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at least we can hold each other

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Julie does it on purpose, Gill thinks. Those bloody heels, planted on her desk like a flag on top of Everest, a marker of conquest. Or like a red flag to a bull, taunting.

Julie knows how Gill feels about those heels, about the extra inches they give Julie, the extra sway in a step already full of swagger. Wearing them to Gill's office was pushing it – wearing them to Gill's office to ask pointed questions, to interrogate one of her officers: that took a bloody cheek.

When Julie texts to suggest they meet up at the pub, Gill's first thought is to turn her down. She's not so easily swayed; she's not so sure she's ready to listen to what Julie has to say. She stops, though, and thinks again, then texts back slowly. Better they stay in, she says. Julie's welcome at hers, if she doesn't mind Sammy and his mates there too.

Come round to mine, Julie suggests.

Gill smiles. Perfect.

**

When she gets there, Julie's car is parked outside, the lights on. Gill doesn't bother knocking, just uses her key and slips inside. Julie's not been in long; her blazer hangs haphazardly off the bannister and Gill can smell takeaway curry. She kicks off her heels and pads quietly into the kitchen. Julie's opening a bottle of wine, her back to Gill; her shoulders are broad under the bright blouse and her hands move confidently, fitting themselves around the bottle and sliding out the cork.

"You shouldn't have, slap," Gill says, and watches the surprise ripple down Julie's spine.

Julie covers admirably. "Didn't hear you come in," is all she says, turning with the wine in hand. Gill takes a moment to admire how the red of her blouse matches the heels she's still wearing, how the drape of her French cuffs draws the eye to the shape of her fingers.

"Didn't mean you to," Gill says. "Let the wine breathe a bit and come upstairs, hey?" With that, she turns and walks out; she doesn't need the sound of footsteps to know Julie's following her.

Gill stops in Julie's bedroom and turns, arms crossed. Julie's just steps behind her, and Gill lifts her chin to meet Julie's eyes. "Is this about Rachel Bailey?" Julie asks softly. "I wish I'd more time to give you a warning, but there wasn't any – "

"It's not," Gill says, "not really, you know I'd do the same." Julie nods; they do both know it, and Julie was more than fair.

"Then what?" Julie fights to keep a smile off her face.

Gill masks her own grin by circling Julie slowly. "We need to talk about your shoes, Julie Dodson," she says. "Namely, how you need to keep them the hell off my desk."

Julie turns too and advances on Gill, using her height to her advantage. "Thought you liked 'em," she says, stalking forward. "I remember you saying some very complimentary things about them not so long ago."

Gill's cheeks heat at the memory. "Wearing them in the office isn't fair, slap," she says, backing slowly towards Julie's dresser. "It's dirty pool."

"The great DCI Murray, distracted by a pair of shoes? Surely not." Julie leans in for a kiss.

Gill allows it, a brief brush of lips, and then moves deftly to the side. Sliding her arms around Julie's waist, she presses up against her from behind, leaving Julie trapped between Gill's body and the dresser. "Oh, so you didn't wear them for me, then?" she asks conversationally. Her fingers slide along Julie's waistband, untucking her blouse and tracing the soft skin beneath.

"Not everything's about you," Julie says shakily.

"Hmm." Gill lays her cheek against Julie's back and traces circles around the button on her trousers. "Is that so."

Any response Julie makes is swallowed in a gasp as Gill pops the button and slides down the zip. Julie's hands fly out, anchoring herself against the edge of the dresser. She cants her hips towards Gill's touch, but Gill holds back.

"Maybe you didn't plan it, but you came into my office with those shoes, knowing how I feel about them." Gill eases her hand into Julie's trousers as she speaks, cupping Julie's heat through the soft cotton of her knickers. "Certainly made yourself comfortable behind my desk, didn't you?"

"Perks of rank." Julie lets her head drop forward, hair falling around her face. Gill can feel her trembling. "You do have such a comfy chair, Gill. How'd you get that?"

Gill laughs. "Sleeping with the boss," she says, and curls her fingers carefully. Julie moans. "Just got to know what to ask for."

"I'm sure it's only – she values your contributions to, to the work of policing," Julie says with difficulty. Gill's working her hand along Julie's cunt, pressing the damp fabric of her knickers up against her, and Julie's breathing is coming in deep gasps.

"I think she wants to shag me in that chair, actually," Gill says. Julie's hips jerk forward and Gill laughs, soft and low. "Ah, you see? I think I'm right." She pulls her hand back. Julie whines in protest, but Gill's just repositioning herself to wiggle her fingers inside Julie's knickers, against her skin. She slides her hand lower and sighs with pleasure to find Julie slick and hot. "You do like that, don't you."

Her fingers find Julie's clit, pressing and circling in the tight confines, and she and Julie moan almost in unison. Gill's other hand splays across Julie's belly, under her blouse, feeling each movement as she gasps and sways.

"What's not to like?" Julie forces out after a steadying breath. "Me in that chair, you on top of me..." She trails off, apparently speechless at the thought.

Gill presses hard against Julie's clit, against her cunt, slides two fingers down and, hard, in, but speaks, still, softly. "It's my chair, though, think I'd be the one sitting in it." She twists her fingers up, the heel of her hand sliding roughly.

"God." Julie throws her head back. "Please, just – there, yeah – "

"That'd be my line, with you on your knees in front of me," Gill says, voice pitched so low it's barely audible over Julie's breathing and the wet sound of Gill's fingers. She finds a rhythm and Julie shudders, widening her stance for balance – and still in those lovely shoes, Gill thinks with a predatory grin. "My chair, my office, my rules, slap, think you'd be up for it? Maybe – " Her voice drops further. "Maybe if I beg?"

Julie cries out, choked, strangled, her cunt clenching hard around Gill's fingers. She wobbles, nearly falling; she pitches forward over her dresser to hold herself up. Gill holds her close, grounding her, stabilizing her. Finally her gasping breaths settle back into normalcy. Then Gill pulls back, pulls her hand out of Julie's knickers, trailing wet lines along her skin.

"Jesus, Gill," Julie says, still leaning heavily on the dresser. Gill hums pleasantly in response.

Julie turns in her grasp, then, giving Gill time to step away. She takes Gill's hand, lifts it to her mouth, and takes Gill's fingertips between her lips, biting gently.

Gill whimpers. Julie smiles.

"What did you say," Julie asks, walking Gill backwards to the bed, "about begging?"

Gill lets herself fall back onto the bedclothes. She shrugs out of her blazer, tossing it aside. "Can't remember," she says smartly. "Think you can remind me?"

Julie drops to the floor in front of Gill and slides a hand up under her skirt, curling around her stockings and dragging them and her knickers down her legs. She eases them off one foot, then the other, and smoothes her hands back up over the curves of Gill's calves. "Might take me a while," she says, "but I'm sure that can be arranged."

**

The takeaway is cold when they get to it, but Gill doesn't care. She's wrapped herself in an oversized bathrobe; Julie, in sweatpants and tee-shirt, brings the wine into the lounge. Her fluffy slippers swish against the rug.

Gill looks down and smirks. "How the mighty have fallen," she says, nodding at Julie's footwear.

Julie plops down on the settee next to her. "Hmm, might be a safer choice, though. Least this way I get to eat my supper without interruptions."

"Interruptions?" Gill raises an eyebrow in mock offense.

As if on cue, Julie's mobile bings. She stuffs a forkful of curry in her mouth and reaches for it with the other hand.

Watching Julie's brow furrow, Gill finds all the stress of the day descending again. There's not a single thing she can do for Rachel, not this time, not with a charge of this magnitude. Doesn't matter how hard she hopes: her hands are tied.

Julie pokes a few buttons, shoots off an email, and goes back to her curry. Gill barely waits before she asks. "Any news?"

Julie shoots her a look. "On Rachel's case," Gill clarifies.

"Nothing new," Julie says. "Nothing good." She squeezes Gill's knee in reassurance.

"There must be something," Gill says, half to herself. "I can't believe..."

"I hope you're right. And if there is, we'll find it, you know that." Julie takes a swig of wine, her eyes fastened anxiously on Gill's face.

"I know," she says, taking Julie's hand with a brief smile. And she does.