DISCLAIMER: I don't own them, and I wouldn't really know what to do with them if I did. They belong to various people working for/with CBS, I'm just having a little fun with them.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I don't think this contains any episode spoilers, it does mention events from 1.18 'Trial by Fire' but nothing really important. Also, I posted this in April of 2007 to fanfiction.net with the title 'What She Needed' under the same pen name. I just wanted to put it up here to reach a wider audience, and the International Day of Femslash seemed like the perfect opportunity. It's my first, and so far only, Shark fic and I hope you enjoy it.
CHALLENGE: Submitted for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Starts with a Dance
By SilverTurtle


Madeline Poe had had a long week. Working for Sebastian Stark, one of the best prosecuting attorneys in the state, took a lot out of a person. It's a real stressor, which is why Madeline goes clubbing every Friday night to blow off steam. She should be preparing that case for Monday and she knows it, but this is so much more fun!

Dancing had always been a passion of Madeline's. She took ballet as a girl, spending hours on end practicing. In high school she had been on the dance team and learned more popular moves to pair with her classical training. In college she had discovered the joys of clubbing and utilized all that she had learned about dance to woo her partners. The grace of ballet, the attitude of popular culture, and the sensuality of the club all flowed out of Madeline as she danced.

She was here at the club tonight not just to dance, but to find a mate for the night. It had become her custom every few weeks to come here and seek the carnal pleasures available to her through other people. Man or woman, it didn't matter as long as she got what she needed. She surveyed the crowd from the bar, waiting for her drink to be presented to her.

She has always been a fan of the chase. She has also always been particularly good at catching her quarry. Tonight was no exception. Madeline set her eyes on a pretty young thing out on the dance floor and decided that this was the person she'd be taking home.

The girl was taller than Madeline herself, with red hair, green eyes, and a devil-may-care smile. From the way she swung her friends around the dance floor Madeline could tell she was feisty. The younger girl was always laughing, always smiling, always moving. She was poetry come to life, transitioning from dance to dance, song to song, person to person; she was beautiful and confident and Madeline would have her.

There were no two ways about it; Madeline would not leave unless that fiery redhead was with her. She watched the girl move. She saw all the grace and sensuality she so prized in her partners. No one else she'd seen tonight could hold a candle to the redhead; she was perfect. She was just what Madeline needed.

The barkeep startled her when he set her drink by her elbow. She turned to pay the man and when she looked back to the floor she couldn't see the girl anywhere. Seeing she'd lost her prey for the night Madeline cursed, "Damn, lost her." She was about to take a sip from her beverage when a voice over her shoulder startled her for the second time that night.

"Lost who?" It was the redhead. Even more beautiful up close. Madeline covered her surprise by looking the girl up and down, pleased when the redhead didn't fidget under her scrutinizing gaze. The girl was confident. Madeline liked that. She found herself more drawn to the girl by the moment. The girl gave Madeline an amused glance and a raised eyebrow colored by a little grin.

Not wanting to give too much away too early Madeline replied "No one important." She was secretly pleased that the girl was still at the club, and talking with her no less; it would give Madeline the chance to win her over. "So, are you here with anyone?" A probing question asked casually enough that it didn't raise any alarms with the girl.

She answered shaking her head a little, "Just a group of friends. They won't miss me." Having said that the girl sat beside Madeline and motioned for the barkeep. Apparently she'd taken as much interest in Madeline as Madeline had in her. Wordlessly the barkeep tossed the girl a water bottle and nodded when she placed some bills on the counter.

"Come here often?" The wordless communication the girl had with the barkeep had sparked Madeline's interest. The girl would have to be a pretty regular customer for the bartender to recognize her and remember her order.

The girl opened her water and took a drink before replying, "Every week. My friends and I found we liked this spot so we stuck with it. You?"

Madeline found she liked the girl's voice. There was something about the notes it sounded that made Madeline want to listen to her for hours on end. "I don't usually come here but I thought I'd mix things up a bit tonight. I'm glad I did. It's not in every club that I can find someone who dances as well as I can." There was a bit of a challenge in Madeline's words, she was hoping to draw the girl out and get them into some physical contact where she could work her magic.

It worked. "Oh? Well, you'll just have to show me how well you dance. Join me?" The girl stood and offered her hand to Madeline, which she took. They pushed through a few bodies to a relatively clear spot on the floor and began to move, to dance.

Madeline was confident but she didn't want to scare the girl away so she kept things at a distance for a little while until the girl started moving in closer (either from being pushed there by other dancers, or of her own free will). When the girl came closer Madeline took shameless advantage of their positions to put her hands on the girl's hips, ostensibly to steady her. With control of the girl there she took over their movements, bringing them tightly together and moving to the beat of the music.

Pressing, touching, holding; Madeline moved to tantalize the girl. Every time the girl returned a particular move Madeline would push a little further. She received tacit permission in the girl's reciprocations. Soon they were moving together as though they were joined, hands roaming and bodies swaying, lips and tongues making contact with each other and with skin.

Madeline was intoxicated. The girl certainly knew what she was doing. The girl was good enough that Madeline was no longer sure who was doing the seducing, only that she was willing to be seduced and be the seducer. The girl pulled Madeline into a surprisingly heated kiss, never losing the dance. When the kiss broke Madeline suggested they go somewhere more private and the girl agreed with a lusty gaze.

Time moved quickly. Without being sure how they got there Madeline found they were in her apartment. Clothes were being pawed at and discarded at an incredible rate. Kisses were only broken to allow shirts to be removed. Hands explored newly exposed flesh. Breathing sped and was punctuated with surprised gasps and sharp exhalations. Naked the two women fell into Madeline's bed and filled the room with the sounds of their satisfaction.

Madeline woke the next morning to a warm weight pressed against her side and the sun falling across her bed sheets. She turned her head to the side and pressed her lips to the top of her partner's head, breathing in the scent of her hair and savoring the feel of the girl nestled into the crook of her neck and arm.

Last night had been something special. Never before had Madeline allowed a lover to stay until morning, but this young woman had reached a part of her no one else had. This girl had somehow connected to a part of Madeline's heart, a feat none of Madeline's many lovers had ever achieved. Madeline didn't even know the girl's name but she knew, she knew, that she needed her. She didn't think that she could survive without her now that she'd had a taste of what life could be with her.

Madeline tightened her hold on the girl for a moment, thinking that she'd do just about anything to keep her here. She never wanted to leave this bed, and she never wanted the younger woman to leave either. Madeline was certain she could sustain herself on the girl's kisses alone. She had closed her eyes and was breathing in the girl's scent, memorizing it, when she felt the girl stir. She opened her eyes and met the sleepy green orbs of her lover.

"Good morning." Madeline whispered to make sure not to startle the girl. She also presented a soft smile to the sleep tousled woman.

"'Morning" was the croaked reply. The girl had furrowed her brows and was squinting against all the light in the room. She soon adjusted and looked at Madeline with new eyes and lit her face with a bright smile. The girl moved so her hands were on either side of Madeline's face and she bent to kiss her thoroughly.

Madeline accepted the kisses with equal fervor and enthusiasm. Before the girl knew what was happening, Madeline had rolled them over so she was pressing down against the girl. A laugh escaped between their kisses and Madeline was forced to reluctantly end them while she dropped her head to the crook of the girl's neck and placed more kisses there.

Madeline heard a soft sigh and felt lips brush the shell of her ear and the hinge of her jaw, making her whole body shiver as it awoke with new arousal and anticipation. She felt the younger woman's body respond in kind, and soon they were repeating their experience of the night before, or rather of the earlier morning.

When they were both sated they lay together listening to each other breathe. Madeline had the girl pressed against her side again, both arms wrapped around her in a protective hold. She knew that the younger woman could hear her heart beating, how quickly it pulsed and how loudly it thudded. She felt the girl's hot breath puff across her chest and she sighed in contentment.

She was about to doze off when her cell phone rang. It had startled both women, but not enough to break their embrace. The girl lifted her head and gave Madeline a curious look, "Shouldn't you answer that?"

"I suppose I should." Removing one arm from the girl's lower back Madeline reached over to her nightstand and retrieved her phone. She was startled to see the name of her boss flashing on the screen, she answered, "Yes, Sebastian?" She didn't miss the shocked look on the girl's face as she heard the name of the caller and she wondered what prompted it, but her attention was soon drawn to her boss' words.

The girl disentangled herself from Madeline's hold while she was occupied with the phone. Confused and dismayed Madeline could only watch as the girl hastily gathered her clothes and belongings and began to dress, she couldn't very well hang up on her boss.

"Yes, Sebastian. I'll have the case ready first thing on Monday. Goodbye." She hung up quickly and threw on a robe as she climbed out of the bed. She was barely fast enough to catch the girl before she opened the door. "Wait. Where are you going?"

"I have to go. I should have been home hours ago." The girl was behaving nervously and Madeline noticed it. She knew it had something to do with the call but she didn't know what exactly had upset the girl. Maybe she just didn't like Sebastian, goodness knows few people like him as it is, and perhaps it bothers her that Madeline works for him. "I have to go. Goodbye."

Before the girl could open the door Madeline cried out again and managed to take hold of the girl's wrist. "Wait. Can't I have your name?" She hated to hear the sound of pleading in her voice but she felt that she needed this girl in her life; she didn't want to lose her. She'd like to be able to find her again.

"Julie. My name is Julie. I have to go." There was desperation in Julie's voice edging on panic. Madeline wondered why she needed to leave so badly, but decided against asking.

"Will I see you again?" she asked instead. Again she heard the straining of a plea in her voice. She knew that desperation and need must be obvious in her eyes. She was barely holding her robe closed with one hand while the other still held to Julie's wrist.

"I-I don't know." Madeline looked deep into Julie's eyes and what she saw there was the same need that she felt. Julie didn't want this to end either, but something had her running scared. Julie needed Madeline too. "Maybe. At the club. Please, I have to go." Tears sprang into Julie's eyes as she looked imploringly at Madeline.

Madeline released Julie's wrist with a great sense of loss. She felt almost as though her heart was being torn from her chest. Some of the devastation she felt must have shown in her expression because Julie took Madeline's face in her hands and kissed her hard, with a desperation that hadn't been in evidence the night before. "Please, understand. I'm sorry to leave like this."

Then Julie was out the door and away. Fleeing from whatever had frightened her. Madeline knew that she hadn't been the one to scare the girl, but what had? It was something about Sebastian Stark, but what Madeline doubted she would ever know.

Every night that week she went to the club where she had met Julie. Monday through Thursday proved useless efforts. Madeline would sit at the bar feeling depressed and hurt and desperate for her lover to return. She turned down all offers to dance; there was only one person she wanted to be with. Only one person mattered in Madeline Poe's world, and that person was Julie. No last name, no phone number, only Julie.

Madeline was starting to lose hope when Julie reappeared at the club. The girl looked as magnificent as she had a week ago. Madeline wondered for a moment if Julie even remembered her, but that traitorous thought was dismissed almost as soon as it was born. Of course Julie would remember her.

And the girl did. As soon as Julie's eyes lit on Madeline she was making a b-line through the masses of bodies to reach her. Madeline met her with a fierce kiss, which was returned just as fiercely. Julie had missed her too.

The kiss broke and Madeline immediately told Julie what had been on her mind all week, "Before we go anywhere you're going to give me your number. This week with no contact was too much to bear. I mean, I know we don't really know each other but-"

"I understand." Julie broke in, "I feel it too. I didn't like not knowing how you were. I'm sorry I left the way I did. I should have remembered to give you my number." She laughed a little as she took Madeline's phone and programmed her number into it. "You know, I'm at a disadvantage."


"I told you my name last week, but you never told me yours." It was a gentle tease that prompted a simple response.

"Madeline. My name is Madeline."

"It's a pleasure to put a name to the woman I've been thinking of all week." Julie smiled and took Madeline's hand, leading her onto the dance floor in an unconscious echoing of their meeting last week. They didn't stay long. They were soon in Madeline's apartment, reliving their experiences of the first night. Only now they had each other's names to drop in impassioned moments, of which there were many.

They eventually stopped meeting at the club. Julie would show up at Madeline's apartment and they would spend time together. Their relationship went through a gradual transformation. Madeline was even beginning to think she was in love, a relatively new experience for her.

With their meetings no longer confined to once a week they were able to get to know each other a lot better. And Madeline found that the more she knew about Julie, the more she fell in love. She was such a sweet young woman, always thinking of other people and wanting to fix all the world's problems; it was terribly endearing. She was smart too, keeping up on world issues, and on local issues. More than once Madeline found herself asking Julie's opinion on a case she was working on and getting highly useful replies.

Julie must have found something in Madeline to like as well, because she kept coming back over to her apartment. Madeline told Julie where to find her spare key if she came over and Madeline wasn't home so the girl could let herself in. A few days after that Madeline walked into her apartment to find Julie making dinner like a regular little housewife. Madeline could hardly resist calling out "Honey! I'm home!" as she stepped into the kitchen. To which Julie replied with a chuckle, a "Welcome back," and a kiss. Then she commandeered Madeline's services to help her finish cooking.

Madeline decided she could get used to having someone to come home to. She found it incredibly pleasant to walk into a welcoming hug upon returning home. And home cooked meals didn't hurt at all. They were much better than the piles of take-out she'd been having before Julie took over her kitchen. Even the left-overs were wonderful.

One Friday night Madeline came home after a particularly arduous day of working for Sebastian Stark to find Julie asleep on her couch, a book hanging from limp fingertips. Smiling, Madeline approached the girl and covered her with the throw blanket. She was two steps away when Julie woke and said "You're back," in a voice still filled with sleep but also with happiness.

Madeline turned around and looked at the smiling girl lying on her couch who at that moment was stretching in a most enticing fashion, and she felt her whole body warm and a sense of peace wash over her. Yes, she was in love. Madeline Poe was in love. With another woman, a younger woman. A woman she only knew as Julie. And she was perfectly content. She returned to the couch and bent to kiss Julie softly. When she pulled away she sighed out "I love you," without meaning to. Madeline had never given so much of herself away.

She knew it was true but she hadn't been ready to say it, and apparently Julie wasn't ready to hear it. "No you don't. You can't. You don't even know me." Julie was on the verge of tears saying these things. Madeline could tell she didn't want to be saying them, but she must have felt she had to.

"I know enough. I know that you're the most wonderful person I've ever known. I know that when I look at you," Madeline took Julie's face in her hands, "when I look at you I think the world is a better place to have you in it. I know that you make me happy. What else do I need to know?"

Julie shook her head, took Madeline's hands from her face, and stood. "You need to know who I am. What I am. But I can't tell you those things, I don't want to lose you because I'm pretty sure that I'm in love with you too. But you won't want me when you know who I am. I know it. So you can't tell me that you love me, no matter how much I want to hear it, because you don't know. You just don't know."

"Julie" Madeline didn't know what to say. Julie had a point. Madeline didn't know anything about Julie's life except for what she did with Madeline herself. She didn't know the girl's name, what she did for a living, how old she was…but Madeline didn't think those things mattered. What mattered was how Madeline felt for Julie, and how Julie felt for Madeline. By her own admission Julie was in love with Madeline, and Madeline was certainly in love with Julie, what beyond that mattered? "I don't need to know. It doesn't matter. I only need to know that you love me too. Why should anything else matter?"

"Because it will matter, once you know." Julie smiled sadly at Madeline, a tear streaking down one cheek. "I have to go." Without anymore words, Julie left. Leaving Madeline in her living room wondering what the hell just happened.

She didn't see Julie for two weeks after that. Julie wouldn't return her calls and she didn't come over at all. Madeline didn't know where Julie lived so she couldn't track the girl down. She had to wait.

When Madeline did see her it wasn't under circumstances she could have predicted. Madeline's boss, Sebastian Stark, was being held hostage in a courthouse by two men. A gunman and the prisoner the gunman was convinced to release. Raina was trapped in there with Sebastian too. Madeline was forced to stay out, along with the rest of the office.

She was watching Jessica Devlin for any news of the situation when she felt her heart stop. Julie, her Julie, had run up to Devlin crying "Jessica! Where's my dad? Is he okay?" When Devlin responded Madeline felt her blood run cold "Julie. Sebastian's fine. We're doing everything we can to get him out of there safely." Then Julie submitted herself to a hug from Devlin, and stayed there crying.

Madeline wasn't stupid. She could put the pieces together. Julie is Sebastian Stark's daughter. His teenage daughter. Julie, Madeline's lover, is her boss' teenaged daughter. Madeline felt faint. How could she not have put it together before? This is why Julie freaked out that first morning when Madeline had gotten a call from Stark. She hadn't known she'd been sleeping with one of her father's employees/co-workers. That would have been quite the shock.

But Julie hadn't broken things off with Madeline when she found out. And with this new information Madeline doubted she would break things off with Julie either. She would just have to make sure that Stark never ever found out about it, at least not until Julie turned eighteen. She was resolved to keep Julie in her life.

Madeline was still watching Devlin holding Julie when she noticed that Devlin really needed to get back to situation management, so she made her way over to the two and put a hand on both of their shoulders. Devlin looked curiously at her but Julie looked up and as soon as she realized whose hand was on her shoulder she launched herself into Madeline's arms with a sob, freeing Devlin. A quirked eyebrow was the only response Devlin gave to Madeline and Julie before she went back to doing her job.

Madeline stroked Julie's hair, letting the girl cry for as long as she needed. When Julie seemed to have gotten control of herself Madeline decided to speak. "This is what you couldn't tell me. That you're Sebastian's daughter." Julie just nodded with a frightened look on her face. "It's all right. This doesn't really change anything…not for me anyway. I still feel the same. I still love you."

Julie looked up from the ground, shocked. "Really?" Julie searched Madeline's face as she nodded. "I wish I could kiss you right now but…"

"I know. Me too. But in front of all these news cameras is not the best place to reaffirm our feelings. It'll have to wait until all of this is over." Just then the police got control of the situation and all the hostages were freed.

Julie quickly disentangled from Madeline's arms and ran to her father. Madeline smiled. Everything would work out. Sebastian hadn't been hurt, Julie would still be hers, and Madeline…well Madeline could finally stop going to those clubs. She'd found what she'd needed all along.

The End

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