Magnolia felt herself wavering – hesitating – in the section of hall that lead to Taylor’s office.
In the five years she had been at the agency, she’s walked in the holding pattern that trapped her feet a hundred times – but never for this reason. Never for something that could potentially lead to a happy ending.
In the beginning – it had been a lack of Duty, a lack of devotion – a sick a little thrill of making the brute wait. She’d never wanted to be his recruit, hadn’t desired the life in the suit, or of being managed by someone who couldn’t see beyond the tenants of his raison d’etre.
Later, when she had grown accustomed to her new position, and had come to grow some measure of Duty herself, it had been for fearful reasons – when Taylor had gone on a non-linear rage over something Ryan or Jones had done, and she’d been unsure of her ability to control him.

And then there had been the times, when he had needed help, but she was unsure if he’d be willing to accept it. To allow her to take him through a routine that would calm him, or at the least, give him a target for the emotions he didn’t seem equipped to handle.
No one saw him like she did. Most saw an unthinking monster. The Incredible Hulk with a penchant for tearing heads from shoulders. And those that could see more, saw the man he used to be, not the man he was.
He’d kissed her. He’d said “I love you”.
Movies ended with a kiss, they never told you how to handle the “ever after” part.
Magnolia pressed the knuckles of her right hand against her mouth, brushed her hands over her skirt, then squared her shoulders, and headed into her commander’s office.
His office was empty – this was to be expected, at this time of day, he was always working through a routine in his gym. The door to his private gym was open – this was a positive indicator, it was as close as he came to a welcome with open arms.
The sound of rhythmic slaps – his fists against poor Horatio the punching bag – touched her ears as she moved to the gym door. He looked up, beads of sweat rolling down his face, tipping the ends of his short red hair, an unsure look on his face.
She saluted – it was expected of her; and moved to one of her usual positions – slightly ahead of him, and to the right – it was a good position, it allowed each of them to watch the six of the other. Face to face conversation, whilst keeping an eye out for threats.
Taylor opened his mouth. ‘I don’t like change.’
She nodded – these were the words she had expected. ‘I know, sir.’ She looked into his face and saw an expectant expression – he wanted her to elaborate. ‘It was one of the reasons I never said anything. I didn’t want to disrupt your routine. Your expectations.’
Happy endings only ever happened in movies. What they had was real – a dedication, a connection – something that might not work once romance was added. It hadn’t felt like a miscalculation, but he had the right not to pursue it. She took a half-step back. ‘Sir, if you don’t want-’
Some of the hesitation disappeared from his face. ‘I want you.’ The words were strong. Sure. Inarguable.
The world seemed to stabilize.
He stepped forward and touched her cheek, his eyes seeking permission. She nodded, and he kissed her. One hand laid on her shoulder, the other slid up the side of her face, the tips of his fingers resting in her hair.
He kissed her again, and his hand slipped free of her hair and began to move up and down her back, the pads of his fingers on the way down, and his knuckles on the way up.
After a moment, he brought both of his hands to her face. ‘I want- Touch-’ he breathed. ‘I want- You.’
She nodded, her heart thundering in her chest. ‘I want you.’
She pushed on his chest, and they moved towards the bleachers. He sat, and she kissed him again.
Taylor lifted a hand and pressed it against her chest – he wasn’t trying to grope her, just make contact. ‘I am- Untrained.’ It was something he’d said at least four times since they’d kissed the first time, and she had acknowledged it each time, but it seemed to be important to him that he keep reiterating the fact.
She lifted his hand to her mouth, and kissed the rough tips of his fingers. ‘Tell me if I’m going too fast, sir.’
Magnolia slowly lowered herself onto his lap, legs spread as wide as she could, whilst remaining comfortable.
This was something they had done last night – and he seemed perfectly comfortable with her in his lap – she was a weight he took easily – though it gave him the advantage of being close enough to her heart beating in her chest.
Her heart alternated between fluttering and pounding – part of her rational mind still unable to process the possibility that she was going to fuck – or be fucked by – the man she’d loved for years.
‘Do you want me to touch you, sir?’
‘No,’ he said, the word coming out as a breath.
He raised his right hand, curled his fingers into her hair, then let it take a slow, sexy trip down her body – running over the shape of her shoulder, the curve of her breast, and slowly, tentatively, onto her thigh.
Taylor lifted her his face so that they were eye-to-eye. ‘I want- May I-?’
‘Yes sir,’ she said, ‘you may. I’ll tell you if I want you to stop.’
He rested his hand against her chest again, and with a tingle of static, her corset was dismissed.
Faced with her half-naked, for reasons that had nothing to do with fixing an injury, her commander seemed to lose all impetus, and simply stared. It wasn’t the wonder of a man stunned by her breasts, nor the hesitation caused by the various scars – ones she, like him, had chosen to keep for reasons for remembrance or pride.
This was an entirely new context, and he had no idea what to do.
Magnolia leaned forward, kissed him gently on the cheek, then stood, and turned her back to him. She moved forward a few feet – to one of the floor panels that was a slightly different shade of pale wood, and began to work through one of her warm-up routines.
He had seen this routine a hundred times, a thousand times, in various states of dress. It was something familiar to ground him, something he could latch onto whilst enjoying her nakedness for what might have been the first time.
After a moment, she heard him get up from the bleachers, and the soft scuff of his boots as he crossed the few feet to her. He laid a hand on her arm, and adjusted it slightly – there was nothing wrong with the angle, but he did this on occasion, correcting errors so miniscule you needed a HUD to detect them.
She transitioned easily into the next set of moves, and he fell into step beside her.
At the top of one of her forms, she quickly spun, and touched a hand to his chest. ‘Sir, I don’t like being at a disadvantage.’
A small smile graced his lips, and he required away his shirt.
For the first time, he was hers to see, and touch. Where pleasure didn’t come second to fixing one wound or another.
She rested both of her hands against his chest, and felt his heart beating steadily beneath her palm.
It always seemed like the strangest affectation, that agents had a heartbeat – it was necessary for their interactions with humans, and it would be missed if it wasn’t there, but it always seemed to peter on the edge of irony, considering how many heartless bastards were amongst them.
Taylor though, for all of his violence, trauma, and tragedy, wasn’t a bastard. He was someone worthy of love. He was someone worth spending the rest of her life with, of dedicating herself to; and receiving that devotion in return.
He kissed her again, and encircled her in his strong arms, holding her steady in sexy warmth.
Slowly, they moved back to the bleachers, and she, once again, settled into his lap.
‘Words,’ he said. ‘This…requires words.’
‘I am aware, sir,’ she said, doing her best to form the thoughts into the least complicated sentences. Ways to easily communicate the width and breadth of what they potentially needed to discuss.
‘I want- You,’ he said. ‘With all that entails. I am- I am not what-’
She pressed a hand to his mouth. ‘I want you, sir. There are no caveats on that. I don’t require change. I don’t require you to be someone that you aren’t.’
He gave a small smile. Another smile. She wasn’t demanding change, but if there were changes he wanted to make himself – that were positive changes, she wasn’t going to argue.
Taylor three fingers to his mouth. ‘Grigori,’ he said. ‘It was familiar.’
She kept her expression neutral. ‘He explained the relationship he had with your former?’
Gratitude was evident in his eyes with the use of the word “former”. It was an acknowledgment not enough people in his life made – that the person he was, and the person he used to be were in fact two different people.
She stared at his lips, and considered the reasons he might bring up Grigori. The man was a world-class first – pan as pan got, who seemed to hit on everyone of consenting age, with very few exceptions.
A kiss from Grigori was unremarkable, unless it had meant something remarkable.
Magnolia licked her lips, then ran through several options of the wording, but ditched all of the careful phrasing. Sometimes blunt, plain and simple were best – it was something Taylor would appreciate.
‘I love you, sir, and you’ve stated that you love me, that doesn’t mean that we have to be exclusive.’
He blinked a few times. ‘I did not expect you to cease your socialisation,’ he said, his voice a rumble in his chest. ‘You value your friends, and your lovers, that has always been evident.’
She smiled at him. ‘So why would I make a demand of exclusivity of you, sir? Relationships- Good relationships, hinge on balance and communication. If one person is allowed a freedom, it is only natural that the other persons in the relationship are allowed the same freedoms.’
‘I want you,’ he said again. ‘Grigori-’ His mouth worked, as if unable to find the works. ‘Grigori knows I am not him, but- It is- A connection to what I lost.’
‘He is a skilled lover,’ she said, the edges of her mouth curling into a wicked smile. ‘I would highly recommend taking a tumble with him.’
He seemed to take this in, and nodded. ‘But- With you- First.’
‘Then proceed, sir.’
There was still caution on his face.
‘Sir, I want you. I want you so fucking much. I want you in every way imaginable. You have my consent,’ she said, saying the word he seemed to be seeking. She moved her head to rest her cheek against his, and extended her tongue to flick against his ear. ‘If you are willing, I would like it very much if you fucked me.’
His hand slid up her knee, onto her thigh, then dipped and ran along her inner thigh, running up against the barrier of her entirely-appropriate silk panties.
She felt the pressure of three fingers resting against her, but he hesitated, not pressing forward. He looked up to her, his face level with hers. ‘Magnolia-’
She stroked his cheek with three fingers – hopefully, he’d recognise the symmetry – and grinned, dipping her face forward to rest her forehead against his.
‘Ask,’ he said slowly, ‘and- Instruct. I am- Untrained.’
His three fingers dipped below the hem of her panties, and they disappeared, leaving a slight tingle as they were dismissed from her body.
‘Try,’ she said, giving him an encouraging smile, ‘and I’ll correct your training as you go.’
Agents were literally born knowing how to fuck. It was one of their in-built functions, as much as training, fighting and eating were.
His so-called peers did nothing but comment on his memory loss, but it hadn’t appeared to have interfered with his other basic functions – there was a chance he retained some knowledge of how to pleasure a partner.
And it was a lot fairer to him, to first assess his skills, before assuming that it was something that he was missing.
His fingers came to rest against her, and logical thought turned to sticky marshmallow.
His middle finger was resting on her clit – if nothing else, he had perfect aim.
She gripped his jacket, and buried her face in his shoulder, breathing in the light scent of sweat as he began to move his fingers.
They were slow, almost experimental touches – each sliding up and down in turn, and he seemed to be measuring her reaction to each motion, focussing more on the actions that got the most reaction.
His thumb joined the fray, and for a single moment, she thought she’d tip over the edge then and there.
She was already wet – anticipation was a hell of a motivator.
His thumb took over clit duty, and she moved her body slightly, urging his arm ever so slightly to the left – a silent instruction he took to without retort.
One of his fingers slipped inside her, and she locked her chin over his shoulder, barely stopping herself from screaming into his ear.
His fingers ceased their motion. ‘Magnolia?’
‘Oh- Please- Keep going,’ she managed.
He nodded, his short red hair brushing against her, and his fingers resumed their motion.
She began to rock back and forth against his fingers, a half-conscious movement, and was rewarded as he slipped a finger inside.
Big hands had their advantages.
She rode his finger as though it was a slender cock, her mind on fire from what he was doing with his thumb. There was no technique, and there wasn’t even the enthusiasm of a virgin who thought it was all about being fast and furious without consideration of the delicacy and individuality of those thousands of nerve endings.
And somehow…it was still an experience beyond compare. Not the best sex she’d ever had, but still, in its own category – unable to be lined up against the ranks other people she’d fucked, or been fucked by.
She kissed him as she came, slowing her rhythm on his finger as she rose through the climax, then she collapsed against him, lowering a hand to help him slide from her.
Her head fit perfectly in the space between his neck and shoulder, and it felt natural to rest her head there.
‘Sir,’ she said, no follow-up sentence formed in her mind. ‘Thank you, sir.’
He raised his hand, and she twisted her head a little to see him looking at his fingers. ‘I’m not used to- Causing pleasure.’ He lowered his hand and wiped it against his pants. ‘What now?’ he asked after a moment, resting his hand against her side.
‘I would-’ Breath was still hot in her body. ‘Turnabout is fair play, sir. But I don’t know if you want me to touch you. If you-’
He straightened his back, and the rest of his clothes disappeared.
She pushed back from his and stood, a smile crossing her lips as she appraised him. His body was something she’d seen a thousand times before, but there had never been the permission to touch, not in this way.
She made a brief wish before her eyes naturally fell to his crotch – and as always, it was doll smooth and anatomically lacking.
‘Sir, may I?’ she asked.
He nodded.
She brought herself forward and kissed him, her hands sliding into his hair for a moment before she started to lower herself, kissing his body in brief snatches as she lowered herself between his spread legs.
The smooth area, the place where his cock should have been, lay before her, a challenge she was more than willing to take on.
She fell forward onto her hands, and slowly licked up from the base, then began to lavish attention on the centre. She settled her weight onto her knees, and began to lightly scratch the area with her fingernails of her left hand, switching to run long streak with the backs of her nails as his breathing began to change.
His hand went to her face, and she looked up at him.
There was hesitation on his face, so she retreated from his crotch, and moved to sit beside him on the bleachers.
His lips pursed for a moment. ‘I am- Not-’
She nodded. ‘At your own pace, sir.’
He tilted his head forward, and she moved to mirror the movement, to give him the contact he wanted. ‘You are mine,’ he said, his voice a rumble.
When no further words came, she required fresh clothes. The moment – as precious as it had been – was over. He needed a burst of normalcy to contrast balance him.
She shifted her face, kissed his cheek, then stood. ‘I require a spar, sir.’
He gave a grunt of assent, required his clothes, then joined her on the gym floor.