It was the audacity – to walk up to that bar and be so damn rude… rude but interesting, interesting and really hot – and that's what Piper loved to begin with, you know?

And it was the way that Alex could tell the truth – those hard, cold, awful truths – and still make it sound like the best thing ever; just like crime, just like drugs, just like fucking all night long instead of worrying or caring about the future…

But Alex made the future seem obsolete, you know?

And Piper loved that about Alex, too – the immediacy of everything, the overwhelming rush of the here and now, the pulse-pounding way that their eyes would meet right before something dangerous fell into their laps, right before the world threatened to crash down around them.

It was Paris. It was Brussels. It was midnight and no shoes and drunk off of tequila. It was champagne and parties and dirty little words whispered into each other's ears. It was fun and it was wrong and it was absolutely fucking amazing.

It was just like falling…

…off the edge of expectations, away from stupid standards and silly labels and all the bullshit that she had been raised with…

…and Piper loved it, you know?

/

Piper cannot stop herself from staring at Alex's lips.

Which, of course, is not the thing to do because Alex hates her fucking guts right now – folding sheets with aloof efficiency, eyes everywhere that Piper isn't – and Piper should just hand in this tool belt with a claim of 'I don't have a clue what's wrong', turn and walk away and never look back.

Instead she pretends that she can fix Myra – again – and stares at Alex's mouth like a drowning man gazes at dry land.

And Piper really should stop herself.

And Piper would – she really, really would – if she knew how.

/

Piper loved Alex.

So brash, so cool, so tough and so funny and so… just so… just so damn much of everything and Piper loved the way Alex would look at her – like she was special, like she made sense – and dear god, did Piper love the way Alex would kiss her – like she was sweet to the taste, like they had all the time in the world – and then there was the way Alex would touch her, would hold her, would drag her away from the mundane and into something wild, something free, something so damn real that it was scary…

…scary but perfect, perfect and really fucking wonderful…

…and it was love, you know?

It was a scary, perfect, wonderful love; the kind of love that didn't settle down and didn't have kids and didn't go to bed at nine o'clock and didn't do cleanses and didn't shop at the farmer's market every Sunday morning.

It was love without a plan, without a safety net waiting below and that's what it meant to love Alex Vause…

…and Piper really, really loved Alex Vause.

/

They don't talk and they don't cross paths and they don't look when they shouldn't…

…Well, no, that's a lie because Piper is looking all the damn time and then looking away and this is high-school after-all because she feels like a teenager with a crush; a crush that was once a lover, a lover that was once wounded, a wound that festered into a prison sentence and now here they are – looking and not looking at each other in these horrible khaki outfits.

And Piper wants to apologize but she's done that – several times over – and it's just getting old. And Piper wants to not give a shit – about Larry, about Alex, about anything – but she does give a shit and it sucks. And Piper wants to go back, back to a couple of weeks ago or to a couple of months ago or to years and years ago.

She wants to slide her tongue into Alex's mouth with her fingers buried knuckle-deep into glorious wetness as the chapel stands silent around them.

She wants to cup her palms around Larry's boyish face and tell him everything before the cops bang down the door of their life together.

She wants to be there for that funeral and she wants to unpack her suitcase and she wants to beg Alex to stop being Alex for just a while – no more drugs, no more deals – and she wants to start all over.

Right now, though, all Piper wants is for Alex to look at her again.

/

And this bed is uncomfortable and this pillow has no give at all and her roommate has a real snoring problem and this is prison – she is in fucking prison – but Piper closes her eyes and there, in the darkness of her own mind, is a beach in Cambodia.

Three strangers in drag and some ecstasy and Alex… always Alex…

And Piper loves that about Alex, you know?

It's the inevitability of Alex that Piper really, really loves.

/

(end)