Hi everyone :) This is part one of a two-part story. As always, I own nothing but my blu-rays.
The wrapping of a knock against her new hotel room door is light and hesitant and the first sign of trouble.
Hannah McKay peers out the little peep hole in the door and finds Debra Morgan standing outside in the dimly lit hallway, seemingly fixating on something interesting on the ceiling. Deb runs her fingers through her hair and takes a deep breath. The door opens, and Deb's swollen, red eyes briefly meet Hannah's before dropping to the carpet. Hannah's stomach drops as she steps to the side to let Deb inside.
"Well, you're not the Morgan I was expecting," Hannah says, attempting to diffuse the tension with a quip. She quickly pulls a cream-colored silk robe over her light pink nighty but doesn't bother to tie it shut.
Deb glances her up and down and thinks she's missing a prime opportunity to make fun of the blonde's Barbie-inspired attire, if only she weren't feeling so defeated. She walks in without a word and slowly shuts the door, leaning her ass and palms against it for the stability that's rapidly becoming necessary.
"What's wrong?" Hannah asks, her face finally settling into a hard-edged glare.
"I have to tell you something, and I don't fucking know how to do it because I don't…because I don't believe it myself yet," Deb says.
"Debra, where's Dexter?" Hannah asks.
Deb finally, for the first time upon walking into the room, meets Hannah's gaze, and it only takes a few seconds before Hannah just knows. Her mouth drops slightly, and tears threaten to fill Hannah's gray-blue eyes, but she employs a technique she's nearly perfected over the years and blinks them away.
"What, umm…how?" Hannah breathes.
"Saxon," Deb says. "He got him, tied him up, but I guess he decided to let the law have him instead of…taking care of it himself."
"Well, that doesn't sound like Dexter," Hannah protests.
"Look, I don't know why he didn't follow through, okay? But he called me instead; I was on my way to arrest Saxon. By the time I got there, they were both as good as dead. I don't know exactly… Dexter usually pieces together the stories at crime scenes."
"As good as?" Hannah's hand flies to cover her mouth as her voice cracks with shock and pain.
"It was a fucking bloodbath in there. Deputy Clayton's been following Dexter. I think he ran in when Dexter was talking to me and let Saxon go," Deb says. "Shit, he's dead, too, by the way. At least that one's a win for you."
Hannah scoffs and glances, mouth agape, at the ceiling. With a slight shake of her head, she turns away from Deb and starts gathering her things. With a deep, steadying breath, she says, "Thank you for telling me. I'll, uh…I'll be out of your hair by morning."
"Where are you going to go?" Deb asks.
"I, uh…I don't know. Dexter got me a passport. Maybe I'll go…" She drops the shoe she's holding and sinks down onto the little bench at the foot of the bed. "Maybe I'll just let Elway catch me. Don't worry; I'll pretend I've been hiding out in hotels this whole time. Nothing will come back on you."
"The fuck would you do that for?" Deb asks.
With a defeated shrug of her shoulders, Hannah sighs. Deb moves to the center of the room and sits down on the edge of the bed, her back perpendicular to Hannah.
"You're not going anywhere," Deb says.
"Excuse me?" Hannah asks.
"There was nothing I could do for Dexter by the time I found him. An ambulence never would've gotten there in time, but he had enough strength left in him to recognize me and ask me to protect you," Deb tells her. "My brother's last words, his last wish, were about you and your safety, so there is no way in hell I'm letting you give yourself over to that slimeball Elway."
"Why would you…I mean, you and I don't exactly…" Hannah says. She stands and walks around the room, anything to distract herself from falling apart.
"No, but I fucking love my brother," Deb says. "And I think he really fucking loved you."
With that, Hannah mimics Deb's earlier actions and leans against the wall, slowly sinking to the floor as her heart breaks and her face crumbles. She crosses her arms against her bent knees and leans forward, burying her face in the crook of her elbow. Deb, her back still turned away from Hannah, closes her eyes as the sounds of the other woman's heavy sobs meet her ears. She turns just in time to see Hannah pick her head up and attempt to wipe her tears away, her robe slipping down her shoulders. Deb stands and awkwardly heads towards the door.
"I, uh, I have to go get Harrison," Deb mutters.
Hannah lets out a little gasp and whispers, "Oh, Harrison…"
"Yeah," Deb mutters again, fighting her own tears from making a reappearance. "So I'll…call you later."
Hannah nods, and Deb heads towards the hotel hallway. The door clicks shut behind her, and Hannah slumps against the hard, cold wall, letting her tears fall again.
Deb's cozy little beach house for one turns into a home for three, and, despite her less-than-fuzzy feelings for one of her home's new permanent occupants, she quickly finds that she doesn't really mind. She comes home from the station most nights to the smells of dinner cooking in the kitchen and the sight of Harrison curled up on the couch with Hannah, and the less Dr. Seuss books she has to read, the happier she is.
Jamie drops the surly attitude towards Deb when Dexter dies, and she still takes the little boy to pre-school, to the park, to the pool…all of the places that Hannah can't. Deb tries to hide their new living arrangement from Jamie, but a problem arises when Deb tells the younger woman to drop him off at the house after his playdate. Jamie asks if she'll be home and, with a roll of her eyes, said she heard all about her dinner plans with Quinn when she visited her brother for lunch that afternoon.
"It's okay; someone will be there," Deb assures her. Jamie asks who; Deb starts to simply say "someone…" again when Jamie cuts her off and says she's not leaving a four year old on the front stoop if she doesn't know who's inside. Deb groans and finally says, "Dexter's girlfriend, okay? Dexter's girlfriend will be there."
"Dexter had a…" Jamie starts. She trails off, and Deb swears she sees the color drain from Jamie's face. "Hannah McKay…all that stuff on the news about her maybe being back in Miami…that's true?"
"Yes," Deb admits.
"And she lives with you?" Jamie asks. Deb says yes again. Jamie asks why.
Silence hangs in the air between the women for a long time before Deb sighs and says, "Because she's his mother."
Jamie laughs in disbelief. "Oh my god, you can't be serious."
"She won't hurt us," Deb promises.
"Do you really believe that?" Jamie asks.
After another long moment of silence and another long sigh, Deb shrugs. "Dexter did."
One night, after Harrison's gone to bed, Deb grabs a beer and plops down on the couch next to Hannah. She glances at Deb and looks bewildered for a moment, as her interaction with Deb is rather limited after Harrison's asleep for the night. Hannah puts a bookmark in between the pages of her book and sets it down, sensing a forthcoming conversation.
"Jamie thinks he should see a child psychologist," Deb finally says.
"Really?" Hannah asks.
"She thinks he's depressed or something."
"She's probably right," Hannah says. "He's four years old and has already lost both parents."
"So you think it's a good idea?"
"It couldn't hurt," Hannah shrugs. "But it's your call."
Deb isn't yet home when Jamie drops the boy off from his first appointment, but Hannah meets him at the door. He's holding a yellow folder and wraps his arms around Hannah's waist for a hug before he drops to the floor in the middle of the living room. Hannah sits down, too.
"How'd it go, sweetie?" she asks.
"I told Miss Jane I like to draw, so she had me draw pictures of my new home," Harrison said, handing her the folder.
Hannah pulls a picture out of Harrison's folder. The drawing depicts Deb's beach house and features sand and a palm tree outside of a small house decorated with rainbow lights. A short blonde boy in jeans and a blue shirt stands on the beach next to two taller female figures: a brunette in jeans and a striped shirt holding hands with a blonde in a pink dress. Hannah puts the picture down on the floor and points to the girls.
"Harrison, why are your Aunt Deb and I holding hands?" she asks.
"Aubrey and Lilly from my class are best friends, too, and they always hold hands," Harrison shrugs as he reaches for the remote on the coffee table.
Hannah's mouth drops and curves into an amused grin, but she quickly purses her lips and chuckles to herself. It's not until the laughter subsides that she realizes Harrison talking about her to a stranger might be a cause for concern. She doesn't correct Harrison regarding the nature of her relationship with Deb, but she does hang the picture onto the refridgerator for Deb to find.
Harrison is washing up for dinner in the other room when Deb comes home. She wanders in to the kitchen to see what Hannah is fixing.
"So what's on the menu toni…" Deb starts, coming to an abrupt stop as she spots the picture on the fridge. "What the fuck is this?"
"The psychologist told Harrison to draw a picture of his new home," Hannah said, leaning over the counter with the same amused grin as before.
"And we're holding hands because…?" Deb asks, taking the picture off the fridge and dangling it in front of Hannah's face.
"Oh, Harrison thinks you and I live together because we're besties," Hannah reveals.
Deb looks at Hannah, scoffs, and drops the picture onto the counter. "When pigs fucking fly."
The urn full of Dexter's ashes sits tauntingly on a shelf in the living room.
Hannah always scurries past it, refusing to lay her eyes on it as she walks by; Deb tries to hide it behind books and photos. When the women catch Harrison solemly staring up at it for the third day in a row, they share a look and know it can't stay where Deb's placed it.
Harrison wakes Hannah up just after one o'clock in the morning. Hannah stirs, opens one eye, and scoots over on the mattress. The little boy is a frequent middle-of-the-night visitor to Hannah's room.
"Come 'ere, sweetie," she mutters.
"Hannah, wake up," he says, tugging on the sheets covering her body.
She groans as Harrison turns the lamp by her bed on. She looks him over as best she can through blurry, sleepy eyes, and asks, "Why are you dressed?"
"Aunt Deb says we're going to say goodbye to Daddy."
Hannah wanders in to the living room with bare feet and denim shorts pulled on underneath her lavender tank top. Deb is standing by the door, two sets of keys in one hand, Dexter's urn in the other. Hannah crosses her arms underneath her breasts and asks what's going on. Deb simply asks where Harrison has gone.
Hannah repeats the questions, and Deb, in a rather cavalier manner, reveals her plan to scatter Dexter's ashes in the middle of the ocean. Hannah opens her mouth as if she's about to say something, closes it again on a swallow, and finally asks if that's really necessary.
"We can't let that little boy stand there and stare at it for the rest of his life," Deb says, her shakey voice betraying her haughty attitude. Hannah concedes and asks how they're going to accomplish this.
Deb shakes one of the keychains she's holding. "Slice of Life. I haven't found a buyer yet."
"You know how to operate that thing?" Hannah asks with surprise.
"I got a boating license when Dexter did," Deb tells her. Hannah raises her eyebrow. Deb shrugs and simply adds, "Little sister."
"Anything Dex could do, you could do, too?" she asks with a smile.
"Exactly. Now let's go. I think we could all use a little fucking closure," Deb says. Hannah shifts her weight awkwardly from one foot to another and peers down at the ground. "What?"
"Elway," Hannah says. "He's still after me. Getting me back into this house was enough of a gamble…"
"You have no idea how fucking hard it was to get Batista and everyone at the station to agree to let me scatter Dexter's ashes 'alone,'" Deb says, using her fingers for airquotes. "But I fought them and told them they couldn't come for you, so move your fucking ass, and get in the car."
The boat rocks heavily back and forth on the ocean as Deb brings it an abrupt stop. Hannah has her arm around a life-jacketed Harrison, who watches with wide eyes as Deb opens the urn by the side of the boat. She pours some of the ashes into the lid and tells Harrison to come here. He slowly walks towards his aunt.
"Okay, so…say whatever you want to say and then dump this into the water, okay?" Deb asks.
Harrison immediately tears up. "I don't want to," he cries.
Deb silently curses herself. She knows her discomfort is manifesting itself as abrasiveness and making everything worse for her nephew. She gets down on his level. "I know it's weird, but…"
"I don't want to!" Harrison cries. Hannah jumps up from her seat on the bench and pulls Harrison to her.
"Debra, stop," Hannah hisses. She turns to Harrison. "You don't have to do it, baby."
"I want Daddy to come home!" Harrison cries.
Tears finally fill Hannah's eyes, too, as she takes the lid full of ashes and holds Harrison's hand. "If you could tell your daddy anything right now, what would you say to him?"
"I miss him," Harrison mumbles, wiping his nose on his sleeve.
"And you love him?" Hannah asks. Harrison nods.
"Why are you crying?" Harrison asks her.
"Because I love him, too," Hannah whispers.
Hannah dumps the ashes into the water and pulls Harrison into her lap, leaning her head against his as tears spill down her cheeks.
Deb watches them for a moment; Harrison turns around and wraps his arms and legs around Hannah's torso, burying his face into her neck. She cups the back of his head as tears continue to fall from her blue eyes. Deb finally turns back to the ashes resting in the decorative urn. She picks it up and wonders how many of his victims are lying in the ocean beneath her. Deb ponders the bumpy spiral of an existance she's been living since she found out the truth about her brother and how Hannah McKay, of all people, became a permanent presence in her life. She contemplates the blood on her own hands and that on those of the woman's behind her and feels a sharp sting of fear as she realizes it'll be up to them to make sure the sweet boy in the arms of a serial poisoner doesn't go down the same path.
She looks down and silently shakes the urn over the side of the boat, the thoughts in her head too loud for anything of lucidity to escape her lips. A few minutes pass, and Deb stares out into the night, finally admitting in a quiet voice, "Sometimes I think you got the easy way out, big brother."
The door slams so hard Hannah swears she feels the house shake.
She jumps from her place on the couch and finds an enraged Deb standing in a threatening stance by the door, arms crossed against her chest. When her heartbeat returns to normal, Hannah turns back to the book in her lap.
"Well, good evening to you, too," Hannah says in a cool, composed tone.
"Elway's dead," Deb says in a firm voice. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"
Hannah glances over to the door again and meets Deb's eyes. They both know that Hannah has direct knowledge of Elway's death, and Hannah doesn't see the point in feigning shock and pretending otherwise.
"I know it's an unfortunate coincidence," Hannah says nonchalantly.
"Unbelievable…" Deb mutters. "Coincidence, my ass, Hannah."
Hannah closes her novel and places it on the coffee table in front of her. She leans forward onto her thighs as Deb remains fuming in her place.
"Well, it seems you think you already know what happened, so what would you like me to say?"
"I think that's what drives me the most out of my mind about you. How are you so goddamn fucking great at this that I can't figure out how the hell you got to him?" Deb asks. Hannah pleads the fifth and remains silent, staring at Deb with her patented smirk. "Okay, you know what? I was wrong. Fuck Dexter. Get out of my house."
Deb strolls confidently towards the kitchen, and Hannah stands, turning to follow her.
"Wh…seriously?" Hannah says.
"Yes, seriously," Deb says. After a beat, she adds, "Oh, don't worry. I'm sure I'll see you again after you off Husband Number Three. Hopefully someone will be able to keep you in handcuffs by then."
"I would never hurt your br-" She takes a sharp breath in when she realizes what she's about to say and returns to the couch, covering her mouth with her hand as tears instantly fill her eyes.
"Shit," Deb realizes. "You already thought of him as your husband, didn't you?"
Again, Hannah doesn't say anything but instead attempts to discreetly dab at her eyes to prevent her tears from escaping.
"That was out of line," Deb says in an attempt to apologize.
"It really wasn't," Hannah admits.
"What the hell am I supposed to do now? Arrest you? Ignore it and hope the case goes cold before Batista gets too far up my ass?"
"That's really your call."
Their eyes remained locked on one another's, as if they're silently willing the other to back down. Hannah lets out a breath she didn't realize she was holding when Deb loses their unofficial staring contest with a roll of her eyes and a loud, "Motherfucker."
Hannah sinks back into the couch as Deb grabs two beers from the fridge. She walks over to the table by the door and pulls a pack of cigarettes and a lighter out of the drawer. As she heads towards the porch, she looks at Hannah and sneers, "My shit-brained serial killer brother's dead, and I'm still an accessory to goddamn murder."
It shouldn't surprise her, but the force behind slamming of the sliding porch door startles Hannah all over again.
Suitcases litter the living room.
A puzzled Deb takes in her surroundings as Hannah walks out of her bedroom, slipping her passport into her purse. She notices that she's no longer alone, lets out a soft, "Oh," and stands by one of her suitcases, holding her purse tightly in front of her stomach.
"Are you leaving?" Deb asks. Hannah nods slowly. "Where are you going?"
"I…I don't know," Hannah admits.
"You can't just leave!" Deb protests.
"Look, I know you've been protecting me out of respect to your brother's memory, and I appreciate that more than you know, but I can't stay here."
"Were you even going to fucking say goodbye?" Deb asks.
"I thought it'd be easier if I just slipped away," Hannah says.
"You can't just fucking leave," Deb repeats, her voice rising.
"With all due respect, that's not really your choice."
"Hannah, I know you and I aren't exactly the BF-fucking-Fs that Harrison thinks we are, but I thought things were going alright," Deb says, her voice growing more frantic by the minute. "Why do you, all of a sudden, want to just…go?"
Hannah sighs and tries to explain herself. Deb goes to work all day and has a life and a career and a boyfriend. Harrison goes to school all day. Hannah sits in Deb's house. She reads. She hides. She cooks. She dwells over the promises Dexter made her and what could've been. She can't go back to her business. She can't build a greenhouse at Deb's beach house. She doesn't feel safe going much of anywhere in Miami, even though the people who so fiercely sought her out are dead. A four-year-old doesn't make a great conversationalist in the evenings, and Deb tries to stay away from her as much as possible. She has nothing to do with her days, and it's finally gotten to her.
"So, really, thank you for everything you've done for me, but it's just time for me to go," Hannah says.
She throws a duffel bag over her shoulder and starts to pull her rolling suitcase towards the door. Deb's eyes widen as she sees Hannah leaving, and she runs across the room, just barely beating Hannah to the door. Deb slams it shut and throws her body against it, cutting Hannah off from the outside world.
"Debra," Hannah sighs.
"No," Deb says firmly. "You will not do this. You will not take another parent away from my nephew."
"I don't really want to leave him, but I'm not really his…" Hannah starts.
"Yes, you are. You make him breakfast and help him with things like learning how to write his name, and you don't even seem to mind reading those inane kids' books with all of those hard-as-shit tongue twisters, and you hold him and let him sleep with you when he wakes up crying in the middle of the night, and I'm just his stupid goddamn aunt. I barely get a fucking wave when I walk in the door," Deb says. She finally takes a breath and says, "You were going to be his mother the second you stepped on that plane to Argentina, and now, Dexter or not, you are his mother, and for fuck's sake, you are not going to walk out this door and abandon him."
"This life is like being in prison," Hannah says.
"Then we'll go somewhere else," Deb hastily, desperately blurts out.
"What?" Hannah asks in disbelief.
Deb repeats her proposal to move, and, after a moment, suggests that getting away from Miami might be good for all of them. Hannah asks where they would go. Deb says she doesn't care, as long as there's no snow and a beach; she throws out California.
"What are you going to do in California?" Hannah asks.
"Maybe I'll learn to fucking surf or something. I don't know," Deb says. "I'm a cop; I can be a cop anywhere, but like hell I'm losing another family member this year!"
Hannah freezes. Her arms fall to her sides and the ends of her mouth curve into a small grin. "You just called me family," she says.
"Yeah, it fucking surprised me, too," Deb says. She finally abandons her post at the door and slowly walks away, adding, "Don't make me say it again."
Deb has finally had enough of Hannah's shit.
She strolls into Hannah's new nursery, one of two properties the women have purchased in their new hometown between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new house on the beach didn't leave a lot of room for cultivating plant life, so Hannah looked inland and found a small, empty shop with a big backyard in the historic town square.
"Hey," Deb calls. Hannah's sitting on the ground, working in the back corner of the newly constructed building. She glances over her shoulder.
"Hey," she replies.
Deb walks to the work table in the middle of the room and drops a wig, a box of hair dye, and, with a loud clang, scissors onto the wooden surface.
"Pick your poison," Deb says. After a beat, she adds, "No pun intended."
Hannah shoots her a fake grin. "Funny." Deb returns the phony smile as Hannah stands, wiping her hands on her denim shorts, and wanders over to the table. She looks confused. "What, uh…"
"I picked up my life and moved all the fucking way across the country so you could go out, and now we're here, and you've gone from hiding in my house all day to hiding in your new backyard garden all day. That empty building up there is supposed to be a store."
"We've only been here a month, Deb," Hannah reminds her.
"But I faciliated the buying of this place, and I dealt with the contractors to construct this little greenhouse you're standing in, and I was here when all this shit was delivered, and I go the grocery store, and I take Harrison to pre-school, so forgive me for being a little fucking skeptical," Deb says in a saccharine tone of voice.
"So I'm a little skittish," Hannah concedes. "Drop the overly nice bullshit, and tell me what all of this is for." She gestures to the hair products on her table.
"On the way to school this morning, Harrison decided to share that apparently my brother has been promising him Disney World on his fifth birthday for a very long time. We have to amend that to Disneyland, but after all that little boy has been through, I am damn well going to fulfill that promise, and if I have to have 'It's a Small World After-fucking-All' in my head for a week, then you do, too," Deb explains.
"Oh, god…" Hannah replies. "Aren't we lucky we picked California…?"
"It's gonna be a long drive, but thank the fucking lord it's only a few hours away," Deb sighs. "So…you do whatever you need to do to that pretty blonde hair of yours to feel comfortable going out because we're leaving for Anaheim as soon as we can get him picked up and packed."
"Yes ma'am," Hannah mutters as Deb turns and walks away.
The hotel bed squeaks as the excited little boy in a pirate costume jumps up and down and up and down. Deb sits on the corner edge of the mattress, rocking back and forth with every jump.
"Han-nah!" Harrison calls, making the last syllable of her name as least three times as long. "Mom, what's taking so long?"
Deb checks her watch, rolls her eyes and knocks on the bathroom door. Long, loose red curls cascade around Hannah's shoulders, and, as she messes with the wig's sideswept bangs, she stares in the mirror with a scrunched up look of repugnance.
"What?" Deb asks.
"Why did you pick this look for me?" Hannah asks. "I mean, did you put any thought into it at all or did you just grab the first one you saw?"
"I thought that one would look good on you."
"And?" Hannah asks, turning to her for a second opinion.
"Oh come on," Deb scoffs. "You know you're fucking attractive. Move your ass."
"You think I'm attractive?" Hannah teases.
"Go!" Deb says, pushing her out the bathroom door.
Hannah steps out of the bathroom in the wig and a red sundress. As she pulls a white sweater on over her dress, Harrison asks why she's wearing a wig.
"Well, at Disneyland, there's this pirate ride where all the pirates want to hang out with the redhead, so since you're dressing up as a pirate, I thought I'd dress up, too," Hannah says. "All the other pirates are going to be so jealous of you."
Harrison asks if that's true; Hannah smiles and nods. Harrison likes the sound of that, and they start to head out, when Deb grabs Hannah's arm and asks how the fuck she knows that. Hannah admits that Harrison might not be the only one getting a wish fulfilled with this trip.
The big birthday button bearing his name glimmers in the sun alongside a shiny yellow First Visit button as Harrison walks down Main Street holding one of Hannah's hands and one of Deb's. Hannah's taking in her surroundings with an uneasy gaze, and the whimsical music and seemingly inescapable smell of cotton candy makes Deb want to vomit, but Harrison is oblivious to either woman's discomfort. He stops suddenly and asks for a picture in front of the castle.
Hannah picks him up and holds him against her hip to level his height with hers and Deb's. The photographer takes a couple pictures before handing a card containing their photos to Deb. He wishes Harrison a happy birthday, then compliments the women on their beautiful family.
"Our…do you think we're…no!" Deb stutters. She lets out a laugh and adds, "Oh, holy fuckballs, we're not together. He's not even my kid. I'm his aunt. She's his stepmom. Or…almost his…"
"He doesn't need to know our life story, Debra," Hannah quickly interrupts.
"We look like a couple?" Deb asks her. Hannah just shrugs.
"Have a magical day," the photographer says, quickly shrinking back to his camera in embarrassment.
Harrison resumes his position between the women, and Deb mutters, "It's going to be a long fucking day."
The little bell on the door of Hannah's fully-functioning flower shop dings as a little boy and his aunt sheepishly walk through the door. Hannah, who wears the red wig when she's in the shop, finishes up with a customer and walks around the counter. She crouches down and gives her son a hug.
"How was school today?" she asks.
"I got in trouble," Harrison admits.
"Why did you get in trouble?" she asks. Harrison shrugs and asks if he can have some juice. Hannah notices the guilty look on Deb's face and tells him to go ahead to the back and wait for her while she has a conversation with his aunt. Hannah stands back up, leans against her counter, and widens her eyes, waiting for Deb to speak.
"I went to pick him up, and his teacher asked to have a word with me," Deb mutters.
"What did he do?" Hannah asks.
"Apparently some fucktard kid made a rude comment about Harrison not having a dad, and Harrison told him to go fuck himself," Deb explains. There wasn't anything for Hannah to do but burst out laughing. "The teacher asked if I knew who he would've picked up such language from." Hannah laughs harder, covering her mouth with her hand to suppress the giggles. Deb crosses her arms like a petulant child. "It's not funny!"
"You realize you couldn't even make it through that story without additional cursing, right?" Hannah points out.
"I'm just bad at this," Deb sighs, taking a seat on a stool by Hannah's cash register.
"Bad at what?"
"Parenting! I mean, I don't even think of myself as a parent. You're his parent, but in the eyes of the law and the reality where I'm not totally kidding myself, I'm his parent, too, and I'm fucking bad at it," Deb tells her.
"Did you ever want kids?" Hannah asks. Deb shoots her a look.
"Do you want to braid each other's hair and swap secrets now?" Deb asks, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
"I was just curious," Hannah says, holding up her hands in defense.
"I never really thought about it, so I guess not," Deb replies.
A silence settles throughout the room, and Hannah begins tending to a row of her shop's signature Phalaenopsis orchids. The stool Deb's sitting on creaks as she turns to find Hannah.
"Hey, that miscarriage story with Husband Number One…was that for real?" Deb asks.
"Wow, you don't beat around the bush, do you?" Hannah asks with a laugh. She considers ignoring the question and turning back to her flowers. Instead, she leaves her supplies on the shelf with the plants, and slides up onto the counter next to where Deb sits. "Yes," Hannah says with a deep breath. "Yes, that was very real, and even though I was very young when it happened, it was the hardest day of my life because I really wanted that baby."
"That's why you took to Harrison so quickly."
"Aw, he's an easy kid to love," Hannah smiles.
"Were you and Dexter gonna have kids?" Deb asks. "You know, if you made it to Argentina?"
Hannah smiles again, this time with a twinge of sadness. "We never talked about it…but it was my favorite thing to imagine," she says.
Another silence lingers in the air for a moment before Hannah says she gets a personal question in return. Deb agrees that's fair, and Hannah asks why she left Quinn to move to California for her when she and Quinn seemed to have a good thing going.
"Because I'm a masochist," Deb laughs.
"Seriously," Hannah says.
"I don't know…Harrison?" Deb replies. "He's the only other Morgan left, and leaving seemed like the best thing for us, and I'm protective to a fucking fault."
"Yeah, I used to be on the other end of that, remember?" Hannah says.
"I thought my brother needed protecting from the dangerous seductive poisoner," Deb says.
"I was never going to do anything like that to him. Or Harrison," Hannah says.
"I know that now, dumbass," Deb says. "Anyway, I left because I'll do anything to protect my family, even if it hurts me in the process. We probably wouldn't have worked out anyway."
A teasing grin graces Hannah's face, and she says, "I think you just called me family again."
Instead of telling her to shut up, Deb playfully rolls her eyes. Hannah chuckles and slides off the counter, wandering back over to care for her orchids.
"You have fake IDs, right? Your driver's license, stuff for this place…none of that says Hannah McKay anymore, right?" Deb asks.
"Uh, right," Hannah confirms. "Dexter set me up with a new identity before he died. Why?"
"I want to get you on something legal," Deb says.
"What?" Hannah asks.
"For Harrison," Deb says. "I don't know the logistics, but we Morgans are pretty damn good at having something happen to us, so if anything happens to me, I want to make sure they can't take Harrison away from you. Or vice versa, really."
Hannah, taken aback, empties her hands again and turns to face Deb. "That's…really sweet, Debra. Are you sure?"
"It's what Dexter would've wanted for him," she shrugs. Deb takes a breath, sits up a little straighter, and adds, "It's what I want for him."
Being alone on the anniversary of Dexter's death was both a blessing and a curse.
Deb hadn't meant to leave her all alone, but Astor and Cody had been asking if Harrison could visit them for a while, and the anniversary weekend happened to be the best time for both sides. Deb and Harrison had left for Orlando the day before, and, until that night, Hannah had relished in some quiet, Morgan-free alone time.
Tonight, however, Hannah had spent the better part of the hours since darkness fell curled up on the couch in an oversized sweatshirt and on and off tears. Realizing she's nearly cried herself into a migraine, and the night's not going to get any easier, she sits up, wipes the tears off her cheeks, and decides to turn in early, hoping she can will herself into sleep. She's almost upstairs to her bedroom when the creaking of the stairs is drowned out by the sound of the lock on the front door rattling.
She scurries back down the stairs and into the kitchen, sliding one of the sharpest knives she owns out of its sheath. Hannah creeps back towards the front door, knife poised and ready, should the need arise. The front door opens, and a soft, foyer light pops on, illuminating her intruder. Deb tosses her keys onto the small table by the door. She locks the front door behind her, turns around, and leaps into the air when she finds Hannah in the shadows.
"Jesus, holy mother of…" Deb gasps, clutching her chest over her heart.
"Sorry," Hannah shrugs, lowering the weapon.
"What the mother fuck were you going to do with that knife?" Deb asks.
"I wasn't exactly expecting company," Hannah says. "What are you doing here?"
Deb's quiet for a long time, awkwardly shifting around as if she doesn't really want to answer the question. "I think we're both well aware of what today is," Deb mutters. "It's kind of important, and I didn't think either of us should be alone."
"You weren't alone," Hannah says.
Deb scoffs. "Come on…I don't know Rita's parents. Not really…I've only met them a few times, and they sure as hell didn't know Dexter. The only other person on the entire fucking planet who really knew my brother is you, and I didn't want to be alone tonight, alright?"
Deb walks past Hannah on her way to the kitchen. Hannah turns around, keeping the knife tucked carefully by her side. As she exits the room, Deb calls out, "I'm not planning on being sober much longer, if you'd like to join me…"
The California nights are finally growing cool, and they sit around a crackling firepit on the back porch, watching the Pacific waves crash against the shore. Neither of them has said a word since they journeyed outside. Deb cracks open her second beer, while Hannah pours herself another glass of wine. Deb finally breaks the silence, asking if Hannah's okay.
"Red cheeks, puffy eyes…" Deb says. "I'm pretty sure that's how I showed up at your hotel room a year ago."
Hannah lets out a small, nervous chuckle and nods. "I really miss him," she admits.
"Yeah…" Deb agrees, downing at least half the beer bottle in one go. "Pathetic as that is."
"Why would that be pathetic?" Hannah asks.
"You and I were perfectly fine until I found out the truth, and you met him. Dexter fucking ruined our lives, and now we're sitting out here mourning his death? It's pathetic," Deb says.
Hannah's silent for a moment before saying, "You don't really mean that."
"He got Harrison's mother murdered. He metaphorically killed our father. He almost ruined my career. He betrayed you and put you in prison," Deb rants.
"Your career…what?" Hannah asks.
"Nothing," Deb mutters.
"Does Dexter have something to do with why you resigned as lieutenant?" Hannah asks.
Deb sighs loudly and finishes her beer, realizing that, whether she shares it with Hannah or not, she's about to relive the worst moment of her life. "Shit," she mutters and opens a third one. "Did Dexter ever tell you what happened to Maria LaGuerta?"
Hannah says no, so Deb relays the entire story for her: finding Dexter with a drugged LaGuerta and dead Estrada in the shipping container, Dexter's plan for keeping his secret safe, frantically trying to talk him out of it, and LaGuerta waking up and telling Deb to put him down.
"You killed her to protect Dexter," Hannah realizes.
"She was screaming at me to shoot him, and I should have," Deb says. "I know I should have; I know this was really my fault, but he was standing there surrendering. He dropped his knife and looked me and said, 'do what you gotta do,' like it would've been okay for me to kill my goddamn brother, and looking at him like that…I couldn't." Hannah lips curve into a smile as Deb finishes her story with, "And I just…I just shot her."
"He didn't think you were going to shoot him," Hannah says.
"I figured that motherfucker was manipulating me, but how the fuck do you know that?" Deb asks. "And what the fuck are you smiling at?"
"'Do what you gotta do?' He got that from me," Hannah reveals. "That's what I told him when I was on his table."
"You were on his kill table?"
"Horse tranquilizer, plastic wrap, and all," Hannah says with false bravado.
"Shit, before or after you guys…?" Deb asks.
"Well, that's where…" Hannah starts. "That was kind of our first date."
Deb pauses for a moment, staring at the other woman with a mixture of outrage and disgust on her face. "That is fucked up, Hannah."
Hannah laughs. "It was an interesting night."
"So you were naked and bound to his table, with a knife inches from killing you, and you taunted him?" Deb asks. Hannah nods in confirmation. Deb laughs; she would never admit it, but her respect for the woman sitting next to her doubled, at least, in that moment. "What made you think he wasn't going to follow through?"
"Well, it was a gamble, but he took me to this place…this Christmas shithole that I'd always wanted to see, and it was closed. He knew that, of course, but we broke in. He thought he'd asked me out to get me alone and vulnerable, but if his intentions were really so menacing, why would he go through all that trouble to make me happy first?" Hannah replies.
"My brother was big on the symbolism," Deb mutters. "That's why I found him with Estrada and LaGuerta in a fucking shipping crate. You know the shipping crate story?"
"Yeah," Hannah nods. She sits up in her chair and asks, "Since we're back to that, should I state the obvious or can you get there on your own?"
"What?" Deb asks. "That in the moment I killed LaGuerta, I became no better or different than you?"
"Ah, I'm glad we cleared that up," Hannah says, leaning back in her chair with her boastful smirk.
"It occurred to me when I heard you'd escaped the next day," Deb admits. "Probably why I didn't try to find you right away."
"And yet you still acted all high and mighty when you did," Hannah says.
Deb rolls her eyes. "Look, the truth is we're not all that different. We were both driven by our feelings for Dexter, and we both got burned because of it, but I also had a pretty big hand in fucking up your life, and maybe I should've just stopped fighting it the first time around."
Hannah nods, knowing that was as close to an apology as she'll ever get from Debra Morgan. "So maybe instead of feeling pathetic for mourning Dexter's death, you should celebrate surviving. Through all the shit Dexter's 'Dark Passenger' brought into our lives…"
"We endured," Deb finishes. She holds up her beer bottle. "I'll toast to that."
In the few moments between blissful sleep and the conscious world, Hannah senses something is different. The rising sun streaming through her white lace curtains normally wakes her at the crack of dawn, and the pillow under her head feels softer than she's used to. She rolls her head to the side and opens her eyes, expecting to get a glimpse of the street outside her window. Instead, she finds a half-shut door and a clock that tells her it's nearly afternoon.
Suddenly aware of an extra weight against her middle, she glances down and finds a long, tanned arm strewn across her body. Debra sleeps soundly on her stomach beside Hannah, her bare back exposed from the covers that have bunched around her waist. Hannah swiftly slides out of bed and finds her sweatshirt from the night before on the floor by the nightstand. She quickly slides it on and creeps out of the strange bedroom before its owner can awake.
Deb joins her in the kitchen only twenty minutes later, keeping her eyes firmly cast upon the floor as she walks into the room. Hannah's cooking brunch and greets Deb when she sees her arrive. When Deb doesn't answer, Hannah asks what the plan is concerning Harrison. Deb informs her of a ticket back to Orlando she purchased for the following afternoon.
Hannah awkwardly watches her head to the fridge for a bottle of water when she decides to rip off the band-aid and ask, "Do you remember what happened between us last night?"
Deb finally looks at her, and she swears she can hear the soft mewlings that escaped Hannah's lips the night before all over again. "Yup," she answers.
"Well…are we going to talk about it?" Hannah asks.
"Nope," Deb says immediately. She grabs an apple from the basket on the table and heads back upstairs, leaving Hannah alone in the kitchen.
"Okay," Hannah says to herself and keeps fixing breakfast.