This contains

SPOILERS for the

Dexter Season 7 finale

and earlier seasons.

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

by Djinn

1.

The fireworks—why are there fireworks? Deb clutches Dexter's hand and tries to make sense of what happened.

Fuck. Fucking goddamned fuckballs. She killed LaGuerta. How much sense can she make of that?

Why are they at Angel's party after she killed LaGuerta?

But she forces her mind to slow down, forces the panic down. They are here because everyone needs to see them here. Because Dexter fixed the crime scene to look like what it was—

But it was her gun. How do they explain that it was her damn gun?

She tugs him back to her. "Dex, what are we doing here?"

"Getting Harrison, remember?"

"I already called in for her location. The timeline—it's getting fucked up."

He glares at her. He knows this. She's supposed to be quiet now. Go along with a plan she's not even sure she can follow. But he's the one who comes up with the plans. Always.

Only his plan with Travis Marshall is what got them into this fucking mess. Maybe Dexter shouldn't make all the goddamned plans. Maybe she should make the plans from here on out.

Her phone rings and she answers. She listens, not believing and yet, it all makes sense on this night of all nights that Hannah Fucking McKay would goddamn escape from custody and be on the loose.

She decides not to tell Dexter. He does not need to start thinking with his dick right now. She wishes she had brought her Xanax with her, but she thought she'd be drinking and knows better than to mix. Why the hell did she think that fun would be in the offing tonight? When is fun ever an option in this balls-up life?

She'd kill for a pill, would let it sink under her tongue. It melts faster that way than when she takes it with water. Her doctor has told her not to take them like that, but the drug hits so much better she can't help herself.

Shit, she'll be an addict for sure after tonight. She holds out her hand, it's shaking like a lush going through DTs.

"Deb, stop it." Dexter looks worried.

Worried for her or worried for him?

"I'm good. I'm fine." She gives him her most brilliant smile. "Happy fucking new year, big brother."

##

The night is finally over. Dexter is not sure how his plan—so hastily amended when Deb showed up and shot LaGuerta instead of letting him use Estrada's gun on her—worked but it did.

He was going to drop Deb off at her house, but one look at her eyes told him leaving her alone would be a mistake. So she's in his car, staring out the passenger window, hands clenching her dress.

He reaches over, gently tries to work her hands free of the fabric, but she won't let go so he leaves her alone.

"What you said, Dex. 'Do what you gotta do.' Why'd you say that?"

He knows better than to tell her who said it to him, how much he understands it now, the giving in, the giving up, the utter forgiveness and understanding in that statement. He just shrugs and says, "It seemed like the right thing to say."

He can still hear Hannah saying it. Unafraid but not defiant like so many on his table. "Do what you gotta do."

He loves her. He misses her. He can't ever tell Deb that. Not just because she hates Hannah, but also because Deb loves him and is in love with him and she just killed an innocent woman to save him.

Or did she do it to save herself, too?

He needs to figure that out. Hannah would tell him motive is important. It was the mistake he made with Isaac, assuming that since he knew who was after him, he didn't need to understand him the way he would otherwise.

He needs to understand who Deb is now.

They get out of the car, walk to the apartment doorway.

"Oh, fucking son of a bitch." Deb tries to get to his door first, but he pulls her back.

A black orchid sits in a pot in front of his door. He feels hope somewhere deep inside of him. "What...does this mean?" He wants to know the true meaning: the language of flowers. Hannah wouldn't give him this particular flower by accident.

Deb goes for the more literal answer. "It means she fucking escaped. Does this mean she's after you? Is that piece-of-shit thing poisoned?"

He picks it up, cradling it almost. "No."

"Dex, you can't take it in there. What about Harrison?"

"She loves him. And he loves her." He sees it is the wrong thing to say as soon as the words are out of his mouth. Harrison and Deb have a...cautious way of dealing with each other.

He unlocks the door, sees Jamie texting someone, and she smiles but shoots Deb a halfway guilty look. "Hey, you two. Harrison is fast asleep."

"Thanks for staying, Jamie."

"No problem. I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Sleep in. We will."

"Will we?" Deb asks, looking around. "What if they call? My car is at my house."

Jamie touches her arm. "I can be back at ten, how's that?"

Deb nods, then seems to shake herself. "Thank you. You're so good to us."

Us. There is an us, now. Dexter is not sure what that means.

Not that he's opposed to Deb thinking of them as a family unit, but is that what she's thinking? Or is she thinking of them as a killing unit? As something evil.

Doesn't she understand that no matter whose finger pulled the trigger, Dexter murdered LaGuerta. She would never have been in that shipping container but for him.

He looks over at the orchid.

Hannah would have understood that.

##

Deb tells Dexter she wants to go to her house, but he's like Velcro and won't leave her side. She wants to go to the station, wants to get the video and anything else that incriminates them out of LaGuerta's office. Finally she just tells him to drive them there.

The station is quiet. It's New Year's Day, after all. No one wants to work this day. Half of those who are working are hung over, drinking coffee as if it's going to save their souls.

She walks in like she's still a good cop. Like she didn't murder their captain in a shipping container on New Year's Eve. "Wait here," she tells Dex, and goes upstairs to LaGuerta's office.

The laptop is still on her desk. The disk isn't in it. "Mother fucking fuck." Deb sits down at the desk—better to look like she's trying to help, trying to clean up work that might need to go back downstairs now that LaGuerta is gone—than to look like she's a crazy woman rifling through the captain's office. She goes through the drawers slowly, but doesn't find the disk.

She starts on the credenza behind the desk. Nothing. The long wooden file cabinet to the left of the desk is next, but there's no disk. She even checks to make sure nothing's taped under the furniture. No joy.

There are no swear words that cover how she feels. She wants to lie down on the floor in a ball and moan, but she picks up the files she has found and leaves LaGuerta's office.

Dexter is coming down the hall when she gets off the elevator on the main level.

"Where were you?" Evidence and the men's room lie behind him.

"Really? Guess." He moves closer. "Did you find the disk?"

"No. She moved it. Did you check her car last night?"

He nods. "I can check her house again."

"I don't know. Maybe it's better to let it go. Someone will pack up her stuff and not even wonder what it is."

"Or Angel will pack up her stuff. And then what?" Dexter has the look he always gets when he's considering. "I'll check her house. I'll be quick. I need to get those warrants anyway."

"Oh. Right." Again she wants to curl up on the floor in a fetal position and never get back up. "I want to go home, Dex."

He nods. "Okay."

"You're just saying that because you want to go break into her house."

"You're not wrong." He smiles, the slightly awkward smile of her big brother. When did that smile stop making her feel like everything was going to be okay? When she killed to keep him safe? To keep both of them safe?

"Take me home, Dex. I just want to sleep."

##

Dexter slips into LaGuerta's house. The warrants are still out and he takes them, goes quickly through the rest of the papers, taking anything that looks like it might implicate Deb or him but leaving enough to make their dead captain look obsessed, since that's the story he's set into motion.

And also the truth. She was obsessed. She was also dead-on correct. If her accuracy hadn't threatened Deb and his safety, he might admire her. He never thought much of her police work prior to this.

The disk is there, too. She clearly didn't expect him to break in.

Dexter clears out, sending a silent apology to Angel, who will probably get stuck cleaning up his ex-wife's possessions because that is the kind of guy Angel is. Jamie doesn't seem terribly broken up over LaGuerta's death, and Dexter wonders how LaGuerta treated Angel's little sister. Hopefully better than she treated Deb.

Once he's safely away from the house, he heads to Hannah's house but sees that it's locked up tight and imagines the handyman is looking after it for her. He pulls out the piece of paper that he wrote Arlene Schram's address on, turns the car around, and heads across town.

Arlene is pretty much what he expects. She swears Hannah isn't there.

"I want you to do one thing for me, all right? I'm going to stand here and you're going to shut the door and give Hannah this"—he pulls out the pen he stole from evidence while he was logging in other casework this morning and hands it to her—"and she's going to know what it is. I'll be waiting." He crosses his arms across his chest.

Arlene closes the door and many minutes pass. Enough that he begins to feel stupid as he stands there, nodding to the couple of people who pass by.

Then the door opens and Hannah asks, "Why?"

"Things have changed. Deb will have to drop the charges. But it won't be for a while. I wanted you to know that, though. That eventually you'll get your old life back. So don't do anything desperate. Lay low and be patient."

"She hates me. She won't do it."

"She will. Like I said. Things have changed." He wants to kiss her, but his lip still hurts from when she bit him. "I got your flower."

"It means a number of things."

"I figured. Does it mean death?"

"That's one possible meaning."

"What else does it mean?"

She studies him. "It means sex. It means power."

"That could be either of us."

She smiles. It is a smile he is not sure how to read. "Exactly."

"Is your place okay for now? Is there anything you want me to do?"

She cocks her head as if the question has taken her by surprise. As if him caring about her welfare is a surprise. "It's fine. But thanks."

"Deb thought the orchid was poisoned. She didn't want it around Harrison."

Her face loses all expression. "What do you think?"

"I told her you'd never hurt Harrison. He misses you, by the way. He keeps asking for you." He smiles, knows it is a smile that only she gets to see—he wonders if she has any idea how much of him she owns.

"I love him."

"I believe that."

"You trust me with him?"

He nods slowly. "But I would worry about the kids around him who might bully him. The poor girl who breaks his heart. A coach who belittles him. Any college that won't let him in."

She laughs. "I can't poison a whole university." He notices she's not saying she wouldn't poison the rest of the people he named.

"I don't know..." He is grinning. Feels a weight coming off. "Well, I've got to go. Things are crazy. I...we...I killed a cop."

Her eyes widen. "You...what now?"

"It's complicated. Really complicated. I know you have no reason to trust me after everything, but...try?" He lets himself drink in the sight of her, then turns and walks away.

"Dex?"

He glances back.

She holds up the pen. "Thank you."

He nods and heads back to the car.

##

Deb can't believe they are going to get away with this. There is the standard interview after a shooting. She's seeing a different shrink this time, thank God, and she's in and out of counseling for the shooting in no time. There isn't even much of a peep from Internal Affairs: too many people witnessed the devolution of Captain Maria LaGuerta to question Deb's story. Dexter is popular. No one can believe he's the Bay Harbor Butcher.

There are days she can't believe he is.

"Ma'am?" A uniform stands in her doorway, looking very uncomfortable.

"What is it?"

"I was sent to collect the evidence for the Hannah McKay flight hearing."

Deb gives him her "Stop wasting my fucking time" look. "So collect it."

"That's just it, ma'am. The pen...it's not there."

God fucking damn it. Dexter and his "Guess where I fucking was?" Liberating the one thing that would keep his escaped lover in prison where she goddamn belongs. "Check again."

"We checked three times."

"Someone's head is going to fucking roll. Get the fuck out of my office."

The uniform looks terrified as he leaves. He's just a kid, really. She should take pity on him. She reaches into her desk drawer, pops open her pill bottle, and grabs a Xanax, letting it sit under her tongue, the taste of the pill for some reason reminding her of the smokiness of single malt scotch.

She buzzes Dexter in the lab. He picks up the phone, doesn't leave it on speaker. "Deb?"

"Get the fuck in here."

She sees him look up through his window, his eyes narrowed.

"I am not fucking kidding."

She knows he is getting some lies ready for her. Because that's how he is. He lies. He lies all the time. He always has and she's fine with that. She made a decision to be fine with that. She made the ultimate decision to be fine with that.

"Do what you gotta do," he said, and she blew a hole in LaGuerta's chest.

Why the hell was that what she had to do?

Dexter is standing in her doorway.

"Shut the door."

He does it tentatively, but that too is part of his act. Playing the simple guy, the harmless guy. The guy everyone loves: "wouldn't hurt a fly" Dexter.

"The fucking pen, Dex?"

He at least isn't trying to bullshit her. "She escaped. It seemed like fate intervened for her. I had to." He leans forward. "Drop the charges, Deb."

"Even if I did, she still fled from custody."

He shakes his head, and his eyes are hard like they were the day LaGuerta had him in the interrogation room. When he turned the tables on her. Deb knows she's wrong about the bullshit—she's going to get played and wants nothing more than to reach into her desk and grab another pill before he can start on her.

"She had a seizure, Deb. She woke up in a strange place. Alone. Disoriented. She was afraid. She had amnesia."

"Oh, fuck me, Dex. She did not have amnesia."

"She could have. I'm sure there's a doctor that will say she did." His look dares her to say he won't find one.

"You just want her back."

"No." He leans forward. "She tried to kill you and I can't forgive that. But she needs to know that you're done chasing her. I need to be able to tell her that—to give her the freedom she needs so she takes you out of her crosshairs."

Deb knows he's maneuvered her into a corner. "You won't get back with her?"

"You and I need to stick together." He is looking at her with the same look he had on his face the night he gave her the pen. The look that says she comes first. First over Hannah. First over anyone.

"Damn you, Dexter." She looks away, can't stand to see that look on his face, can't stand to feel what it makes her feel when it doesn't make him feel the same thing. "Fine. Tell her to find a fucking doctor that will certify she has amnesia. Get her story airtight. I don't want to go down for this when we've just dodged a bullet." Horrible saying. LaGuerta didn't have a chance to dodge—didn't even know she should dodge. LaGuerta expected Deb to shoot Dexter.

How different would things have been if she had? She'd still have been an accessory to murder. Or would LaGuerta have destroyed the disk? One favor in exchange for another?

And what does it matter? The woman is dead. Deb can't go back and redo things. And she knows she wouldn't if she could.

##

Dexter knocks on Arlene's door. She is friendlier this time, lets him in and takes him to where Hannah is sitting on the bed in a spare room.

"You're still getting sun," she says.

"You're still not."

"Keeping a low profile. Wasn't that the idea?"

"It was. Can I sit?"

She nods and he leans against the footboard so he can see her face.

"Deb's willing to drop the murder charges."

"And the flight charges?"

"I pointed out you have amnesia. That you have a doctor to certify that. You were so sick with the seizure. You were confused, didn't know who you were. Could remember Arlene, but not what happened to put you in the hospital. You panicked and got the hell out of there."

Hannah smiles. "A nice story."

"Get a doctor to validate it and it will be fact and not just a story."

"I don't know too many shrinks."

"I know a few. Some who aren't too smart. You could play them if you wanted to. Throw yourself on their mercy."

"And then what? What do you expect from me?" She pushes her foot against his. "Resumption of what we had?"

"I expect you to start your life back up. As if I never came and disrupted it." He looks down. "I told Deb we weren't getting back together. And I meant it. You and I are done, Hannah. And she needs me right now."

"What is it with you two?"

"It would be unfair to her to tell you."

"Meaning...?" She starts to laugh softly. "Ohhhhh. That explains so much."

He looks away, afraid to give her anything of Deb's truths—Deb's oh so unpleasant truths. Nothing has shaken him as much as hearing that she was in love with him.

"Are you going to be with her?" Hannah's voice holds a plaintive note he doesn't like.

"She's unraveling right now. The last thing she needs is that. She needs her brother, same as always."

"Why is she unraveling? What happened with you two?"

"I can't say."

"What can you say?"

He meets her eyes. As always, she doesn't look away. That's probably the thing he loves most about her: the fearless way she has of meeting his gaze. "That staying away from you is hard. I mean if you wanted me back in. If you don't, then it's not, because I would not want to be an unwelcome guest in your life."

She laughs. "I'm glad you realize that." She crawls toward him. "I could never hurt you. Don't you know that?"

He touches his lip. "Evidence exists to the contrary."

"That was just a demonstration." She is crawling onto his lap. "We never got to say goodbye."

He knows he shouldn't kiss her. He shouldn't run his hands up under her tank top. Or pull off her clothes. Or let her ease his off. He should not make love to her.

He does all of those things anyway.

"Our time will come, Dex. You want to take a break, fine. But this...this is just prelude, all of this. We're not done. Not by a long shot." She pulls him closer. "I will love you forever."

It's a morbid thought but he wonders how long forever lasts with her. Till she dies or till he does?


2.

Deb sits outside Hannah's house and watches her putter around her little greenhouse. Finally she gets out of the car and walks up the walkway.

Hannah doesn't look pleased to see her. "You here to arrest me again?"

"Nope."

"Come to buy flowers, then?"

Deb shakes her head. "You said something. Of all the bullshit that's come out of your mouth, one thing was right. But it's not true anymore. I'm not a hypocrite."

Hannah leans against a table and shrugs. "Okay."

"That makes us even."

"I'm not sure what you mean."

Deb isn't entirely sure what she means, either. She's taken too much fucking Xanax and she has to lean back against a table, too, copying Hannah's pose. "The charges have been dropped. The flight charges too, once we got your doctor's report."

"I know. That's why I'm back here."

Deb can feel her face getting the ugly expression her mother used to hate. "Dex told you?"

"My lawyer did." Hannah walks over to her. "Is there a reason you're here? We have nothing left to say to each other, do we? Dexter is out of my life. He chose you, remember? He betrayed me for you."

"And you'll never forgive him for that."

"Would you?"

"No." But she has. And she probably will again. Deb has made a career out of forgiving Dexter everything.

She turns to go.

"Do you want an orchid? A goodbye gift."

Deb looks out over the flowers, then back at the woman she detests more than anyone. "Yeah. Right." She manages to channel some of her old ballsy attitude back into her walk, slipping on her sunglasses, trying to brush the residue of Hannah McKay off her life.

It's like pollen. There's just more where that came from.

##

Dexter is dumping a body off the boat when his phone buzzes again. Deb. She's been calling him all night. She knows he's on a kill. She knows what kill he's on. And she isn't morally opposed to it.

And yet he has voicemails piling up.

He cleans up and listens to the voicemails. All the same. "Dex, where are you? I really need to talk to you." Her voice progressively slurred in each one.

Great. Drunk Deb is his least favorite version of his sister. She's never a happy drunk. Not anymore anyway.

He puts the phone away and finishes his routine, changing out of his kill clothes, bringing the boat in. Then he drives to Deb's and finds her on the patio, sitting in her nightshirt, her feet bare.

She doesn't look at him when he sits down next to her. "Were you with her?"

"I told you where I was."

She takes a long pull from a bottle of beer; he wonders how many others have preceded it. "I know what you told me. But that may be a lie. Because you lie, Dex." She laughs and the bitterness of the sound surprises him. "I mean, you do this so well, there's no sign, is there? You could be off killing or..."

"Or?"

"Or you could be with her."

"Her?" He sees her face harden. "Hannah?"

"Yes, her Hannah." Another long pull of the beer. "Fucking goddamn Hannah." She looks over at him and she's wearing the smile that mocks, the one she's rarely used on him, that she usually saves for the interrogation room. "You have a type, Dexter. Rita. Lumen. Now Hannah. Blondes." She practically spits the word at him.

He wonders if he should remind her that Lila was a brunette. Decides not to. "Okay."

She stands up, walks over to him. "Should I go blonde, Dex? Would that make you love me?"

"I do love you, Deb."

"Not that way you don't. Not the way I need you to." She studies him, like he's something she can't quite figure out. "I dream of her."

"Hannah?"

"LaGuerta. I hug her just like I did that night, and she comes back to life and tells me to shoot you."

"And do you?"

"No. I can't. So she takes my gun and she does it for me."

He's not sure what the right thing to say to that is.

"Or sometimes I just shoot her again and make her stay dead."

"You have this dream a lot?"

"I do." She puts her beer down. "I don't sleep much, Dex. But you sleep like a baby, don't you?"

He thinks saying yes would be a stupid thing to do, so he just waits.

"I think about finding a guy, any guy, but what if I talk in my sleep? What if I give all our secrets away just because I don't want to be alone anymore?" She takes a step closer, then another. Her knees are touching his. "Why won't you love me?"

He realizes she is crying. Doesn't know how much of this is the beer talking and how much of this is really what she is feeling. Before he can say anything, she has crawled onto his lap, is grinding against him, kissing him, and he's too surprised to do anything other than let her go.

She reaches down, finds him only half ready and seems mad. "She'd get you hard, wouldn't she? Not this halfway shit?"

"Deb, you're drunk."

"I'm alone, Dex. I'm all alone."

He pushes her up, trying to make it clear he's not rejecting her completely, and walks her into the house. He gets her settled into bed, then lies outside the covers, holding her.

"I want you in here with me."

"Not going to happen, Deb."

"I can fuck you better than she can, Dex."

"You're drunk. We'll talk about this when you're sober if you really want to." He hopes to hell she'll forget all about this when she's sober.

Once she falls asleep, he gets up and calls Jamie. "Hey, I'm over at Deb's. She's had..." He sighs.

"Dexter?" Jamie sounds concerned.

"She's had too much to drink. This thing with Maria...it's really eating her, Jamie."

"She's been acting kind of weird."

"I know. I'm going to stay here tonight. Just to make sure she's okay. If you can stay with Harrison?"

"Of course. That's a good idea." Jamie sighs. "I'm worried about her, Dexter."

"Me, too. I just wish I could do more for her."

"You're a good brother."

"Thanks, Jamie. Goodnight." He hangs up, goes back into Deb's bedroom, sits on the bed, and watches her sleep. He hopes this is just a phase, just a stage of grief or something.

Because she's putting them at risk. She's putting Harrison at risk.

##

Deb wakes up to a pounding headache and a stomach that tells her she's overindulged again. She gets up, pads into the bathroom, finds the Tylenol, and takes three since it's going to be that kind of day.

She can smell breakfast cooking and closes her eyes when she remembers what she said to Dexter last night. Should she pretend she doesn't remember?

What the fuck would that solve?

She looks at herself in the mirror. The dark circles under her eyes have dark circles. She looks tired and just a little bit wrong.

Maybe because she's a killer now, too?

She turns and walks out to the kitchen.

"Good morning," Dexter says, as if it's every day you make breakfast for the sister who tried to get you to fuck her the night before.

"Yeah, not so much." She sits, takes the coffee he hands her, sips it faster than is wise but doesn't care that it burns—almost appreciates the burn. Physical pain is something different to feel than remorse and shame and anger. "We've gotta talk."

"Okay." He dishes food onto two plates and brings them over. "Can we eat first? This'll get cold."

He's made her French toast the way their mom used to. She wonders if he's trying to nudge her safely back into the role of sister. She pours syrup on the bread, takes a bite, and sighs.

"Good?"

She nods. "Just like she made it."

He smiles and seems to get lost in the act of eating. Deb suspects it's an act. Dexter is perfectly capable of multitasking.

"I guess I should say I'm sorry?" She's phrasing this carefully. She knows she should say she's sorry. The trouble is: she's not fucking sorry. She had too many beers last night and said things that should have stayed in her head, but it wasn't like she was just making shit up.

That said, she made her brother uncomfortable, and she knows that was wrong. Sitting on your brother's lap, grinding and telling him you fuck better than the ex you hate with a fiery fucking passion is generally bad sibling form.

"Deb, you need to cut back on the booze. You're starting to lose control."

"Oh, you think that was me losing control? Think again. That was just me spouting off a bit."

"Whatever it was, it has to stop."

"Says you?"

"Yes, says me." He is giving her a look she's never seen before. Dark and intense and angry as shit. But angry in a cold way—not angry the way she gets pissed, with heat and swagger and much swearing. Dexter looks like he could fucking freeze her to death with his eyes.

"Jesus, Dex, lighten up. Who knew you were such a prude?"

His look, if anything, grows colder.

"Deb, I know you think you're in love with me. But I don't feel the same way. You're my sister and I love you—in a sister way. You've been the most important person in my life for...well, forever, I guess."

"Till Harrison came along."

"What?"

"Well, he's more important now, isn't he? Your son?" She is trying really hard to not let any jealousy into her voice. It creeps in anyway.

"He's important in a different way." He is wording things so carefully, and she can tell by the look in his eyes that he thinks she can't handle the truth. That yes, Harrison is more important. "But you're right up there with him. I gave up Hannah. To keep you safe."

She looks away.

"Deb, if you keep pushing this...it's going to make things weird between us."

She starts to laugh, a slightly hysterical sound. "Right, because things aren't weird already."

He finishes his breakfast and takes the plate to the sink. "I've got to go. Jamie may need a break before I leave for work."

"Right. Get the hell out of here while you can."

He takes a deep breath, lets it out slowly. "Deb, go take a Xanax or something."

"Fuck you, Dex!" She throws her coffee mug at him. It hits the counter, breaks and splashes coffee on him and the floor around him.

He picks up his keys. "I'll let you clean that up." He heads for the door and leaves her alone.

"Fuck you, Dexter," she shouts after him. "I fucking hate you."

She stares at the mess she's made. She doesn't want to clean it up but if she doesn't, she'll get ants—and they give her the goddamn creeps.

Fucking son of a bitch, she hates her life.

##

Dexter watches Deb through the window of the lab. She's ranting at Quinn over something and he's looking like a whipped dog.

"What is with your sister, dude? She so needs to get laid." Masuka shakes his head. "Why won't she give me a chance?"

Dexter gives Masuka the look that tells him to stop talking crap about his sister.

"Fair enough. I know when to back off."

Dexter wishes Deb knew when to do that. She's getting worse. It's been a week since she propositioned him and she's wound tighter than ever. He doesn't know if she's drinking at night; she's not calling him anymore and he's not sure if that's a good sign or not.

He tries to figure out what she's telling Quinn. He's not much of a lip reader, but with Deb, you really only need to read between the swear words. And he's pretty sure she just told Quinn to stay the fuck out of her business. She goes into her office and slams the door.

A while later, Quinn heads outside to the lunch truck and Dexter follows him. As he waits behind him, he says casually, "She's been in a mood lately."

"Don't get me started," Quinn mutters.

"Look, I'm a little worried about her. Ever since she shot LaGuerta something's been off. Is it out of line for me to ask what that was about just now?"

Quinn gets his coffee, waits for Dexter to get his, then leans up against his car. "She was at Angel's restaurant the other night."

"Deb was?"

"Yeah."

"Okay." So far this isn't really shocking. They are all trying to be supportive of Angel's new business venture.

"She was drunk and...friendly with some guys."

"Oh and you didn't like it."

"Not me. Jamie saw it. She was concerned."

Dexter frowns. "And you got involved...how?"

"Jamie and I...well, we've sort of been hanging out a little." He seems to read Dexter's expression and lifts a hand. "Hey, not when she's taking care of your kid. When she's off. She told me and I mentioned it because Deb was riding me. It was a stupid thing to do, and now Deb is probably going to be pissed at Jamie."

"I'll take care of Jamie. What did you mean...friendly with these guys."

"Draped all over them. Coming on to them. Drunk off her ass. Maybe more than just drunk. Jamie said she was really out of it. And she kept saying she was a 'bad girl,' whatever that means."

"Jeez." Dexter knows he's not having to fake the concern on his face.

"Yeah. Right? I moved on finally, you know? It was hard, but I put Deb behind me. But that doesn't mean I want to see her spiral down this way. I know what it's like to hit rock bottom. And then keep going."

Dexter nods. "Thanks, man."

"You should get her some help."

"That's easier said than done. You know how stubborn she is."

"Don't I." Quinn gives him a smile they never shared when Quinn was dating Deb. The smile of longsuffering males who love a woman that drives them nuts. "Keep it quiet I told you anything, okay? She's pissed enough at me as it is."

"Mum's the word." Dexter watches him go back into the station, stays out in the sunshine, thinking.

Deb walks out, her steps falling heavily on the path. "Dex."

"Deb."

She gets her coffee and studies him. "Something wrong?"

"Nope."

"Were you talking to Quinn?"

"He was ahead of me in line. Wanted to talk about the Rosito case."

She sips her coffee. "Where are we on that?"

"Same place we were the last time you asked me."

She gives him a hard smile. "Well maybe if you did your fucking job instead of standing her talking to shitballs like Quinn, we'd be further along?"

"Maybe so. I'll get on that." He turns and goes back into the station.

Tonight...tonight he's going to see what Deb gets up to at night. He calls Jamie and asks her to stay with Harrison. Jamie is, as ever, very accommodating.


3.

Dexter gets Harrison out of his car seat, carries him up the walk to Hannah's greenhouse. He sees her working, says softly to Harrison, "Who's that?"

He sees the smile grow on Harrison's face and puts his son down. Harrison runs toward Hannah, and she turns and picks him up just before he can barrel into her legs.

"Well, hello." The smile on her face is luminous.

"Hannah," Harrison says as he looks around the greenhouse in wonder.

"Hello to you, too," she says to Dexter, nodding for him to come in, then she carries Harrison around the space. "Have you ever seen so many flowers in one place?"

Harrison shakes his head.

She points to a pink orchid with brownish-pink spots. "These are boat orchids. And these are lady slipper." She carries him around, naming more of the flowers, and Harrison seems entranced. "Do you want to help me repot some of these?"

He nods.

She puts Harrison down and pulls out some pots and potting soil. Then grabs some plants that are clearly on their last legs, winks at Dexter, and puts them down with Harrison. "We'll do the first one together." She walks him through the process, and he is very careful, then she leaves him with the rest and walks over to Dexter.

"Hey." He smiles.

"Hey yourself. Nice touch bringing him. Never let it be said you can't manipulate with the best of them."

"I thought I might need to soften you up. Did it work?"

She shrugs. "Aren't you afraid Deb might catch you here? I mean you alone is bad enough, but I imagine bringing him here would be a capital offense."

"Deb is no doubt home sleeping off a rather excessive night on the town." He meets her eyes. "The latest of many."

"Not with you, I take it?"

"No. That's probably the problem."

"Girl wants boy. Boy doesn't want girl?"

"Girl is boy's sister." He sighs. "We were raised together. I know we're not related. I understand that. But I can't look at her and see someone that I should want to make love to. And she wants me to. She seems to...need me to. Especially after what happened."

"What did happen?"

He shakes his head. "I'm not ready to tell you yet. But soon I might be."

"Hmmm." She starts to walk back to Harrison, and Dexter stops her with a touch on her arm. "When I asked you if you'd poisoned Deb, you said you never make a mistake. But you did. How?"

"She's the only mistake I've ever made, Dex. This is a hot climate. People who drink water, drink it fast. They don't nurse it all night and all the next day. But she did. That's what saved her. She should have had much more Xanax, much faster than she ended up getting."

"Ah."

"Yeah."

"She drinks a lot of coffee, normally. And beer at night. The water, she has it with her but it's back up."

"See what happens when you don't do your homework. But I was short on time." She moves closer. "I find it interesting that you're asking. That you're here with your son."

"You should." He sighs. "Or maybe you shouldn't. Maybe I just missed you. Maybe I shouldn't have done this to Harrison."

"I know one thing about you, Dex. You love your son more than anything else. You would never use him just to get me to talk to you. If you're letting me see him, then it means something."

"You still know me."

"Better than you do yourself. Isn't that what you said?"

"It is." Dexter wants to kiss her. He wants to push her onto the table of orchids and make love to her.

But Harrison is coming toward them, a big smile on his face, and he says "All done," with a happy lilt in his voice.

"Look at you." Hannah laughs, and it's the kind of laugh that makes everything all right. "What a big boy you are."

"We're going to go to the beach. Do you want to come?" Dexter smiles at her.

"I can't. I have someone coming over."

His smile dies as he feels a surge of jealousy rush through him. Of course she's not alone. He looks down.

"A client. Wow, if you could see your expression. Your dark passenger is back—I fear for my poor customer."

He smiles, knows it is a sheepish expression. "So, you're not seeing anyone?"

"No. Are you?"

He shakes his head.

"Well, that's interesting, too."

##

Deb sits in her car and waits at the marina. Dexter should be back any time now. The Slice of Life is gone, so he really is out on a kill. But he told Jamie he was going to be gone all night and he certainly isn't planning to spend his evening with her.

She reaches for her pill bottle, takes a Xanax out and then thinks better of taking it. It'll only make her tired, and she needs to stay awake. She sips her coffee instead and sits in the shadows of the parking lot, wondering how fucking long it takes to dump a body when you're a pro like Dexter.

Finally, she sees him coming up the ramp from the dock. He's got a spring in his step—although maybe she's just imagining that? Maybe he really is going back to the office to catch up on work like he told Jamie.

And maybe pigs can fucking fly.

She knows where Dexter is going and it's to that goddamned bitch.

He gets in his SUV and pulls out, and she follows him, trying not to lose him in the traffic. He's definitely heading in the right direction to be going to see Hannah.

But then he turns and she has to slow so her turn isn't right on his ass. He pulls into a sub shop he likes. Still okay. He could be picking a late night snack up for the two of them. She drives past and pulls to the curb, waiting to see what he'll do.

He comes out with a small bag and gets back in his car, then heads back the way he came. She pulls a u-turn and follows him.

Shit, he really is heading to the station. She doesn't follow him into the parking lot, sits outside and watches to see if he goes in or not. Finally, when enough time has passed, she pulls in to her parking spot and walks into the station.

She pretends not to notice him at first, then acts surprised to see him. She walks over, says, "Couldn't sleep, either?"

"I just got done with...well, you know. So I was still up. And I'm behind on the Carlysle blood work. Thought I'd come in now since I'm taking tomorrow off for a parent-teacher conference and then a trip to the zoo. I told you that on Monday."

Did he tell her that? Fuck, he probably did. She was monumentally hung over on Monday. "Right. Parent-teacher shit and then comatose animals."

He pulls out the sandwich he got. "You want half?"

"No. I am not hungry. In fact, maybe I can sleep. I think I'll go home now."

"Good idea."

Or better yet, maybe she'll go somewhere else. Not Angel's. Too many cops to see her, to judge her. She's found some other places to party. Where no one gives a flying fuck who she is or what she does. They just want to dance and maybe hope she'll fuck them someday.

So far she hasn't. But she's getting close. There's a guy, reminds her a little of Dex. She thinks maybe if she told him what she's done, he wouldn't be shocked at all. She wonders if that's what Dexter has with Hannah.

Not that she's anything like Dexter. Or that she's going to tell this dickhead at the bar anything about her life. But he's fun to dance with.

And he told her where to score more Xanax. She's got the prescription but she takes the pills way too fast for that to hold her over for very long—it's good to have other sources.

"Deb?"

She realizes Dexter has been talking. "What?"

"I was asking you if you are all right? We haven't spent much time together lately."

"Are you really that fucking broken up about it? Quality time with sis isn't really so sisterly anymore, is it?"

"It could be. If you'd just let that other thing go."

"It's not something you let go. You act like it's a thing I made up."

He is giving her a strange look. "Don't you think it sort of is?"

"God. You won't even let my feelings be real. Just fucking great." She leans in. "I will feel what I feel, and you don't get to tell me what's real and what's not."

"But with all the booze and the pills, how do you even know? Deb, it's not too late to get some help."

"The booze and the pills? What are you talking about?" She holds her head high, thinks the best defense is arrogance in this case. "I'm perfectly fine. I'm holding my shit together, big brother. You worry about your own fucking life."

"I am." He touched her cheek. "I don't want to see you like this. You're my sister and I love you."

She jerks away from his touch. "Fuck you, Dexter."

##

Once Deb is gone, Dexter sits looking out the window into the nearly empty homicide bay.

"What are you thinking, Dexter?" Harry is just behind him, arms folded.

"You know what I'm thinking." He ignores Harry and he disappears.

Deb was following him. If Dexter wasn't so used to scouting for tails, he might have led her right to Hannah's house. And loosed the mother of all shit storms.

His phone rings. Hannah. "Hey," he says, trying to hide the emotion he's feeling.

"Hey, are you all right? I thought you were on your way over."

"I was. I picked up company on the way."

"I don't follow."

"Little sisters have a way of trailing after you when you least want them to."

"Ah." There is a long silence. "And her knowing we're in touch again. That's just...not an option?"

"I'll explain when I get there. It's still okay if I come?"

"I'll wait up—this time." There is more curiosity than amusement in Hannah's voice.

"I'll call if there's a problem. Sorry I didn't before. I..."

"Had eyes on you. I get it, Dex." She cuts the connection before he can.

He closes up his work—he finished everything already. Being behind on the Carlysle case was a lie for Deb, once he realized he was going to have to double back.

He is extra careful on the way to Hannah's. Takes turns and more turns to make sure no one is behind him before finally pulling in and parking in front of her place. He feels the old excitement as he walks up and knocks on her door.

She opens it and lets him in, her smile more than a little wary. "Before you start, I need to know what happened that's got you so crazy—and so worried about what Deb will or won't do."

He nods. "I'll tell you everything." And he does. He leaves nothing out. And he sees her taking it in the way he hoped she would. Not as a shocking story. Not as even a tragic story.

But as a problem that needs solving. A puzzle to be figured out.

"She's putting me at risk," he whispers.

"You could live with that. You could live with her putting me at risk, too—you've already proven that. What you can't deal with is her putting Harrison at risk."

He takes a shaky breath, exhales and it feels so good to let go of this. Because she's right: this is the truth.

"She's your sister, Dexter. You put her ahead of me once. You put her ahead of yourself, from what you just said—in the shipping container, when you were going to let her kill you?"

"I did. But that was a different Deb." He looks down, feels something inside him dying, wonders if it is one of the last bits of his humanity. "I think she stopped being my sister when she tried to have sex with me."

"You're not a prude. Why would that change everything?" Hannah tips his chin up, and he thinks she wants to see what's in his eyes.

"I'm in love with you. If it's a choice of what woman I'm going to sleep with—what woman I'm going to be in love with—you win."

"So this time, she's the one who doesn't stand a chance?"

He nods.

She purses her lips, seems to be thinking. "Is there a way to get your sister back? Rehab maybe?"

"I don't think so." He closes his eyes. "Deb didn't just kill LaGuerta that night. I think she killed herself, too."

"You think? Or you know?" She takes his hand. "Because you need to be certain. Because we both know this isn't something you can do—not just because you shouldn't have to, but because she can't just disappear like my father did. And so for our sake, you have to believe with everything in you that there is no other way. The same way you did when you gave her that pen and sent me to jail."

He nods. "Okay."

"In the meantime"—she stands, pulls him up too—"I've missed you, Dexter Morgan."

He smiles. This he doesn't have to think about. "I've missed you, too." He pulls her into his arms. It feels like home, like the home he's never really had, one where acceptance is absolute, where judgment doesn't exist.

Trust...that's a little harder. He may never completely be sure of Hannah. But he loves her and he can be himself with her. And that's what he wants now. He wants to not pretend anymore. Not with the woman he loves. He got a taste of that with Lumen and it was good. And now with Hannah, everything's in the open.

He doesn't ever want to go back to pretending to be something he's not.

"Take me to bed?" she whispers as she nuzzles his neck.

He's already pulling off her shirt, walking her backwards toward her bedroom. "I love you, Hannah."

"I love you, too."

Soon there is no coherent sound, and he loses himself in the reconnecting. And later, as they lie tangled together, he thinks to himself that this woman may be his soulmate. A concept he always scoffed at before, but now, when so much needs to be done and she stands ready to do it at his word, maybe she really is that elusive thing.

The mate to his soul—a thing he is sure Deb and Harry would say he doesn't possess.

##

Deb sits parked down from Hannah's house. She pulls another Xanax out, breaks it in half—she's cutting back, going to quit—and imagines what Hannah and Dexter are doing.

Not just the sex.

She imagines what else they might be doing—what they might be planning.

She was sloppy tonight. Rode his tail like an amateur and he made her. He doubled back to the station and then once she left, came right here.

If she'd been as careful the first time as she was the second time following him, she might not have been found out.

But it was good, in its way, to be found out. Gave her insight. Insight that made her rethink going to a bar, made her wait around and follow him instead. And this time use some fucking professionalism.

Dex is on to her. Dex is lying to her. No surprise there. What was surprising: Dex knows about the booze and pills.

How? She doesn't go to Angel's anymore. Jamie can't snitch on her. Neither can Quinn.

So how does Dex know?

Unless he's been following her. The way he does one of his kills.

Only...she can't be one of his kills. His kills end up on the bottom of Biscayne Bay and she's the lieutenant of Miami Metro Homicide. She can't just disappear.

But there are other ways to die. Especially if your brother is boning a goddamned fucking poisoner.

Deb looks at the water bottle she's drinking from. No more re-using from here on out. She needs to be careful, learn from the last time.

She starts her car, pulls out and gives Hannah's house one more look. She's beyond feeling betrayal, hopes Dexter and that bitch enjoy their time together.

She knows this will end one of two ways. With her dead or with the two of them in jail.

She doesn't give a rat's ass which it is.

And Dexter does.

Which probably gives her the power in this.

"Fuck you, big brother," she says as she drives back to the station to start building her case.

FIN