DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to darandkerry for the beta.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Sweet Rules
By atfm


"Scribbs, what's my rule about sweets in the bedroom?"

A duck-shaped wine gum hovered in midair as the hand that held it stopped halfway on its path to an already expectantly opened mouth.


"Don't eat them if their colour doesn't match the sheets?" Scribbs examined the bright red gum, then glanced down at Ash's mauve-coloured bed linen, then back up at the sugary bird trapped between her fingers before she finally dropped her gaze to its colourful companions safely ensconced in the transparent two-pound wine gum container in her lap.

Ash refrained from murdering one little animal after the other by chucking them out the window. "No. Try again."

Scribbs had guiltily placed the lid back on the container and carefully lowered it onto the floor next to the bed.

"My very random guess would be that you don't wish to have any sweets in your bedroom, yes?"

"Mock me all you want, it's a good rule. Just look at all the sugar you've already spread over the bed!" Tugging the blanket from Scribbs, Ash gathered it in her arms, went to the open window with it, and began to shake it energetically to rid it of the tiny crystals.

"What if I'm naked when I eat them?"

"Tempting, but no."

Ash threw the blanket back at Scribbs and crawled into her side of the bed. Running her hands over the sheet, her facial expression suggested she was performing a task of utmost importance.

Scribbs looked amused. "What are you doing, patting it down?"

"If I find a single wine gum in my bed, you're sleeping at your place for the next two weeks."

Smiling, Scribbs leaned closer to Ash. "You know," she whispered conspiratorially, "if you want me to take this rule seriously, you have to do the nose-crinkly thing, too."

Ash gave her a stern look and tucked the blanket around her tightly. "No more sweets in my bedroom. Goodnight."

Scribbs chuckled good-naturedly. "Goodnight, Ash."

"Scribbs, what's my rule about sweets in the toilet?"

"There'sh a rule about shweetsh in sheh toilet?"

Despite the fact that Scribbs was obviously breaking one of her rules, Ash found it rather endearing that Scribbs' enunciation was somewhat hampered by the sticky fudge between her teeth.

"Of course there is. The toilet is the cleanest room of a flat, at least in my place; I'm not so sure about yours. You can't eat in here."

Scribbs managed the small feat of separating her bottom row of teeth from the top row and gulped down the remnant of fudge. "I should've known. Though technically, it was already in my mouth when I came in here, so I was only finishing it."

Involuntarily, Ash's lips curled into a small smile. "Don't you go all pernickety on me, that's my job. Besides you brought the bag in here with you. And –" she gestured vaguely in the direction of a glittery toothbrush.


"You'd already brushed your teeth."

Scribbs blinked. "And?"

"Fudge, Scribbs! It sticks to your teeth! You'll have very happy and well-fed caries bacteria, which will then in turn feed on your teeth!"

"You sound like my mother." The emotive quality of the statement was somewhere between surprise and petulance, mixed with just a hint of terror.

Not particularly pleased with being compared to Scribbs' mother – she had nothing against her, it just wasn't the type of thing she liked to hear from her lover – Ash decided that this was as good a moment as any to steer the conversation away from dental hygiene.

"Isn't that my fudge anyway?" She scrutinised the bag with narrowed eyes.

Scribbs scooped up the fudge from the brim of the bath and held it protectively in both hands. Her right to the sweets was about to be challenged, and she was ready to defend it.

"The old lady said it was for both of us…"

"The old lady said it was for me. You made fun of her dog. You know, eating in the toilet is bad, but eating my fudge in my toilet is almost a felony."



"You're crazy."

Ash smirked. "I know."

"Scribbs, what's my rule about sweets in the kitchen?"

"You don't have a rule about sweets in the kitchen." Scribbs tore open the package of popping candy and emptied its contents into the hollow of her hand, her eyes sparkling in a manner that, to Ash, was decidedly not appropriate for sweets.

"Oh. Right. Kitchen. Food. Go ahead."

Fascinated, Ash watched as Scribbs brought her hand up and dipped her head to gather up the crumbly substance with her mouth. When she raised her head, there were small pink bits sticking to her chin, and her expression was one of childish glee.

Scribbs saw Ash's lips move but was unable to hear anything as the popping candy crackled on her tongue. When the sound ceased and the crunchy treat dissolved in her mouth, she swallowed the rest of it. "What?"

With a glance at Scribbs' very sticky-looking hand, Ash pointed at the gleaming surfaces of the kitchen appliances. "You can eat in here, but, for heaven's sake, please wash your hands before you touch anything."

"Yes, ma'am." Scribbs proceeded to run her tongue over her palm.

"Scribbs, what's my rule about sweets in the lounge?"

Ash had marched into the room and found Scribbs sitting on the couch cross-legged and stuffing herself with chocolate as she flipped through the channels.

"This is my lounge; you can't make any rules here."

"Oh yes, I can, and I will. I'm not terribly fond of sitting on chocolate." Although the thought of encountering chocolate rubbed into the cushions and leaving stains on her trousers caused her eye to twitch, the sight of Scribbs' chocolate-smeared mouth made Ash smile slightly, and she was more than tempted to go and lick it clean.

"I thought you liked chocolate."

"I do like chocolate, but there are rules about eating it." She paused. "Did I really just say that?"

Scribbs grinned. "Yep."

"Either way, it's better to eat it somewhere safe."

"Like where?"


"You go and eat your chocolate outside then, and I'll make myself comfortable here." Scribbs stretched out on the couch and placed a slightly melted piece of chocolate on the coffee table without a wrapper or a plate while she continued to munch on the piece she held in her other hand.

Ash's eye twitched once more. She picked up the chocolate from the table and held it up gingerly between her thumb and forefinger.

"See what I mean! That's it. Now, I want you to hand over all the sweets you have so I can dispose of them."

"Forget it."

"You wish." Ash snatched the chocolate bar from Scribbs.

"Hey!" the blonde whined.

"You're not getting any ever again if you don't tell me where all your sweets are."

Scribbs hesitated, seemingly torn between two very essential needs, and then reluctantly, she pointed at a drawer across the room.

Ash walked over and removed an impressive amount of sweets in various colourful wrappers. Eventually, she turned back towards the couch. "The secret supply, too."

"You're an evil witch." Scribbs glowered at her. She got to her feet and joined Ash next to the drawer. Kneeling down, she retrieved a shoebox from under it, which she then unceremoniously dropped next to the pile of sweets on top of the drawer. "The things I do for you."

"The things you do for a clean flat," Ash corrected her.


"Scribbs, are you feeling okay? You're shivering."

Ash looked at her partner across their desks in the office. Scribbs had been fidgety all day, and now light tremors were running through her body.

"Withdrawal symptoms," Scribbs huffed.

"Don't be ridiculous. You can't be addicted to sugar; you're probably just coming down with a cold. Perhaps you should call it a day and go home."

"No. My home is not a happy place anymore."

Ash was reminded of a highly dramatic play she'd once seen at the theatre. "What about me? I'm still there."

"You!" Scribbs pointed a shaky finger. "It's your fault my flat is a sad place now."

"Aren't you exaggerating a little?"

"No, I'm not. I want my sweets drawer back, and until then, I'll just stay here to indulge in paperwork because that's so much better than going home to a sweetless place."

With that, Scribbs engrossed herself in a report, signalling to Ash that she considered the conversation to be at an end.

Two hours later, Ash left the office to go home.

Another two hours later, Scribbs became bored of diligently doing her paperwork and decided she'd made her point.

When she entered her flat and closed the door behind her with a sigh, she noticed a number of small items on the floor of the hallway. Upon closer inspection, Scribbs realised they were individually wrapped pralines, forming some sort of trail to be followed.

Remembering the Stuart fiasco, she warily stared down on the chocolate for a minute before curiosity got the better of her, and she slowly trudged along the line of pralines and into the kitchen.

The trail ended in front of the fridge, and as she looked up, she discovered a yellow post-it on its door. Open me, it read. Carefully, she complied, half-expecting an unpleasant surprise; however, upon seeing what was inside, a smile spread on her face.

Ash had been sitting quietly in the lounge when she'd heard Scribbs come home and go into the kitchen. When her lover appeared in front of her, practically hugging a large bowl, Ash almost laughed out loud.

"You made me chocolate pudding?" Scribbs beamed.

Ash smiled. "Yes, I did. And you may even come to sit next to me when you eat it."

Scribbs shuffled over to the couch and plopped down on it gracelessly. From the pocket of her jeans, she produced a spoon and wielded it like a weapon as she dug into the pudding. "What made you change your mind?" she managed between two mouthfuls.

"Couldn't stand to see you so unhappy."

"What about the rules?"

Ash took a deep breath, and it obviously cost her quite an effort to reply. "Some things don't need rules."

"Hear, hear." Scribbs grinned.

"Don't dwell on it," Ash murmured. "Now, where's the second spoon?"

Scribbs smiled devilishly. "Second spoon? Nice try. This is all mine, but if you behave, I might let you lick some of it off my body later."

The End

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