OK, my first Dexter fic. Had to be done. Great season finale. I own nothing! (I know Deb's dialog needs more swearing, but my fingers just don't seem to type right... just mentally insert the F-word every other sentence.)

He took a deep breath and inserted his key in the lock. Last stop. Three hours since Deb ran out of the church. Three hours of looking over his shoulder while processing and disposing of Travis' body. He followed the steps by rote, but his normally cool and efficient manner was haunted by the expectation of interruption at any moment.

"Miami PD! Hands in the air! We have you surrounded. Drop to your knees!" He could hear her voice clear as a bell, even if only in his head.

He always knew he would be caught eventually. Serial killers have limited job security; it's just a question of when the clock runs out; of when they start to get sloppy. He knew the endgame was imminent. He was starting to make mistakes, losing his edge, getting caught up in distractions and magical thinking. Like staging Travis' final tableau in the church where Deb could find him. He was getting soft. It was almost like he wanted to get caught.

And he always knew who it would be to catch him. This was always the endgame. If it were anyone else who even got close to the truth, there would be a way to deal with them. Anyone but Deb. Deb discovering who he really was would be the end of his double life. It would be the ultimate surrender. The dropping of the mask. The full disclosure of his betrayal for all to see. The end of all the expectations that were impossible for him to fulfill.

It would almost be a relief.

He opened the door and turned on the lights, expecting to find himself facing uniforms and guns; Harrison already whisked away by Child Services, Jamie huddled in Batista's apartment shaking uncontrollably. Instead, he saw a lone figure sitting in her usual spot on the couch, feet propped on the edge of the table, well into her second bottle.

"Deb?" he asked tentatively.

"I sent Jamie home after Harrison went down," she said. Only the slightest quiver in her voice betrayed the events of the day. "He's been sleeping quietly."

"OK..." Dexter replied, uncertain what came next.

"Don't let me stop you," Deb continued. "I imagine you have a regular sequence of tasks to follow – putting your equipment away, taking a shower maybe? Whatever it is, just do it. I'll wait."

"OK..."

Dexter moved to the bedroom and put his kit on the top shelf of the closet. He hesitated with the slide in his hands – it was going a bit far to pull the box out of the air conditioner right in front of her. He slipped the slide into the bedside table and stripped off his clothes, heading for the shower, as she had predicted.

A few minutes later, wearing sweats (might as well be comfortable if I'm going to be hauled into jail, he thought) and towel-drying his hair as he walked, he grabbed a couple more beers from the fridge and joined her on the couch.

"OK..." he ventured.

"It's all clear to me now," she said. "My whole life, it's like everything was out of focus and now the picture's snapping into place. I've spent forever trying to get close to you, trying to know you, trying to be your sister. You just kept pushing me away. Putting up walls. Rushing off somewhere. Every time I thought it was going to be different - every time I felt a moment of connection – the wall slammed up again and it was gone. You really messed with my head, Dexter. I even thought that we... " she trailed off.

"I'm sorry. I really am. Serial killers don't make great confidants," he ventured, "We tend to get caught up in our own... projects. It's so much effort for me to maintain a normal front to the rest of the world. The closer I get to you, the harder it becomes."

"Then why do you stay here?" she asked. "We even work in the same office – it's ridiculous, you could go anywhere and do what you do. Why here?"

"Because I want to be human. Harry told me to lean on you – that you would keep me connected. And you do – you really do. I have no idea what I would be if it weren't for you. Knowing that I would eventually have to justify myself to you keeps me true to the code."

"The code?" Debra looked at him quizzically.

"It's complicated, but I can say with confidence that getting rid of the people I killed made the world a better place. I haven't always made the right decisions at the right time, but the kills themselves have been for the greater good."

"Even Rita?" Deb whispered.

Dexter went pale with the thought, "I didn't kill Rita. It was Trinity. It was my fault though, I knew what he was and I didn't deal with him soon enough."

"So why don't you let the justice system do its job? That's what I work for, and Dad worked for. It's not perfect, but why do you assume it won't work?" she asked.

"Because I still have a need that has to be fulfilled. I'm a monster. My dark side needs to be fed. I'm trying to do so in a way that does more good than harm. I can't stop. I've tried. I can't do it myself.' He held her gaze. "I won't stop until I'm stopped," he admitted quietly.

"No," Deb replied. "You can't put that on me. You think that I'm the answer, but I'm not." She took a deep breath, "You need to get your act together. You're getting sloppy. You're interfering with police work. You're going far beyond whatever that code of yours was intended to address. I'll help you as far as I can, but you need to sharpen up. No more stupid mistakes. And no more interfering with my department's cases!"

"What? No, Deb, I can't drag you into this. It's my problem, not yours. You need to stay as far away from me as possible."

"Not gonna happen, Brother. You're stuck with me. Include me. Learn to live with me." she responded.

"OK..." he agreed as he leaned against her on the couch. The mask was slipping, but he felt safe. She didn't know the whole picture yet, but she knew enough for now. It was almost a relief.

The Beginning of The End.