There had been no plans for this chapter anytime soon, but I got a review from David12leca on the last one and thought: what the hell? and wrote one. It is so very M.

"Gail?"

Gail stopped, hand frozen on the doorknob. There was such defeat in Holly's voice, but also something else, exasperation maybe, as if she had expected this all along.

"Gail, please."

It was now or never.

Don't look back. Gail squeezed her eyes shut. Just don't look back. She twisted the knob.

She jumped and froze as a hand came to brush lightly against her back. The gentle caress eased at the tension in her shoulders, muscles uncoiling under Holly's fingers.

Gail leaned her forehead heavily against the door, the cool wood contrasting against the warmth of Holly's body close behind her. "I don't want to ruin this."

"Then why are you running?" Holly answered softly. "You can't just run every time you're afraid. One day someone will have to worth sticking around for, someone worth the risk. I had…I had just hoped it would have been me."

"You are, Holly," she snapped, gritting her teeth, "but you don't live here. You'll leave soon. You'll leave me. I'm the one who isn't worth sticking around for. I know that." It was her deepest fear splayed out like a reopened wound that never truly healed. It played in the back of her mind with any relationship. She'd been burned so many times before, all she knew was loss, regret. No one ever stayed.

Holly stepped forward, pressing Gail into the door so their bodies were flush with one another. Her hands ran across Gail's back and down her sides. Gail shivered as lips ghosted along her spine right between Gail's shoulder blades. "What if I didn't leave?"

Gail huffed. Though with the way her body was reacting, it probably looked more like a shudder. "What?"

Holly's hand squeezed at her waist, urging Gail to turn around. When she did, they were so close she could see the blown out pupils of Holly's eyes and her sincere shy smile. She bit her bottom lip. "They've offered me the position. I could take it now. I could live here. If you gave me a reason to stay."

Gail swallowed, her throat suddenly tight with all the hope and expectations that promise would bring. Her head rocked against the wood, trying to shake them away. They would only end up disappointing her in the end. Just like all the other times.

"You don't believe me?" Holly asked, running a finger across Gail's cheek to draw her attention.

When they locked eyes, Gail knew the cynical doubt was plain on her face from the way Holly's tiny smile drooped. "Why would you pick up your life?" For me.

Holly's grip was suddenly firm, cupping the bottom of Gail's chin making sure to have her undivided attention. There was fierceness in Holly's eyes Gail hadn't seen before. It was almost possessive. "I choose you, Gail Peck."

Gail's heart stuttered to a halt. Everything she'd ever wanted to hear from her lover, Holly had said in three simple words.

Letting go of Gail's chin, Holly cupped her cheeks gently. Gone was the possessiveness replaced by softness Gail was afraid to name. "Let me choose you, Gail. Let me lo…"

Gail surged forward, crashing their lips together hard enough to make Holly whimper. Their teeth knocked against each other. Hands pushed at clothing as they stumbled their way through the living room, back down the same path they had traveled only a short time before.

They crashed through Holly's bedroom door, both now clad in only their underwear, not separating until Holly's knees knocked against the edge of the mattress. She fell back, limbs and hair splayed.

Gail stood above her, hungry eyes running over tanned skin cataloguing all the places she would run her tongue over. All the places she wanted to bite and mark. The ways she would claim Holly. She had never felt quite as greedy with lover as she did of Holly.

"You can touch, you know. You were doing a pretty good job of that before," Holly remarked with a smirk. She pushed up to prop herself on her forearms.

"Oh yeah?" Gail said, hands running up and down Holly's thighs.

Holly hummed at the sensation or maybe in answer. Either way, her head fell back with the sound, exposing her long neck, pulse point ripe for taking between Gail's lips. Gail did just that, mouth nipping and sucking against the thudding heartbeat.

Her tongue swirled along the line of neck up to Holly's jaw. When she reached her ear, she ran her tongue along the edge before blowing cool air along the same path. Holly shuddered.

"Does this make you mine, Holly Stewart?" Gail whispered hotly into Holly's ear. She pulled at Holly's knees to draw her closer. Holly moaned as Gail's nails dug dully into her skin. "Do you want to be mine?"

"God, Gail," Holly groaned, eyes shut, head flung back, exposed. Gail had never seen anything more beautiful.

"Is that a yes?" Gail's nails dragged their way up to Holly's panty line. She traced the lace, waiting for answer. "Yes or no, Holly?"

Holly's head snapped forward, their eyes locking. Want swirled inside those dark brown eyes, pressing heavy against Gail's chest. "I'm yours, Gail. All yours."

Gail kissed her hard. Holly gripped at her face, at her back, clutching her as Gail's hand trailed to the wet spot gathering against the fabric of Holly's underwear. She pressed her fingers against it, drawing lazy teasing patterns.

"Fuck," Holly muttered against her lips. She let out a whimper when Gail drew back, trying to pull her back in.

Gail untangled herself from Holly's arms, pushing her back against the bed. Their bodies were flush. Drawing both wrists above her head, Gail looked directly into Holly's eyes as she commanded, "Stay."

She didn't let go until she was sure Holly understood what she was telling her. Only when she nodded did Gail draw back. Hooking her hands under Holly's legs, she pulled her to the edge of the bed and dropped to her knees on the carpet. Holly gasped when she realized Gail's intent.

She nipped her way along Holly's thighs until she reached her underwear. Her tongue dipped along the inside seam under the lace. Holly's hands wrapped into her own hair as she groaned.

"Gail, please…" Holly whined.

Gail took pity on her, drawing the garment daringly slow down her long legs. Standing back up, she hooked the underwear around Holly's wrists twisting them into makeshift handcuffs.

"I told you to stay," Gail said, pecking Holly's lips briefly before she was back down on the floor in front of her.

She threw those long legs over her shoulders and took in the sight of Holly laid bare for her. The scent of her arousal was overwhelming. Her thighs slick and glistening with want.

When Gail leaned forward to run her tongue along her folds, Holly's whole body jerked upwards. Gail couldn't wait, pushing her tongue inside Holly. Holly moaned, wrists pulling at their soft restraints.

Gail dragged her tongue flat up to her clit to flick at the small bundle of nerves. Holly's moans turned to high-pitched whimpers as Gail took her clit into her mouth, rolling it between her lips.

"Inside, God, please," Holly muttered.

Two fingers thrust inside her, curling and pumping. Holly's back arched off the bed. The fingers of Gail's free hand dug at Holly's thighs, trying to control her movements as her hips flung wildly with every thrust of finger, every flick of her tongue. Heels dug into Gail's back, thighs closing around her cheeks. Hands finally gave up the pretense of staying put to tangle into blonde hair. Holly's cries grew louder and louder, her body growing more taunt, attempting to rise higher and higher from the bed.

And then she fell. The entirety of her body uncoiled like a released spring. Tension eased around Gail's head as Holly's legs fell limp. Gail lapped at the wetness pooling at Holly's sex, the attention sending tingles through Holly's body making her twitch and jerk with the aftershocks. After the muscles around Gail's fingers stopped pulsing, she withdrew them, taking their slickness into her mouth.

Holly watched her through hoodie eyes as her tongue swirled to gather up every last bit. If she had any doubts at all in her mind before, the sight of Holly sweaty and satisfied would be enough to settle any lingering doubts. Gail wanted to see this every day for the rest of her life.

"You're entirely too smug for someone with cum dripping off their chin," Holly mumbled, eyes still closed, mouth fighting to contain her smile.

"I think I'm exactly the right amount of smug for someone with cum dripping from their chin," Gail remarked, leaning over Holly, "Wanna taste?"

She didn't wait for answer before she kissed her, tongue slipping between Holly's lips. They tangled themselves in each other, kissing lazy and slow. Gail's hands ran over Holly's still bra clad breasts, giving a tiny squeeze, reveling in the low rumbling moan it brought out of her.

Holly's own hands clawed at Gail, struggling against thin fabric of the underwear, which bound them. She pulled at it, raising her eyebrow at Gail.

Gail snagged a finger, tugging at them. "Oh you want these off?"

"Gail...," Holly growled.

Gail's smirk covered Holly's scowl as they kissed. Holly's hands cupped under Gail's chin. She forced her head back. "Please, Gail."

Gail released her hands, throwing the underwear onto the floor somewhere over her shoulder. Her hands moved on to skim along the band of Holly's bra, grazing her rib tattoo on its way to the clasp, when Holly reached out and stopped her. Holly was staring at her with serious thoughtful eyes.

It made Gail squirm. "What?"

"Do you believe me?"

"Believe what?"

"That I'm choosing you? That I want to be with you."

Gail hummed, pulling at Holly's legs to turn her long ways on the bed. Holly crawled the little ways up to collapse against her pillow. Gail lay down beside her. Taking one hand into her own, she absently spread the tips of her nails from the center of Holly's palm out to the pads of her fingers and back again.

Holly watched her, still waiting for an answer, but allowing Gail, as she always seem to, the time to think it through.

"I want to," Gail said quietly after a moment.

Threading their fingers together, Holly gave her hand squeeze of reassurance. "I'll prove I'm not going anywhere everyday until you believe me."

Gail couldn't stop the smile curling across her lips. "Oh, really?"

Holly nodded, pushing her back against the pillows and straddling her waist. "I think I'll start right now."

Holly leaned down to press their lips together. Her hands ghosted along Gail's ribs to slip down the cups of Gail's bra. Gail gasped as Holly took her nipple into her mouth, the other between her fingers.

A leg fell between Gail's, thigh rocking against her center. Holly moaned at the slickness she found there. The sound rumbled against Gail's stomach, the feeling mixed with Holly's tongue on her nipple had Gail clawing at Holly's hair. Her fingers tangled in the locks, pulling her sharply up so their lips could meet. It was messy and rough and only spurred Gail's thrust. Her hands found purchase on Holly's ass nails digging sharply into the skin there, making Holly hiss.

Gail could feel the tension building in her stomach, warmth gathering with each meeting of thigh to sex. She knew after such a long time, such wanting that they should take their time, let herself be worshipped, and she could see that feeling reflecting in Holly's eyes. As the other woman tried to slow and pull away, it only spurred Gail to thrust her hips harder. Pulling at Holly's ass, grinding herself on her leg, she couldn't stop. Not with waves of desire clouding her judgment.

With one more thrust, Gail's hips rose, back arching, her high crashing over her. She moaned Holly's name, gasping to catch her breath. Tremors shot down every nerve. She thought if she squinted hard enough she could see the universe in the back of her eyelids. Her body flung out so far into space she was seeing stars.

When finally her body settled and she could open her eyes, Holly was looking down at her softly. Gail smiled, lazy and sated, before Holly kissed her, once, twice, so gentle and soft that the thrill in Gail's heart had very little to do with her orgasm.

"Do you believe me now?" Holly asked.

Gail studied her, face open with such care and devotion she wasn't sure how she could have doubted her. So she answered truthfully, "I'm think I'm beginning to."

Holly pressed her lips hard against Gail's, mumbling against her lips, "Let me prove it to you again."

It might have been hours or days that they lay in bed, a tangle of limbs, enjoying each other in ways they had denied themselves for so long. Gail gazed down at the sleeping woman beside her, watching the rise and fall of her bare chest in the growing light filtering in from outside.

It was early, too early to be awake, but Gail couldn't stop herself from wanting to enjoy this feeling, wanting to believe it was real. Could she have this? Could she really be this happy all the time? Happiness was almost a foreign concept to Gail who had struggled to find her place with other people's expectation of her. But when she looked into Holly's eyes, all she saw was, well, love.

Could this be love? Wasn't it too soon for that? In the grand scheme of her life, Holly had made up a miniscule portion. But everything up until Holly had made sense. Everything up until Holly was her life going according to plan. After meeting Holly, her life was all chaos.

But that wasn't the whole truth was it? Her life had been a dull amalgamation of the expectation of her parents, the acquiescence of other people's wills on her life. If anything meeting Holly had introduced to Gail the first thing in her life she really wanted to fight for, that she really wanted for herself. No one chose Holly for her. Holly was hers and hers alone. The idea sent a shiver through her spine.

She was in love with Holly Stewart, the smart nerd who carried a lunchbox full of forensic equipment (and a cookie for a snack).

The woman in question's eyes fluttered open, head rolling to the side with a lazy smile. They widened as they caught sight of Gail, leaning against her arm as she watched her sleep. Gail felt a rush of guilt at the surprise she saw plainly in Holly's eyes. She thought I'd run.

Leaning down, she captured her lips in the hopes of conveying just how much leaving was not in her plans. They would never be in her plans again. She wasn't ready per se to tell Holly of how intensely she felt for her, not yet, but she knew the feeling in her chest wouldn't be able to stay there for long without sputtering out of her mouth.

"Hi," she whispered against bruised lips, taking them again into a slow, tired kiss.

"Hi," Holly said when she drew back. Her hand brushed at the hair falling into Gail's face.

They kissed again. Gail straddling Holly, hips grinding down against her stomach. At some point the night before, her underwear had been lost when long fingers had pushed inside her. Her wetness now was growing, spreading across Holly's abs.

Holly's fingers pressed against Gail's hipbones, urging her up. Gail pulled back, eyebrows rising in surprise and question. Only when Holly smirked, the pressing increasing, did Gail shuffle forward so her knees were on either side of Holly's face.

Her knuckles were white as she gripped the headboard in anticipation. She could feel Holly's breath on against the inside of her thighs. Teeth nibbled their way up the sensitive skin. Nose brushed up, lips ghosting on her sex, hovering over her clit.

"Holly, please," she whined. She couldn't take the wait-

She gasped, lurching forward with the first tentative swipe of Holly's tongue. She could feel Holly's smug smile against her thigh and a huffed out laugh. Gail couldn't help but smile in return. That smile dropped when Holly leaned back in, tongue running from Gail's entrance through her folds and back to circle her clit. Gail's gripped tightened, head pitching forward to press against the wall behind the bed. Holly's hands massaged Gail's ass, fingers digging in a little too tightly in the hopes of controlling their growing thrusts.

"Fuck," Gail cursed, back bowing as she ground down into Holly's mouth. There was a rushing sound in her ears like white noise the whole world cut out against the feel of Holly taking her.

When fingers dragged along Gail's backside down to her entrance, dipping one then two inside, scissoring, the warmth building in her stomach went taunt and snapped. Her body fell, literally and figuratively into Holly. Hands clawed at the wooden headboard. Her ears were ringing. Eyes flashed white.

She crumpled where she was, partially over Holly, clutching onto the top of the bed for dear life. Holly was laughing. When finally she managed to collapse onto her side, she swatted at the other woman's arm, only causing her laughter to grow.

Gail's eyes were closed when she felt the first kiss against her neck. She moaned, hands running through Holly's hair as her hot mouth sucked at her pulse point. She needed to feel Holly again, feel her arching and moaning, unraveling from Gail's attention.

Quicker than Holly could react, using her police training, Gail rolled out and overtop of Holly, pinning her front to the mattress. Her hips straddled Holly's ass, just along the line of her DNA tattoo. But the new addition she saw stretching up the right side of Holly's back, made her gasp.

"Holly…" She reached a tentative hand towards the new ink, fingers grazing the image as though it might disappear if she pressed too firmly.

Medusa stood tall and proud, billowing up from stone robes, eyes fierce and glowing, hair slithering alive. Held limply in one hand was a sword. In the other was an empty helmet. While Medusa herself was colored in dull greys and greens, the sword and helmet were painted bronze with splashes of bright red, the same bright red of Medusa's glowing eyes. It was blood. It dripped down from the helmet to pool at the Gorgon's feet. A curling ribbon around the image read: "Be Your Own Hero."

Gail flashed back to that day at the Met when she had seen the statue of Perseus holding Medusa's head like a trophy. The sickness she had felt knowing men like him would always be shown the hero where victims like Medusa would be labeled monsters. How they had sat with ice cream, the cold liquid dripping through Gail's fingers as she confessed her worst nightmares to Holly. When she had told her she hadn't felt like she was worth saving, her life not measuring up to Jerry's loss.

Holly turned her head to the side, straining to see Gail's reaction. "I…I just…"

Gail lunged forward capturing her mouth in a heated kiss. The position was awkward, and Holly tried to turn over, but Gail shoved her back down. Her lips ran over the image, teeth scraping, and tongue tracing the words. Gail wanted to worship this beautiful image; the one Holly had marked on her own body, the one that claimed a bit of herself for Gail.

Holly groaned as Gail explored, her back arching against the mattress. Ass thrust into Gail's stomach. Gail pushed back against it, hand snaking around to brush Holly's soaked center. They built a rhythm like that. Holly ground back against Gail as she pushed forward, her fingers circling Holly's clit. Her mouth sucked along Holly's back leaving red marking atop the already colored skin.

The pace began to disintegrate. Holly's head thrown back as Gail pounded against her. With a sharp bite against the word "Hero" and one last circle of her clit, Holly cried out, muscles tensing before going slack, her body falling forward. Knees wobbled with all of Holly's weight no longer on them.

Holly took in a ragged breath as her body shuttered with sweet aftershocks. "Jesus, Gail."

Gail pressed her lips against the tattoo once again. This time more delicate and thoughtful, her fingers tracing the image mesmerized.

"You got a tattoo for me," Gail said softly in awe. No one had ever done something like that for her. Ever. There was a pressure in her chest, building behind her eyes. She thought it foolish to start crying over this, but it seemed inevitable.

Holly buried her face into the pillow, her neck flushing. "I thought…I thought if I got it, if you were out there and needed the strength to come home. If you needed courage, somehow…it's silly, but it was like being with you when I couldn't be."

Gail's breath caught in her throat. She tugged at Holly's shoulder, rolling her over so they were face to face. She stretched her body along the other woman's, wanting to be as close as possible, touching in as many ways as they could be.

Holly was avoiding her gaze, but when Gail whispered her name and they locked eyes, she saw the tears sliding down Gail's face. Holly reached up, running her thumbs across her cheekbones to wipe them away. They kissed, languid and hot and felt like home.

"I don't think that's silly at all," Gail confessed, blue eyes staring into brown.

"No?"

Gail felt the lump in her throat again. She shook her head.

They kissed and made love until their eyes couldn't stand to be open any longer, only waking when Gail's cellphone went off. Traci. A break in the case. She had to go. Holly promised to call her boss. To put in the transfer so they could start thinking of the future together.

With the promises of a future for the two of them, Gail felt the words filling her chest, threatening to pour out of her mouth. No. It was too soon to say them aloud. Instead, she kissed the words into Holly's lips before leaving.

It was only later staring down the barrel of a gun that Gail had wished she'd been brave enough to say them.

Bum bum bummmmm. I'm working on my graduate thesis atm, I'll hopefully be moving across the country in the next few months, and I also got engaged so my life is nuts like where does the time go? Anyway there will be only a few more chapters after this I think. It's been almost two years, and we're nearing the end. I will try to get chapters up sooner, but as always I will probably not keep that promise. Thank you all for sticking with me.