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baby, put your dukes up

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It isn't a total win. By-the-minute updates suggest that Inglis' approval rating increases sharply, and his appointment as Commissioner has helped calm the people rioting over Jeffries, especially after Jeffries' mother voices her approval. (Upon hearing this, Inglis shoots Finn a long, pointed glance - Liz is polite and doesn't ask.) But, as Liz previously told Grant Delgado, there were multiple causes behind the riots, and it's unclear what impact releasing the footage had on the streets. 

Liz is against mobilising the entire department to deal with the aftermath. She argues that anything they say will only make the unrest worse: "We're not going to piss on the fire to put it out." 

She stares at Finn, silently asking for his opinion. He begrudgingly agrees.

Everyone parts ways. Despite what she said, Liz returns to her office to do some damage control. Plus, to get rid of everything concerning Sharon's campaign.


Hours after the press conference has ended, Finn enters Liz's office, chomping on his gum. His scowl intensifies when he sees her standing in front of her desk. 

She stifles a yawn as she sets aside the file she's been reading. "Hey, Finn - "

"You." He storms up, jabbing a finger at her. "If London's a smouldering husk by tomorrow morning, I'm personally organising a mob to come after you." 

Liz jerks a thumb at the window behind her. "You really think people are receptive towards organised revolt?" She notices his prone finger. "Why are you shaking?"

"Caffeine. And rage." 

"Did you come in here just to yell at me?"

"No. I - " He briefly averts his stare. "There was renewed activity right outside. Half an hour ago. You didn't hear the sirens?"

"I was too busy to notice." 

"Some of the junior members were tweeting about it; they got caught in the chaos while leaving work." 

Panic seizes Liz. "Where's Mia?"

"She got home safely." The panic gives way to familiar fury. Finn shakes his head and takes a few steps closer. "This is your fault."

Liz purses her lips. "You know that for a fact." 

"I do." 

"You surveyed the rioters?" Her voice adopts a mockingly formal tone. "'85% of the time, Liz Garvey's campaign of transparency was cited as the main reason behind throwing bottles of piss against buildings' - " 

"Fucking look at social media and the news! Violence resumed shortly after we released the footage, and - " 

"And you don't have any actual proof."

"That is proof," he insists. 

"Correlation's not causation." Finn can't contest that. Old habits dying hard, Liz metaphorically goes for the jugular. "You must've been a shitty journalist. Is that why you joined Scotland Yard? Because you lacked the thinking skills needed to even pass as a hack?" 

"Just shut up." 

"Make me."

It's a line she's always wanted to use, but now that it's out of Liz's mouth, it's anticlimactic and childish. Semi-stunned silence hangs heavy between them. 

"On second thought..." Finn begins. He approaches her at an ambling pace. "I like it when you're loud." 

Fuck. Fuck

"Question," she ventures. 

Now he's at arm's length - and he's chewing slow enough for her to see his gum, gross. "Mmm."

"If I'd started touching you earlier, would you have liked me more?"

"Probably not." Finn's eyes narrow. "But I'd have been at a loss for words more often." 

This is bad, bad, bad. Her phone buzzes with an incoming call, and she's inclined to ignore it. They observe each other silently, the one time she wants him to speak. Trust him to always push all of her buttons. 

Liz says, "We're not so different, you and I."

Finn regards her with supreme annoyance. "That's my line."

"I do like shifting paradigms." She leans against her desk, arms folded. "Think about it: we're both ambitious, and intelligent, and make Star Wars references at inopportune times - " 

"What are you trying to say?"

"I'm trying to redeem you."

He laughs, halting and unkind. "You literally aren't good enough."

"I never claimed to be." Liz's gaze drifts to below his waist. "But I do have my uses."

Finn swallows thickly. "I've yet to see them." 

Her eyes flick back up to his. "So come closer." 

Of all times, he complies.

There are few truths Liz knows about herself, even if she won't admit them. One is that, as well as higher purpose, she craves adrenaline. Roller coasters don't do anything for her. She seeks frequent certain danger, definite unpredictability - that's why she joined a police force instead of healthcare administration or the tax bureau. She was losing her fucking mind at Instagram. She hates confrontation, yet she laps it up, because it's everywhere, and she's a conduit of modern-age bloodlust, a pacifist whose only true skill is fighting. 

It's been one of the longest days of a very, very long month. She's been making the least-damaging decisions for the last eighteen hours, but it's probably past midnight, and her thinking has slowed to a crawl. She's exhausted and angry and still so sad that it aches in her bones. 

Fuck it, she tells herself, and kisses him.

There's a brief moment of shock before he kisses her back. It's tentative at first, close-lipped and almost gentle. Quickly, it becomes brutal, her fingernails digging into his shoulders, his hands firm on her hips, mouths open and wet and greedy, her tongue poking into -

She pulls away. Finn makes a small noise of protest and reaches for her. Perching on the edge of her desk, she beckons him closer with a swing of her foot. 

"No gum," Liz commands. 

He turns his head and spits. She makes a mental note to get him back for that later, though her thoughts are cut short when he rolls up his sleeves and lunges forward. He plants his hands on the desk, boxing her in, kissing her desperately. She grinds a knee against him and swears that his dick twitches. 

The ringing in her ears pierces like bad mic feedback, the lights behind her eyelids like flashing bulbs. Her phone is buzzing beside her, loud and continuously. Liz hooks one foot around Finn's waist, feels his phone vibrating in his pocket, too. Outside and below, all around them, the city could be falling apart, with them none the wiser. 

They haven't stopped kissing. He paws at her breasts over her blouse, and she draws him in by his tie. Someone bunches up her skirt. Someone unbuckles his belt. As always, he's trying to steer her, grappling for control when this should be a team effort. And, as always, she's shoving back, responding to his aggression with her own in full force, heedless of hypocrisy or potential consequences. Push-pull, pull-push. Eye for an eye, fire with fire; she's teetering at the edge of sanity, feeling different junctures of the past simultaneously, the arrogance of Caesar before crossing the Tiber and the terror once he was knee-deep in it.  

"We're the Nero's of this age," Finn pants, breaking her internal monologue. His eyes dart downwards, and he pauses to gulp. "Playing our fiddles while Rome - "

"That's a myth, actually," Liz interrupts. "The fiddle wasn't even invented until 1500 years after he died." 

He slides her panties off and tosses them onto her desk. "Nerd." 

She unzips his trousers, unceremoniously sticks a hand into his briefs and, oh, he's already so hard it must hurt. Once she pulls him out and gets a good look at him, she's begun salivating a little. It's probably best he doesn't know that. His fingertips are cold near her heat; she manages not to recoil while he coats his digits with her arousal. Then, he holds them up to her face, one eyebrow raised inquiringly. 

"No," Liz snaps, half-expecting him to shove them into her mouth anyway. Finn shrugs and proceeds to suck his fingers, a smacking pop accompanying each. She squirms as she watches him, because she's unbearably turned-on and he's visibly relishing this far too much. "If you're quite finished - "

"Not even close." 

The department floor is darkened and presumably empty, but they're groping each other in front of the glass walls. If anyone happens to walk by, they'll be in plain sight. The knowledge thrills her. In some perverse way, this is about openness and trust, too - fucking him in a place she visits every day, on the eve or dawn of their new era - she isn't sure which, she hasn't checked the time in a while.

She's Icarus. She's drowning. She spits into her palm and daintily wraps her hand around his length, then twists her wrist in a way that makes his breath hitch. 

"Do you think you deserve this?" Liz questions; he shoots her the same dirty, disbelieving look he had when she'd suggested releasing the footage.

Finn fists one hand into her hair and tugs until her forehead bumps against his. "Do you?"

"I'm in a generous mood."

His free hand joins hers on his cock. "I mean, do you deserve this?" 

Asshole. God, she wants him. 

Liz releases him. "No, I don't," she admits. Finn freezes, looking apprehensive. She coolly meets his stare. "I deserve better." 

"So do I."

"We don't have that much in common." She tilts herself further back, as far as she can go without toppling over. He tucks his hands beneath her thighs, helps support her legs until they're wrapped around him. "Just close your eyes and pretend I'm the public."

He doesn't. They hold each other's gazes as he pushes into her. Under the fluorescent lights, it's difficult to ignore the emotions that play over his face in the first few seconds; she sincerely hopes that her expression is more guarded, though she becomes aware that her mouth is hanging open and her eyes have gone wide. 

"Oh, fuck," Finn chokes, and if she didn't know him better she'd think it was a sob. "Shit. Jesus. You're - "

"Move," Liz hisses. His fingernails dig into her thighs, but he remains immobile. "If you don't move within the next two seconds - " He drops his head onto her shoulder and thrusts. Push-pull. Pull-push. The squirreled-away rational part of her brain reminds her: this is not who you wanted two weeks ago. This is, in fact, someone you wanted to get rid of. For some reason, that excites her further. The world has been upended. Five deaths in twenty-seven days, and she is alive, she's clawed her way out of the mountain dumped on top of her, the defamation, the missing child, the riots and the failure and the guilt. Why shouldn't she celebrate with the enemy?

She scratches down his arms, then moves on to his chest, intentionally marking him. It's not that the feelings go away in this haze of lust, triumph, and uncertainty. They don't. Possibly, they never will. But, right now, he feels fantastic; he's pulsing and solid and he'll be here tomorrow, whatever it brings. (whatever she does, whatever he does, whatever they do together or against one another)

Their pace is rough but not too punishing. It's hot as hell, it's immensely satisfying, it isn't enough; nothing's ever enough until it's too much. She wants to throw Finn onto the floor, rip his clothes off, smother him with her lips and tits - 

"- and fuck you as hard as you've fucked me." The sharpness of her own voice startles her into silence. Apparently she's been not-thinking aloud. And Finn, Finn is chewing his lip and searching her face.

"Is that a promise?" 

Her teeth scrape down the side of his neck. "It's a threat." 

The problem with this position (among other things, such as the fact that she's in it with Finn) is that they have to cling onto each other. Liz at least has the presence of mind to remember that she can't lie on the desk, important files and empty mugs and all. Each drag of his cock has her gulping for air; her moans are exaggerated and deliberate, and every time, he replies with his own noises, like they're arguing even now. 

It isn't fair. He fills her so well, one hand on the small of her back, steadying her. His pelvic bone rubs against her clit with each upward stroke. When she meets his thrusts, clenching around him, he gapes at her like she's a building about to collapse - so she kisses him to wipe the expression from his face. (it isn't fair, he should be blood and spite, not silent awe and soft sounds) For an indeterminate amount of time, everything is perfect, conflict not forgiven and forgotten but suspended in slick heat and maddening friction. 

Soon, too soon, his breathing turns ragged. He trembles in her arms, pistoning his hips erratically.

"Come on, Liz, come on."

Suddenly, she disentangles her legs and uses one heel to shove him away - and out of her. Finn makes a sound like a wounded animal; he growls when she curls her fingers around the base of his dick and squeezes, cutting off his orgasm.

"Who do you work for?" Liz asks, eyes dark. The glare he casts is so hateful that she nearly worries that he's going to zip up his trousers and walk off. But she presses her thighs together to dampen the desire between them, lowers her voice, and prompts, "Who?"

"You," he rasps; her heart flips in ecstasy; he has to lick his lips before speaking again. "Liz. You're my boss, you're the queen. Now fucking let me back inside, you bitch." It occurs to her that this is the first time Finn's called her a gendered slur. She mentally sticks a 'not as big of a jerk as you could have been' label onto his forehead, then yanks him forward by his tie.

"Ask nicely."

"Fuck. No. Fuck you!" She grasps his cock and pumps, once, and he braces himself against her desk, shuddering with need.

"Try that again," she suggests. 

"Please. Oh, Jesus, Liz -"

Liz pulls his tie hard enough to force a surprised gasp from him, only loosening her grip once he fully plunges into her. She keens, arches her back like she's trying to aim herself at him. (they're chained to each other, tethered together by their mistakes and conviction) They build to a faster rhythm; she tenses from her toes to her jaw, hurtling towards the edge, pressure escalating like a situation and about to unravel like tightly-wound thread or order or a whole life in less than a month. 

Someone whines. Someone mutters 'fuck'. 

She's scarcely aware that Finn has been speaking until his thrusts slow down. (what what no faster more) She ruts onto him, trying to goad him back to speed, but he doesn't yield. The pleasure coiling from the bottom of her stomach shrivels into gradual licks. Protests tumble off her tongue but don't sound like words. 

"You need me, don't you?" he murmurs. "To run the department, to stay focused, to get off." His thrusts have stilled. Their hips are too far apart, his thumb pressing into her clit yet not moving. Despite it all, after everything, he refuses to acknowledge that she's the victor and he's her spoils and the spoils aren't supposed to reignite the war, fucking fuck him  -  "Say it. Say you need me."

Liz clamps her lips shut; he captures them with his, kisses her like he's trying to suck the words out. 

When they part, Finn places his mouth by her ear and rambles, "Say it, or I'll pull out and come all over you and fucking leave you here." 

"You wouldn't dare."

"Want to find out?" 

She looks away from him and mumbles something. 

"What was that?" She hates him, she really fucking hates him, because of his day-one insubordination, because of the attempted blackmail, because of Jeffries; because now the tip of his cock is teasing her clit in lazy circles, her core is throbbing like the pounding of her heart, and his tone is more playful than smug. He brushes her cheek with his thumb, in a parody of affection. "Isn't that the first thing they teach you about communicating - clarity is key?" 

"I need you," Liz whimpers, and she could even believe herself. "I need you, Finn."

Finn chuckles darkly. "Yeah, you do." 

"I need you to shut up and fuck me."

"Pick one." 

Liz scoots forward right as Finn slams into her, and they both gasp. Tears spring to the corners of her eyes. She blinks them away, but they persistently threaten to spill over as sensation overwhelms her. She wants to beg, but he's already giving her everything but mercy, and she doesn't want that.

"Finn!" she cries instead, louder than she'd intended, and he fucking mewls in response before he whispers, "Liz."  That shatters her. Not the primal nature of it all, nor the underlying resentment coming to boil, but the simple honesty in this otherwise unstated surrender to each other. As she comes, he repeats her name like it's an admonishment, or a prayer; she kisses every inch of him she can reach, spouting nonsense nonstop, managing to out-talk him, a mess between I hate you and I need you

In a burst of orgasm-induced inspiration, she entertains a wicked thought of shoving him away again at the last second, maybe jacking him off onto his shirt. Liz could chalk that up as a definite win. But he looks so wrecked and moans so prettily that she just pins herself flush against him and lets him ride towards his oncoming climax, too blissed-out to act disgusted at his nearness. 

"I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere," she tells Finn. It's meant to be ominous. It sounds uncomfortably reassuring. 

He grunts before he exhales in a stuttering sigh, starts to spurt hot and deep inside her and - and - oh, fuck, his fingers lace through hers, and he's holding her hand where it's splayed over his chest. Her cheeks burn from exertion, from the obscenity of it, from the unexpected tenderness.

"You need me, too," Liz hears herself claim softly, twisting her free hand into his hair. She thinks of dark and light, right and wrong, poetic bullshit about things being defined by their antithesis. Except she's not sure who's which, or if they're truly opposites, not reflections of themselves. 

Finn doesn't raise his head, not even to glare at her. He just nods. 

For several seconds afterwards, they stay where they are, panting into each other's skin. Eventually, he drops her hand, slips out of her with a groan. The cold air hits her bare thighs. She feels sticky and sweaty and stupid. Also, relieved, like she's released a year's worth of tension instead of a month's. 

He tucks himself into his trousers and slumps into one of the chairs in front of her desk. Well, she notes, he finally took a seat. 

"Fuck," she says.

Finn absently stares at the space behind her.

"That was - wow." Liz self-consciously runs a hand through her hair. 

"Yeah."

"That was the best hate sex I've ever had."

"How much hate sex have you had?"

"I don't think I've actually been with anyone I liked more than I disliked." 

"Jesus, you're fucked up."

"And you just fucked me!"

There are sirens wailing in the distance. Liz retrieves her panties, puts them back on, straightens her skirt. Legs wobbly, she slides off the desk without much grace, nearly falling over once she's on her feet. Finn is too dazed to notice. He's wonderfully disheveled, tie rumpled and hair sticking to his forehead. It's kind of tempting to Instagram her handiwork - but she's better than that, damn it. 

He asks, "What happens now?" 

"We rule together. A dinosaur and Miss America." He's silent, so Liz continues, "Like Charles said, it's a new era. Transparency. But matched with - "

"What happens within the next few minutes?" Finn clarifies. 

"Our phones."

"Shit."

She has nine missed calls, six emails, and a deluge of texts. Finn swears and springs to his feet when he checks his. She expects him to exit her office without another word or glance or acknowledgment that he was inside of her less than four minutes ago, but he lingers by her desk instead. 

"Um." He clears his throat, though his head is still lowered. It may just be her imagination, but he appears to be blushing harder now than he was during the sex. "We're...doing that again, right?"

Liz sighs. "Unfortunately." 

She waits for him to go, so that she can make unpleasant faces behind his back. But he's just fucking standing there, seemingly considering something. Wearily, she readies herself for another fight.

"Can I bring you home?" he asks, and she almost sputters in shock. "T-to your place. Before I go back to mine." He attempts to cover up his stammering by popping a fresh piece of gum into his mouth and chewing angrily. "It's still dangerous out there, no thanks to you."

That's unexpected. "You want to make sure I'll be safe?"

"It'll look horrible if our Head of Communications gets stabbed." 

Liz mulls it over. If she agrees, Finn will learn where she lives (bad), it will be awkward when he leaves (bad), and they'll probably fuck at least one more time tonight (goo - bad. Really, really bad.)

She sighs again, and answers, "Okay." 


"You might as well stay," she says, voice slightly muffled by her pillow.

Finn frowns and continues putting his clothes on.

They haven't checked the news in hours. Now there's a downpour outside. It's cold, and too quiet; time is ticking down till tomorrow and the next inevitable disaster. She doesn't want to lie awake, second-guessing herself in the dark. She doesn't want to sleep alone. 

Aloud, Liz points out, "Who's going to protect you?"

"Fine," Finn grumbles. 

She invitingly pats the empty space beside her and immediately feels like an idiot. He rolls his eyes as he lies down, looks somewhat distressed after she pulls the covers over the both of them. It takes a whole ten minutes for him to relax, gradually easing into the mattress.

When she presses her body to his, his pulse jumps, but Finn curves one arm around her waist and keeps it there. Liz rests her head against his chest, eyelids heavy and conscience surprisingly light, drifting off to the thumping of someone else's heartbeat.