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.

By zennie


"You're staring."

Ash's nose crinkled as she regarded her colleague across their shared desks. "I was not."

"Yes, you were. In fact, you've been doing it a lot lately." Ash's expression was openly skeptical. "I see you out of the corner of my eye, watching me," Scribbs presented her evidence as conclusive, even though she only had a feeling that her partner was acting oddly.

"Rubbish." Ash's dismissal was quick and pointed. "I most certainly would not stare."

"Well, it's not staring, exactly, it's like your eyes fix on me and…" Scribbs searched for the word, "…linger."

"Linger?" Ash's acid tone as she repeated the word was a clear indication of what she thought of the whole conversation. "My eyes are not lingering on you, or on anyone else for that matter, and besides, what you just described can also be characterized as staring, and as I said, I do not stare."

Scribbs leaned back in her chair, crossing her arms across her chest in a sulk. "Well, you're staring at me."

Ash sighed in exasperation. "I spend 10 to 12 hours a day with you. Why on earth would I need to stare at you?"

Scribbs thought for a minute but couldn't think of any reason. "I don't know," she pouted. Ash simply arched an eyebrow in response and went back to her work, considering the matter closed in her mind.

Scribbs watched Ash work for a few minutes, still in her sulk, before an idea came to her. When Ash glanced over a few moments later, she had a big, brilliant smile on her face and Ash frowned, wondering what this change of mood portended.

Plan A: Turnabout is fair play

"Stop it," Ash commanded without looking up from her computer.

"Stop what?" Scribbs' voice was innocence personified.

"You're staring."

"I'm not." Ash finally glanced up from her computer and her expression was frankly incredulous. "Can I help it if my eyes just… linger?" Ash's eyes narrowed dangerously for a moment before she turned back to her computer, striking the keys with renewed vigor.

"You're staring and it's creepy," she said pertly. "Now stop it before I suggest to Sullivan that you are developing psychological problems."

Plan B: Ignorance is bliss

"You're quiet today," Ash commented while Scribbs navigated the car through the streets of Middleford.

"Maybe I don't have anything to say."

"You never 'don't have anything to say'," Ash mimicked her tone perfectly and Scribbs scowled, in danger of actually lapsing into a bad mood.

"Today, I do. Or I don't." Scribbs tried to work the grammar out in her head before giving up and saying, "You know what I mean." She then let the silence grow again, to let her point sink in. This, she thought with glee, will drive Ash mad.

"You know," Ash said after a pause and Scribbs almost smiled in triumph. Here it comes, she thought. "It's rather peaceful in the car without your constant chatter." Scribbs' heart sank and she slumped down in her seat. "I think I like it," Ash continued. "Well done, Scribbs."

Plan C: When all else fails, get her drunk

"Why are we here, again?"

"I told you, to get a drink." Scribbs waved to a couple of other coppers, smiling happily as the familiar noise of the pub washed over her. She gestured at a table back in the corner and put her hand at the small of Ash's back to guide her. Feeling Ash stiffen and her green eyes turn to Scribbs with a look of stunned trepidation, Scribbs realized what she had done and pulled her hand back. "Sorry," she said, sheepishly.

Ash's voice was contrite as she replied, "It's… all right. I was just surprised." She led the way back to the corner table, leaving Scribbs to stare after her.

Two vodka-n-beers later, Scribbs was no closer to knowing what was going on in her partner's head than she had been at the beginning of the evening, so she headed up to the bar for a third. On her way, she ran into an old friend from Traffic, and chatted for a few minutes before the sound of a throat clearing behind her interrupted.

"Hey, Ash, you remember…"

Ash ignored her attempt to introduce them. "I thought you were here with me, not to flirt with old boyfriends." With that, she spun on her heel and pushed her way through the crowd. Scribbs shot her friend an apologetic smile as she dashed after her partner, catching up with her and spinning her around.

"Ash, what…" was as far as she got before Ash pulled her close, planting a long, lingering kiss on an unsuspecting, yet completely compliant, Scribbs.

Wolf whistles cut through the shocked silence as they broke apart and Ash bolted for the door, leaving a stunned Scribbs in her wake. Her buddy from Traffic voiced everyone's thoughts as he asked, "Did she just…?"

Ash was on the pavement in front of the pub, her mobile to her ear. "Ash!" Scribbs called to her.

Ash shushed her, saying, "I'm trying to call a taxi."

"I'll drive you home."

Ash ignored her, listening to the voice on the other end of the phone. Finally, she said, "An hour? No, cancel it." She hung up and stood with her mobile in her hand, toying with it absently. "I suppose you want an explanation," she muttered apprehensively.

Scribbs thought for a moment. "Nope," she said, her mouth stretching into a wide, silly grin. "That actually answers a lot of questions."

"Like what?"

"Like why you've been staring at me..."

"I don't stare," corrected Ash automatically.

"… and your possessive streak."

Ash sighed and was about to speak when she felt Scribbs' hands on her shoulders, rubbing gently. "You might have told me, you know, instead of snogging me in the local cop bar."

Groaning, Ash covered her face. "It's all your fault; if you hadn't plied me with alcohol…"

"Would you have told me?"

"Probably not," Ash admitted. "I'm not going to be able to show my face in the station again," she said with a sigh.

Scribbs slid her arms around Ash's waist and pulled her back for a hug. "It won't be that bad, a few snickers and comments, maybe, but everyone's too afraid of you to make a fuss." She nuzzled Ash's neck, appreciating how nicely they fit together and how Ash relaxed into the embrace and tilted her head back to give Scribbs better access.

She had a sudden thought. "Hey, how many rules did you break in there, anyway?"

Ash mumbled something too softly for Scribbs to hear. "What?"

"Five," Ash articulated clearly and not without a hint of disgust in her voice. Scribbs smiled against the soft skin under her lips before pressing soft kisses there.

After a few moments, Ash said, "I thought you were going to give me a ride home."

"I'm rather enjoying myself here."

"Yes, but I'd rather we go someplace where we can have some privacy… and where I can get you out of these clothes."

"Well, why didn't you say so?" Scribbs grabbed Ash's hand and dragged her toward the car, missing the small, pleased grin on Ash's face in her haste. "Your chariot awaits."

The End

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