A gift fic for a scifiland challenge.

Terrorist. Mercenary. Assassin. The more she insults him, the more she wants him – which is the point of the exercise.

"Terrorist," Erica hissed, pressed up against Hobbes, who was himself pressed against the exposed brickwork of the basement.

"Fed," he retorted.

She gave a harsh laugh. "Mercenary," she taunted, and kissed him savagely.

"Narc," he said when she pulled back, and tipped his head to nip at her earlobe.

"That the best you can do – assassin?"

"Assassin has a professional ring to it," Hobbes said, taking a step forward. Erica was forced to back away, though she kept her eyes fixed on his. "It's hardly an insult. So, G-woman, what now?"

She unbuttoned her blouse. "Like what you see, you immigrant asshole?"

He studied her exposed body a moment. "I'd like it better without the bra, you Yank bitch." He stripped off his own black t-shirt in one swift movement.

"Then come take it off – if you can," she challenged.

No more words were exchanged for a while as he grabbed her, his fingers clutching at her skin possessively, his lips at her throat, her chest. He fumbled with her bra and she wound the fingers of one hand into his hair, the other searching for his belt buckle.

When they were both finally naked, sat upon the bed, and exchanging rough kisses, Erica found her voice once more.

"Bastard," she said breathlessly.

"Whore," he said, too enamoured to embody the insult with any malice.

"That mean you going to pay me?"

"Screw you," Hobbes muttered.

"Go on," she said. "Screw me. Screw me, you filthy, lying, money-grabbing –"

She fell silent as he took her.

"Tell me how much you hate me," he breathed by her ear.

"A lot," she lied, letting him set their rhythm. "I despise you. You make me sick." Eventually though she gave in to the pleasure, any further words lost in the approach of, and culmination of, her orgasm.

For a while afterwards they lay, sated, alongside one another, enjoying the afterglow in blessed silence.

"Kyle," Erica said softly at last, running her fingers over his chest.

"Yes, sweetheart?"

"We shouldn't be doing this." She glanced at her arm; there was a bruise from his fingers but nothing worse than she'd had from the job. Besides, she'd left plenty of marks on Hobbes, mostly scratches from their rough foreplay.

"Having sex?" he asked with a smirk, as if expecting her to argue the semantics of the act.

It didn't matter what they called it, though, and she nodded.

"Do you mind the insults?"

"No. That's how it started with us, that's where you find your passion," he said. "Fine line between love and hate, as they say."

It was true enough. She never wanted him so badly as when she was furious with him, and if she wasn't angry enough, well, it was easy to start a slanging match that escalated into rough play and culminated in inappropriate sex.

"Wouldn't you rather I tell you I love you?"

He frowned, giving it some consideration. When Erica thought he was just going to ignore the question he said, "Some lies are easier to bear than others."

There was no easy way to reply to that, not without a conversation neither of them were ready for. So she simply said, "I don't hate you. Some of what you do, yes, but not you."

She leaned over and kissed him, a softer, more affectionate gesture than anything that had preceded it. Then she clambered over him and stood, naked and unashamed, on the concrete floor. Erica saw no point in false modesty.

Erica began dressing. Hobbes didn't move, lounging lazily amongst the pillows, watching her appreciatively, his own nakedness only partially covered by the sheets. Later he'd change the bedclothes, something she'd insisted on after the first time they'd had sex, afraid that somehow the rumpled bed – or, in her paranoia, perhaps the lingering smell of sex – would be glaring evidence of their encounter.

Erica knew Hobbes didn't care if Jack or Ryan knew he was sleeping with her, but, for various reasons, she did care. If Hobbes was hurt by her desire for secrecy he never mentioned it, but ever since he'd always put on clean sheets without her prompting.

She shrugged on her leather jacket, flicking her hair over the collar. She touched her necklace, the butt of her gun, making sure everything was just so. Neat, tidy; she was every inch the professional officer of the law once more.

"See you tomorrow, Hobbes," she said as she made to leave.

He gave her a wry smile. "Night, Erica."