|Fandom: Dalziel and Pascoe.
Characters beloved creations and copyright of Reginald Hill
Immediately following 'Above the Law'
Peter's hand dropped to Dalziel's shoulder and he almost walked out of
the door. But something stopped him. Before he could voice it, Andy
"I owe you one, don't I?"
In the silence he heard Peter's swallow, and the first sniff of
impending tears. Reaching up, he touched the back of his inspector's
hand with the back of his own. "What are you worried about? You can
manage on your own, you know."
"I'm worried about you. I've heard what happens to old coppers when
Dalziel made a face. "What? They start existing only at night and turn
to dust if they stand out in sunlight. Or do they join the bowls club
and end up getting shafted by old widows?"
Peter stepped back and sat down on the arm of Andy's chair. "It's all
you've ever known, Andy. You've given up everything else for the police
"Like you've done, you mean?" But there was no venom left in the
argument. The truth was that when Peter had first mentioned London the
possibility of losing his inspector to the great smoke had scared him
silly. He didn't want to have to OK the transfer of his beloved
colleague, his protégé. Peter wouldn't have survived a day in the Met.
Too sensitive, too compassionate, too much his student. "Sorry."
"It's the truth. I stepped on to the same path you'd taken a long time
ago, Andy. It's who I am. Shooting Della proved that to me, if it
needed proving. I was there at the right time with the right skills."
"You saved my life." He wondered if he would feel this for much longer,
this fear of having stepped too close to death a second time.
Peter seemed to be feeling the same thing, if the tremor in his voice
was anything to go by. "I can't have you shot in front of me again!"
Andy laughed. "Believe me, Petal, once was enough for me too."
"Is that why you want to walk away? You're scared of getting killed?"
"With you looking out of me? Nah, I'm not worried about that." He
smiled to cover the lie. "This is Wetherton, not New York, after all."
"Then what, Andy? One slithers out from under us, it's not the first
time and it won't be the last."
Dalziel supped his beer. "That's the problem, Sunshine. It won't be
the last. I don't know if I like the force any longer." Peter sighed.
There was barely any chance of winning when Dalziel was in this mood.
But the conversation wasn't over. "What's wrong, lad? Why all this
concern about me?"
Peter wasn't ready to answer that. "Would ya... leave Wetherton?"
Andy's face crumpled in a disbelieving frown. "Nay, Sunbeam! How could
I do that? Where would you live if I moved away?" It was a joke, but
Peter took it at face value as he had a habit of doing years ago when
they'd first started working together.
"I'll find a flat."
Andy shook his head. He reached out and hesitantly laid his hand on top
of Peter's. "I don't want you to move out."
Peter could barely believe what he'd heard. "But you're always saying...."
"Forget what I'm always saying." He cocked his head to one side. "I
love you, Peter lad. I get at ya because I hate to see ya moping about.
I miss the happy man you were."
"I miss my family."
"I know. I miss my Goddaughter. But she's still your little girl,
Peter. You'll never lose her. Ellie wouldn't do that to you."
Peter lowered his head. "How about... we make a deal. I'll come back
if you will."
Dalziel put his can down on the floor in front of him. "Why all this
sentimentality all of a sudden?"
"I... care for you." Peter looked everywhere but at Andy. "I've lost
Ellie and Rosie. All I have left is the job, and you. And believe it
or not, you're more important to me than any ambitions I harbour about
taking over the nation's police force."
Andy smiled. "When did this happen, Sunbeam?"
"I don't know." Peter looked at Andy then, eyes shining. And the smile
faded to be replaced by something else. The young inspector was worried
then that he'd spoken his heart and was about to have what remained of
his soul trampled underfoot. "Andy?"
Dalziel was watching him with undisguised trouble in his expression.
"Peter... I'll ask once. And then we'll forget it." Pascoe nodded,
wondering what he was letting himself in for. What was that puzzle, 'if
I ask him if this door leads to certain death....' "Do you want me just
for my mind?"
Peter's face broke into a smile. Then he tipped his head back and
laughed. Possibly for the first time in over a month. And then he
leaned forward and kissed his boss.
Soft lips pressed to Dalziel's, a gentle tongue traced the line of his
mouth and the simple caress sent a jolting signal straight to his groin.
But Andy barely had time to register surprise before Peter was on his
feet and heading out to the kitchen to get that beer.
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