So I won't say I'm completely happy with this one, but I am happy to have finally written something Spixie again. And mucho thanks to suerum and darkorangecat for looking over this for me and telling me what they thought, and helping me with some changes that needed to be made, 'cause otherwise I would have just let it sit and gather dust, honestly.

On a note, this refers to some specific happenings in the show. Don't know how much sense it makes if you haven't seen those particular events, sorry.

keeping the stars apart
Spinelli/Maxie


I. (but oh, they're still a long way from done)

Here they reach the top, and it's glorious – and it's awful.

Maybe it's that she doesn't realize – doesn't even stop to think that it's wrong, what she's done, that it hurt him—

Here is Maxie in red, not a dress, but it's beautiful, and she's beautiful, and he can't even look at her.

"Then you don't know me at all," says that devil with an angel's smile, hair, skin, laugh and there's hurt in that voice, honest hurt, which just isn't fair because he's the one who'd she'd strung along. And her voice is thick and wet – he's made her cry, oh god – and in that moment he's frightened, scared witless, terrified right at the root of his soul that she's right, that maybe he hadn't known (understood, loved) Maxie Jones the way he thought he had.

(and if he's disappointed in himself, well, that's because he's just done exactly what she'd been expecting him to do since the start, only it was worse, worse because he'd done it in the exact moment when she'd finally let herself expect something better)

Here, there is no place for regrets (not between the small walls and the cheap décor, not between the red soft lapels of Maxie's armor, not deep down deep in the secret place of their minds)

And he knows what this is when Maxie's little shoulders square like stone and the eyes he finally meets are cold – this is the Maxie Jones that hasn't got any friends, that doesn't want any friends, the one that doesn't care and won't ever care and won't cry until she's all alone with herself. This is the Maxie Jones that is as real as she isn't, the accretion of uncaring parents and dead lovers and a lost sister and a world that failed her so often that she'd stopped expecting anything else.

It's been a long time since he's seen this Maxie, and she's heartbreaking. (she's breaking his heart)

But he'd hurt Maxie (because she's hurt him) and Maxie Jones had never taken hurt well. So she hurt him back. (where it stops, nobody knows)

"I'm done with you." Slithers down from his ears to his spine – heads rights up to his brain and agonizingly down to his feet, jolting him for the door.

This is fair, because he's done with her too.

II.

Here is what Spinelli doesn't see: he doesn't see Maxie when she presses the heels of her hands into her eyes and tries not to scream. He doesn't feel the burn of fear in her chest or hear the tight panic in her voice when she finally gets her thoughts together enough to call Sam.

What Spinelli does see is: the disgust on Rayner's face as he slams down charge after charge. Winifred – and that hurt (because she'd been like him, just like him, and he'd felt ordinary in her presence.) He sees : Maxie, scared, and Mac, confused. He's sat down in the interrogation room and he thinks: oh.

Here in this moment, there are too many places for regrets. There, for not calling his grandmother more often. There, for not listening to Sam. There, for trusting so easily.

And everywhere is Maxie, who (in the very least) had liked him enough to use sex to keep him around and, really, he should have remembered that beggars can't be choosers.

Spinelli feels numb at the edges, and annoyingly alert on the inside – this is it, he thinks. This is what he gets, after years and years of doing illegal this and illegal that, and just assuming that…that he'd never get caught. (until little frizzy haired Winifred, the Dishonest Priestess of Cyberdom, the desecrator of the Jackal's own sacred temple.)

III.

Here is Maxie Jones at the top of the stairwell, and she carries a bouquet of flowers not near as beautiful as herself. And here is her voice and here are her tears, and here are the words she said when he broke her heart in all the places she'd never thought she'd use again: "then you don't know me at all"

And Spinelli jolts awake in his cold, uncomfortable cell, eyes wet and matty and pulse thundering away at supersonic speeds, like maybe it's trying to match the time it took for his life to fall apart.

She used me, Spinelli tries to think fiercely, but it's pathetic. And he's choking on the thick pain lodged in his throat, what must be smoke from the burnt out remains of all the little sections in his heart that had belonged to her. And maybe being stuck in here, being caught, being helpless should make him think of something else, but it doesn't. Now he hasn't even got her smile to think of, her pretty eyes when they crinkle for him, her hands when they fuss with his hair—all he can see is her crying and –

IV.

Here are some more regrets, and they come with plenty of time. What Spinelli does when they take the cuffs from his wrists –freedom – he breathes, long and deep and slow and precise, and he breaks just a bit more.

V.
Some people are profound thinkers. And the things they say – those are profound too. Gandhi, King, the Beatles when they said all you need is love and changed the world with five words that meant something.

Spinelli can't imagine something like that ever being formed by his mind, shaped by his lips, carried by his voice. He can't imagine what he could possibly say that could fix things. But god, does he want to.

He wants to grab Maxie by the shoulders, look her right in the face and tell her something that will make her better. Make her smile, make her laugh; make her care, for gods sake. He thinks, for a second, that he knows exactly what these words are.

These words, they flee. They escape him when he needs them most. Here is his chance, his moment that he's been waiting for. And Maxie's little mouth is open in an exhale of a sound – he hopes it is the starts of something beautiful, something like forgive me, I forgive you, or maybe even just Spinelli in that way she used to say it, but they flee her as well, or she flees them, and when her little mouth closes the moment is lost.

No resolution.

VI.

He spots her across the coffee shop, there, sitting, hands on a magazine, eyes on the distance. I love you, he could say, but what would that mean to her? I love you, I've missed you, you're tearing me to pieces, without you I can't even breathe---and yet, why would any of those things mean something to her, when for a while, a second, they hadn't meant anything good to him? When he taps her on the shoulder he can't help the slow curl of his lips, or the quick thud of his heart, finally awake again. "You look about as lonely as I feel," he says, and my name is Damian Spinelli.

And when Maxie Jones slowly, carefully smiles back and says it's nice to meet you, a tiny corner of the world in a little port town in a modest coffee shop is suddenly a perfect place.