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Some Ships Never Sink

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tennisshipper Hey, #Mabbie fans, guess who showed up in the stands at Maria's match today?? ;-))))

notthatlinejudge @tennisshipper NO. WAY. OMG. #Mabbie

mariaf5eva @tennisshipper @notthatlinejudge doesnt mean anything. jeeze. guys. #mabbienotp

***

Debbie settled into her seat, trying not to feel self-conscious. Nobody would recognise her. There was no reason to feel so uncomfortable. She was just here to watch a tennis match without having to stare at the lines for most of it. For once.

She cautiously turned her head, checking for people unsubtly trying to take photos. No cameras, no phones pointing in her direction. Phew.

The buzz of tension in the air increased, people shifting and craning to see the corner of the court. Debbie's stomach did a slow roll-flutter thing that she hadn't expected. A wave of cheering and clapping raced around the stand as the players walked into the court, and Debbie couldn't help being caught up in it. She cheered as loudly as anyone else, her palms stung from clapping, and her face ached from the smile she couldn't hold in when she caught her first glimpse of Maria.

She was perfect, as always, and Debbie barely noticed the little blonde player walking next to her. All she could see was Maria, striding to her chair unbowed by the weight of her bag. Maria, darkly beautiful and stern.

Maria, who saved her best smiles for when people weren't looking, and kissed Debbie like she was perfect.

Debbie didn't expect that Maria would look up at the stands, shielding her eyes from the sun. She didn't expect it because Maria had never done it before, not even for the only match her mom had ever gone to. But Maria did it this time; she searched the stands until their eyes met, and the smile that flashed across Maria's lips was just for her.

Debbie's heart was pounding in her chest when she sat down to watch the match.

***

notthatlinejudge OMG THAT LOOK OMG #Mabbie

tennisshipperjaneydoeynoey @tennisshiper @notthatlinejudge WHAT DID I MISS? Was in classes all day. FML #Mabbie

notthatlinejudgejaneydoeynoey @notthatlinejudge @tennisshiper *melts*

***

tennisshipper Sound the #Maddie alert! THERE ARE PRACTISE COURT PICS. I REPEAT, PRACTISE COURT PICS. http://mabbieship/2014/11/21/gallery

janeydoeynoey @tennisshipper FCUK MYCOLLEGE WIFI WONT LOAD THEM a;rasro;wi]jls;;asdei;aw;

tennisshipper @janeydoeynoey Aw :-( *pets* Shitty college wifi is shitty.

janeydoeynoey Thanks, hon. Guess I'll just have to wait until I'm back in the dorm. My life, it is hard, ya'll #Mabbie

mariaf5eva @tennisshipper @janeydoeynoey big whoop pics lol that don't mean nothing get over yourselfs god do you have to gay evrything up #mabbienotp

@janeydoeynoey @tennisshipper @notthatlinejudge and five others have blocked @mariaf5eva

***

Debbie bounced the ball twice before firing off her worst serve yet.

No, really, she was lucky the ball didn't arc over the practise court fence and hit the girl not-so-subtly taking photos of them on her iPhone. A tiny, evil corner of Debbie's mind wanted to wish that was what had actually happened, but then she remembered the pain being knocked out by a badly served ball, and took the thought back.

Even though it had ended well eventually, there had still been a concussion to live with, and that meme was going to haunt her forever. She'd never wish the painful parts on anyone.

Maria looked like was choking from the effort of not laughing, as the ball careened onto the court beside them and knocked over an abandoned water bottle.

"I meant to do that," Debbie said.

She watched the iPhone girl turn bright pink and scurry away, and some of the tension across her shoulders melted away. Maria hadn't noticed--or was pretending not to notice, it was hard to tell--and she finally allowed her laughter to escape, doubling over as she snorted and gasped with an abandon only Debbie got to see.

Debbie held another ball up threateningly, but Maria was too far gone. The laughter had caught her and wasn't going to release her easily, even though her competitive side was probably fighting to be ready to receive whatever terrible serve Debbie sent her next.

Resisting the temptation of a beautiful, laughing Maria was impossible, and Debbie had never been strong where Maria was concerned. It was much more fun to join her; to flop down next to her on the court floor and laugh until her sides ached; and to curl up around her when the mist rolled in and turned chilly.

***

tennisshipper Nooooooooo! #Mabbie

janeydoeynoey @tennisshipper Huh?

tennisshipper @janeydoeynoey She's the line umpire for Maria's match today. Our ship is sinking, help, help.

notthatlinejudge @tennisshipper @janeydoeynoey #Mabbie It's not sunk until the fat lady sings. Or whatever.

janeydoeynoey @notthatlinejudge @tennisshipper Hold me? I can't watch this.

tennisshipper @janeydoeynoey *holds* *opens blanket fort* *snuggles*

janeydoeynoey @tennisshipper :-DD

notthatlinejudge @janeydoeynoey @tennisshipper LOL :D I ship you guys so hard.

***

notthatlinejudge @janeydoeynoey @tennisshipper OMG GUYS DID YOU SEE? SHE'S NOT THE LINE JUDGE #MABBIE #MABBIELIVES

***

Debbie could hear the roar when Maria entered her court, even from the tiny court at the far end of the grounds where she was line umpiring for two unseeded juniors. It had been worth sacrificing such a big match, for Maria.

She hadn't been worried about what would happen if she had to make a call against Maria. She'd done it before. Her first call after they kissed in the tunnel had been against Maria, and they'd still gone on a date three days later. Maria wouldn't be angry about it; she wanted to win fairly, not because she happened to be dating the line umpire.

But one day, Debbie knew, the press would find out that they were together. It could be tomorrow, it could be a year from now, but whenever it happened, she wanted there to be no doubt that Maria had won every match fairly. The smallest hint of a scandal would undo any good that their relationship had done.

Debbie narrowed her eyes and refused to be distracted by the roar that erupted from the main court. The chants of "Maria! Maria!" reassured her that the match was going well. Now she had to make sure that all her attention was on the match in front of her.

***

janeydoeynoey OMG SOMEONE WROTE ME MARIA/DEBBIE FIC FOR #YULETIDE. BEST YT EVER. http://archiveofourown.org/collections/yuletide2014/tags/Cornetto%20%2240%20-%20love%22%20Commercial/works @tennisshipper was that you?

tennisshipper @janeydoeynoey *zips lips*

janeydoeynoey @tennisshipper *smooches*

tennisshipper @janeydoeynoey *blushes*

***

"Do I want to know what Yuletide is?" Maria asked.

Debbie slammed the lid of her laptop shut. "Definitely not."

Maria settled on the bed next to her, draping an arm over her chest and resting her head on Debbie's shoulder. The weight of Maria's arm felt good, reassuringly heavy and warm. Debbie smiled and rubbed a hand up and down it, enjoying the twitches of strong muscles against her fingers, and the soft sigh Maria blew out across her collarbone.

"Is it another meme?" Maria asked.

Debbie didn't quite manage to swallow her snort of laughter. Hopefully it didn't sound too disgusting. "Er, nope. Nothing that bad."

"Okay. That's good."

Debbie carefully deposited the laptop on the bed next to her and rolled into her side, so she could see Maria's eyes. She was never going to get tired of watching them; the way they shifted and changed shade with Maria's mood; the way her real smiles always started there long before they reached her lips.

Maria pouted ridiculously when she was forced to rest her head on the pillow, instead of Debbie's shoulder, but Debbie stretched forward to kiss her nose and the pout softened into something sweeter.

"Are you sure I don't want to know?" Maria asked.

It took Debbie a moment to remember what they'd been talking about, and she shook her head. "Very sure. It's just a weird Internet thing. Did you find it?"

Maria's eyebrows lifted. "Your present?"

"Was that what you were looking for?"

"You're such a bad liar."

There was a mischievous smile twitching at the corners of Maria's mouth, yet another expression that only Debbie got see, and she had to lean in and kiss each little quiver. Maria made a quiet, surprised sound, which made Debbie's toes curl and her heart slam against her chest. She pressed closer, licking the seam of Maria's lips, and humming happily when Maria opened eagerly and welcomed her in.

Hints of chocolate and berries still lingered on Maria's tongue from breakfast. Debbie chased them, savouring each touch and new sensation, each warm gasp and soft exhalation.

Maria's mumbled something indistinct, and Debbie reluctantly pulled back, unable to restrain a small smile at the pink flush in Maria's cheeks and the tangled sweep of her hair.

"You haven't opened your present yet," Maria said.

Debbie tilted her head, carefully assessing the options in front of her. "Where is it?"

Maria lifted her hand and opened it, revealing a tiny box, wrapped in sparkly red paper.

"Huh."

Debbie was still lying half sprawled across Maria, and she didn't want to move. Maria's arm tightening around her waist convinced her that moving wouldn't be welcome. Instead, she planted her elbows on the bed, bracketing Maria between them, and tore the paper off the box. She dropped the sparkly stuff on Maria's hair and pretended she couldn't see the mock outrage in Maria's eyes.

Plush black velvet covered the box, and Debbie felt a little breathless. Maria was biting her lip, looking up with wide eyes, which was oddly reassuring, in a way that Debbie wasn't ready to examine yet.

She snapped open the box, and all the air left her lungs in a rush. A leaf-shaped pendant on a thin chain nestled inside, the single tiny diamond glittering like a droplet of water in the wintery morning sunshine. It was the most beautiful thing anyone had given her.

"It's okay?" Maria asked. "It's not a ring or anything, I didn't want to be scary, but I couldn't stop myself."

Debbie smiled. "It's perfect. Thank you. Help me to put it on?"

The worry in Maria's eyes cleared, and she smiled that warm smile only Debbie got to see.

***

tennisshipper Wedding pics! instagram.com/p/w7mn_RFN0F/ @janeydoeynoey