DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Written for the Second Annual Ash/Scribbs ficathon.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Why Bats Are Scribbs' New Favorite
Carefully tucking her hair back under her hat, Scribbs steadied the ladder on which her partner balanced.
"Almost got this one done just need to get another nail put in to steady it." Ash called down. "You do realize that you get to do this next one; it's not fair that I'm the one stuck up here every time."
"It was your idea to volunteer our skills to hang these bat houses. I think it's a load of " Scribbs trailed off as the older gentleman organizing the placement of the strange wooden boxes glared at her. "Right, I'll just climb the next one."
"Oh don't complain so much, you know that you should be thanking these bats for putting that ring on your finger."
It had all begun after a bizarre weeklong investigation of the body found in the basement of a local specialty cheese shop, and the horrifying discovery that there were in fact types of cheese that were more odiferous than the scent of a decomposing corpse. By the end of the case Scribbs had taken a page from Ash's book, and decided on three rules that would define her evening and forthcoming days off a cold pint (or two) was required, shortly followed by a hot shower, and absolutely no cheese or other such related topics for at least two nights.
Leaving Ash to fill Sullivan in on the final details Scribbs had taken off to the pub only to find that there had been an invasion of suit wearing, middle-aged, wine drinking, cheese nibbling arses. With the initial plan stymied, or at least outranked by the power of decision three, Scribbs shifted her priorities to sticking the dusty bottle of wine in the icebox amongst the old take out boxes, and soaking in the tub. Sullivan had promised that he wouldn't ring either herself or Ash for at least a day; so when the phone rang later in the evening, it was promptly ignored. With the majority of the bottle of wine drained, the stress soaked away, and a soft blanket, she promptly found herself drowsing happily on the sofa. Yes, overall, Scribbs found her evening to be quite adequate.
Which was why three hours later, it was with great reluctance, and a large quantity of confusion, that Scribbs awoke to the sound of someone banging her front door off its hinges.
"Ash?" Scribbs' brain tried to process the rumpled lump that was leaning against her doorframe.
"Ash are you drunk?"
"Scribbs, you, you have a lovely set of knockers you know. Very classy. I especially enjoyed getting to hold this one tonight." Ash gestured vaguely towards the antique doorknocker that hung off all the flats' front doors, overbalancing herself in the process and grabbing a hold of Scribbs' shoulders.
"Aren't you going to invite me in? I think I need a loo. I must admit, I do feel a bit wobbly now. The nice folks at the pub kept pouring the wine, especially after I told them about the bats, but you weren't there like I thought you said you'd be, and you didn't answer your phone. I thought about trying to find a room somewhere, or even calling Sullivan to see if he had a spare but I'd rather spend the night with you." With that, Ash pushed past and meandered her way to fall onto the couch.
Scribbs was torn. Ash smelled like she had decided to hold up an off license on the way home and would be mortified when her head cleared in the morning. Going to bed and tucking her on the couch after forcing some aspirin and water down her throat would start to alleviate the eventual awkwardness. On the other hand, history did show though that an inebriated Ash was more willing to give up information, and the bits that she had been spouting on the porch were so tempting.
Deciding to compromise the two sides of her brain, Scribbs grabbed a glass of water from the kitchen and tucked herself on the opposite end of the couch.
"So Ash, what's this you were saying about bats? Frightening the poor businessmen into buying you wine with tales of vampires?"
"No silly, you'd already know this if you'd answer your phone." Ash sipped at the water and dutifully swallowed the aspirin that were handed over. "The neighbor, you know, the batty old one that likes to put gnomes in his lawn? He has a bunch of bats living on his porch. This spread to my porch according to the nice letter that someone stuck on my door. Apparently I'm not supposed to disturb them, and sometime next week someone will be out to move them to a 'proper habitat'." Ash rolled over so that her head was leaning on Scribbs' leg. "I went in through the back, and I was just starting dinner, but then they starting flying about out front, squeaking, and I just couldn't stand it. They're like rats Scribbs. Big, flying, hairy, rats!"
Scribbs winced. Ash had strict rules regarding rats, and most rodents, that involved great distance and great dislike. On the other hand, bats clearly fell under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, and the thought of heavy fines would have caused a rock and hard spot in Ash's mind.
"I couldn't stay there Scribbs, I just couldn't." Ash gazed up into Scribbs' eyes before turning on her side and closing her eyes. "You did say that anytime I needed you I could just call, or come by."
"Yes, course you can. No problem. Let me just go grab some sheets to make up this a bit better."
"No, no, stay here for a bit. You make an excellent pillow." With that, Ash grabbed Scribbs' arm and pulled it onto her shoulder.
"Yes, but I can't be a pillow all night, and you'll end up doing horrible things to your suit if I don't find you some night clothes." Scribbs gently extracted her leg and arm.
While rummaging in the bureau for an extra set of pj pants and a soft tee, Scribbs' mind started wandering to the casual physical contact. Little things like this had been occurring with greater frequency over the last few weeks. A lean here, an errant arm rest there, the occasional over-shoulder read that got a little closer each time. Scribbs wasn't quite sure what had changed, but had resolved to let things be and go at wherever they wanted at whatever pace fate had in mind. Nothing would stop her from taking a little bit of enjoyment from it though.
"Here Ash, go change into these. There are spare toiletries under the sink, and I'll hang your suit up overnight if you toss it out the door." With the couch unoccupied, a sheet was quickly spread and additional blankets laid out. Heading back towards the bedroom to grab a second pillow, Scribbs was shocked to find Ash curled up under the blankets in her bed. Grabbing a pillow, she resigned herself to being kicked out onto the couch for the evening and was about to leave when Ash spoke.
"Aren't you coming to bed?"
"Well you seemed rather comfortable, so I figured I'd just sleep out there for the evening and let you have the bed."
Ash's voice got quieter.
"I'd rather " she paused. "I don't want to inconvenience you. I think we'd both fit here, but if you'd rather not share, I'll take the couch. It's only right."
Scribbs' thoughts raced. This was different from the forced nursing home arrangements, and made complicated by the recent dance they'd been doing. While a little unsteady, Ash certainly didn't seem to be as intoxicated as she had first appeared while wobbling on the porch.
"Let me just get the lights, and I'll be back in." Scribbs turned off the lights, grabbed a fresh glass of water to place on the nightstand, and quietly slipped under the blankets. It was strange listening to Ash's quiet breathing next to her, and as she stared at the ceiling she wondered if the 'no stray limbs' rule would be enforced tonight.
All thoughts fled from her mind as an arm slid over her waist and she felt Ash's hair brush against the bare skin of her shoulder. Holding very still, Scribbs could barely let herself breathe. She felt like she could almost feel the individual ridges of Ash's fingerprints through her shirt as her diaphragm rose and fell with each breath.
"Ash " Scribbs whispered softly.
"What did you mean earlier " Scribbs shifted so that she was facing Ash. "On the porch when you said you'd rather spend the night with me?" Ash was silent. She shifted so that she was staring at the ceiling. Slightly nervous, Scribbs wondered if she'd pushed too far, too quickly.
"It's comfortable. You, me, this. I don't really know." Ash paused. "I just, I can be myself. I didn't really want to be alone, but I didn't I just needed to have you near." Ash rolled back over. "You twist and bend all the rules Emma, but only as much as you know I can stand."
"Oh." Scribbs paused, and then leaned herself forward to press her lips lightly against Ash's. Their first kiss was sweet and gentle and only ended when Scribbs pulled back slightly. "Was that alright Kate?"
Ash didn't answer, she leaned the remainder of the distance and reinitiated. Soon their kisses began to get deeper, and Scribbs found herself leaning over Ash. With a light gasp, her back arched as Ash's hands slipped under her top to the bare skin of her back and started exploring. Pulling back slightly, she went on instinct and lifted the tank top over her head, exposing her torso to Ash's slightly awed view. Ash's hand traced a soft line from Scribbs' neck to her waist, her eyes capturing every freckle and line.
"Can I?" Scribbs ran her fingers lightly under the hem of Ash's tank. "I mean, it only seems fair." With no delay, Ash lifted her arms to allow the shirt to pull over. It was Scribbs' turn to let her eyes caress every curve of Ash's chest and stomach. Both could only gasp when Scribbs leaned in and let bare flesh meet for the first time.
"Emma " Ash gasped breathlessly as a gentle line of kisses moved across her collarbone. Closing her eyes, she resolved herself to lie still as the soft exploration continued. A nuzzle here, and gentle nip there, and soft touches of breath soon had her mind in a haze. When temptation finally grew too much for Scribbs, the soft lick across her tightened nipple caused Ash's eyes to open wide and gaze in wonder at the beautiful blond teasing away. With her mouth driving one side insane, and gently playing fingers causing equal mayhem, it was clear that Scribbs was taking joy in seeing how far she could push her brunette partner.
Twisting her hips sharply, Ash reversed their position and allowed all the pent up feeling to emerge in their kiss. Now it was Scribbs' turn to be driven to distraction by Ash's eager hands and mouth. Each freckle that had teased Ash's view soon had been thoroughly mapped and explored, and each ticklish spot teased until near torture. Capturing her gaze, Ash placed soft kisses closer and closer before finally capturing a taunt nipple and sucking softly.
Heat radiated and built between the two as Scribbs pulled Ash up her body to capture her lips again. Hands roamed freely over back and shoulders as they moved together and enjoyed the soft feel of skin moving against skin.
Neither pushed the other to go any further than a good snog session, there was an unspoken trust and acknowledgement that this was just the beginning of something quite special and serious. As things wound down and pulses began to settle, Scribbs gazed at Ash's flushed face.
"I think those wildlife folks can take as much time as they need to clear out your porch. I may have to move the bats back in afterwards if this is what my reward will be." Ash snuggled into Scribbs' shoulder.
"You'll do nothing of the sort unless you really would rather spend the night on your own couch, and I'd much rather continue using you as my personal pillow." Scribbs smiled softly in the dark. Knowing Ash tomorrow would be spent discussing the logistics and effects of tonight. For now, just enjoying a complete death to the 'no stray limbs' rule would be more than enough.
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