She's pretty.

Sarah guesses she is. It's something she never really thought about before.

She isn't beautiful. Not quite. Her nose is too pointed. One too many worry lines, maybe. But she has nice hair and on the rare occasions when she's actually smiling, she's not too hard on the eyes.

Not that Sarah enjoys being around her. She's abrasive, irritating, doesn't know when to shut up. That dead, sarcastic monotone that her voice drops into when she thinks she's just being funny but she's slicing you apart. That mocking laugh. 'Can't you take a joke?' She doesn't know how cruel she can be. She won't leave well enough alone. She makes a career out of annoyance.

But she's pretty just the same. All tall and curvy and redheaded. She's striking--maybe that's the word. She catches the eye, gives the mind pause. She's not your average hard-hitting investigative reporter whose boyfriend has superpowers. There's something intriguing about her.

Although, to be honest, Sarah doesn't see the attraction. She thought she knew Johnny's taste cold--and it's, well, her, and Dana is nothing like her. Dana's mean. Sarah's soft and comforting; Dana's sharp-edged and depressing and--

"Take a picture; it might last longer."

She glances up and straight into Dana's smirking eyes. "What?" she mumbles, half-focussed.

"You were staring." Dana forms every word meticulously, as if speaking to a foreigner. "Do I have something on my face?"

"No." Sarah scrabbles desperately for a witty reply, but finds nothing. "Just thinking."

"I see." Sarah can feel Dana's eyes on her for a second or two after she's looked away.

There's a silence broken only by the rustling of paper and an occasional murmur of disbelief. Then Dana mutters something clearly directed at the sheriff's wife, but just over the edge of inaudibility.

"What?" Sarah asks, craning her head in mock-fascination. "I missed that."

Dana sighs. "I said, I wonder what Johnny would think of this."

"Of what?"

"His two girlfriends, in a locked room. Surrounded by silence. Alone." Her voice brushes almost tenderly over the last word.

Sarah looks up suddenly. Is it her imagination, or is Dana's chair a little closer? She coughs. "What's that supposed to mean?" she fires back, and instantly wishes she hadn't, although she couldn't say why.

Dana backs off instantly. "Nothing," she mutters, shaking her head, and Sarah can sense she's dangling something, some sort of bait, right in front of her nose.

Unwisely, she snaps at it. "Anyway, I'm not his girlfriend." The words ring petulance and bad timing in Sarah's ears, and Dana's expression doesn't hide a similar reaction.

"Could have fooled me." She shrugs, and tilts her head. Her chair's even closer now, and Sarah can almost smell her perfume. It's not a scent she's particularly fond of, but it's so very Dana. An utterly inexplicable wave of dizziness hits her and she nearly falls from her chair, grabbing for the table on reflex. Dana chuckles. "Having trouble?" she asks, and reaches to steady her.

God, Sarah hates her. It's all that's running through her mind as Dana's hands grasp her shoulders. She hates everything about her. Hates her perfect red hair, hates her hilarious deadpan sarcasm, hates her surprisingly gentle touch as she pulls Sarah back upright and somehow ends up inches from her face. Hates the skin she knows Johnny's touched, the neck he's kissed, the breasts he's...

Dana's against her, so close, her legs touching Sarah, her hands still on her shoulders, her lips right there. How she got there Sarah doesn't know but she gasps, stunned, as she feels the warmth start to pool in her abdomen.

She hates...


She h...

Dana kisses Sarah, or Sarah kisses Dana, but somehow their lips meet, brushing tentatively together in a fog of anger and rivalry and an explosive chemistry Sarah suddenly recognises as it sweeps over her and takes her higher reasoning by storm. And then they're apart again, the redhead pulling back with a soft sound.

"This isn't going to happen, is it?" Dana says calmly, a touch sarcastically as her mouth twists into that trademark smirk with a hint of...

...of knowing, of resigned sadness, as if she's thought this through, had this inclination and the resulting hopelessness for longer than the last few electric seconds.

Sarah doesn't know what to do, and for a brief, panicked instant, her mind is a blank, she's lost in a sea of incomprehension and attraction and...curiosity.

Dana's interested in her, as more than a guinea pig, or a rival, or a way to Johnny. How did that happen? What does she want, this redhead with the sarcastic smile? How long has she known? How could Sarah not realize?

She stares into Dana's bemused bitter eyes and tries in vain to see anything beyond sharp angles and brick walls.

"What if it were?" she asks, aware that she's trembling and hating it.

"No you don't." Dana's voice is utterly smooth, and her eyes are icy clear underneath sultry lids. "I know you, Sarah Bannerman. You like to pretend you're saintly and innocent, but underneath those pretty blue eyes you're just as screwed-up as the rest of us." Her hand is sliding up Sarah's thigh and Sarah gasps and tries not to squirm. "I'm not gonna let you get away with it. Yes or no, Sarah, do you want this?"

Her tongue slides over the syllables and Sarah bites her lip, hard. "Yes," she breathes, ashamed of how little she hesitates.

"I thought so." Dana's detestably all business as she slips into Sarah's lap and kisses her, hard, until the mailroom is spinning around them. Her hands are long and exquisite as she undoes Sarah's blouse with one and steals the other into her waistband.

Then she's coming all over herself, arching her back, tasting blood in her mouth as she tries not to scream. Dana's slender and immaculate and laughing, damn it, laughing against her, and it irritates her and ends it a second too early.

She doesn't know what to do but Dana guides her, and a rush crackles through her as Dana mutters her name, eyes half rolled back, and she almost smirks. The implacable Dana Bright is powerless in her hands, and it's her, it's Sarah Bannerman, the blue-eyed schoolteacher with the innocent smile, who is holding the reins. The power shoots straight downwards and almost makes her come again. She bites her lip. Dana notices and pushes a thigh between her legs and it only takes seconds.

Then Dana is zipping her skirt up and repositioning her blouse and shaking her hair back out of her face. "Not bad," she scoffs, hardly out of breath. "You'd make a decent lesbian."

Sarah smirks. "You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

Suddenly Dana is not looking at her. For a second her vulnerability is so close to the surface that Sarah can almost reach out and touch it, and it makes her shiver.

Dana lowers herself gracefully back into her seat and they're back to the letters, not talking about it, which is fine with Sarah. In a few minutes she's almost managed to make herself believe that it was all a dream, except for the leftover tingling near the base of her spine.