Something to hold you over until Side Jobs comes out in October and Ghost Story comes out next year. Set during "Changes" as Murphy is driving to pick up Harry at the marina. Hope you enjoy. And for those of you wondering, yes I'm still working on "Insights" and my countless other unfinished fics.

-Original Max A

My father once told me, "Sometimes the only reward for giving your all and doing the right thing is being able to look at yourself in the mirror the next day."

I knew I was going to lose my badge when I agreed to help Harry save his daughter, Maggie. I knew there were going to be consequences when I went to help save Molly. Had I not gone, no one would have blamed me, but that's not how Colin Murphy's daughter does things. I don't ignore people who need my help. That's why when I was assigned to Special Investigations, I took the job by the horns. Even though the cases were strange and seemed unsolvable, that fact was Chicago residents were being hurt and killed. Just like I would go after a murder or a rapist, my job was still to protect the people of this city from danger, even if it was supernatural. The boys will have to carry on the fight without me. They can do it. I trained up a good team. They'll be okay.

Me? I'm just trying not to think as I drive back to the marina, toward Harry Dresden as opposed to running away. I briefly considered wearing a dress or skirt or something bordering on feminine. Harry liked seeing me like that. It threw him off, but he liked it. In the end, I decided on form-fitting jeans, a nice blouse and slightly more makeup than usual. Just enough to say that I was serious about… whatever we were going to do, but not enough to look like I was trying to cover myself up. I was done with that. I was done with hiding from this thing Harry and I have built over the past decade. He's hurting so much right now, I don't think I could deny him anything. I know that makes me sound like a bodice-wearing heroine in a Harlequinn romance novel, but it's the truth. Every time I think about him carrying Maggie down the steps of that pyramid and how much love and heartbreak was in his eyes, it makes me want to cry right with him.

Harry's a good man. He shouldn't have had to separate himself from the daughter he just met and yet loved with everything he had. If I could have, I would have taken some, if not all, of his pain from him. I've loved Harry for a long time. I've told him so. But I didn't know how much I loved him until that moment. It wasn't just infatuation, lust or even romance. Right then, I would have willingly given my life to lessen his pain. I would have done anything to create a world where he and his daughter could live together, to stop him from sacrificing Susan or to go back and make it so she was never turned, anything so that he wouldn't have to experience this heart-wrenching mix of love and despair.

The only thing I can do, now that everything's settled and Maggie is squared away, is to finally let him love me. Harry needs something to anchor him. He lost his home, his business, every physical thing that makes him who he is and he lost some of his heart and soul too. If I don't grab him now, I could lost him forever and what's worse, if he doesn't grab something, he could lose himself.

There are no more excuses, no more denials. We've wanted each other for a long time, but now I need him just as much as he needs me. As I get out of my car and walk toward the marina, all I can think is that this is right thing to do. I'm finally ready to give Harry my all, and tomorrow, maybe, we'll be able to look at one another and know that both of us are going to be okay.