you off this chair so fast you won't know what hit you." Her quick retort made him chuckle, and he found himself staring at her fondly, his thumb worrying at the label on his beer bottle.
"If there is any question left in your mind, I want you to know how glad I am that you're staying." He paused, shifting his gaze to the bottle in his hand. "Professionally… and personally." She was quiet, and Magnum lifted the bottle up to his lips, trying to appear calmer than he felt after his somewhat spontaneous share. He silently congratulated himself for not jumping in surprise when he felt her fingers grab hold of his free hand.
"Me too," she murmured, and Magnum shifted his fingers to tangle them with hers. She squeezed his hand, and Magnum tightened his grip slightly so she wouldn't immediately pull away. They sat together, quietly, their hands entwined. She finally spoke. "I was teasing earlier, you know. I don't intend to change things at Robin's Nest," her quiet voice explained. "I'm going to work on finalizing my legal status so I can transfer everything back to Robin as soon as possible." He grinned at her, his thumb caressing hers.
"You mean you don't want to keep it?" He teased, and she frowned a bit. He felt her try to withdraw, but kept hold of her fingers. "I'm kidding," he added, squeezing her hand. She sighed.
"This has all been so… overwhelming. I just…." She motioned vaguely with her bottle. "I mean – you and T.C. offered to marry me! And we almost did! And Robin just signed everything over, as if it was nothing, and Rick and T.C. whipped together this shindig-"
"Higgins, you're our friend. Our family. It's worth it." Magnum interrupted, finding himself shifting closer to her, a needto touch her, hold her overriding his normal reticence. He understood her feeling overwhelmed – in fact, he'd found himself wondering if the day was some cruel nightmare he'd wake up from and she'd be gone. It had seemed just too easy. She shook her head with a huff.
"No one has ever done for me what you gents have in the last two weeks." Her eyes glistened, and Magnum settled flush with her, her back leaning against his side. He felt her feet rest lightly against his thigh, and he swung his arm gently around her shoulders, keeping her hand in his. It had the effect of replacing the pillow she rested on with his shoulder. She tilted her head back, catching his gaze, as he rested his beer bottle between his legs while he moved the pillow to his neck. "Smooth," she teased, relaxing against him. He was surprised – she didn't seem to mind their seating position, her head lulling against his neck. Their previous discussions about their impending separation had been interrupted; perhaps she too felt the need to reassure herself he was there. He tightened his hold slightly, some of the desperation he'd felt the last 10 days oozing out of him now that she was in his arms – close. The words spilled out.
"You know, you were wrong earlier," he mumbled, his voice warm in her ear.
"Oh? Pray tell," the sarcasm showing in her voice. She took a drink from her bottle.
"When you said I'd be fine without you." He was avoiding her gaze. "Last week."
"I'm really not sure I can do this without you anymore, Higgy. Sure, I got through cases, but you know how those went. I just… I don't want to go back to that." He paused. "You make me better. And… I mean, like the other day. I might not have made it off that truck… without you." He took a drink from his bottle, spinning it nervously. "And I would have missed you." He felt her head move, and risked meeting her gaze. She had a soft expression on her face, and her fingers tightened around his.
"I would have missed you too." Her eyes slipped shut and she took a deep breath, and Magnum smiled fondly at her. He didn't respond, instead enjoying the moments of peaceful quiet with her. "I suppose we should rejoin everyone," she mumbled, and he shrugged. Truthfully, he was content to stay here with her the rest of the night. He pushed off thoughts of what THAT meant. She opened her eyes to regard him.
"Or we can just sit out here a bit longer," he countered, lifting his beer to his lips. She chuckled, a smile crossing her lips. She took a sip from her bottle and nodded.
"Okay, until we finish these," she agreed, her eyes sparkling at him, before refocusing out at the marina lights. He couldn't help the smile that lit his face, as he hugged her closer to his chest, and felt her squeeze his hand again.
The pair didn't notice Rick and T.C., grinning at each other from the doorway, before moving back inside to rejoin the party.