The Practical Magic Application, The Middleman, Wendy Watson/Lacey, bff; also inspired by the following Middleman/Wendy prompts: leaking love potion, birthday sex, first time. Written for Porn Battle XII.

Rating: M
Characters: The Middleman, Wendy Watson, Lacey, Ida
Word Count: 964
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to these characters, the show or the comic and I am not being paid for this.
Summary: A gift of the heart isn't always what it seems.
Spoilers: Takes place post-Doomsday
Song: Sally's Song (Amy Lee)

Many thanks to The Blue Fenix for her beta read and for respecting me in the morning after she read it for me. Homage to the incomparable Lois McMaster Bujold for small, reality-defying gestures and to TBF herself for the concept of how Lacey views the Middleman post-Doomsday.


"Sorry about the accident, Boss." Wendy carefully averted her eyes as he dressed. As if her mind hadn't already mapped every scratch and lipstick smear on his body, couldn't replay how every mark had gotten there.

"Not your fault, Wendy." He frowned down at his shoes, brushed a piece of lint away with what was uncharacteristic fussiness, even for him. Carefully not looking at her, either. "I should have realized before now that your apartment would be just as much of a target for sabotage as Middle HQ. We'll have to see about installing more security."

"Good idea."

"About Lacey."

"Don't worry, I'll go home and check on her."

"I would appreciate that." Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him shift uncomfortably. "I wish I could check on her myself. I owe her at least that. But..."

"No worries, Boss." A love potion's temporary powers were no match for those of a goddess, particularly an old power like Chac-Mol's. Wendy had tried time and again to reawaken Lacey's interest in the Middleman, but Lacey never remembered any of it for longer than a moment or two. The most she'd managed on the times the Middleman had walked Wendy home was a vague place-the-face hello.

For Lacey, the last hour would have melted from her mind like the tide erased writing on the beach.

"I'll take care of cleaning up the spilled potion, too," Wendy added. "It'll be safe by now."

"Thank you." He sat silently on the bench for a few minutes, elbows on his knees, broad shoulders bowed. "Dubbie. I have to ask. I know Ida had to monitor, but did you...see anything?"

"I didn't look, but I did see." She consciously echoed the statement he'd used when he'd accidentally caught her first time with Tyler, added her usual snarky twist to her tone. "Believe me, I made sure I didn't see much. So not into peep shows, Boss, sorry."

He visibly relaxed. "This must be embarrassing for you."

"Hey, partners, right?" She stretched on a smile. "Pays you back for my time with Tyler."

"Right." He looked uncomfortable. "I feel terrible about...what I did."

He could only mean he felt terrible he'd enjoyed it, Wendy thought. Judging from Lacey's moaning and screaming for more, he hadn't done anything to Lacey to feel terrible about, at all.

"Not like you had a choice, Boss. Wouldn't be a love potion if it was resistable. Don't beat yourself up." She dared a hand on his arm, drew it away again quickly. "If it helps, I know it's the one thing Lacey would want, if Chac-Mol hadn't messed with her. I know she'd wish you were happy about it, too."

"It doesn't seem right." But she could tell, underneath, he wanted to be convinced. "At least we know I won't be a threat to her or anyone else any more. Roxy says love potions are like a cold virus. Catch it once, your body's immune."

"True." Her throat tightened around the word.

Ida's face blipped onto the changing room monitor. "Hey, you two meatbags alive in there? I've got a redball."

The Middleman's face lit with relief. He headed for the door. "I'll be right there. Wendy?"

"Something I've got to do, Boss. I'll catch up to you in a minute."

Alone in the changing room, Wendy fiddled with her watch, scrolling back video.

Two bodies twined in Lacey's small bed. Hands roving, drawing small sighs of contentment and the occasional ticklish giggle. Lacey's hands in his hair, drawing his mouth to her breasts. The look of mingled awe and wonder on his face when he entered her, like a new acolyte permitted into a shrine.

Most of all, the look of joy on her roommate's face.

Wendy had seen that expression once before, when she'd been forced to interrupt the two of them together, just before the Doomsday mess with Manservant Neville. She'd had no idea what she was interrupting. She'd had no choice but to do what she'd done. Though Lacey herself was deliriously happy with Perfect Warren, seemed not at all bothered by the change to her romantic reality, Wendy had never forgiven herself for that call. If only Ida hadn't found out about that damn bugged bracelet for an hour. A lousy hour. Would it really have changed the world so much?

A clear drop of water fell on the edge of the small screen, temporarily magnifying the Middleman's face. She wiped it away with her thumb before she pressed the delete key. A small reality-defying gesture. Like causing a mysterious love potion spill in your apartment.

Partners looked out for each other. So did best friends. When best friends wronged each other, they did what they could to repair the harm.

Even when that meant giving your best friend the one hour you wanted more than anything in the world, with the one man you'd otherwise never have.

"Happy birthday, Lace," she whispered.