i think i love you – isn't that what life is made of?

I... love... you?

It was those three words that began to rouse Jack from his slumber. He was certain that he was still dreaming, that this was his mind's way of tormenting him over the words he wanted desperately to say. There were many reasons why he hadn't or at least a long list of excuses that included but wasn't limited to she'll run away from me.

He gave no impression that he had begun to wake, deciding to let the remainder of his dream play out before he greeted the real world with his usual smile.

One of the promises they had made upon agreeing to date was that neither was going to overthink things. When it came to getting more serious, Jack had most definitely broken his promise. He had been crazy for Roxy from the start but had never wanted to overstep or scare her away. It was a constant battle of what he wanted to do versus what he should do. Feelings grew deeper as time passed. Each and every day he was with her, he counted himself lucky.

To have found a woman that, in his eyes, was perfect was a dream come true. She liked all the same things he did, laughed at his jokes, and had that same sense of reckless adventure. There was also the fact they were both completely out of their minds – thanks Deadpool and Harley Quinn! Never in his life had he felt both challenged and content. Hell, he couldn't think of a time when he had been this happy. His past relationships hadn't given him much hope about his future, but that had all changed over the summer.

What had Jack ever done in life to deserve this kind of happiness? The feeling of bliss that came with waking up with the same person nearly every day of the week, to know that one way or the other, they would be sharing a bed. It was a question made him paranoid, riddled with worry that nothing good could last. The cookie had crumbled that way for so long that he didn't know if it would ever go differently. He had just turned 36, after all, and he had very little evidence to the contrary.

That was another promise he was breaking. Pessimism was something rare for Jack Winston, but having lived half of his life feeling unwanted by his blood relatives, some form of emotional scarring was inevitable. Sometimes, he needed to remind himself that things were different here, that he had made his own family, and that they all wanted him around. They loved him like he had never been loved, and he loved them too.

Most important of all was that his friends got along well with her and that she adored them. That had never happened before, not with any of his relationships. Someone had always had negative feelings, whether it was the significant other or the friend, and to know that was not true with her really made him want to hold onto it.

What do you know?

It was at this point that Jack realized he wasn't dreaming. The words had been spoken not by the dream version of his girlfriend but the actual version. She loved him, unless he had completely imagined her even saying those words in the first place. Maybe it was wishful thinking? Then again, just a few days before, they had promised to murder anyone who tried to tear them apart. It had been as close to I love you as Jack had gotten with her, even if it had technically been his other self to have made the promise. He was one with Wade Wilson, so weren't they really the same person? They totally were.

As much as he wanted to move and say the words back, he was not convinced it had actually happened. It was not until he felt her fingers linking with his and her breath on his forehead that he was certain. Even so, the words said in a way with real meaning behind them, sent a chill down his spine. He could not keep his eyes closed any longer.

His smile was bright, beaming, and laughter erupted from his lips. Happy, content, and not at all meant to mock the huge step she had taken. Roxy was braver than he could have hoped to be, which was only slightly embarrassing given that he had dealt with a lot worse in the line of duty. Even if she thought he had been asleep, it didn't matter. The cat was out of the bag. Quite literally. Ever attentive to detail, Cheesecake had realized the provider of food was no longer sleeping and turned his attention to Jack. Paws landed on his stomach, but he used his free hand to hold onto the tabby so he could turn onto his side.

"Five more minutes, Cheeseball," he whined, leaving the cat to her own devices as his arm slipped over the blonde's stomach. He moved in closer, eliminating all of the distance between them so that he could rest his head on her chest.

He could hear faint purring and feel the vibrations it caused at the foot of the bed as the cat obliged him – miracles did happen. Jack wasn't aware of any of that. His focus was on the features of her face, the pink in her hair, and the feel of her skin against his lips as he placed light kisses to her shoulder.

"I love you, too," he finally whispered, voice soft on her ear. Though she had taken the leap first, he still felt his stomach sink. That small worry that he had imagined and everything and that he had just made a fool of himself remained, though no one would have been able to notice given the dopey smirk on his lips.

It was not until he could feel her arms move around him, pulling him even closer still, that he was certain everything was fine. A weight lifted from his shoulders, and he couldn't help but feel a little dumb for having been so worried about it in the first place.

"That wasn't so bad, was it?"