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“Good girl.”

Holtz froze. Erin froze, hand still cupping her girlfriend's behind, the lightest of touches lingering after her playful squeeze.

They were in the lab, hard at work and having fun, and there was nothing sexual about the moment.

Until there was.

Holtz made a small sound – not quite a moan, just the tiniest exhalation – and shifted back into Erin's hand. A push so slight that someone less used to keen observation, less attuned to cause and effect, might have missed it.

That's interesting, Erin thought. That's very interesting.



They're always tender, even when they're not gentle.

Holtz can be excitable and Erin can be demanding and they can get a little rough, sometimes. Sometimes they ache afterwards, and sometimes they have to cover bruises and bites with high collars and scarves.

Well, Erin does. Holtzmann wears Erin's love proudly on the column of her neck and in the hollow where her pendant lies, and Abby smirks and Patty rolls her eyes. Holtz winks at Erin where they can all see and Erin should be mortified, but she's not.

Tonight they are tender, and gentle.

Erin is in Holtz's lap. Cuddles and sweet kisses on Erin's couch have given way to eager groping and passionate touches, hands roaming, bruised lips moving with purpose. Holtzmann's t-shirt is already across the room somewhere, bra hanging off a shoulder to give Erin's hands access to her skin. Erin rubs her thumbs hard over Holtz's nipples, just how she likes it, and Holtz curves into her.

Erin's own shirt hangs open, loose, useless. She would stop buying shirts with buttons, except that Holtz loves to tear them off her. So much so that Erin's taken to wearing ridiculously expensive bras beneath the plain shirts, every now and then; black or dark red, sheer lace and pure sex. It's cruel, but the rent of cheap fabric, the clatter of plastic buttons across surfaces as she tugs, the peep-show present beneath; the combination is guaranteed to leave Holtzmann flustered and gaping and on the verge of overload.

It works like it always does. Breath hitching, blue eyes widening then squeezing shut, Holtz lowering her head to rub her face against the rough lace and smooth satin, enjoying the sensation. She sucks Erin's hard nipple through the fabric, careful not to catch the lace with her teeth.

Erin's own breath stutters.

“Yes. Mmm. That's so good.”

Holtz stops sucking, releasing Erin's breast to exhale hot and shaky across her chest.


It's barely audible but Erin knows the groan behind the sigh, the scream behind the whimper.

She twists a hand gently in blonde hair, long strands mussed and wild, and Holtz moves to kiss the soft flesh above Erin's bra, to drag her mouth along the sharp bone of Erin's shoulder, then further up. Up to work on the space beneath Erin's ear, where her lips and teeth busily create a painting of red and purple that Erin will privately smile at, then hide from the world.

Holtz releases Erin's neck with a wet smack, kisses the hurt, then murmurs in her ear.

“Wanna bang?”

“God, yes, Holtz.”

They sink back into the couch, Erin straddling Holtzmann's narrow hips. Holtz pulls the remains of Erin's shirt off, having the decency to smile a little guiltily as the tatters fall – always the same shamefaced look, Erin finds it endearing – and fingers the high waistband of Erin's trousers.


Erin looks down at Holtz, splayed out and half-naked beneath her. Skin flushed, tongue darting out to wet her lips and body trembling, just a little, just enough to show her need. For her, Erin. So beautiful. For her.

“You first.”

Erin trails her fingers down Holtzmann's ribs and stomach, enjoying the rise and fall of her laboured breathing. Erin's never been more glad to be a scientist as she attempts to work Holtz's button fly, managing to wrangle the infernal contraption after only a few moments fumbling. She doesn't hesitate once she succeeds, slips her hand inside, pushes her lover's soaked underwear aside.

There's something about feeling the evidence of the other woman's arousal on her fingertips, scenting the proof of her want, that fills Erin with warm pride. Rockets her confidence to the sky.

“You're wet.”

“Course I am. Fuck, Erin.”

“All worked up, aren't you?”

Holtz just makes a low noise and tries to push into Erin's touch. It's ineffectual, given their positions, but Erin can recognise an involuntary response when she sees one.

Erin is surprised at herself. Dirty talk isn't exactly new to them, to her, but tonight the tame words are distinct notes in the air, curling in her ear to a particular rhythm and thrumming inside Erin's centre even before she speaks them.

“Do you want me to take care of you?”

Holtz doesn’t reply. Her eyes widen and her lips part as Erin strokes.

“You feel so good, baby.”

Holtz is gone. Pupils blown, mouth slack.

Erin pulls her hand free, raises the glistening digits to her mouth. She sees Holtz's eyes tracking the movement, sees her watching enraptured as Erin's pink tongue darts out and licks them clean.

So, not completely gone.

Holtzmann's hands sneak to Erin's breasts. Erin doesn't know if it's a conscious effort or whether there's a hind-brain voice telling Holtz she should be doing something to reciprocate, urging her to reach out and grasp, to automatically squeeze and roll Erin's nipples just the way she likes it.

Erin enjoys the clumsy grope for a moment, then surges forward. Captures the errant hands and forces them up above her lover's head; her grip easily wrapped about Holtzmann's slim, tiny wrists.

She'd say frail, if she didn't know better. If she didn't know how Holtz's muscles would bunch when she hefted a proton pack, or when she lifted Erin easily into her arms; dancing, fooling around, making love. If she didn't know how Holtz's fingers could grip, and twist, and play her like an tribal instrument of flesh and blood and bone.

Holtz could break free, it would take hardly any effort at all.

They're almost nose to nose now, hot breath mingling in the small space between them. Blue eyes locked, dreamy black arousal meeting determined black arousal. Erin shakes her head, slowly.

Holtz doesn't break free, doesn't make the effort.

Instead her eyes flick low and she melts deeper into the cushions of the couch. Pliant, willing. The stretch of her arms curves Holtz's body just a little, stretches her abdomen taut and pushes her breasts up towards Erin, and Erin can feel nipples erect and hard against her own chest, feel burning skin and the heart beating butterfly quick beneath.

Needing more, craving the sensations, Erin shifts to lie fully against her lover, settles over her legs. Erin rests her weight on Holtz's hips, long body trapping the smaller frame. She buries her face in the crook of Holtz's neck, sucking and nipping the creamy skin in a mirror of earlier, knowing the world will see her mark tomorrow.

Holtzmann gasps, possessing not even words any more, and Erin resists the impulse to bite down hard. Always before, when they are rough, it has been born of excitement. An enthusiastic outburst, playful. Erin doesn't think it's ever been like this, has never indulged in the slow courses of give and take, of control. Never felt the passion catching in her throat, desire urging her on and will holding her back.

Erin likes the taste. Unfamiliar, exotic. She thinks it could be addictive.

She rocks her hips down, testing. Holtz moans, loud nonsense spluttering into the air and her body bucks a little, clearly desperate to keep the contact, when Erin repeats the motion. Erin can feel the heat through their layers of clothing, knows her own underwear is ruined by now.

Holtzmann's arms are tensing, body arching further but she hasn't made a move to break free.

Erin pauses, just in case.

“Are you good?”

“F-fuck. Yes.”

“You like this.”

Erin's statement is sudden, punctuated by a squeeze of her hand around Holtzmann's wrists and another slow rolling of her hips. Holtzmann's blush is immediate and complete. Erin can feel the heat where their torsos are pressed together. Holtz's eyes are still down-turned, but her red face and mumbled response tell the truth.

“Um. Uh-huh.”



They didn't ever really talk about it. Erin read some articles online and made a list, bullet points and boundaries.

Holtz just stared at her, smirk on her lips.

“I'm a big girl, Erin.”

Erin stared back until the smirk crept away, abashed. Holtz took Erin's hands in hers, ran callouses over fine knuckles, and spoke to the floor.


“Holtz, I think we should, uh, I mean this is –”


“I–I don't want to hurt you. Or get, uh, carried away. I've noticed things, things I really like that I didn't realise that I liked and you get a certain way sometimes and it makes me want to, uh –”

“If I stay stop, will you stop?”

“Of course. Holtz, I –”

“Then we're good.”

It was the most serious Holtzmann had been since she took Erin's face in her hands for the first time, and kissed her to the hum of an unlicensed nuclear reactor, unstable and reckless.



Holtzmann is on her knees, and that in itself is enough to make Erin's heart swell.

Knowing that Holtz trusts her enough to see this, to give this to her; it's new, and precious. She's never before understood why anyone would consent to power plays in the bedroom.

Oh, Erin has done her fair share of lying down and taking it – a string of dull lovers in the past, one position fits all, men who thought their pleasure was her pleasure – but she's never been actively submissive, and certainly not dominant, not in that way.

It's different with Holtz. It's a partnership, a privilege and a pleasure.

Holtzmann certainly seems to be enjoying herself, having thrown herself face down on Erin's bed the minute she got out of the shower, before rising up on all fours and wiggling her naked ass at a bemused Erin.

It's so like Holtz; fun and flirtatious, and so far beyond the acceptable norm, and yet there's another facet to the portrait. The way Holtz stills and drops her head the second Erin steps closer, it bends the light and shows the scene from a sharper angle. Erin can sense the mood changing, the balance shifting, and she never even hesitates.

Holtzmann is on her knees, and that in itself is enough.

Erin sets the pace, sliding slowly into her girlfriend from behind as she presses down with a palm on Holtz's lower back. Not a hard touch, just enough to keep her steady.

She slides her hand up after a time, a feather-light touch between the shoulders, just enough to make Holtz bend.

And Holtz does bend for Erin. Her face and chest are pushed down into the bed now, legs tucked up slightly under her body. It doesn't look comfortable, and even her hands gripping the sheets by her face can't provide leverage to push back against Erin.

“Just relax.”

They've been at this for a while – long enough for Holtz to be a hot, wet mess beneath her – and Erin still hasn't entered her with more than one finger. One finger, slowly moving in and out, gliding effortlessly now through the slick, Erin's other knuckles brushing against her entrance with each stroke.

Holtz has her cheek pressed against the single pillow, mouth turned aside to breathe a constant stream of affirmations and encouragements into the air. Erin doesn't let herself be moved, even when Holtz tries to clamp down, missing the stretch and eager for more.

“Easy, baby.”

“Hnng... Er.”



Erin is kind and changes her angle slightly, reducing her thrusts to brief, tiny motions, fingertip searching and then stroking. Holtz gasps and swears and drips wet heat down Erin's hand.

Erin pushes against her front wall, teasing over the sensitive spot she has discovered, then presses down until Holtz's fingers curl into fists and her legs twitch. Presses down hard until Holtz's moans and pleas become incoherent babbles in Erin's ear.

“YesohgodfuckEr... Er-Erinnnn... hnngfuckrightthere... mmm-fuck!”

Erin is cruel and eases the pressure, resuming slow thrusts. Holtz whines and Erin's voice soothes.

“So good, baby, you're doing so good.”

She brings her free hand to Holtzmann's hip, flexing her fingers into the sharp bone. Tugging her up slightly, allowing Holtz to shift and spread her knees until she is in a better position, rear lifted, presented to Erin's hungry gaze.

Erin looks down at the smooth, pale skin of Holtz's behind. There's a tiny scar at the top of her thigh and of all Holtzmann's scars Erin wants to hear this story the most. Wants to know what caused the blemish, wants to know who put their mark on her lover. She knows it might be nothing, a lab accident or a remnant of a rough-and-tumble childhood. But she needs to know for sure because she wants to lay her own claim along that perfect curve, wants to bite down hard into the flesh and leave it bruised and broken.

She doesn't, because although she knows Holtz would love the reminder when she sits down tomorrow, Holtz would also hate the secret. She settles instead for a quick flick of her tongue and a kiss and a kindness.

Erin hooks her finger again, rubbing until she can feel Holtzmann start to clench and spasm around her. Rubs relentlessly until Holtz's obscene exhalations become a singular chant.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”

Her lover is almost there, almost ready to leap from the precipice and smash into pieces when Erin stops.

Holtz whimpers at Erin's cruelty, and Erin whispers.

“Soon, Holtzy. Baby.”

There's arousal trickling down Holtzmann's thighs, dripping from her as Erin moves her finger slowly out to the first knuckle, drawing moisture with it, then back in to hit the same perfect spot, over and over, deliberate and precise but far too slowly.

Erin's kind, and cruel, and enchanted.

“You're so beautiful like this, Holtz.”

And she is, poised and precarious, balanced on the edge of the chasm. Body shaking, skin pink and sweaty. There's drool on the pillow beneath her cheek and a string of inarticulate sounds bursting from her open mouth.

“Hnng... mmm, Er... fuck-k-k... yes... Erin... oh, mmm... yessssss.”

Every excruciatingly slow, curling thrust brings forth another shameless wail. Holtz is nearly always loud in bed; and probably doesn't even realise it, most of the time. Doesn't notice when she moans long and filthy, doesn't hold back when she groans and grates and shouts encouragements and obscenities into the air.

“Fuck, yes! Erin!”


Erin doesn't know where that comes from. She likes Holtz loud – rattle the windows, wake the neighbours loud – even though she knows it is just one standing pillar of an insecurity.

Loud is good, loud equates to approval.

She loves when Holtz screams her name. Screams for her, Erin.

But Holtzmann quiets instantly at her admonishment; until there are only little whimpers escaping, bitten off before they can become more.

“That's better.”

It's not, Erin thinks. But tonight isn't for her; tonight is for Holtz, and if Holtz can be a good, quiet girl for Erin then Erin will reward her for it.

Erin watches her girlfriend's face, cheek still pressed against the bed. She can see Holtz biting her lip, face screwed up tight, desperate to comply with Erin's request.

Maybe it is better this way, Erin thinks, as thick desire roils unexpectedly in her gut.

Holtz has been good, so good and Erin decides to give her some relief, to finally allow her the orgasm she's waited so long for. She removes her finger and Holtz exhales, tension easing, disappointment palpable.

Erin doesn't give her lover more than a few seconds to relax before reversing her hand and thrusting two fingers straight up back inside her. She abandons her slow, torturous game and fucks Holtz with quick, deep thrusts. And Holtz takes it so well.

“Such a good girl.”

A deep, dirty moan cracks through the quiet; sudden and loud and muffled quickly as Holtz shifts her head, turns her face down, biting the pillow to stifle further outbursts.

Too late. Erin smacks her raised ass, once, hard, and growls a reproach.

Holtzmann comes with the imprint of Erin's hand blooming on her behind. Spine jerking straight, forcing her head up and back, fingers clawing and clenching around nothing, wetness filling Erin's palm and spilling over to the sheets below.

Erin can't see Holtz's face, but she knows her eyes are squeezed shut against the moment, her pretty mouth thrown wide open in a perfectly round, perfectly silent scream.



It was hard for Holtz, being quiet. Being still was harder.

The cuffs were new; Erin found them in her desk drawer on a grey afternoon, put them in her jacket pocket without a word and smashed her lips against Holtz's the second they were alone.

They broke apart, breathless. Erin saw the look in Holtz's eyes, recognised the want.

Erin fingered the cold steel in her pocket, felt a delicious swirl of arousal in her belly, dark chocolate and full-bodied wine. Her mind dined upon the possibilities laid out in front of her.

Ignore the cuffs, and Holtz would make them disappear without question.


Holtzmann bound, bent over and naked. Holtzmann waiting, flushed and trembling. Holtzmann tugging at her cuffs and moaning and pushing back, desperate for a touch, and Erin would still her with a word, quiet her with a look.

Erin nodded.




They don't even make it out of the firehouse.

They have the building to themselves and although Erin can see their friends' disapproval in her mind's eye, it's not like they haven't fooled around in Holtz's small bed before.

Holtz practically lives here now, reasoning to Abby and Patty that it was far easier to walk a dozen or so feet when her tools call to her in the middle of the night, than to try and get a cab all the way back from her apartment or brave the subway every time she gets an idea that simply cannot wait until morning.

And really, one of them should be there at all hours. Just in case they get an emergency call, or the safety-lights above the containment unit start to flash a crazier disco than normal.

Truthfully, Erin knows Holtz likes to be close to her equipment, her babies. The hum of the reactor is a white noise comfort that traffic and noisy neighbours and occasional police sirens cannot compete with.

So Holtz stays more nights than not, and sometimes Erin stays.

And now Erin is laid back on tangled sheets and piles of their clothes, warm and naked, with Holtzmann's face between her thighs.

She holds Holtz's glasses in her hands and she plays with the frames, unthinking, as she sinks into the pleasure at her centre. Fidgets and turns them over and over, tries them on and Holtz is right; they quieten the world, even in this small room. Wavelengths narrowed to the most base of sensations, form and motion and texture.

Erin drops her fingers to tangle tightly in the crinkle of Holtz's hair, an anchor rather than a guide, as she knows her girlfriend needs no encouragement. Holtz loves to eat her out, Erin discovered that early on. Holtzmann hums with delight as her wet tongue works between Erin's legs, sometimes slow, sometimes frantic, the purring vibrations and clever touches spurring Erin towards orgasm.

Holtz stretches Erin with two, then three fingers, rough skin and smooth strokes, and Erin hooks a leg around her shoulders. It's a tell; she's so close, so close she's twitching inside. All Holtz needs to do is stop licking and start sucking and Erin will come instantly, sharp and hard and shaking.

And she does, sharp and hard and shaking and all over her lover's face.

She nudges Holtz's head away when the suction on her clit become too much, pushes her away and rolls her over. Looks down at her love and her world through yellow, everything dampened and distant and she drifts for a time like she's floating in an interstellar cradle. Wrapped in cotton-soft infinity until Holtz plucks the glasses off her nose, arm moving slowly, as though time has forgotten to catch up.

Looks down at a reality that comes crashing over her, waves without mercy. The pink flush, the thin ring of brilliant blue around lust-blown black pupils, the shiny slick-covered cheeks and chin, the red lips bending for her, and she can't remember seeing a more vibrant sight, anything more alive. She dips her head for a bruising kiss, tasting herself sharp and sweet on Holtzmann's mouth.

They kiss for a while, tongues and lips and teeth. They embrace, Holtzmann's rough fingertips dragging down her back, cupping her ass. Erin presses her hips down until she feels Holtz starting to breathe heavier under her weight.

“Mmm... s'nice.”

“Mmm-hmm. Lie back.”

Erin shifts down Holtzmann's body with a purpose, pausing only briefly to suck on a pebbled nipple, to kiss the smooth stomach. Holtz is naked too; they must have set some sort of record tearing their own clothes off, earlier.

She's a heartbeat away from her goal. Breathing in the scent of desire, blowing hot puffs of air across sensitive skin and smiling as Holtz trembles and it's beautiful, it really is. She's seconds away from burying her face in that pussy and eating out her girlfriend until she screams, when she hears a noise.

Downstairs. The heavy front door slamming shut. Footsteps and the rustle of plastic food bags, the clank of bottles on a counter top.

Erin bolts upright, hand darting to cover Holtz's mouth and squashing her groan of frustration.

She listens. Holtz licks her palm.

She glances down, not quite annoyed. Holtz shifts her face slightly, nuzzling her cheek against the firm hand, playful. Erin removes her hand slowly; Holtzmann's lips are pressed shut, eyes sparkling with good humour.

Erin starts to rise. Holtz tries to follow and Erin pushes her back down. Holtz tries to sit up again and Erin pushes her back down with her entire body. Holtz brings an arm up and pokes Erin's ribs, wiggling her fingers dangerously over a ticklish spot. Erin curves her body away from the touch and grabs the offending limb, using her other hand to snap cold metal around the thin wrist bones.

Holtzmann hisses.


Erin waits for Holtz to bring both arms close together in front of her chest, before pushing them up above their heads. She wraps the cuffs around a narrow pipe that runs the length of the wall, part of the heating system she imagines, cold and silent now in the summer swelter.

They never break eye contact and they both twitch at the loud click-snick of the ratchet snapping into place around Holtzmann's other wrist.


Erin moves to the doorway and sticks her head out quickly, a meerkat reconnaissance, mindful of her nakedness. Nobody coming up the stairs. She turns back to see Holtz's eyes broadcasting a silent plea, begging Erin not to leave her here like this.

Or do. Something tells Erin that Holtz wouldn't mind that so much, wouldn't mind being tied up and used and left to be found. Wouldn't mind everyone knowing just what Erin does to her. Wouldn't mind the world seeing how completely she belongs to Erin.

And Erin hates that thought, hates that connotation because, really, she belongs to Holtz just as much, but still.

And Erin loves how effortless and equal and healthy their relationship is, especially compared to all that came before, but still.

But still.

But still, the way Holtzmann sinks back on the narrow bed, tests the cuffs holding her wrists above her head, and licks her lips. The way she deliberately lowers her lashes and spreads her legs for Erin.

Enticing her back.

It's the most erotic thing Erin has ever seen.

There's a light sheen of sweat over Holtzmann's torso and Erin wants to run her mouth down the valley, wants to flick her tongue over the scorching skin until she gets her prize, soft and pink and shining wetly. She can see how turned on her lover is from across the room, how needy.

Erin closes the door, quickly, snapping the flimsy bolt into place. She returns to Holtz, really only a few steps away but she can't move fast enough. Her knee bumps into a set of metal drawers in the cramped room and she stumbles.

Pauses, tilts her head while still fixated on Holtz. Thoughts leaping ahead. She has a better idea.

Erin slides open the second drawer and bends to search through the contents before making her choice. Holtz watches her for a moment, intrigued, then her mouth drops open and she nods frantically.

“Yes, fuck Erin, I love your mind.”

“You want me to use this one, Holtzy, or –”

Erin roots some more, selects another.

“This one –”

Erin picks up another and she's really not surprised that Holtz has so many.

“Or this one?”

“Yes, yes, Erin, fuck yes, do me with that one.”

“You'll have to be quiet, baby.”

“I will.”

“You'll have to be good.”

“Fuck, I will Erin. Erin, Erin please just fuck me.”

The toy is small and there are no options – it's clearly a straight-to-the-point affair – but it nearly leaps out of Erin's hand when she thumbs the button at the base. Erin grins. Leave it to Holtz to soup up her sex toys.

She flicks it off, on and off then brings the still toy to her lover's centre, teasing her entrance, briefly flirting with penetration and gathering plenty of slick before moving to press it firmly against Holtz's peeking clit.

Erin's not going to waste any time with this. She turns the toy back on.

Holtzmann's reaction is instantaneous and extreme. Her body jack-knifes, forgetting the cuffs until they bring her up painfully short. She gasps, and swears quietly and comes within moments. Erin's not surprised; Holtz has been so worked up for so long and the relief is intense and brief. But she doesn't move the toy as Holtz comes down, keeps it pressed there.

Holtz's eyes grow wide, almost comically so and she starts to tremble violently, a second, more intense orgasm approaching before the first has even faded. Her eyes slam shut when it hits and she lets out a long, low groan, grinding into Erin's hand. Erin feels wetness running over her fingers and grips the toy tighter, pushing it even more firmly against Holtz's swollen flesh.

It will take longer now, Erin knows.

Holtzmann is over-stimulated, painfully so, brain shutting down but nerves still aflame. Abdomen contracting, spine curving, body trying to push down against the pleasure and pull away from the pain, muscles in her arms and shoulders straining and Erin can swear she hears the pipe creak.

It's hard to tell over the buzz of the toy and the thump of Holtz's leg kicking the wall, but the pipe creaks and Erin listens for the croak of the words that will stop this.

All she gets are groans, and throaty moans, and a long whine that ends in a high-pitched, sucking gasp.


“Uhhh... huhhhhh.”

Erin thinks she might have broken her girlfriend a little bit, but she doesn't move the toy from Holtzmann's clit.

“Come for me.”

Holtzmann screams.

Back to being loud, Erin realises. Doesn't care, because the cuffs are rattling and clanking against the pipe anyway, echoing emphatically in the room and probably reverberating through the entire building.

Holtz's whole body is writhing, head tossing and shoulders rolling. Her arms tug and twist and Erin can see small flecks of paint flicking off where the chain of the cuffs scratches the pipe.

Her lower body is jerking wildly, knocking Erin's hand away momentarily. Erin grabs one thrashing leg and holds it steady; she really needs a third hand at this point because she can't bear to toss the toy aside but Holtz's other leg is in danger of kicking her off the bed. She tries to use her body weight to lean on the flailing limb, keeping Holtzmann pressed down and spread open.

Erin thinks Holtz is gorgeous. Red and swollen. Come flowing freely to soak the toy, Erin's hand, the bed beneath them.

Erin doesn't think when she shifts the toy down and pushes it up inside the wet, ready entrance.

“Errrrriiii –”

The shriek trails off, unexpectedly, and Holtzmann goes limp and still.

Far too still.


Erin pulls the toy away in a heartbeat, drops it and takes her lover tightly in her arms.

“Holtz. Holtzy? Baby?”


“I've got you, baby. Oh god, I've got you.”

“Mmmpff... Er?”

“I'm here. You did good, baby. So good.”



If anyone had told the Erin Gilbert of a year ago that one day she would fuck a woman into unconsciousness, she'd have scoffed.

Or, more likely, she'd have been consumed by shock and embarassment and willed the floor to swallow her whole. But after cradling her girlfriend's boneless form for a time, those emotions no longer held meaning. Erin felt ridiculous, insane pride.

Until she reached up to unfasten the cuffs holding Holtzmann's wrists and her smugness evaporated.

Erin could have cried. Pale skin chafed red and raw and bleeding a little.

“No, baby, oh my god.”


“No, it's... oh Holtz. I'm so sorry.”

“Erin... s'okay.”


Patty gave her a look when she went to fetch the first aid kit from the common area. Not only because of her messy hair and hastily thrown-on clothes. There was a stack of books and notes abandoned on the coffee table. The TV was turned up louder than usual. Really, obviously, pointedly loud.

Erin's face burned.

Holtz was scrunched up tight into the pillow when she returned.

“Hey, hey. I'm here.”

Erin picked up Holtz's glasses from the floor, slid them over her girlfriend's screwed-up eyes and kissed her nose. Relieved when Holtz cracked open one eye then the other, blinked owlishly at her.

“There we go. Let me fix you up, hmm?”

Erin was worried. Holtz sat on the edge of the bed, gaze unfathomably remote, while Erin cleaned and disinfected her wrists.

Erin sat down next to Holtz when she was finished and held their hands together in her lap. Didn't know what to do. Didn't know what to say. Shame and guilt screamed in her ear, shouting down all her attempts.

Erin jumped when Holtz spoke, thoughtful and bright and clear.

“Shouldn't have used metal. Rookie mistake, Holtzmann.”

Erin twisted, gaped at her.

“Vibrator, though. Ni-ice. Got a few ideas for powering up that bad boy.”

Erin gaped some more.

“Close your mouth, Erin dear, you'll catch a fly.”



Erin closes her mouth, and next time she replaces the police-issue steel with wide, soft leather.

The next time Holtz looks at her in that way, almost still and very nearly silent and overflowing with need.

Erin knows, and gives.