DISCLAIMER: Los Hombres De Paco and its characters are the property of Antena 3. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Despite the spoilers we've heard for the upcoming season, I'm writing this fic on the assumption that no cast members are leaving/that the status quo isn't really shaken. (In my perfect world, it wouldn't be, of course.) As you can see, this is going to be a somewhat long fic; I'm aiming to put out a chapter a week through January, but come February I may have to scale it back to a chapter every other week. So if you don't like reading WIPs, you should know that this one will probably not be finished for quite a while. As always, comments and constructive criticism welcome. Don't make me beg, guys! Also, thanks go out to random_flores and disturbed_muse for betaing this. I really appreciate it, you two. :)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Songs of Innocence & Experience
By mightbefound


Song 2


I stand behind you and I watch you from a mile away
Wishing you could be the one, but not here this way

The silence was horrible. Horrible, but Silvia could not find it in herself to break it as it stretched, filling the empty space in Pepa's apartment.

She could hear her heart pounding as she stared out the window. The tension was winding tighter and tighter in her belly, and her breathing was fast.

Pepa's apartment was by this point as familiar to Silvia as her own house. They preferred to spend their time here, away from Don Lorenzo and the eggplant shade of purple he turned when he saw them as much as cuddling on the sofa. Pepa always laughed about his reactions when he saw them together. (So instead they cuddled—and did other things—on Pepa's ratty futon, the one that gave Silvia a backache but that Pepa loved too much to toss.)

Pepa, at the moment, was rummaging around in her closet, in her drawers, trying to put together a neutral wardrobe for going undercover, swearing and muttering as she discarded first this, then selected that, apparently unconcerned with the awful silence between them.

Apparently unconcerned with the way her brother had unashamedly broken down into tears and wrapped her up in his arms so tightly Pepa had had trouble breathing. Apparently unconcerned with the way Sara had valiantly fought back her tears long enough to kiss Pepa's cheeks, and then had gone flying into her room, slamming the door. Lucas had followed after a quiet exchange with Pepa, a squeeze of her shoulder. Rita and José Luis and the rest had hugged her before leaving, then it had been Montoya's turn. Silvia did not know what Pepa had whispered to him (probably could guess, but she didn't want to think about it, not right now). He had nodded and they had shaken hands tightly before Gonzalo left. Then it was just Lola and a sobbing Paco, and Lola, too, had broken into tears as she hugged Pepa like she would never let go. Then Paco, again, and by this point Pepa herself was crying as she threw herself into the embrace of the big brother she had adored since she was a child. (Hell, even Silvia's father had given Pepa a firm handshake and murmured words of good luck and confidence.) They had finally escaped Paco and Lola's, and Pepa had sat silently in the passenger seat, staring out the window as Silvia drove to Pepa's apartment. Her girlfriend had gotten out and held Silvia in her arms for a solid minute, then released her on an unsteady breath, and they had not said a word since entering the apartment.

Pepa and her damned silence. Pepa who was leaving her without a word of explanation, for God only knew how long. Silvia felt something ignite in her belly at that thought, and welcomed it.

Being angry felt better than being unable to breathe.

"Oy, Pelirojja," and Silvia turned to find Pepa, socks in one hand and a bra in the other, biting her lip in an expression Silvia might have found adorable at another time. Might. If Pepa had not been on the verge of leaving her for weeks without explanation or apology.

"Do you mind watering my plants?" Pepa asked, waving the hand with the socks at her cacti and African violets. "They should get enough sun where they are, but if you could water them twice a week, I…"

Silvia felt her expression go stony. Pepa trailed off. Her eyes widened a little.

"I promise to give you a reward," Pepa tried, voice lowering, putting her clothes down and sashaying over to Silvia. "In advance, even." She lifted a hand toward Silvia's cheek, tilted her head.

Silvia felt like she had been punched.

"Oh, that's just great!" she snarled at Pepa, leaning away from the brunette's touch. She crossed the room, walking away from her girlfriend, resisting the urge to pick up Pepa's socks and throw them at their owner's head. "You're asking me to water your fucking plants while you're gone like some sort of housekeeper—"

"No, no!" Pepa interrupted, hands up in a gesture of surrender. "I just don't want them to die—"

The horrible tension inside Silvia snapped.

"Yes, let's talk about dying!" she broke in, stepping closer to Pepa and poking her lover in the shoulder. "Let's talk about how you could die during this operation but apparently you don't care enough about the people who love you to think twice about accepting the assignment!" Pepa opened her mouth to respond, but the damn had burst, and Silvia could not stop. She poked Pepa in the chest, this time. "Did you see your brother's face when you said goodbye to him? Did you see Sara's?"

"He's a cop, he understands—"

"Yeah, because when he started to cry, that looked a lot like understanding to me," Silvia talked right over Pepa's explanation. At that, Pepa's face relaxed into an indulgent expression, like Silvia was a kid with a tantrum she just had to ride out. It made Silvia angry, and it hurt.

And when Silvia got hurt, she wanted to hurt back.

"Let's talk about this Marta," and the name was almost a sneer, and Pepa stiffened, face going blank. "Who was she to you, that your friends mention her name and you forget about everything else? One of the forty? Who was she? Why don't I know anything about, why haven't you mentioned her before? What else aren't you telling me?"

Breathing hard, she felt her cheeks flush and she gritted her teeth. She hated this sometimes, hated how Pepa got under her skin and affected her. 'Why are you leaving me for her ghost, is she more important to you than I am?' she wanted to ask. And 'Do you love me enough to stay if I asked you to?' and 'Are you coming back?' and 'Did you love her as much as you say you love me?'

But she could not ask that. Could not.

She had never ever been this jealous when she was married to Lucas. Ever.

Dios, Pepa was infuriating.

"She was my ex," and Pepa's tone was clipped, features drawn. She was staring at the ground by Silvia's feet. "She was killed by a criminal, a big drug dealer. I'm familiar with the case, I was working on it before I was reassigned to Olmedo and transferred here. They want me to infiltrate his gang and take him down."

Sivia nodded mechanically, gripping the edge of Pepa's desk hard. "He's dangerous?"

"Very." Pepa rarely sounded this serious.

Silvia nodded again. Took a deep breath.

"I want to go with you."

"No!" Pepa snapped at once, crossing the room in two quick strides, gripping Silvia's shoulders tightly, face inches from hers. "Absolutely not."

Silvia struggled free. "Why?" she demanded. "You admitted yourself that he's dangerous, you'll need someone covering your back—"

"No," Pepa gritted out again, taking Silvia's shoulders, shushing her protests, and steering them both to the bed. Taking deep breaths, obviously trying to calm herself, Pepa sat them both down facing each other. Silvia stayed quiet as Pepa's hand came up to cup her jaw, sensing that her girlfriend needed a moment.

"You don't understand," Pepa said softly, opening her eyes, apparently having gotten her emotions under control. She met Silvia's eyes, and Silvia almost shivered. Pepa's eyes were flat, emotionless. Silvia suddenly had a better idea of what Pepa's arrests had felt like.

"He's an extremely dangerous man, Silvia. Extremely. Do you want to know how he inspires loyalty in his men? He executes the ones he thinks are screwing him over. Or who are underperforming. He'll do it in broad daylight, in the middle of a street, he's that confident. And he'll kill anyone. Anyone. He killed his father and his brother to obtain sole control over the family's drug empire. When he thought his mother was crying too much over their deaths, he executed her, too. He's dangerous. Too dangerous, and he's gotten too powerful." Pepa took a deep breath.

Silvia was horrified. "And you're going in there alone?" she demanded, voice high. "When he could kill you at any minute? Who the fuck thinks that is a good idea?"

Pepa shook her head. "I have to, Princesa," and her voice was very quiet. "We need to take this bastard down, and I owe it to Marta." Her hands came up and enfolded Silvia's, and she kissed Silvia's knuckles. Silvia frowned.

"Believe me, Pelirroja, I don't…if there were another way, I wouldn't leave you." Pepa's face twisted for a moment. "It's killing me as much as it's hurting you. But I have to. I need to do this, Silvia." Her eyes rose, pleading. "Please don't make it harder."

Silvia felt the tears rising, swallowed hard. "If I asked you not to go…would you?" she whispered, agonized.

Pepa bit her lip, glanced away. "No," she got out, and her voice sounded like it was being dragged over sharp rocks. "I wouldn't."

Silvia nodded, looked away, took a deep breath, shut her eyes tightly. I can't believe I'm doing this. "Are you sure I can't go with you?"

"No," Pepa said again, and her voice was desperate. She put her hands on either side of Silvia's face until Silvia opened her eyes, and stared straight into them.

"Listen to me, Silvia. If he finds you, if he finds out about you, he will kill you. I don't want you within a hundred kilometers of that bastard, I don't want you to even know his name. You're not trained like I am, you don't know what you're doing, and if I'm worried about you the entire time I'm undercover I will fuck up. I can't concentrate when you're in danger. I can't do my job and be terrified for you and I don't know what I would do if you died. So please, Silvia, please, let this go. Please."

Her voice rang with the sincerity that was (for her) usually reserved for murmured words of love in incredibly vulnerable moments, and Silvia surrendered to the tears, feeling two drip down her face, falling into the groove between her cheeks and Pepa's hands. They both looked away, too much threatening to overwhelm them.

"I suppose this means no contact, then?" she asked roughly, looking back when she felt she had herself more under control. Pepa was shaking her head before she even finished the question.

"No," Pepa affirmed gently, tracing Silvia's eyebrow with her thumb. "I can't risk leaving any trail back to you. I'm going to be so deep undercover I'm not even sure how often I'll be in contact with the local precinct. There's no way for me to talk to you safely. I'm sorry."

Silvia nodded, dragged in a shuddering breath, looked away, blinking hard. There was silence for a few moments, until Pepa shifted forward and caught Silvia in a fierce hug. Silvia hugged back just as hard as Pepa gently toppled them onto their sides, burying her head in the crook of Pepa's neck.

Soon, this would be gone.

"Just come back as soon as you can, okay?" she finally muttered, and felt Pepa chuckle.

"I promise," Pepa answered. Silvia let out a long breath.

"So he killed your ex?" she asked quietly, pulling back, and Pepa tensed for a moment.

"Yeah." Silvia shifted up and saw that Pepa's eyes were closed as she stared up at the ceiling, her jaw clenched tight. Silvia could trace all the muscles in her cheek, and did so, sliding a finger down Pepa's fantastic jawline. Not for the first time, she wondered what drove Pepa so hard to be a cop when her lover had the great good looks of a model or a movie star. Pepa relaxed fractionally under her touch, opened her eyes. She looked conflicted, and very upset, and Silvia suddenly realized what was going on in Pepa's head. What Pepa was thinking

"It wasn't your fault," she whispered, and Pepa gave a hacking cough-sob, pulled away, and flipped over on her other side, away from Silvia. She started to shake.

"You don't know that," and her voice was trembling, too. Silvia knew she was crying. "She only took the case after I left, and she wasn't trained, Silvia. She wasn't qualified for what she was doing and Dios, if I had stayed—if I had taken him down—maybe she wouldn't have died." Pepa was shaking her head, now, and Silvia knew that Pepa was blinking back tears, not wanting to cry in front of her girlfriend. (Pepa was such a boy sometimes.) She slid her arms around Pepa, spooned her close, and it was a mark of how upset Pepa was that she did not protest, just twined her fingers with Silvia's and clutched so tightly Silvia was sure her fingers were fractured.

"What if she felt she had to prove something to me?" Pepa's voice was desperate now, raw. Silvia's heart ached for her lover. "What if she only did it to get back at me, or something like that? It's my fault. It's all my fault."

"Shhh, no, no, Pepa, no," Silvia soothed, smoothing Pepa's bangs back, continuing the tender words and more tender touches until Pepa's breathing evened, until she stopped shaking. Silvia pulled back, away, and tugged on Pepa's shoulders, gentle but persistent, until Pepa had no choice but to roll over and look at her. Silvia's heart ached again. Pepa's eyes were shiny; there were tear tracks on her face and she was biting her lip so hard it was bleeding very slightly. Silvia tenderly rubbed the pad of her thumb over the cut, thought hard about what she was about to say. It would, she knew, have to be phrased very delicately.

"Pepa, she was a cop. She was the Subinspector you told me about, right? The one you saw through the window?"

Pepa nodded.

"Then she knew what she was doing, honey." Silvia gently ran her fingers up and down Pepa's cheek, tracing the high cheekbones, curling around the point of her jaw. Felt Pepa relax. "She knew the risks of pursuing the case, and she decided that putting the bastard behind bars was worth it. You need to rein your ego in, despotenciada," and they both grinned briefly at Don Lorenzo's favorite nickname for Pepa. "You can't blame yourself for it, Pepa. Really. It wasn't your fault, and she wouldn't want you to kill yourself with guilt, either."

There was a small smile on her face as she caressed Pepa's neck, and one grew on Pepa's face, too. They leaned in for the sweetest, most tender kiss Silvia had ever had.

She let her eyes stay closed for several seconds after they parted, and when she opened her eyes she saw with a smile that Pepa's were still closed, a small, incredulous smile still on Pepa's face.

"I love you," she could not stop herself from whispering, and Pepa's smile turned into a beaming grin as her eyes opened.

"I love you too, Princesa," she said, and they reached for each other, fingers intertwining as they kissed, long and leisurely, the kind of kissing that started a slower, deeper fire in Silvia's belly, until she wanted to wrap Pepa in gossamer and never let the world touch her.

Pepa was a damn good kisser.

"Stop, stop," Pepa eventually whispered, breaking the kiss. Silvia whimpered, and Pepa gave her a quick kiss on the lips before reluctantly rolling off the bed.

"I need to finish packing," she said softly, and bent to give Silvia one more quick kiss. (Damn, but Silvia had even forgotten that Pepa was leaving in the morning, and her heart actually hurt for a moment when she remembered.)

She stayed on the bed (just pulled herself up to sit against the headboard) as Pepa packed the rest of her bag. Done, Pepa rejoined her on the bed, and Silvia took Pepa's hand as they sat.

There did not seem to be anything to say.

"Do you want something to eat, Pelirroja?" Pepa finally broke the silence, and Silvia understood that her lover, too, wanted tonight to last as long as possible—did not want to go to bed and have to face the morning.

So she played along. "Sure," she said, "I'm a little hungry, I didn't eat as much as I thought I would at the party." Surprise, surprise, her appetite had been totally ruined.

Pepa nodded, and they wandered into the kitchen, where Pepa rummaged around in the fridge and pulled out something to throw in the oven. Their conversation was light and playful, pregnant with pauses, because to go any deeper would be to—


Silvia sat in one of Pepa's kitchen chairs, and her attention was suddenly caught by the crumpled envelope on the center of the table. It was the envelope Rocio had given to Pepa. Pepa had taken it out of her pocket and thrown it on the table when they had walked in, and had not touched it since.

"Pepa, the envelope. You should look in it." Silvia nodded toward it with her head as Pepa placed two steaming plates on the table.

"Ah, yeah, I forgot," Pepa muttered. As they both started to eat, Pepa opened the envelope and took out what from the back looked like pictures. She stiffened, flipped through them, and put them facedown on the table. Pepa's hand clenched into a tight fist. Her knuckles were white, her nostrils were flaring, and Silvia could tell she was fighting tears again.

Silvia suddenly felt ashamed and petty and very, very small. Pepa's ex-lover had been killed, for God's sake, and here she was, getting ugly and jealous over a dead woman whom Pepa had not even seen in what, about a year now. They were exes, Silvia, there wasn't anything there anymore, she told herself firmly, and inhaled deeply.

"So what was Marta like?" she asked before she could think better of it.

Pepa, surprised, glanced up at her and smiled tentatively. "See for yourself," she responded, pushing the stack over to Silvia.

Silvia flipped over the first picture and froze. This Marta was every bit as good-looking as Pepa, with long blonde hair and blue eyes and a bright smile. (Fuck, talk about feeling insecure.) In the first picture, she was standing, smiling straight at the camera with a look of pure love, hands awkwardly tucked into her pockets, and Silvia knew Pepa must have taken the picture.

She flipped to the next one. Pepa and Marta and Rocio and some other friends at a club, and Pepa—was in Marta's lap, an arm around Marta's shoulders, and her head was tilted back and she was laughing.

The third and fourth were more of the same, ridiculously cute and gorgeous pictures of Pepa and Marta. Silvia swallowed hard against the lump rising in her throat. The fifth, though, caught Silvia more than any of the others. Pepa and Marta were walking hand-in-hand down a park path. Marta was slightly taller, and Pepa was beautiful as ever in jeans and sneakers and a brown leather jacket, and she was beaming as she was walking alongside—

"You two had a dog?" The question popped out before she could stop it. Pepa smiled sadly, getting up and rounding the table, leaning on the back of Silvia's chair.

"Yeah, we did. His name was Benito," Pepa answered, placing fingertips over the picture of the dog and smiling, obviously remembering. He was a cute puppy, with big floppy ears and short fur and a doggie grin that stretched from ear to ear.

Essentially, he was Pepa in puppy form. Silvia could understand why her girlfriend had been besotted with him.

"What happened to him when you two broke up?" Silvia asked. Pepa's nostalgic smile faded.

"He was hit by a car about a month before that." Pepa looked away. "I held him as he—" Her voice broke. "He was a good dog," she repeated almost in a whisper, and Silvia put her arms around Pepa's hips and gave her a squeeze.

"Do you want a dog? We could get a dog," Silvia asked, temple resting against Pepa's hip as Pepa's fingers carded her hair. Pepa started laughing, and Silvia, not sure if she should be insulted, craned her neck back.

"What's so funny?"

Pepa chuckled. "Nothing, I've just always thought of you as a cat person," she responded, and Silvia's brow furrowed.

"Well, my father always liked cats better, yes, and I grew up with them. But I think I could like a dog. As long as he was well-trained," and for whatever reason, this made Pepa break out into a fresh round of giggles. Silvia poked her in the stomach.

"I'm serious, Pepa. We should get a dog."

Pepa's laughter faded out, and she cocked her head and looked at Silvia. "You really want one?" she asked.

"Yes, I really do," Silvia said, slightly surprised at how firm she sounded. And at how sure she suddenly was. "I want—to have something with you." Her voice softened, grew vulnerable, and she looked down.

Pepa, though, would not let her escape so easily, and cupped her jaw and brought her eyes back up. Pepa's were shining.

"Okay, then," she said, and her smile was blinding. "We'll get a dog when I get back."

"Pepa, why did you and Marta break up?"

The question (the one she had been dying to ask all night) burst out of her, apropos of almost nothing (if we get a dog does it make us equal? and Silvia hated herself for the thought). And Pepa sighed as if she had been waiting for it.

"Because she wanted to marry me, and I didn't want to marry her."

To that, all Silvia could say was "oh."

In the ringing silence, Pepa moved away, cleared the table and cleaned the dishes as Silvia processed. But Pepa stayed bent over the sink for too long, and Silvia got up and put her arms around Pepa's waist from behind, pressing a kiss to the back of her neck in apology. Pepa slumped a little, leaned her head back and nuzzled her cheek against Silvia's.

"Lo siento," Silvia whispered, and kissed the shell of Pepa's ear. Pepa shivered, reached behind her to pull Silvia close.

"Let's go to bed," Pepa whispered right back, and took Silvia's hand as they started for the bedroom.

"Pepa," Silvia said softly, stopping at the foot of the bed, pulling Pepa around to face her. "Are you…would you marry me? I mean, be willing to marry me. Sometime in the future. Would you say yes, if I asked?"

"Yes," Pepa responded without hesitation, and her eyes were glittering. "In a heartbeat."

Silvia did not even try to fight the broad smile as her heart burst with joy and her stomach flipped. She looked down and bit her lip before she looked up and met Pepa's (shining) eyes.


But she was stopped by Pepa's index finger, which came up to rest gently on her lips.

"Not right now, Princesa," and Pepa's voice was at once happy and sad. "This…I want to make this memory with you. But this is not how we want it to be. Not here, not now, not this way."

Silvia nodded, unable to deny the truth of the statement even as she felt, absurdly, slightly rejected and stung. She looked away, but not before Pepa saw the flash of mixed emotions in her eyes, on her face. Pepa reached behind her own neck and undid her necklace.

"Turn around," her girlfriend ordered softly, and Silvia did. Pepa's arms came around her head from above as she settled her necklace around Silvia's neck, deftly clasping it together.

"There," she said, satisfied, and twisted Silvia around to look at her. Silvia caught the pendant between her thumb and forefinger, pulling it away from her body to see it better. It was beautiful, an emerald set in a gold teardrop on a golden chain. It looked expensive. She had never seen Pepa wear it before.

"It was my mother's," and Pepa's voice was very quiet. "She gave it to me before she died. I—I want you to have it."

Silvia was surprised, speechless. She knew that Pepa and her mother had been close and that Pepa had been devastated when she had died, but (like with so many other things) Pepa preferred not to dwell on past hurts. For her to open up like this….

"Here," Silvia broke her silence hurriedly, and unclasped her own necklace, putting it around Pepa's neck. Hers was a simple silver chain, but it too had been her mother's. Silvia's father had given it to her the night before her wedding to Lucas; in a choked voice, he had explained that her mother had asked him to give it to Silvia when she married….

Pepa was smiling as she fingered the necklace. "It doesn't even clash horribly with my cover," she said, and Silvia snorted and shoved her lightly, letting their bodies linger in contact. Pepa sobered.

"I won't ever take it off," she choked out, and then they were kissing, warm and deep and Silvia felt like she was melting into Pepa as Pepa let Silvia's hair down, tangling her fingers in the thin strands.

"Take me to bed," she whispered against Pepa's lips, and Pepa growled and picked her up. Set her down gently on the bed, and immediately covered her with a long lean hot body. Their lips met again and again, and Silvia let herself drown under Pepa.

Their clothing came off fast, and then it was just them, skin on skin as they lost themselves in each other. Pepa was smooth velvet over steel, like always, and Silvia burned the feel of Pepa under her into her brain: Pepa's gasping, Pepa's hands scratching down her back, her messy bangs getting in her eyes as Sivia traced the lines of her abdomen. She wanted to kidnap Pepa and take her to Siberia where no one else could find them and they could live like this forever. She wanted to marry Pepa. She wanted to take away Pepa's pain.

But Pepa noticed her scrutiny, and claimed her mouth in a furious kiss. "Stop thinking, Princesa," she whispered, and "with me," and for once Silvia shut her brain off and just felt. The goosebumps rose on her back as Pepa lightly dragged a finger down her spine. A moan erupted when Pepa traced her throat with her tongue, sucked on Silvia's pulse point. Silvia's eyes fluttered shut.

Then Silvia felt Pepa's touch on her knee, sliding up her thigh, and Pepa's other hand was caressing the dimples of her back. All thought left her as she whimpered into Pepa's mouth, couldn't stop her hips from jerking helplessly into Pepa's hand. Pepa smiled, whispered something against her skin, and Silvia's head flew back as she came apart (together, in Pepa's arms).

Pepa was sweating, they both were, and Silvia slid down Pepa, burned a trail down Pepa's neck with her tongue. Pepa moaned, that low, gritty moan that Silvia loved. She licked the sweat off Pepa's collarbone as her hand dipped lower, and Pepa sunk her teeth into Silvia's shoulder, muffling a hoarse cry. That's going to leave a mark, Silvia thought, and didn't care at all as she sucked hard on Pepa's neck, leaving a mark of her own.

Later, Silvia wished she could freeze time. Pepa was beautiful, panting and arching and straining and moaning, sweat glistening on her skin. Her head was thrown back, mouth moving, eyes screwed closed as she came in (on, around) Silvia's fingers.

"I love you," Silvia whispered as she kissed Pepa's neck, and "come back to me," and

"I promise," Pepa panted, eyes glazed as she kissed Silvia, parted Silvia's knees with her knee. Silvia hissed as Pepa rubbed against her, fingers fisting in the bedsheet, and her eyes rolled back in her head as

"I promise," Pepa whispered again, and Silvia came once more, with a cry that almost sounded like pain.

"Don't worry, she'll be here," Rocio calmed Ortega and López. "It's only 0748. And it's Pepa."

Ortega made an irritated noise. "I did manage to forget some of her more charming traits while she was away," she muttered. Rocio and López looked at each other and bit their lips—hard—to stifle their laughter. Ortega was as by-the-book and overprepared as Pepa was impetuous and a loose cannon. Rocio was convinced Pepa had caused at least three of the white strands in Ortega's hair.

A few minutes went by, and then Rocio straightened. "There she is," she said, pointing out the window. The other women turned to look.

Pepa was walking to the train with her redheaded lover, her arm around Silvia's shoulders, Silvia's around her waist, her hand covered by Pepa's other hand. Their bodies were melded together, not an inch of space between them, and it was obvious they had both been crying.

They came to the edge of the platform, and they hugged tightly for a long moment. Ortega and López looked away, either bored or respecting the couple's privacy, but Rocio could not contain her curiosity. Pepa had never acted like this before….

They were whispering, now, Pepa cupping Silvia's face, Silvia's fingers threaded through Pepa's belt loops, pulling Pepa into her. Pepa looked earnest, and a little desperate, and desolate, and completely in love, and Rocio realized suddenly that she had never seen Pepa look at anyone like that before.

Not even Marta.

No, Pepa and Marta had always been casual (too casual) before they headed out on missions; a wave, a kiss on the cheek, a smile, sometimes just a nod. Rocio had not been surprised (saddened for Marta, but not surprised) when they had broken up. But this….

The way Pepa was clutching onto Silvia's hands, gripping them tightly, was not usual. Nor were the tears shimmering in her eyes, the tears Pepa was not letting fall. For all that she was an emotional person, Pepa usually had a good grip on her emotions, simply chose not to restrain them. Held them back only when they made her look weak, vulnerable. For her to be so openly out of control like this….

The train's horn tooted a warning (two minutes) as Pepa and Silvia kissed briefly, just a brush of lips on lips. Silvia's expression fell and Rocio could tell the redhead was half a second away from sobbing, but Pepa (upset herself but trying to be strong, it was so obvious to anyone who knew her) cupped her face again. Whispered something, and got a wet chuckle out of Silvia, a brief and reluctant grin. Pepa smiled at her, and Rocio thought that she could have exploded a bomb next to her old friend and Pepa would never have looked away from Silvia's eyes. She finished whispering, and then it was Silvia's turn to speak, haltingly, and Pepa's expression was pure tenderness. Silvia finished, drew Pepa into a long, passionate kiss that lasted until Pepa broke it. She touched Silvia's face one last time, and jumped on the train about five seconds before the doors closed.

They had not, Rocio thought wryly, even noticed the staring nuns.

Part 3

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