DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Rendering Aid
By Ann


A tall brunette walked briskly into the emergency room and headed straight for the information desk. She patiently waited for the woman to acknowledge her, but it seemed the receptionist would rather continue her work on the computer.

"I wonder if you could help me, please. My partner has been injured," Ash explained, flashing her warrant card at the older woman.

"Name," the receptionist asked indifferently.

"It's on the card, DI Ashurst," Ash countered in a professional tone, pointing to the name that corresponded to the rather unflattering picture.

Rolling her eyes, the receptionist replied, "Not yours, your partner's."

"Oh, um... her name is DS Scribbins, Emma Scribbins."

The unpleasant woman tapped a few keys on the keyboard, and without looking up, informed, "She's in the second room to your right, Room 3A."

Not waiting for further instructions, Ash turned and walked down the hallway, ignoring the shouts of the woman telling her that she couldn't go in and that she had to wait in the small waiting room.

Throwing the door open, the brunette found her partner lying in a small bed and staring at the ceiling. "Scribbs, it's me," Ash offered, stepping just inside the room.

The blonde immediately swung her head toward the doorway and exclaimed, "Thank God. Get me out of here, Ash. They're trying to make me stay overnight."

"For being attacked by a chipmunk? Was it rabid?" Ash asked, unconsciously taking a step backward.

"What?" Scribbs countered, wrinkling her brow in confusion.

"The chipmunk; Boss said you were injured by a chipmunk. I did think it strange since chipmunks are indigenous to Asia and North America. Was it someone's pet?" The tall inspector questioned as she took in the short white cast on her partner's left arm, wondering what kind of damage the small rodent had inflicted.

"Are you daft, Ash? I was at one of those air shows with Jimmy Braxton, and I fell off the wing of one of the planes. Well, actually I was knocked off by the petrol hose."

"An airplane? What were you doing on the wing and why did the boss mention a chipmunk?"

"Jimmy knew the pilot, and he was giving a private tour. Cute bloke, too," Scribbs stated, smiling in memory.

"The chipmunk, Scribbs?" Ash responded, attempting to get her partner back on the subject.

"Huh? Oh, the Chipmunk is one of those trainer planes used by the RAF. There were dozens of them at the show," Scribbs replied, throwing the covers back to reveal a hospital gown, a very short hospital gown.

Forcing herself to ignore the expanse of skin, Ash suddenly found the dull grey walls very interesting, and before she could respond to the chipmunk explanation, a voice from the doorway screeched, "Here she is doctor; I told her she couldn't come in."

The brunette turned her attention to the door while Scribbs sat against the headboard with her arms folded. Nodding toward the doctor, she reported, "He's the one insisting that I have to stay."

Extending her hand to the man, Ash greeted, "Good morning, doctor. I'm DI Kate Ashurst. I understand that you're in charge of my partner's treatment."

Smiling, the man replied, "Nice to meet you, inspector. I'm Doctor Dolittle," and releasing the brunette's hand, he joked, "No relation to Eliza."

"No, but I bet he talks to animals," Scribbs muttered from her bed.

"Doctor, I informed this woman that she couldn't see the patient, but as you can see, she bullied her way into the room," the receptionist tattled, expecting the doctor to remove Ash from the room at once.

Turning to the older woman, Dr. Dolittle replied, "It's okay, Ms. Waters. I think I may need the inspector's assistance in getting her partner to stay overnight."

"You'll need more than that," Scribbs grumbled, glaring at the man.

The receptionist walked off in a huff, and Ash smirked as she watched the old biddy stomp out of the room, clearly unhappy. Turning her focus back to the doctor, Ash asked, "Why does Scribbs have to stay?"

"I believe she may have suffered a concussion. She's been obstinate, crass, and downright unpleasant since she's arrived," the doctor explained.

Grinning, Ash responded, "That's not from a head injury. She's like that all the time."

"Hey!" Scribbs protested, scowling at her partner.

"Well, that may be so, but I can't release her unless she has someone who can watch her for the next twenty four hours. Detective Scribbins has informed me that she lives alone, so I can't allow her to leave."

Sighing, Ash looked over at her pouting partner and offered, "I'll take responsibility for her."

"Will you sign a paper to that effect?" The doctor asked, relieved that he could possibly be free of this particular patient within the hour.

The brunette glanced over at the bed once again, noting that her partner had tilted her head and was wearing an expression that could only be classified as pitiful.

"Fine," Ash replied, and Scribbs beamed at the news.

Nodding, the doctor explained, "Okay. I'll go get the proper forms as well as instructions you'll need to follow once you get her home." Turning, he walked from the room, leaving the two women alone.

"Brilliant, Ash. Now, if you'll get my trousers and shirt from the cupboard, I can change, and then you can drop me off at my flat," Scribbs ordered, sitting up on the side of the bed.

Retrieving the items, Ash was shocked at the condition of the clothing. The trousers were ripped and torn, and the shirt only had one sleeve. She'd guessed the medical staff must've had to cut the sleeve to attend to Scribbs' broken arm.

"Hurry, Ash. It's bloody freezing in this room," Scribbs said, totally oblivious to her partner's realization of how much worse her injuries could've been.

Snapping out of her stupor, Ash replied, "Huh? Oh, sorry," and walking towards the blonde, she held the clothing out for her partner to take.

"Um...Ash? I'm kind of short handed at the moment. I'm going to need some help."

Putting the blouse on the bed, Ash leaned over and held the trousers for Scribbs to step into. The blonde managed to put her foot in the right leg, but when she tried to step into the other one, she lost her balance and began to fall forward. Luckily, Ash was paying attention and was able to catch her partner, and the two women held onto each other tightly, both hearts beating wildly out of fear as well as something else neither of them seemed to understand or acknowledge.

The returning doctor took one look at the compromising position and apologized, "Oh, please excuse me. I didn't mean to intrude. I'll just leave these papers here on the table. Give them to the receptionist on your way out, and if you have any problems, don't hesitate to call." Embarrassed, he quickly exited the room before either woman could offer a denial to his supposition.

"Um, Ash? I believe my doctor thinks that we're..."

"A couple," Ash finished the blonde's statement.

"So, what do you think about it?" Scribbs asked curiously, tilting her head.

"About what? Us being a couple?"

Scribbs merely nodded her response, and a flustered Ash replied, "I think we need to finish properly dressing you so that we can get out of this place."

Ten minutes later, the blonde was buttoned and zipped, despite the few uncomfortable moments involving a silky, black bra. Ash quickly signed the papers, and the two women left the room and headed toward the receptionist's desk.

Holding the papers, Ash said, "Here're the forms the doctor told me to leave with you."

The older woman continued to type on her keyboard, ignoring the brunette and her partner. Trying a more pleasant approach, Ash repeated, "Excuse me, ma'am. I have completed the forms Doctor Dolittle requested. May I leave them with you?"

No response was forthcoming as the clicking of the keys continued, and the two women stood in front of the desk for several more minutes waiting to be acknowledged. Finally, Scribbs expressed her view of the situation.

"Listen, you old cow. You'd better take these papers, or I'll shove them ...," the blonde started as she stepped toward the desk menacingly.

"Scribbs!" Ash interrupted, "Go wait by the door, and I'll handle this."

The petulant blonde glared at the receptionist before finally walking toward the exit, leaving Ash to deal with the unpleasant woman. A few moments later, she was joined by her partner, and the pair walked out of the emergency room, heading for the car.

"Did she take the papers?" Scribbs asked, carefully climbing into the car.

"Yes, but only after we had a discussion about parking violations and such," Ash replied, pulling out of the parking space. "It seems she drives her car to work everyday, so I merely pointed out how horrible it would be to receive a daily ticket for driving carelessly or parking illegally."

Scribbs grinned broadly as the two continued down the street; however, it didn't take long for a frown to appear on the blonde's face when she noted the direction they were heading.

"Ash? You're going the wrong way. I live in the other direction," the blonde stated the obvious.

"No, I'm not. We're going to my flat. If I have to watch over you for twenty four hours, I'm going to do it in my nice, clean living space," the brunette stated in a matter of fact tone.

Turning toward her partner, Scribbs protested, "I don't want to go to your place. I want to go home. I'm the injured party here; don't you think I should be able to recuperate in my own home?"

"No, not if I have stay with you. When was the last time you cleaned your flat, Scribbs?

"Um ... I don't know, but that's beside the point. You don't have to stay with me, Ash. I'll be just fine. Now, please turn the car around," the blonde directed, gesturing for her partner to take a left at the next street.

Continuing on her forward path, Ash replied, "I signed papers stating that I wouldn't leave you alone until tomorrow."

"But that was just to get me away from the animal doctor and his cow."

"Scribbs, how long have you known me?"

"What?" The blonde asked, wondering what the length of their relationship had to do with driving her home.

"Have I ever not taken my duties seriously?" The brunette asked, signaling a right turn.

"No, not really," Scribbs replied, wracking her brain to try to remember any instance where her partner was anything but professional.

"Well, I'm not going to start now. Those papers are legal documents, and I signed them. I fully intend to abide by my word," Ash explained as she pulled into a tight parking spot.

Climbing from her car, she headed toward the front door to her building, leaving Scribbs pouting in the car. Ash stood by the door and stared back at her partner, and eventually, Scribbs opened the door and slowly moved to join the brunette.

Once inside the flat, Ash directed the blonde to rest on the couch while she prepared a light meal. It was almost time for Scribbs to take her pain medication, and the instructions stated that the pill should be taken with food.

The two women ate the small repast and adjourned to the sofa to watch the telly. A small argument ensued as to which program to watch, and Scribbs insisted that she at least get to choose the program since Ash had basically kidnapped her. Relenting, the brunette acquiesced to the blonde's wishes.

As it turned out, it really didn't matter since Scribbs fell asleep ten minutes into her program. Noting the awkward position of the blonde, Ash moved her partner into a prone position as she scooted to one end of the couch. She placed the blonde's head in her lap and grabbed the remote, changing over to the program of her choice.

Scribbs woke to the low sounds of the telly, but she kept her eyes shut as she basked in a most wonderful sensation, someone was lightly running their fingers through her hair. Sighing, she slowly opened her eyes to find the telly on, and it didn't take her long to realize it wasn't her telly.

Focusing on the screen, she watched as planes took off and landed on a grainy black and white background. She very gently turned onto her back and looked up into Ash's smiling face.

"Good evening, Scribbs. Did you have a nice nap?"

The events of the day came rushing back to the blonde, and she just nodded her head in reply. She could hardly believe she was lying in her partner's lap, and that said partner was still gently playing with her hair.

Turning her head back toward the screen, she asked, "Whatever are you watching, Ash?"

Smiling, the brunette replied, "A documentary on the RAF. There's been quite a bit of discussion about your Chipmunk."

Scribbs closed her eyes and said, "Oh, don't remind me. I'm going to kill Jimmy the next time I see him. He didn't even have the decency to accompany me to the hospital."

Hesitating, she added, "Of course, I did yell and scream at him the entire time we were waiting for the ambulance to arrive. And um, . . . I might've mentioned that since I couldn't kick his arse that I'd get you to do it for me."

Ash looked down at her partner, noticing, not for the first time, how truly beautiful she was. Brushing away a stray hair from Scribbs' forehead, she offered, "Well, then, next time I see him, I shall kick his arse."

Scribbs opened her eyes and smiled. Without a word, she turned her attention back to the telly, and together, the two women watched the documentary in silence.

With the sounds of Chipmunks taking off, Ash continued to stroke the blonde hair as Scribbs snuggled closer to her partner.

The End

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