DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was supposed to be a short bit of fluff. Got away from me, it did. So the conclusion of the other story will have to wait for a day.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"And he's forgiven you for being on the force?
"Yup. In fact, he thinks it's a bit of a bonus."
"Don't tell me he's got some outstanding parking tickets he wants you to deal with?"
"Aw, he wanted you to wear the uniform, didn't he?"
"Yeah, they always want the heels. So did you?"
Ash stopped dead in the corridor of the station, staring at the scene in front of her. The voice was familiar but the ensemble certainly was not.
"Scribbs?" Her eyes traveled from the peaked cap to the epaulettes on the shoulders, from the crisp white shirt to the immaculately-pressed skirt.
"What?" came the surly reply from the blonde. She glared at her partner. "You're staring. You'd think you've never seen a uniform before."
"I've never seen yours."
"Yes, well, I made detective, now didn't I? Not supposed to wear the bloody uniform anymore, am I?" Ash reversed her scrutiny, traveling back up the row of suit buttons secured tightly over the tie. "You'd think the Queen was visiting, but no, it's all hands on deck for the yearly Christmas parade." Scribbs cast a sour glance at a few uniformed officers slipping by her. "Like we don't have enough uniforms on the force to provide security." Finally noticing her partner's lack of attention, Scribbs asked, "Ash, are you okay?"
Ash stood silently for a moment before realizing a question had been asked. "Yes, yes, of course, I'm perfectly fine."
Scribbs gave her an unconvinced look and was about to question further when she realized what else was wrong with the picture before her. "Hey, wait, why aren't you all gussied up in your uniform?"
"I guess they didn't need the detective inspectors for security," Ash replied, smugly.
"So unfair," Scribbs accused before stomping off in the direction of the town square.
"All done, then?"
Scribbs gave a cry and swung around from where she was slipping off her overcoat in the small, little-used locker room. "Don't sneak up! You almost gave me a heart attack." She peered into the dark corner were Ash was standing. "What are you doing? Waiting to jump out at someone?"
"I was waiting for you, actually."
"Do we have a case?" Scribbs asked as she turned back and hung up her coat. "Just give me a few minutes to change."
"No, no case."
Scribbs glanced at her out of the corner of her eye. "So why are you waiting for me?"
"You know, I never understood the fascination," Ash began, on a seeming non-sequitor.
"Huh?" Scribbs questioned, taking off her hat and putting it into the locker.
"The uniform. Remember that bachelor party case last year, the stripper in the copper uniform? The mate said it was tradition."
Scribbs' eyes narrowed as she tried to follow the conversation. "So?"
"I just never understood it." Ash took a couple of steps forward and leaned her shoulder against the row of lockers, crossing her arms in front of her, staring at Scribbs intensely.
"Until today, that is."
Scribbs knew she should try for a full sentence at some point, but all she got was another "huh?"
"Now I see it. I mean, the skirt is a bit short, shows off the legs," Ash's gaze traveled up the aforementioned part of Scribbs' anatomy, "but it is the whole thing, isn't it? The femininity and the authority "
"Ash, did someone slip something into your tea?"
Ash stepped closer, right beside Scribbs, " the shiny bits," her hand brushed the epaulettes on the shoulders, traveled down the broad expanse of dark blue fabric to the badge, "all these buttons " She toyed with the top button of the jacket.
"Ash," Scribbs stepped back and away from her obviously deranged partner, banging into the row of lockers at her back as she did so, "what are you doing?"
Ash pursed her lips. "I'm just," she shrugged her shoulder nonchalantly, "expressing my appreciation for your uniform." Her eyes swept down Scribbs' body in frank appraisal before meeting Scribbs' eyes. "Is that a problem?"
"You sure nobody's been messing about with your tea?"
"Positive." Ash stepped forward to close the distance again and slipped a finger into the knot of Scribbs' tie, slowly loosening it.
"And you didn't sneak up and polish off Sullivan's booze?"
Tie undone and hanging from Scribbs' neck, Ash's fingers turned to the buttons of the shirt, nimbly loosening the first two before starting in on the suit coat. "Nope."
Scribbs thought, hard. "So after years in the academy and working in a police station, you've suddenly discovered a previously unknown fetish for police uniforms?" The last ended in a bit of a squeak as Ash finished the jacket and returned to the buttons on the crisp, white shirt.
Ash laughed softly under her breath. "Only if it's a very specific fetish, limited, as it is, to you in your uniform."
Ash pulled back from where her lips had brushed Scribbs' neck. "Is that all you have to say? I'm slowly stripping you in the locker room at work and I've just confessed that I I "
"That you what?"
Ash's nose scrunched up, as it did when she was following a line of thought to its conclusion, "That I'm attracted to you."
Scribbs cocked an eyebrow inquisitively and asked, "To me?" Ash nodded. "Really?"
"Yes, really. Is it all that difficult to understand? We spend all our time together, we've terrible luck with men, and, well, you look great in your uniform."
"Again with the uniform," Scribbs teased lightly.
"Well, I was just in the process of explaining that I finally figured out what all the fuss is about," Ash joked, before nibbling her lower lip anxiously. "You're not freaked out?"
"A bit surprised, is all. I mean, I never suspected that Detective Inspector Kate Ashurst is a closet pervert."
Ash's eyes narrowed dangerously, but with a twinkle. "A what?" she asked in a mock-threatening tone.
Scribbs snaked her arm around Ash and pulled her close. "A closet pervert," she repeated. "With a predilection for uniforms, public sex " she kissed Ash's lips lightly, "and girl-on-girl action " The next kiss was more heated, but still soft.
"Yes, well, there's a lot you don't know about me," Ash slid her hands under the unbuttoned shirt and up Scribbs' back, nibbling at her ear.
"I just need to know one thing."
Ash leaned back from the embrace to meet Scribbs' eyes. "And what's that?"
"Will you be wearing your uniform for me tonight?"
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