Twelve Seconds

"You're wondering what the hell you could say to somebody in just twelve seconds, right?" Ralph asked DI Ashurst. She nodded. " 'I love you, Darling. I'll love you forever and ever. I'll never stop loving you. Goodnight.' "

DS Scribbins couldn't stop her eyes from flickering to her partner. It was as if he'd hit her in the stomach. The images of the past they shared and the mistakes she'd made ran through her head. She would have given anything to turn back time and spent twelve- just twelve seconds in the way Ralph had. If she'd said those three words more often, had truly showed it instead of assuming Ash already knew, they wouldn't be standing apart like they were, glancing longingly in eachother's direction every so often. If she'd spent just twelve seconds wisely, Scribbs wouldn't have lost the one thing in this world that made her happy.

Ash

" 'I love you, Darling. I'll love you forever and ever. I'll never stop loving you. Goodnight.' " Ralph said. DI Ashurst tried her best to be professional, but her chest started to ache, and she looked briefly in Scribbs' direction. The lack of communication between them had ultimately lead to their relationship's downfall. It had been a two-way street. She knew even as she recited them that some of her rules were too much, but she had been afraid to let Scribbs closer to her than she'd already become. Ash knew that she had to let Scribbs in, but the fear had been too much. Ash was sure that it would have only taken about twelve seconds to let go of her barriers and leave many of her rules behind, but she'd been stubborn, and that amount stubborness had cost her the one thing she cherished the most.

Untitled

"Hazel? Hazel Lawrence!" Ash knocked on the door again and roused the curiousity of a nieghbor, who came out in a robe. When Ash saw him, she said, "We're looking for Hazel Lawrence."

"Who're you?" he asked after a short pause. With one hand, Scribbs showed him her badge. "Oh. Well, I haven't seen her for a couple of days."

"She have a spare key?" Scribbs asked.

"Don't you need a warrent?"

"Don't you need a haircut?" Scribbs shot back, then rolled her eyes to herself. "God, I swore I'd never say that 'till I had kids of my own. See what this job does to you?" As well as being around Ash for so long, she thought to herself as she searched for the key.

"They're under the other pot," the young man offered, seemingly unoffended by what the DS had said. He watched for a moment as she moved the said pot, then said nervously, "I'll uh- I'll go put some clothes on, should I?"

"Please do," Scribbs replied. She stood up and handed her partner the key.

"Something else I never thought I'd hear you say," Ash commented. Scribbs had a responce to that, but seeing the neighbor still watching them (and giving him a 'good day' smile) she waited until they stood, looking cautiously around the foyer, to reply.

"Only when it comes to you, Love," Scribbs said in Ash's ear. She gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and then continued inside without looking back.

Work

"Your collegue's very pretty," Maxine Applebee commented. At this, Scribbs looked behind her at her partner, who was dancing with Redmond to 'Careless Whisper'. She took in the school uniform and the pigtails, and knew even before she saw this sight that she would have to agree.

Just as their eyes met, she replied, "Yeah, she is, isn't she?" Their eyes lingered on eachother for that moment, and Scribbs' lips curved into a smile. As Ash and Redmond's turn brought Ash's back to her, Scribbs let her eyes watch them a second longer before looking at the older woman beside her. "So how long did you and Redmond meet?" Ash had been right. This was a murder investigation. They were there to do a job, not so she could ogle her partner, who she'd had a crush on for who knew how long. Her partner, who was straight no doubt, and thought that she was, too. It was time to get back to work.

Too Late

"Look, I'm sorry," Ash said quickly as Ralph passed her. Her plan to aggrivate him hadn't worked, and she had to back up and try to relate to him in order to get him to confess. "I understand why you did it, Ralph. I know how you must have felt. To find someone and then... to lose them like that. It was just too much."

Scribbs' face popped into her head as she said those words, and Ash felt herself freeze a little bit. She didn't know how it felt to lose the one she loved to murder, but she knew what it felt like to lose love. Sure, it wasn't really the same, but the emotion that came through in her voice did something. It made Ralph respond to her and confess. "You should have thought about Hazel. Taken the time to put things right," she said. She wasn't sure if she was speaking really to Ralph or to herself.

"It's too late now," Ralph said. Ash nodded.

"Yeah. It is."

"Give my regards to Gaven Webb," he said, making his way to the door.

"You just cost me twenty quid, Ralph. I said you wouldn't bolt."

Ash and Scribbs watched as Ralph was taken away and began to walk towards the car when Sullivan stopped them to congradulate them on the arrest. He looked between them and awkwardly dismissed himself. The two women stood there for a second in silence before they continued to walk towards the car. "Ash, I've been thinking... about what you said to Ralph, and I uh... I want to put things right with you. Is it too late?"

Ash paused as she got to the left side and looked at Scribbs over the top of the car. their eyes locked for a moment, and then she said, "It's never too later, Scribbs." The look lingered a little longer, and then she got into the car.