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

Happy Anniversary
By Ann


With the mother of all headaches pounding out a staccato beat from behind her eyes, Ash managed to stab her key into the lock, so very grateful to have made it home in one piece. All she wanted was to hurry inside, wash down a couple of painkillers, and climb into bed.

Instead, she stopped, motionless, just inside the doorway.

A large banner, strung across the length of the room, stole all breath from her body. She hadn't thought it possible that her headache could get any worse, but those two words – Happy Anniversary! - stretched out before her eyes had her rubbing her temples and backing out of the flat, gently pulling the door closed as she cleared the threshold.

"Shit, I am so dead." Ash closed her eyes and leaned forward, resting her head against the cool surface of the door. How could she have forgotten something of such importance? Struggling mightily through the pain to concentrate on the date – 6 October 2008 – Ash frowned at the realization that not a single solitary 'special' event came to mind – not their first kiss, their first date, their first …

"Ash? What are you doing?" Scribbs shifted a bag from her right hip to her left and fiddled with her keys. "Did you forget your key?"

"Apparently, I forgot something," muttered Ash under her breath. She was never going to hear the end of this latest faux pas in a continuing string of very un-Ashlike behavior. Yesterday's 'forgetting to hang up her towel' incident had convinced her that her fear of Scribbs rubbing off on her had indeed come true. She'd completely ignored the perfectly understandable reason she'd not immediately placed her towel over its holder in its usual position – tag to the inside, left and right sides equal distance from the ends, and the top and bottom edges exactly aligned. After all, it'd been Scribbs who'd seduced her when she'd stepped out of the shower, making her forget all about her towel and everything else for that matter, including how late for work they'd be. She could easily have placed the blame on her lover, but her obsessive nature wouldn't allow it. In her mind, she should have taken time to hang her towel before their rather rambunctious frolic in the sheets and somehow have kept an eye on the time, not allowing their lovemaking to exceed the necessary amount of time it would take them to shower, dress, and drive to the station.

And now, apparently, she was forgetting things – important things.

"Did you say something, Ash?" Scribbs reached around her lover and eased the key into the lock. It smoothly turned to the left without the action of the deadbolt sliding back. "Hey, I could've sworn I locked the door when I went out for supplies."

Ash slowly lifted her head. "Supplies?"

"For our celebration," said Scribbs, looking down in the bag and taking inventory of her purchases. "Chocolate, wine, beer, whiskey, vodka, Sugar Puffs, milk, Kenco instant coffee, and . . ." she squinted around the box of cereal, "black and white films."

"You've all that in a single bag?" Ash pinched the bridge of her nose. Everyone knew that movies, chocolate, and Sugar Puffs went in one bag, coffee in another, milk by itself, and the alcohol packed carefully in separate bags and then placed into one.

"Yep, it's the way it was bagged." Scribbs shifted her cargo once again. It suddenly felt heavier than before.

Ash narrowed her eyes, the gesture increasing the pain in her already aching head. "You didn't bag it yourself?" Ash, herself, had personally instructed her lover on the proper way to bag groceries. She opened her mouth to chastise Scribbs when another realization suddenly came over her, moving the poor bagging technique to the background. "What possessed you to choose those items?"

"They were on the list," stated Scribbs, matter-of-factly, a shrug accompanying her words.

"What list?" Ash's head continued to pound, but she bravely pushed ahead.

"Our known likes."

"Our what?"

"On our profile page . . . the things we like," explained Scribbs, wrapping both arms around the bag. It was really getting heavy now.

"Scribbs, you're making my head hurt." The gross understatement was followed by a necessary concession. "Let's go inside. You can put away the groceries while I swallow a bottle of pain pills. Then we'll talk about this list." Pushing through the door, Ash headed for the bedroom, rubbing her forehead vigorously as she passed under the banner proclaiming their happy day.

"Do you think you should be mixing whiskey and pain killers?" asked Scribbs, opting for her famous Sugar Puff drink when Ash had gone straight for the alcohol. She figured at least one of them should be sober – for a little while anyway.

"I think it's a marvelous idea." Ash threw back another shot and reached for the bottle. Her hand was intercepted by Scribbs.

"Hey, slow down. What's the matter?" Pulling Ash's hand into her lap, Scribbs reached up with her free hand to cup her lover's cheek. Ash instinctively leaned into the touch, wishing with all her might that she'd remembered the significance of the day. When the brick wall remained, she realized it was finally time to give in and confess her oversight.

"Scribbs, I'm so sorry, but I've forgotten our anniversary." Ash dipped her head in shame. From now on, she vowed to carry one of those dreaded PalmPilots with her wherever she went. She sighed deeply and lifted her head, locking eyes with those of Scribbs. "Which one is it?"

"The second year anniversary of the AshScribbs community," said Scribbs with a grin. She, too, had no idea about the anniversary until she'd just happened upon it the day before.

"The what?" Ash's headache was never going away.

"A LJ community dedicated exclusively to stories featuring the two of us."

"LJ? Is that an acronym for one of our suburbs?"

"No, LiveJournal – it's a virtual community where individuals can post blogs or journals."

"And people write about us?"

"Yes, all nationalities, too. In fact, there are comms for tons of fandoms. There's het, slash, threesomes, crossovers … you name it – they've got it."

"Het?" Ask scrunched up her nose. "Please don't tell me I'm romantically involved with Sullivan."

Scribbs grinned. "In the ones I've read, you always end up with me."

Ash nodded firmly. "As I should. So what else do they say about us?"

"Well, usually one or both of us are pining over the other during some sort of case or situation, but as usual, stubbornness gets in the way through most of the story."

"That sounds true to form. So, I'm guessing by the story's end we're going at it like a couple of bunnies."

"Actually, most of the fics fade to black." Scribbs smiled. "After a few snogs, that is."

"Snogs? The Americans use British vernacular?"

Scribbs smiled. "They try. I think there's been quite a bit of discussion as to what words to avoid when writing about us."

"Such as?"

"Let's see," said Scribbs, crinkling her forehead in thought. "Elevators, apartments, sidewalks, parking lots, bathrooms, cell phones, flashlights, hoods and trunks, emergency rooms, closets, lawyers, pants, windshields, underwear . . . Oh, and there was a huge debate on what constituted overalls."

"It's a wonder any Yank tries their hand at writing us then." Ash ran her fingers across her brow. Just the thought of what it must take for a Brit to write an American fandom made her skin tingle. Scribbs seemed to be able to read her mind.

"Or the other way around, there are Brits who write American fandoms. They've all formed a special … um, task force to try to help out."

"Task force? What do you mean?"

"Beta readers. The writers send their work to others to help with spelling and grammar and proper terminology, if the case warrants. It's a tight-knit society."

Ash leaned back against the cushions and closed her eyes. "Sounds complicated to me. Next thing you know, someone's going to make a list of our mannerisms and such."

Scribbs stayed silent, and Ash cracked open an eyelid. "You're kidding."

"Nope, I told you we had a profile page."

"And what exactly do they say about me on this profile page."

"That you scrunch up your nose."

"I do not."

Scribbs wasn't deterred. "You stand with your hands in front – specifically, your left hand over your right fist."

"What? Are they mad? No one stands the same way twice."

'No one but you,' Scribbs kept to herself as she continued with the list. "You splay your hands when talking animatedly."

Ash turned toward Scribbs and opened both eyes. "I don't talk animatedly. I always stay in control."

Scribbs grinned widely and continued with the one thing she knew her lover wasn't going to like. "You narrow your eyes when you're listening closely to something."

Green eyes narrowed noticeably. "That's utterly ridiculously. Why would I do that?"

"You want to know the best part?" Scribbs ignored the question and moved on, giving her lover's hand an encouraging squeeze.

Ash remained silent, staring at her partner and knowing it didn't matter how she replied. Scribbs would tell her anyway. She was right, too.

"Your rules."

"What about them?"

"They appear in just about every single story."

"They do?" Ash sat up. Perhaps there was hope for her yet – her rules would live on and on and on.

Scribbs nodded. "You, my dear, are the most rule-oriented individual ever to walk the streets of Suburbia." She stopped at the city's limits, not mentioning that it was quite possible Ash held the title worldwide.

"Really?" asked Ash in a hopeful tone as she sat up straighter.

"Yes, really," replied Scribbs, offering a reassuring smile.

A huge grin split Ash's face. "Say, what do you say we re-enact our own story, but skipping the Sullivan relationship and going directly to the 'you and me'?"

"I thought you had a headache," teased Scribbs, gripping her lover's hand tightly in anticipation of Ash's next move. She didn't have long to wait.

Ash pushed to her feet and pulled Scribbs up with her. "I think I know the perfect cure." Tugging her lover's hand, she purposefully walked under the Happy Anniversary banner and led Scribbs toward their bedroom. It was time to create a different type of 'likes' list for the comm's profile page.

The End

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