hardparade: (celeb; kate moennig)
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I wrote tattoo fic and it doesn't involve a single member of One Direction. I'm just as confused as you are.

Title: just enough to ease the bite
Author: likecharity
Pairing: Deb/Michael Angelo (the tattoo artist from 5x05 'First Blood')
Rating: Hard R
Warnings: Sex in a tattoo studio, shortly after tattooing has taken place??
Summary: Basically, it's like this: considering how many times she's had to give herself little pep talks about how fucking epically strong she is, it just makes sense at this point to get a permanent reminder etched into her skin instead. Saves some effort. (~5,000 words)
A/N: For Jaime. :) Title from 'Just A Little Bit' by Kids of 88. Spoilers for season 7!

When she realizes she's in love with her brother, that's when she starts considering it. "You're strong, Debra," her therapist tells her, roughly eighty times per session, "there's a lot of strength in you, you'll get through this." Deb keeps replaying the little speech in her own head and it seems to push her onwards, through every day she doesn't know how to face. Strength, strength, strength.

Somewhere in the back of her mind she has this strange desire to write the word on herself, like a label, just to make it feel more true.

When it turns out her brother is a serial killer, Deb wants to scrawl it on her fucking forehead so she'll see it every time she looks in the mirror, because the thought isn't enough anymore and she has no clue how she's gonna get through this. For the first time, she's honestly, genuinely certain that things can't get worse.

And then she discovers he's been dating a fellow serial killer, and that's just—that's fucking it. It's time.

Basically, it's like this: considering how many times she's had to give herself little pep talks about how fucking epically strong she is, it just makes sense at this point to get a permanent reminder etched into her skin instead. Saves some effort. She remembers what Masuka said about that ridiculous dragon-riding naked chick on his back—how he was going through a crisis and getting inked was his way of working through it—and identifying with Masuka makes Deb feel a little like killing herself, but she can't lie. She gets it now.

The word 'strength' itself feels a little too obvious, and she doesn't want to get it in a different language because she doesn't trust that it won't end up saying 'whore' or something by mistake. Besides that, and various other culturally-specific things with which she feels no real connection, bulls seem to be a common symbol. She rejects the idea initially, because the horns make her think of Speltzer and his creepy-as-fuck Viking helmet, but then, on second thought—that seems sort of fitting. Hell, she survived that too, right?

She trawls through a few websites until she finds a design that appeals—a blocky silhouette of a bull's head, face-on, large horns curving up from either side. It's simplistic, but bold, and she likes that, grabs a pencil and some paper and sketches it out herself a few times until she's got something she's happy with.

Considering how long the idea's been playing on her mind, the rest of the process is pretty quick. Now that she knows what she wants, she wants it now, so when she's got a couple of hours free she stuffs her little drawing in the back pocket of her jeans and refreshes her memory of the location of the only tattoo studio she knows. Astor and Cody and Harrison are all staying at her house, still, but for once Dexter's actually around instead of with fucking Hannah McKay, so Deb just says she's got errands to run and sets off.

Maybe she ought to do some more research, find a place that seems right for her, but she doubts she'd feel comfortable in any kind of body modification establishment. At least she's actually been to this one before, even if it was a long time ago and for work-related reasons.

Still, when she steps through the door she remembers just how out of place she felt the last time she was here, and starts having second thoughts. She looks around tentatively, and is greeted by the sight of a muscly biker dude getting an incredibly detailed skull tattooed on his bicep and a couple of giggly teenage girls being given tramp stamps. The girls can't be much older than Astor, and Deb almost bails immediately, suddenly reminded of how gross this place is and wondering what the fuck she's thinking. She really must've lost her mind for real this time; this isn't her.

She's just grabbed hold of the door handle again when a voice drawls, "Detective," out of nowhere, startling her. She didn't expect to be recognized, considering how long it's been and how many people must come in and out of here on a daily basis, but then, she has to admit she probably stands out.

She turns back around and comes face to face with Michael Angelo, who's leaning against the counter and grinning at her. Deb remembers assuming she was some burly tough guy from what Masuka said, and it's still kind of amusing to her that she's really this skinny scruffy-haired chick, standing in front of her now in drainpipe jeans and transparent shirt through which Deb can faintly see the tattoo on her chest. (And her nipples. Not that Deb's looking, they're just—right there.)

"Long time no see," Michael Angelo smirks. "I gotta say, I didn't expect to see you back here. Is there another crime I can help solve?"

"Uh, no," says Deb, faltering a little, "I'm—I'm actually here for me."

Michael Angelo doesn't exactly try to hide her surprise. "Really? Well well. What can I do you for?"

Deb fishes in her pocket for the scrap of paper she's drawn the symbol on, feeling like an idiot as she holds it out to show her. Michael Angelo takes it, and looks at it for long enough that Deb starts feeling even more uncomfortable than she already was. She's about to snatch it back and just get the hell out of there when Michael Angelo suddenly turns decisively on her heel, beckoning over her head.

"Step into my office," she says grandly, striding towards a door in the back.

Deb hesitates a second, but gives in and follows her, feeling a little more optimistic now that there's the option of privacy at least. She wasn't exactly jumping for joy at the idea of joining the other customers.

Michael Angelo leads her into a small room which looks much like the main one, only a little more cluttered. There's a reclining leather chair in the middle, which reminds Deb of dentists.

"Have a seat," Michael Angelo prompts, gesturing to the chair, and Deb goes and sits tentatively on the edge of it, crossing her arms as Michael Angelo inspects the design again. Deb prays she won't get what it means, 'cause if she does then she's sure as shit gonna comment on it, and this is not the kind of thing Deb's about to explain to a total stranger. But of course—

"Strength, huh?"

"Yeah," Deb shoots back, a little defensive. "I guess you're gonna tell me how unoriginal that is or something."

"You're feisty," Michael Angelo observes. "I like it," she adds, flashing a smile, and Deb's really not sure if she's talking about the design. She slides into the swivel chair opposite Deb and sits forward, looking her in the eye. "So, where d'you want it?"

"Uh," says Deb, faltering for a second. "Uh, my—hip."

"Nice choice. Now, lie back and make yourself comfortable, Detective."

"Debra," says Deb, because the way she keeps calling her that is making her flustered for some reason. She swings round so she's seated in the chair properly and lies back, but she's pretty sure the 'making herself comfortable' bit is impossible.

"Debra," Michael Angelo echoes, somehow managing to make it roll off her tongue. She's gathering some equipment now, tipping some rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball. "I like that."

"What's your name, while we're at it?" asks Deb. "I mean, your real name. Don't try and tell me your parents actually named you Michael Angelo, 'cause I'm not buying that bullshit."

Michael Angelo just smiles at her, enigmatic. "You can call me M if you want."

"That didn't answer my question," Deb frowns.

She gets a shrug in response, like, too bad. "Can you unzip your jeans for me, Debra?"

"Jesus," mutters Deb. She probably should have expected that, but still. She obliges, pushing them down a little bit along with the waistband of her panties, careful not to expose anything but the patch of skin where she wants the tattoo to go. "Here," she says, pointing to the inside of her left hipbone.

M nods and pulls her chair closer, leaning over and resting lightly on Deb's thighs as she swabs the skin. The cotton ball is cold and Deb jumps a little, hypersensitive from nerves. She tries to relax, but the next thing she knows, M's holding what looks like just a regular old Sharpie, leaning in like she's gonna start doodling on Deb's skin in marker.

"Wait, hold up," says Deb, "aren't you supposed to use like, a stencil or something?"

M smiles at her. "I can if you want. I just prefer to do it like this. Gives me more freedom."

Deb looks at her doubtfully. She's not even looking at the sketch as a guide.

"You can trust me, you know. And if you think I've fucked it up I can wash it off. We're not at the permanent stage yet."

And then Deb remembers that she barely even knows what she's talking about here, and M is a professional; a professional who's earned herself a nickname that likens her to a famous Renaissance painter, for fuck's sake. She probably knows what she's doing.

Deb relents. "All right, yeah."

It feels like it takes all of five seconds for M to pen the outline of the symbol on Deb's hip, and when Deb looks down she has to admit she's impressed—it looks almost exactly like what she drew herself, only neater, the lines bold and sure. It's just the right size, too, only about an inch across.

"How's that?" M asks, sounding a little smug.

"That's good," says Deb faintly. This whole situation feels fucking surreal, she can hardly believe she's actually doing this. She watches as M snaps on a pair of latex gloves, and when she sees the needles she's unwrapping, that's when she starts feeling really fucking nervous.

"I've, uh, I've never done this before," she admits, weakly, and she expects to get a "no shit" in response to that, especially with the way M's smirking to herself.

"Ooh, a virgin," M says airily, "that's always fun."

She's doing some kind of complicated shit with her equipment, and Deb doesn't really want to watch, the needles making her feel queasy. She's not phobic about them or anything, but still. No one likes needles, right? She stares at the ceiling instead and tries to settle back in the chair, and she startles when M touches her again a moment later, gently dabbing her felt-tip outline with another cotton ball, this one greasy with something.

"You ready?" she asks, machine in hand.

"Fuck," replies Deb. "I guess so."

"You probably wanna be sure, sweetheart," M tells her. "Last chance to back out."

"Fuck. Okay." Deb takes a deep breath. "I'm sure."

M grins at her, looking almost predatory as she leans in again, pinning Deb's right hip to the chair with the hand that's not holding the machine. Deb tries to breathe normally and to hold still, and then—

"Motherfucker," she spits out, digging her fingernails into the leather of the seat. She kinda figured that if someone as pathetic as Masuka could get, like, a fucking mural on his back, she'd be able to cope, but this—this hurts. Panic rises up in her throat and she wonders if this is the dumbest idea she's ever had.

The buzzing of the machine stops and the sharp pain in Deb's hip begins to dull. M squeezes Deb's thigh gently. "Hey," she murmurs, "you good?"

"Yeah," says Deb, exhaling heavily. She puts on a brave face, offers a smile. She doesn't want to look like a wimp. "Yeah, it's fine, I'm tough."

"Strong as a bull, right?" M teases.

"Fuck you," Deb bites back, and she's still grinning, but the truth is it hurts a hell of a lot more than she expected and when M starts up again she grits her teeth against the pain, wincing. She tries to think of something else—anything else—to keep her mind off it, but the needle seems to burn right through all her thoughts.

"The beginning's always the worst part," M assures her when the outline is complete and she's switching needles to fill it in. Deb still shouts out when the needle goes in again, though, and spends the next few minutes biting down hard on her lip and clenching her fists.

"Talk to me," she snaps eventually, giving in. "Distract me, okay?"

M glances up at her, raises her eyebrows. "All right." She pauses a moment, and it's just long enough for Deb's attention to shift back to the hot sting of the needle, so she's caught completely off guard when M says softly, "You're fucking hot, you know that?"

Deb chokes out a startled laugh. "Right," she says, staring at the ceiling, "okay."

"I'm serious," M insists. "It's why I remember you. When you first walked in here with your shirt sleeves rolled up and that badge on your belt..." she trails off, lets out a low whistle, and Deb just scoffs, lost for words. "Vince told me I was barking up the wrong tree, but. I got a thing for authority figures, what can I say?"

Deb sort of wants to squirm, but she knows that would be a bad idea considering the circumstances. She tries to think of something witty to say and can't.

"Am I making you uncomfortable?" M asks.

"You're sticking a needle in my skin," Deb reminds her. "I'm not exactly gonna be relaxed right now."

M chuckles. "True."

Deb props herself up on her elbows, careful to keep the lower half of her body still, and looks down, watching M work. She can see the bull's head starting to take shape, the horns filled in already. It's kind of red and angry right now, but—

"It looks good," she breathes.

"I'm good with my hands," M replies, her voice low, flirtatious.

Deb barks out a laugh. "Jesus, you don't give up, do you?"

"I do if someone tells me to."

Deb makes an indignant little noise, but it turns out M has a good point, 'cause Deb can't seem to actually tell her to quit it. She doesn't know why—it's not like she hasn't had enough practice with this sort of thing. She has no problem telling skeevy dudes who hit on her to fuck off, and she never hesitates to holler back at catcallers. But this is...different. She's kind of enjoying it. And it's not that she's desperate or anything, except—well, she is a little desperate. She wouldn't have to be, M's clearly gorgeous, it's just that she's—she. And that's not something Deb is into.

Or at least it's not something she ever thought she was into.

M's smiling to herself now, obviously sensing Deb's eyes on her.

"What?" demands Deb.

"Nothing. You're cute."

"Oh, shut up."

"You are! You're adorable. I think you're trying very hard not to be, but I gotta tell you, you're failing."

Deb kinda scowls at her, unable to come up with anything more than that.

"I'm pretty much done here, by the way," M adds. She grabs some tissue from the shelf beside her to clean up the tattoo a little, and Deb watches as she wipes away the excess ink and small amount of blood that's gathered on her hip. She realizes then that she's barely been aware of the pain for the past few minutes, and she feels sort of proud of herself, even if it was just M's distraction technique that did the trick.

M tosses the tissues into the trash, along with her gloves, and then puts on a new pair and gathers up some bandages and a tube of antiseptic. It's all kind of clinical, which Deb finds comforting, and she figures she picked a decent place after all. At least it's not as trashy as it looks.

M slides her chair in close again, putting her stuff down in her lap. She looks at Deb and she seems concerned about something, eyebrows drawn together in a frown as she reaches out. "You're sweating," she says softly, smoothing some hair back from Deb's forehead.

"I know. That's gross, I'm sorry." Deb's heart is kinda pounding and maybe it's just the adrenaline from getting the tattoo or something, but everything feels charged and electric and M's face is really fucking close all of a sudden—

But then she's pulling back, chuckling. "Don't apologize. Are you all right? You're not dizzy or anything?"

Deb doesn't say anything right away, because "are you all right?" is a bit of a loaded question considering the state of her life at the moment. "Yeah," she says then, clearing her throat. "Yeah, no, I'm good, except—it's just—"


"I kinda thought you were gonna kiss me just then, before. Sorry," Deb blurts out, and it's dumb as shit but it's true—that move with the hair is a classic, right?

"Oh, you did, huh?" M grins, leaning back in her chair. She swivels a bit from side to side, casual, coy. "Maybe I was going to. Maybe I thought you'd push me away."

Deb props herself up on her elbows again, looks at her. "Maybe I wouldn't."

"Oh yeah?"

"Maybe." Deb bites her lip. M moves in close again, leaning over her, and Deb tries to swallow the little bubble of nerves rising up in her throat. "But just to warn you," she adds, when M's mouth is mere inches from hers, "the last person who kissed me kinda got murdered."

A smile curls slowly across M's lips. She doesn't look fazed. Maybe she doesn't realize that Deb's serious.

"I'm willing to take my chances."

Their lips meet and the kiss is gentle, almost chaste, until M opens her mouth and Deb sighs a little, reaching out to hold her there. It's embarrassing, but she misses this, closeness and intimacy and—well—someone else's tongue in her mouth. M's a slow, deliberate, fucking good kisser and right now Deb really doesn't give a shit that she's a girl. She's had such extraordinarily bad luck with guys anyway, maybe girls are the way to go. Worth a shot.

She tries to sit up, get more comfortable, and feels a sudden twinge of pain in her hip as she moves. "Shit, fuck," she hisses, jerking back.

"Oh right, I need to deal with that," M mutters, fumbling to pick up the first aid supplies in her lap.

"I thought you were a professional," Deb gripes.

"Yeah, well, you made me forget that for a second." M uncaps the little tube she's holding and smoothes some ointment onto Deb's skin, and Deb can't help but shiver a little under the touch, not just because her tattoo feels kind of tender and raw but because she's kinda thinking about what it would be like if M moved her hand just a little, slipped it down the front of her panties. Jesus, it's been way too long.

M unwraps a small square of gauze and sticks it down over the tattoo, then gets up, tossing the wrapper into the trash and peeling off her gloves to throw them out too. There's a sink just beside her and she washes her hands before sitting back down beside Deb.

"Keep that on a while, all right? A few hours," she says, suddenly all business like she feels the need to reassure Deb of her professionalism. "The aftercare should be pretty easy since it's so small. Just make sure you keep it clean and well-moisturized, and don't wear anything too tight that'll rub. It's gonna scab, but don't pick at it."

"Gross," says Deb, wrinkling her nose.

"It'll look gorgeous in a few days, I promise you." M reaches out to touch the bandage again—one of the corners hasn't stuck down properly and she smoothes it over, makes sure it's secure. Her hand lingers just a moment too long and Deb finds herself praying she won't take it away again.

She doesn't.

"You're in really good shape," she says after a second, hand skimming gently across Deb's taut stomach, and Deb feels her muscles quiver under M's palm.

"Thanks," she says in a small voice.

M lets another second or two pass by and then her hand drifts a little lower, 'til she's toying with the waistband of Deb's black cotton panties. Deb sucks in a breath.

"Boring underwear, though," M teases, and Deb laughs, caught off guard.

"Fuck off." M's fingers are tucked just beneath the elastic, cool against the heat of Deb's skin, and Deb feels like she's barely breathing. "This is," she says shakily, "this is really unprofessional."

"Incredibly," M agrees. "Do you want me to stop?"

"Fuck, no."

M grins at her, looking wicked, and Deb's head is kinda spinning. M's hand slides further, dipping under the cotton and curling against her, two long fingers gently stroking and Deb's so wet, so wet it's embarrassing. M's still grinning like a fucking shark.

"You gonna show me what else those hands can do, huh?" Deb asks, and it's a lame line that she only says to fill the silence, really, to try make it seem like she's not as affected by M as she quite obviously is.

But then M says, "I was thinking more like my mouth," and Deb can't hold back her gasp, especially when M drags her fingers upwards and they find Deb's clit, nudge against it and make her hips jerk.

"Jesus," Deb hisses.

M's tugging at Deb's jeans now, and Deb lifts her hips up to help her get them down over her ass, not even thinking, just wanting them off. Her panties come down too and M wrenches them both right over Deb's boots, leaving them in a crumpled heap on the floor. She grabs at a lever on the chair to adjust it, and Deb suddenly finds herself sitting up, her feet on the floor as the footrest is tucked away under her legs.

"Shit," she says, a thought suddenly occurring to her as she sits there basically naked from the waist down in a public place, "no one's gonna come in here, are they?"

"Nah, they know not to disturb me when I'm working," M assures her, gently tugging Deb forward and parting her legs wider, "believe me, sweetheart, you're the only one who's gonna be coming, in here."

Deb groans. "God, you're ridiculous."

"But charming."

Deb looks down at her, this woman between her legs that she's met only twice. M looks a little flushed, and her t-shirt's slipped down over one shoulder to expose more of the hectic patterns of ink on her skin, but other than that she seems perfectly composed, one eyebrow arched and her lips quirked up in a smile. The light is glinting off the ring in her nose and Deb finds herself thinking of bulls again.

"Yeah," she says, and finds that her voice sounds unexpectedly soft. She shakes it off, juts her chin. "Really fucking charming. Now quit talking and eat me out already."

M smirks, and it's sleazy. "Yes, Detective."

Deb's about to tell her that she's Lieutenant now, actually, but then M's tongue is on her, hot and insistent, and Deb loses the power of speech entirely for a shocked moment in which everything is just pure, eager pleasure.

She finds her words again long enough to manage, "Jesus fucking Christ, you're good at that," and then she's breathing too hard and too erratically to get anything else out, reaching down to rake her fingers through M's hair instead.

Her hips keep moving like she's trying to ride M's fucking face, grind against it, and she can't stop herself because it's been too long since she'd had this and she forgot how good it feels. M's just working with her, matching her fucked-up rhythm and making her clutch wildly at a handful of M's hair. Deb's back arches and she feels close already, so worked up she can't do anything but surrender, let it flood through her. She can still feel the throbbing of her tattoo and the wires are getting all crossed in her brain, pain and pleasure mingling together. Her breath catches in her throat as she pulses against M's mouth, and she doesn't even make a sound, struck silent by the force of it.

She shudders violently after, panting hard, and only realizes she's grinning like a fucking lunatic when she feels an aching in her cheeks. It's been so long since she smiled like that, so hard it hurts, and she's lost for a second, dazed. M hasn't even let up, her tongue still flickering against Deb's clit, and she's holding her tight, strong hands clutching at Deb's thighs and keeping them spread wide. It's all too much, just on the brink of painful, and Deb's barely had a chance to recover when she's coming again, shaking and wailing weakly. Her stomach muscles tense and twitch and it's too soon for her body to handle, too intense. She claws at the leather of the chair, and M brings her through it, trying to keep her still, licking at her even through the aftershocks.

Finally Deb gathers the strength to push her away, one weak hand nudging at M's forehead, and M's smiling when she comes up, her lips shining and her cheeks blotchy pink.

"I don't," breathes Deb, her voice gone all whispery and pathetic, "I don't even know what to say. Holy hell."

"You want another? I can go again," M says, cocky as shit.

"I can't," Deb says, shaking her head in disbelief. Her legs are still trembling. "I can't, I think you'll kill me."

M just laughs, like she didn't just rock Deb's entire world, and wipes her mouth with the back of her hand as she gets to her feet.

"Thanks, though," Deb adds hurriedly. She bends over to reach for her jeans and her tattoo aches harshly to remind her of its presence. She touches the bandage gently. "And—uh—thanks for this, as well," she murmurs, feeling awkward.

"My pleasure." M does a dumb little bow, and then helps Deb up as she struggles to get her clothes back on. Deb stumbles a little as she pulls her jeans over her boots, her knees wobbly. "You good?" M asks.

"Yeah. Yeah, I think so," says Deb, and then takes a second to think about it and realizes how loose she feels all of a sudden, like all the tension's drained right out of her. Even in this insane situation, with what's basically a fresh wound on her hip, she feels good—great, even, relaxed and confident and kind of a badass. It might not last long, but right now the mess that is her life doesn't seem like such a big deal. "Thanks," she says again, and it doesn't feel like enough, doesn't quite cover it.

"You said that already," M chuckles, rubbing Deb's back gently, guiding her towards the door, and Deb lets herself be lead, feeling a little out of it.

They're back in the main room when Deb suddenly remembers—

"Oh, shit, I need to pay you."

It seems super fucked-up considering what just happened in there, but still. She reaches in her jacket pocket for her wallet but M puts a hand out to stop her. "You know what, it's on the house."

"No, come on—"

"I insist." M leans in closer, murmurs, "Let's just say you already paid me, all right?" Deb blushes, and nods reluctantly, and M's still staring at her, her green eyes glinting wickedly. "Maybe next time you can get my name somewhere."

"In your dreams," scoffs Deb, trying to get a hold of herself.

"You will be, sweetheart," M promises.

Deb rolls her eyes, and she's just turning to leave when she remembers something else. "Oh," she says, "by the way—if you ever mention any of this to Masuka, you're fucking dead. I'm not kidding."

M grins at her. "Got it," she says, saluting playfully.

Deb sets off home, finding there's a sort of delicious satisfaction in the way her hip aches all the way there with her seatbelt pressed up against it. When she gets in, Astor's sitting in the living room, sprawled across the couch watching TV. She sits up straight when she sees Deb, and gets a weird look on her face like she knows something.

"Wow, where have you been?"

Deb frowns at her. She doesn't think anything about her appearance should be noticeably different, not with the bandage covered by her clothes, but Astor seems to know she's got a secret. And—Deb was planning to keep this to herself, but she's a little giddy right now, brain flooded with endorphins, so she takes a few steps closer and whispers, "Don't tell anyone, but...I just got a tattoo."

"Really?" says Astor, doubtful. "'Cause you look like you just got laid."

Deb should maybe scold her for talking like that, but she's too busy feeling smug. Plus, the two of them smoked pot together the other night, so she's probably not gonna win the Step-Aunt of the Year award anytime soon. Fuck it, may as well stop trying.

"That too," she says with a shrug and a shit-eating grin, and heads to the kitchen for a beer.


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