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Ash shuffled the papers on her desk, quickly straightened the edges against the wooden surface, then placed them face-down before her. Five long seconds later, she snatched up the papers, only to shuffle and straighten them once more.
"Ash," Scribbs warned, her tone both long-suffering and piteous, "if you don't stop soon you'll wear the ink right off the paper."
The look on Ash's face was enough to curdle milk as she waved the starched white sheets in front of Scribbs' face. "This," she said, almost hitting Scribbs in the nose with page five, "could be all that stands between us and the unemployment line." Her nostrils flared at the very thought of spending her days watching Trisha and filling out forms for council housing. "If I can make him see that our -" she leant forward, her voice dropping to little more than a whisper "- relationship -" she straightened, glowered, and resumed "- is not detrimental to the force, he might just let us keep our jobs."
"He can't fire us," Scribbs scoffed. "The twats in HR would be all over him in a heartbeat. You know that nob-head Barratt has been itching to challenge someone to a fight ever since he came back from that diversity awareness seminar last March."
"I am not diverse!" The idea was preposterous. "I'm a police officer and a very good one."
"You're also shagging your female DS and that, my dear Ash, makes you a poster-child for diversity." Scribbs' smirk slowly melted as she caught sight of a figure standing behind Ash. "Hello, Boss."
"Boss!" Ash's neatly aligned papers flew into the air and began raining down on the three person tableau. "I didn't... We didn't see you there."
"No?" The edge of his lip twitched but he managed to maintain a look of bland enquiry as Ash scrambled about on the floor after her papers. "So," he said, once she'd finally risen, "you're shagging one of my Detective Sergeants?"
Ash's eyes widened and she frantically looked for point one in her notes. She cleared her voice, "I am aware that interoffice relations of a romantic nature are -"
"She prefers the term 'making love'," Scribbs informed her boss.
"- frowned upon in the service, at least where they apply to officers working in close proximity with one another, but as you can see from my chart." She broke off to hand Sullivan a brightly coloured pie chart. "Our productivity has increased, rather than decreased, over the last four months."
"That's how long we've been shagging," Scribbs translated.
"And, although I realise productivity isn't everything, putting away miscreants is the main purpose of our role as detectives, and -"
"Four months?" Sullivan queried, his voice low so as not to interrupt Ash's recitation. "That would mean you got together in January, right?"
"Eighteenth." Scribbs gestured in Ash's direction. "She lured me back to her place for a quick fumble on the sofa after closing the Collins case."
"That would explain the matching turtlenecks," he mused.
"I still don't understand why it's taken you this long to tell me." He looked downcast, as if someone had kicked his favourite puppy. "I told you about Roger after our second date."
"Yeah, but you're not Ash," Scribbs lowered her voice until it was almost impossible to distinguish from the background hum of the printer, "she's crazy."
Sullivan stifled a chuckle, but couldn't help nodding in agreement.
"And I'm sure the Commissioner would agree with me," Ash intoned, the finality of her words cutting into Sullivan and Scribbs' conversation and leaving them both slightly perplexed.
"Quite," said Sullivan. "Well, congratulations, Ash, you make a lovely couple."
Ash's jaw dropped open.
"Thanks, Boss," said Scribbs.
He smiled, plucked the wilting papers out of Ash's hand, and strode off in the direction of his office.
"See," said Ash, "I told you there was nothing to worry about."
Scribbs merely grinned before taking her girlfriend's hand and leading her toward the exit and a celebratory fumble on the nearest available sofa.
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