Title: THE BILL - Saying Goodbye
Author: Clare
Email: clare@solomon29.freeserve.co.uk
Pairings: Dale Smith/Nick Klein
Programme: "The Bill"
Rating: PG13
Series: None
Status: Complete
Archive: Yes
Feedback: Yes, please!
Disclaimer: The characters and location herein belong to Pearson TV and
no profit is being made from this story.
Summary: Nick and Smiffy react to the approaching changes in their lives.
Warnings: Plot spoilers for the 2 episodes which make up the story "Leopard"
.  This
is a sequel to the episodes.


Saying Goodbye

by Clare

Nick took a long sip of brandy and closed his eyes while the liquid burned
its way down towards his stomach.  God, what a shitty day.  No, make that a
shitty two weeks.

Yes, he'd messed up by telling Chandler what Smiffy had said to Franklin; he
hadn't expected to be questioned so he'd automatically told the truth about
what had happened.  He hadn't wanted to lie, hadn't realised there was a
need for it, but he'd never intended to damage Smiffy's career either.  So
he'd ended up messing up his own career and for what?  The relief were still
hostile towards him and Smiffy was still looking at him as if he was scum.

He sighed, a hiss of breath that didn't begin to express the anger and
frustration he felt, and took another gulp of brandy.  He winced at the
taste: it wasn't something he'd have chosen to drink but there was no beer
in the house.

He'd done his best to make up for what he'd done to Smiffy, helping the man
to find evidence that would exonerate him, and turning down the Partnership
Officer job to prove he wasn't Management's lackey.  But he could still
close his eyes and see the wary look in Smiffy's eyes when they'd spoken in
the canteen.  The man had said he didn't hold a grudge against Nick, but his
actions told a different story.  He might not be threatening to rough Nick
up any more but letting the relief go on hating Nick, when one word from him
would put things right, said that he was a long way from forgiving him.

"And now he's leaving," Nick said to the empty room.  He grabbed the bottle
of brandy and refilled his glass.  Before he could take another drink the
doorbell rang.  He considered ignoring it, but there were two more beeps as
if the person outside somehow knew his intention.  He dragged himself to his
feet, walked forward and opened the door.

"You didn't hang around to hear my good news," Smiffy said with a bright
smile and pushed passed the smaller man into the living room.  "Is there a
power cut?"

Nick answered the question by pressing the light switch, its brightness
briefly painful to his eyes.  As far as he'd been aware Smiffy didn't know
where he lived.  This was a mild puzzle.  More to the point was why he was
here; Nick must be one of his least favourite people at the moment.

Smiffy glanced round curiously at the room, as if it were perfectly natural
for him to be here.  "This is a nice place.  Are your parents out for the

"They left this morning for a couple of weeks.  My sister's due to have a
baby any time."

"Oh, that's nice."  Smiffy wandered across the mantelpiece to look at the
framed photos of the family.

Nick scowled at him, confused and unnerved by the man's presence.  He sat
back down on the sofa and gulped down some more whisky.  When he caught
Smiffy watching him, he gestured to the bottle.  "Want some?"

The other man shook his head and took the seat opposite Nick, relaxing back
in it as if he didn't have a care in the world.  "You didn't ask me what my
news was.  Chandler's agreed to recommend me for the SO19 job."

Nick looked at the man in front of him for a long moment then lowered his
head to stare into the glass cradled in his hands.  "Cassie told me.

"And again with a bit more enthusiasm," Smiffy suggested.

"No, I mean it.  This is what you want.  I's really good news."

"And again with any enthusiasm whatsoever."

Nick glanced up and met the other man's eyes.  Smiffy's habitually
expressionless face now held a perplexed look, the man studying him
intently.  Nick looked away then smiled. "You wanna know somefing funny?" he
asked.  "Somefing that'll make your evening perfect?"

"Go on then."

Nick's grip on the glass he held tightened.  "I'll really miss you.  How
stupid is that?"  There were tears in his eyes, he realised with horror.
How much of this sodding whisky had he drunk anyway?  He waited, a sick
feeling in his gut, for the other man's derision.

Smiffy was silent for what seemed like forever and when he spoke it was so
quietly that Nick barely caught the words.  "Me too."  Nick looked up at
him, stunned, and this time it was Smiffy who wouldn't meet his gaze.  The
other man got to his feet once more and paced round the room.  "There's
still a chance I won't get the job.  If I do it'll probably be a couple of
months before I move.  An' the job's still in London.  It's not like we
couldn't meet up ."

Nick grabbed the man's arm as Smiffy's restless movements brought him within
reach of the sofa.  "Sit down, Smiffy."

The man looked down at him, arm tense beneath Nick's hand.  Then something
in his eyes changed and he sank down next to his colleague.  "I heard you
turned down the job as Partnership Officer."  He looked at Nick's hand which
still rested against the arm of his leather jacket.  "That was a bloody
stupid fing to do: I thought you wanted that job."

"Right now, I just want you," Nick told him.

Smiffy's eyes widened in panic.  "Don't be stupid.  You're drunk.  You don't
know what the 'ell you're saying."  He began to stand, but Nick's grip
tightened, pulling him back down.

"I'm not drunk and you don't want to talk about our jobs."

"I'm not ."  Smiffy swallowed and began again.  "I've never ."

Nick picked up on his meaning without difficulty.  "Trust me.  We can take
it slow.  It'll be okay."  He leaned forward until his lips touched Smiffy'
s, joy at the kiss not having time to grip him before the other man shoved
him away and jumped up from the sofa.

"You're insane," Smiffy said, his voice shaking.  "Don't ever come near me
again."  He was out of the front door, slamming it behind him, before Nick
could say a word.

Nick sat in the empty room and reached for the whisky bottle.




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