FANDOM: Dalziel and Pascoe
PAIRING: Dalziel / Pascoe
RATING: PG-13
SERIES: None
ARCHIVE: Britslash only
WARNINGS: None
Characters beloved creations of and copyright Reginald Hill. References
"Pictures Of Perfection" by Reginald Hill.
With thanks to Simon for the Lakes, to Pfyre for being there, and to
Deborah and Fiona for helping keep the muse alive.

Email: elfin@burble.com 



Running Water


by elfin


He ran. He'd often heard people use the expression 'I ran as if my life
depended on it'. It did. And he did. He could feel the blood running
from his shoulder down his back. His arm had gone numb. It just hung
at his side, every movement tearing a muted sob from him as he pulled at
torn muscles. The ground was uneven and he tripped and stumbled with
every other step he took. But to stop, to fall, that would be the end.

The bottom of the hill down which he'd come was strewn with rocks and
loose stones. Even the odd sheep. Peter lost his footing, but behind
him he could hear the sure footsteps of his pursuer. He found his
balance through sheer terror and ran across the narrow road that wound
its way through the valley. A small stone wall stood in his way and he
put both hands down onto it meaning to vault over it. His arm gave way,
the shards of pain piercing his mind. He screamed out his agony into
the waiting quiet, uncaring, but those footsteps still came and he
clambered over the wall using his final shreds of strength. His mind
was fogging over but he had to concentrate on keeping going.

A couple of hundred yards from the wall a stream cut a wide path through
the valley, running parallel to the road for some time until winding
back into the hills. Peter ran into the fast running water and
immediately his tread went from under him. He fell. The bed of the
stream was slippery, the smooth stones not allowing any grip and he
pitched forward, cracking his head on the rocks that littered the sides
of the stream, slicing his fingers open on the rough base.

He tried to scramble up but a heavy weight was suddenly on his back,
winding him with a knee in the kidneys, holding him in place with one at
the centre of his spine. Peter choked, lifting his head to pull a gasp
of white-hot fire into his lungs. Rough fingers knotted in his hair and
forced his face back downwards into the freezing water. He struggled
then, harder than he had ever done in his life. But the water was
filling his mouth, running into his lungs, down his throat. He was
starting to choke. His whole body was starting to feel like iron. His
field of vision was narrowing.

The grip let up for a moment and he grasped at that moment. He threw
his head back and coughed up water, again and again as it was pushed
from inside him. But he didn't have a chance to replace it with
oxygen. His face was forced back into the water, this time by what felt
like a weight placed on the back of his head. His killer's knee, he
thought but his mind unhinged and his body quit its fight. He didn't
want to stop struggling. He didn't want to die. Not here, drowned in
an icy stream with only the company of his murderer. It seemed though
that he didn't have a choice. Everything went black, and he died.


Andy screamed Peter's name at the top of his voice. He'd pulled the
Rover to a screeching stop, sending gravel and dirt into the path of the
three marked and two unmarked police cars that almost ran into the back
of him. Then he was out and over the wall faster than those following
could believe his bulk would allow him to move. With a harsh kick he
unbalanced the man atop of his chief inspector, sending him into the
stream with a splash. He brought that same foot down hard into the
man's stomach as he tried to get up.

Moments later six uniformed coppers and Sergeant Wield dragged their
suspect to his feet and cuffed him. Andy turned to congratulate his
chief inspector on finally getting a suspect into custody. But Pascoe
wasn't standing. He wasn't moving.
"Peter...." Dropping to his knees in the water, scraping them along the
bottom of the stream, Andy grabbed Pascoe's shoulder and dragged him
over on to his back. The colour of his face was all wrong. His lips
were almost blue, eyes closed. He wasn't breathing. "God, no...."

Andy pressed his fingers to the cold neck, moving them around without
success. He looked up, met Wieldy's wide, horrified expression. "Call
an ambulance." Quickly he stripped off his heavy jacket and put one
hand on Peter's forehead, forcing it back and down, further into the
water. He opened his chief inspector's mouth and pinched his nose.
Then he put four long, deep breaths into Peter's lungs. Moving swiftly
he put the heel of his hand into the centre of the still chest, put the
other hand on top of the first and linked his fingers. He leaned his
whole weight behind the effort to restart Peter's heart, counting under
his breath, "one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand,
four one-thousand...."

He looked up, ready to move. But Wieldy was already there, hands on
Peter's face, mouth covering the other man's. He gave one long breath
and met Andy's eyes.

They carried on the routine for an eternity. In the distance they could
hear the sirens. But the hills bounced any sound between them and it
was anyone's guess where the emergency vehicle was. Andy gave four more
hard presses and glanced up. Wieldy forced the breath into Pascoe's
lungs. "Christ, Peter, don't die on me." Leaning forward he pressed
down again, sweat dripping off his brow. And once more, Wieldy covered
his boss' mouth with his own and breathed.

The sergeant raised his head just in time. Peter gasped once and
vomited harshly. As quickly and gently as he could, Wieldy turned him
onto his side, still in the stream and stroked his soaking wet hair back
from his face in the only comfort he could offer under the
circumstances. Andy looked to the sky, uttering a few words of thanks,
and then he met Wieldy's gaze. "Let's get him out of the water."

Together, rightly or wrongly, they hoisted their coughing companion out
from the stream and up onto the bank. Keeping his chief inspector on
his side, Andy grabbed his jacket and wrapped it over Peter's trembling,
drenched body. He slid his hand under the wet hair and cradled his
chief inspector's head with delicate care. Peter was still choking
water up from his stomach while gasping breaths into his aching lungs.

Unsure of what else to do, not knowing if what they'd already done was
for the best, Andy wrapped his arm over Peter's side. "Hush, lad," he
murmured gently, trying to ease his obvious distress, "you're all right,
ambulance is on its way."

The sirens closed in. And then quiet descended into valley once again
and the ambulance crew were leaping over the wall as everyone else had
done. As their treatment of their patient began, Dalziel was drawn
away. "You did well," he was being told, along with Wieldy. "You both
saved his life. Let us take it from here, okay?"

*

Andy sat on the grass at the edge of the stream, watching the innocent
water continue its journey. Water so clear, so fresh. It had almost
claimed a life this afternoon.

He'd just about stopped trembling finally. Wieldy had gone in the
ambulance with Peter; Andy hadn't wanted him to be alone. After long
minutes of sitting in the peace of the valley Andy almost felt like he
was in a fit state to drive at last. But his blame in this matter
wouldn't be so easily waylaid.

He looked up at the hill behind him. There was only one reason why
Peter had been chasing Paul Granger over the Yorkshire Dales. Dalziel
had told him to. This morning he'd called him a 'useless waste of
space' and had insinuated that it should probably be Sergeant Wield who
walked at his side day in, day out. He'd sent his chief inspector out
to redeem himself after the over-night disaster of one of their suspects
escaping while being brought into custody. And then the ever-suspicious
Wieldy had found out how dangerous Granger really was. The advice under
such circumstances was usually to send in a crack team of armed officers
and Andy had been forced to admit he'd actually sent in one unarmed
chief inspector in a suit. Guaranteed to bring out Granger's worst
side.

He'd never molly-coddled Peter. Seeing the tears in the man's eyes in
Tankie's basement all those years ago had endeared Peter to him for
reasons he didn't want to understand. Yet it hadn't stopped him sending
Pascoe out on some shitty jobs. He'd relied on the man's loyalty when
he himself hadn't the courage to trust enough to let him in on secrets
that might have destroyed their friendship. He'd stretched the emotions
between them to breaking point and still Peter had remained faithful.

Was that all it was? Faith, trust, loyalty, friendship. Family? What
really held them at each others' side?

Having Peter move in with him had been a strange occurrence. He loved
the man. To be a part the Pascoe family had made him feel wanted, cared
for again. He'd been made welcome despite Ellie's sometimes resentful
feelings toward him. He had more of a claim on her husband's time than
she did, she'd accused him once. But in the end she'd wanted him out of
Peter's life, professionally at least, and her move to London would have
separated them for good. That had scared the living daylights out of
him. Perhaps out of them both.

He loved Peter so very much. So why this morning? Why the harsh
insults spat so cruelly? Why the dismissal? What made him treat his
chief inspector in such a way? He lit a cigarette, taking one long drag
on it then lowering his hand, just holding the slim length between his
index and middle fingers. "Oh, Peter...." He took a deep breath of
fresh air and then another smoke. The part of him that had been
desperate to travel in the ambulance was pulling at him again to get
into his car and follow in its wake. Peter might have died on the way.
Although his phone hadn't rung with that news. A chill went through
him. They'd saved the young man's life this afternoon. Peter wouldn't
dare die on him twice in one day.

He looked around. It was truly beautiful here. The scene of a what
might have been a terrible tragedy was now, once again, quiet and calm.
Peter's fight, his death and resuscitation had momentarily disturbed the
natural peace here. But that was a mere moment in the long history of
this place. Nature went on. If Peter had stayed dead, if Andy had
knelt in the stream holding the lifeless corpse of his beloved chief
inspector in his arms and crying at the injustice and at his own
strangulating guilt, this place would have remained the same. Something
so simple couldn't change the forces of nature. The water, which would
have claimed a single, precious life without malice or thought, would
have flowed on. The hills that had heard Peter's screams and witnessed
his final gasped breath would have remained silent against the
heartbroken questions in Andy's mind.

His mobile rang, shattering the quiet. His heart sped up as he took the
phone from his shirt pocket and stared at the readout on the screen.
'Wield, Mobi'. He pressed the green Receive button and brought the
phone to his ear with a shaking hand. "Wieldy?"
"Sir, he's asking for ya."

*

same day, that morning

"I can't believe you could lose him! He was cuffed! He was my
suspect!" Andy slammed his fist down onto the desk, making his lamp
jump and his coffee cup spill its contents. "Sometimes, Peter, you
really try me. A chief inspector for Christ's sake! I might as well
have Wieldy here as you! You're a useless waste of space!"

Peter looked away, looked everywhere but at his superior. He was
knackered. It had been a late-night arrest and it should have been an
early morning interview for Dalziel but the suspect had escaped. And
now he was being crucified for his error of judgement. So be it. He
was too tired to fight back. Andy threw a manila file down on the desk,
sliding it over the stained wood. "Go pick up Granger, and see if you
can get it right this time, all right?!"
"Andy...." He was going to say that he needed sleep, needed a break.
But his boss' expression was not one to be argued with. "Yes, Sir." He
turned, unable to resist slamming the door behind him.

Wieldy regarded Peter with understanding. "Whatever he said, he doesn't
mean it."
Peter snorted softly. "Right." He shook his head. "Sometimes I don't
think he likes me at all."
"You know that's not true." Wieldy didn't quantify his statement.
"Do I? He only barely puts up with me as it is." Grabbing his coat and
his car keys he headed for the door. "I'm off to pick up Paul Granger."

The sergeant watched him go. He hated to see Peter down. His own life
had sorted itselfto his delight and complete satisfaction. Living in
Enscombe had done wonders for his temperament, not to mention his love
life. He wished Peter could see what was so blatantly obvious to him
regarding their boss and his feelings for his chief inspector. Shaking
his head, deciding it wasn't quite time for despairing over heterosexual
men, Wieldy went back to work.

*

The rain fell intermittently as Peter drove his new Audi along the
twisting roads out into the Yorkshire Dales. Despite his black mood he
wasn't ready to commit suicide and he drove carefully. He'd turned the
radio off and was enjoying listening to the sound of the rain on his car
and the engine purring. Ninety percent of his concentration was on the
potentially hazardous road. The other ten percent was considering
moving out of Andy's house.

Some considerable time ago Dalziel had stopped asking if he'd found a
flat yet. Peter had started doing his fair share of housework, washing
the dishes now and again, refraining from drying his socks in the oven,
ironing his shirts even. He still couldn't bring himself to take a hold
of the vacuum cleaner but he was at least thinking about it. They'd
settled into a harmonious partnership, at least at home. But at work
Andy was becoming insufferable and how long would it be before that
master/servant relationship that still existing despite his elevated
rank crossed the line and came in through the front door to destroy
their friendship for good?

Yet the thought of moving out made him miserable. Andy's place had been
his sanctuary since Ellie had determined that they were to have a trial
separation. He missed Rosie with an aching heart yet he'd actually been
happy living with his boss. He'd never deny how much Andy's friendship
meant to him. From a rocky start he and Ellie had made 'the Fat
Controller' a member of the family.

But there was more to it than that. Under Dalziel's leadership he'd
always felt protected somehow. Not that he didn't end up with the
shittiest tasks sometimes. But Andy was usually trying to prove a point
in his own unique fashion. He'd felt that as Andy's student he would
looked out for until he was promoted passed his boss and the man no
longer had any say in his present or future. That thought too made him
a little sad.


The Grangers' farm was some way up into the hills. Paul Granger was a
suspect wanted by the Cumbrian force for robbery. It had been suggested
that he might be hiding out at his mother's farm and one Superintendent
Crossbow had called in a favour with Andy Dalziel to get the Yorkshire
squad to bring him in. Typical that. Andy owed someone a favour so
Peter got to do the work. Perhaps being at least on a par with
Dalziel's rank wouldn't be so bad after all.

The farm came into view and Peter turned the car into a narrow road that
led upwards at an impressive incline. He hoped Granger would come
quietly. He really wasn't in the mood for a fight.

*

Finally giving into the almost desperate knocks on his door, Andy
promised the caller he would ring back and hung up, beckoning Wieldy
inside. "What's up wi' you, lad?"
"Sir. I ran a background check on that Paul Granger you sent Peter to
pick up." The quiet accusation in the sergeant's tone didn't go
unnoted. "It seems that the Cumbrian CID haven't been altogether
truthful with us."
"That makes a change! In what respect?"
"Well, it says 'ere," Wieldy handed his boss a fax, "that it's armed
robbery he's wanted for. Got a violent temper apparently. When they
tried to pick him up after the job, before he went on the run, the
copper who knocked on the front door got a knife in the stomach. He
died later in hospital."

Dalziel was already on the phone, calling Peter's mobile. It went
straight to his answer service. The dales were sporadic with their
allowances to mobile signals. He put the phone down. "Get a couple of
units out there. Warn them he might be armed." Wieldy nodded and Andy
followed him out of the office, grabbing his keys. "Novello, keep
trying Peter's mobile, if you get him tell him to hold his horses,
suspect is to be considered armed and dangerous." Iva nodded, picking
up the phone. "And tell him... I'm sorry about what I said this
morning."
Wieldy smiled to himself. Iva knew better than to ask. She nodded
again.


The sergeant barely had time to put his seatbelt on before Dalziel had
his foot on the accelerator, taking them out of the car park at enough
of a speed to persuade other road-users to give them a wide berth.
Wieldy stayed silent and held on. He'd called a station local to the
Granger's Farm and delivered Dalziel's request for uniformed and armed
back up. There was little more they could do apart from get there.
Taking out his own mobile, he tried Peter's number again but it went
straight to his service.

Andy forced himself to relax and drive as quickly and carefully as he
could. Getting themselves killed wouldn't help Peter, if indeed the
chief inspector needed help. They'd probably pass him on the road
coming home with Granger cuffed to the dash. He prayed that they
would. Every car that passed he glanced at, looking for the blue Audi
Peter had bought six months earlier after his promotion had come
through.

What the hell had he been thinking this morning? Had he really been
taking his annoyance at last night's farce out on Peter? Or was it
something more that had fired his temper? Because yesterday lunchtime
Peter had taken Iva Novello out for a meal.
"Did Peter say anything to you about his lunch date yesterday?" Andy
asked Wieldy suddenly.
Wieldy looked across at his boss. "Her cat was killed by a speeding
driver yesterday morning," he explained carefully, truthfully. "She was
miserable. I'd offered to take her out at lunch time but I got caught
up interviewing Rickman and asked Peter to go instead."
Andy had to tear his eyes away from the other man back to the road.
"Her cat? Are you serious?"
"Absolutely. Why?" And then he realised. But he kept his mouth shut.
"I thought... I thought Peter was making a play for one of my officers."

Wieldy shook his head, amazed. "Sir... I don't think that's very
likely."
"Why?"
But the sergeant couldn't think of any answer other than, 'Because he
wants to make a play for his boss' and he decided to keep quiet. He
shrugged. "It's too soon, after Ellie," he lied.
"Oh."

Now Dalziel felt even guiltier. He'd been petty and jealous and Peter
had messed up last night so he'd sent him to single-handedly pick up a
man who'd already stabbed one copper to death. He groaned quietly, and
feeling his superior's concern, Wieldy tried Peter's mobile yet again.



Peter strode up to the front door of the farmhouse and knocked firmly on
the hard wood. While he waited he looked around at the beautiful
scenery. It was breathtaking up here. Turning, he knocked on the door
a second time. Still there was no reply. Going around the side of the
house, he considered what Dalziel would say if he returned to Wetherton
empty-handed for a second time in less than twelve hours. He hoped he
wouldn't have to find out.

There was a lady in the back garden of the house, hanging out her
washing. "Excuse me," he called out, "Mrs Granger?"
She looked over at him. "Yes," she lowered the towel she'd been about
to peg up, "what can I do for you, love?"
"Chief Inspector Pascoe. I wonder, is your son here?"
The smile fell from her face. And then without warning he felt a
sudden, agonizing heat in his shoulder. He turned his head and found
himself staring into the mad eyes of a young man. 'Paul Granger, I
presume,' flashed through Peter's mind obscurely. He was standing close
to Peter, hand still wrapped around the handle of the knife he'd plunged
into the detective's shoulder.

Peter gasped, reaching back. In the next moment Granger pulled the
knife from the wound and slashed the blade down in an angle. Had Peter
not taken flight, the tip of the blade would have cut from his right
shoulder to his left hip. But he wasn't stupid. He ran, heading around
the back of the house and out along the other side toward the safety of
his car. But Granger met him in front of the farmhouse, putting himself
between Peter had his car, a cruel grin twisting his lips.

For a second, Peter stared at him. And then he ran.

* * *

this evening

Stepping in front of the bank of medical equipment, Andy reached down
and took his chief inspector's hand. "Peter, I'm here now." He waited,
watching the pale face expectantly. Finally, blue eyes opened and
looked up at him.
"Andy.... Did I... get him... for you?" Dalziel closed his eyes. He
squeezed Peter's hand but when he opened his eyes again he saw the pain
on his chief inspector's face. "Sorry...."
"No, Sunbeam. You got him." He sat down on the side of the bed, to the
obvious annoyance of the nurse. But she kept quiet for the moment.
"Peter, I'm sorry. Everything I said this morning, I didn't mean it. I
couldn't mean it."
"You... saved... my life."
He nodded, hesitantly. "With Wieldy's help." He felt a little pressure
around his hand from where Peter was returning his hold. "Get some
rest, Peter." He watched for a few moments and then leaned down and
kissed his chief inspector's forehead softly.


"How is he?" Dalziel took the offered coffee from Wieldy, nodding his
thanks.
"Alive. That's good enough for me." He sipped at the strong liquid.
"What did Granger have to say from himself?"
"Not a lot. Bit difficult to plead innocence when seven police officers
witnessed him drowning a detective chief inspector."
"I'd like to see him try." He glanced back toward the door to the
Intensive Care Unit where said detective was being treated. "Right.
I'd better speak to him." Wieldy opened his mouth, but thought better
of it and closed it again. "What is it?"
"Don't you want to stay here?"
Dalziel's expression softened after a time. "Thanks, Ed. But I think
I've done enough damage today, don't you?"

* * *

Dalziel approached his chief inspector's bed quietly. They'd moved
Peter from Intensive Care this morning. The first night had been touch
and go. After that he'd made an impressive recovery from his near-death
experience. Three days in the IC Unit and the doctors were happy enough
to move him to a private room off the main trauma ward. Andy had been
in each night to sit at Peter's side and watch him sleep.

"They're beautiful, Sir." Andy turned at the female voice and smiled at
the nurse standing next to him. She was looking at the bouquet of
twelve white roses wrapped in layers of tissue paper that he held.
"Would you like me to find a vase for them?"
He handed them to her, nodding. "Thank you." When she vanished he
stepped forward.

Peter was asleep. The doctors had said he needed to sleep. It was the
fastest way for him to heal. Carefully, Andy touched his fingertips to
the back of one still hand and was surprised when blue eyes opened and
looked up at him.
"Andy...." Peter's voice was quiet but he sounded at least please to
see his boss.
"Sunbeam...." Looking into those beautiful eyes for the first time in
four days choked him up. "I'm so sorry...."
A groggy smile turned the corners of Peter's lips. "What for?"
"For what I said that morning."
The eyes closed for a moment, and then opened again. "Useless waste of
space...."
He remembered! Everything he'd been through in the last few days and
yet those words had stuck in his mind. Andy felt the blade twist in his
heart. "Petal, I didn't mean it, you must know that." Then he smiled,
shaking his head, "you're the best use of space I've known in a very
long time."
Peter turned his hand under Andy's and gave a brief squeeze before he
dozed off again.

Another, different female voice interrupted his thoughts this time.
"Hi."
Andy looked around and was surprised to see Ellie. "Hey, Love. How are
ya?"
"Good." She gazed passed him to her ex-husband. "How's he?"
"He'll pull through." Andy glanced at his chief inspector and then
back. "I'll give you two some time alone. He's just snoozing."


Ellie took the seat at Peter's side. She didn't have to wait long
before he woke again to turn on to his side. He smiled when he saw her.

"Hello."
"Hi, you." She sighed dramatically. "You know you don't have to take
on the whole of Yorkshire all by yourself." He shifted position again,
trying to get his aching shoulder comfortable. The knife wound had been
stitched and dressed but it still hurt like hell. "Are you all right
there?"
"Yeah." He looked up when the nurse appeared at Ellie's side and placed
a vase of white roses on the bedside cabinet. "These from you?" he
asked Ellie. But she shook her head, regarding the nurse with some
puzzlement.
"They're from the gentleman who was just here."
Ellie stared at the flowers. "But they're absolutely beautiful." But
Peter had drifted back off to sleep. "Typical man," she murmured under
her breath.

* * *

"You ready, Sunbeam?"
Peter looked up from his vain attempt to pull on his socks. "Almost,"
he muttered.
Andy regarded him with no little affection before seating himself on the
chair next to the bed and lifting Peter's foot into his lap. "Give 'em
'ere." Peter handed him the clean socks. His shoulder muscles hadn't
recovered far enough for him to stretch down to his feet. One of the
seemingly endless stream of doctors who'd examined him during his stay
had told him that he'd need a few physiotherapy sessions to regain
normal use of his shoulder and arm.

He watched his boss roll up one sock and carefully unroll it over his
foot. Andy's fingers touched the underneath of his toes and he jerked
his foot away with yelp. Dalziel looked up, surprised and apologetic.
"Did I hurt ya?"
Peter replaced his foot, abashed. "I'm ticklish."
Andy chuckled. "Sensitive bugger."

He slipped Peter's shoes on over his socks and dropped his feet back to
the floor. "There you go, lad. Ya look gorgeous." Peter snorted.
Andy had bought in one of his shirts along as well as his jeans, clean
underwear et cetera. But two days ago he'd blagged Andy's woollen
jumper off him and that's what he'd put on this morning too. Peter had
a certain 'lost puppy-dog' expression that would likely get him off a
murder charge.

"How are you feeling?"
Peter thought about that one. "Utterly exhausted," he admitted. "And
all I've done is get dressed."
"Listen, Petal, a week ago I had you lying dead in front of me. It'll
take time to heal."
"For both of us?" Peter looked up at his boss. Dalziel nodded once,
almost imperceptibly.
"Come on, let's get ya home."

* * *

Andy opened the door and smiled a lopsided smile. "Ellie! Come in."
"Thanks, Andy." She handed him a bag as she stepped into the hall. He
peered inside. There was a bottle of Highland Park and a bag of potato
cakes, Peter's favourites.
"He's in the lounge," he informed her. "Tea? Coffee?"
"Coffee, please." She stepped into the lounge and gazed for a while at
Peter, fast asleep, stretched out on the couch. Then she followed the
other man through to the kitchen.

"How's he been?"
Dalziel glanced up from filling the kettle. "Okay. He tires easily but
it's to be expected. Dying's a terrible shock to the system, so the
doctors told me." She shared his gentle smile of humour. "It'll be a
couple of weeks before he's back at work."
Ellie pulled a chair from under the kitchen table and sat down. "And
you?"
"Me?" He shrugged. "I'm fine."
She shook her head. "Come on, Andy. You don't have to lie to me. If
you were fine you'd be at work instead of nursing him back to health."
He switched the kettle on and found two mugs on the draining board. "I
just took a couple of days off. They thought it best that he wasn't
left on his own for the first week or so."

Spooning out the coffee he could feel her speculative gaze upon him.
"I saw the roses you brought for him at the hospital. They were
beautiful."
He couldn't help his smile. "Those rooms are so dreary. I'll never
know how they expect anyone to recuperate in them."
She let up for a time, letting him make their coffees and come to site
down opposite her. She sipped the drink, recognising Peter's expensive
taste in instant coffee. Andy grunted at her obvious surprise. "He
complains if I buy 'owt else," he explained. She nodded her complete
understanding. Been there, done that.

"How are you really?"
Andy sighed, a deep drain of his lungs. "I sent him out there that
morning. Whenever I try to sleep I see him, lying there in the water.
Just not moving. I thought when I pulled Granger off him he'd get up.
He didn't get up. So I turned him onto his back, thought he must have
hit his head or sommat, knocked himself out. But he wasn't breathing.
And there was no pulse." Andy shook himself, wrapping his hands around
the hot mug in front of him. "I can't help imaginin'... what if we
hadn't succeeded? What if he hadn't come around? What if we'd been
later? Or if we hadn't gone at all?"
She reached out, touching his hand gently, surprising him. "You did get
there in time. You saved his life, you and Edgar. You should be proud
of yourself."
"Oh no, I'm not, Love." He met her eyes, his own sparkling. "I'm not
proud of what I did that morning, what I said to 'im.... Saving his
life was what I owed him. It were because of me that he was out there."

Wiping his eyes with the heel of his hand he sipped his drink. For a
time they sat in silence and then he asked. "What makes you so
interested in my wellbeing all of a sudden?" The potentially harsh
words were softened with a smile.
"I've been doing a lot of thinking, since the divorce. And I came to
some conclusions. Then I dismissed them. But when Rosie got home after
staying here last, she asked me why Daddy was still living at Uncle
Andy's."
Andy frowned. "Did she mind?"
"Not at all." Ellie smiled. "She says you spoil her rotten. And I
know Peter does."
"He loves her, Lass, with everything he is."
"I know. And she's very much his daughter. She's got his detective
mind."
He chuckled. "What makes you say that?"
"Because about a day after she'd come home last, she asked me a second
question." She paused to sip her coffee.
"Which was?"
"'Are Daddy and Uncle Andy going to get married?'"

There was a moment's silence. And then Andy sat back and laughed. "Oh,
Lord," he muttered through his mirth, "we really are going to have to
sort out our domestic arrangements."
Ellie shook her head. "Why don't you just tell him, Andy?"
Still chortling, Dalziel looked at her with such amused innocence she
wondered for a moment if she was perhaps wrong. "Tell him what?"
And she hesitated. But something made her go on. "How much you love
him?"

The laughter faded but the smile didn't. For a moment or two she was
convinced he was going to deny it all and throw her out of the house.
But the smile softened slowly and he looked away. "Little Rosie's not
the only one to take after Peter, is she?"
"It's obvious, Andy," she insisted.
"Not too obvious I hope."
"Not to anyone who doesn't see the two of you. But over time.... I
thought about it, thought back on everything and I realised how stupid
I'd been to miss it. You even told me!"
"I did?" Every drunken party at the Pascoes' house came flooding back
to him in a terrible sudden torrent.
"That night you came to ask me if I was taking him back."

The images were swept from his mind by a clear turn of memory. 'As much
as I love your husband he's the messiest git I know.' "You shouldn't
believe everythin' I say," he told her half-heartedly.
"I took it at face value then. I knew you cared for him, he cared for
you. You're his boss, the Godfather of his child, of course he cared
for you. I just didn't realise how deep it went."
Andy shook his head slowly. "Now you can't accuse him of anythin'. And
I'd appreciate it if we could keep this between us."
"Why? Can't you see it? Why do you think he's still living here? It's
been over a year, Andy!"
"I've kept him busy." It was a weak defence. "Besides, after a couple
of months I stopped trying to throw him out."
"Of course you did, you wanted him to stay as much as he didn't want to
leave. So you're both still living here, like... like God knows what,
and you'll stay like that unless you tell him how you feel because
believe me, he doesn't have the courage to tell you."

Andy stared at her for a time trying to work out exactly what she'd
meant by all that. "You're trying to tell me... he feels the same
way?" A genuine grin split his face. "Oh, Ellie, Love, you're way out
on that one. Peter's straight as a die, always has been, always will
be. And even if he were as bent as our Wieldy what the 'ell would he
see in me?"
"You're a good man, Andy."
"Ya say that like it's a life sentence." He regarded her with a sudden
frown. "Why are you sayin' all this anyway? Blackmail?"
She looked a little hurt. "What exists between you two broke up my
marriage. It took me time to work it out I admit. But I think you were
wrong when you told me it was his ambition that kept him away from the
house. I think it was you. Perhaps if I'd seen it six months ago I
wouldn't be here, I wouldn't feel so...." She shrugged.
He waited a beat before pressing her. "So what?"
"Pleased for you." She met his suspicious expression with a
self-mocking one of her own. "I know. It sounds strange, but we
separated eighteen months ago and things weren't exactly perfect before
then. I do like you, Andy. And whatever you may think I still love
Peter. I want him to be happy. Besides, if I hadn't said something
then Rosie might. And I doubt she'd have been so tactful." The thought
of Peter's young daughter piping up with her conclusions in, say, the
middle of the park, was not one to be laughed at.

Ellie sat back. "So, now I've told you. You love him, he loves you.
Do something about it before I kill the both of you out of sheer
frustration."

* * *

It was three weeks before Andy found the courage to even think about the
possibilities she'd so brutally torn from his fantasies.

He came home from the office late one evening, hung up his coat, grabbed
a beer and wondered into the lounge. Peter was sitting in the middle of
the sofa, leaning forward, digging his fingers into his shoulders,
obviously hurting. Andy sat himself down in one corner of the sofa and
dropped his unopened beer to the carpet, reaching out to lift Peter's
hands away. "Turn around, let me rub ya neck."

Peter frowned but didn't argue. "It's been aching all day," he
muttered.
"Have you taken something?" Putting his hands on Peter's shoulders he
started to rub gently, rolling the muscles under the thick material of
the lumberjack shirt he wore. Since coming out of hospital, Peter had
found himself almost constantly cold, despite playing with Andy's
central heating. Another side-effect of dying, the doctor had reassured
him. It would pass with time.
"I don't like to." Peter told him, referring to his dislike of taking
any drugs, prescribed or otherwise.
Andy rolled his eyes but didn't argue this time. Instead he sat up and
reached around to unfasten the first three buttons on Peter's shirt.
The only reason for his action, he swore later, was to enable him to get
at Peter's shoulders, skin to skin, to make the massage easier and more
effective. He hadn't meant to slip his fingers into the opened shirt
and caress the base of his chief inspector's neck.

He heard Peter's sharp intake of breath before he realised what he was
doing. Without any visible hesitation Andy brought both hands up to his
colleague's shoulders and resumed the massage, this time under his
shirt. He carefully avoided the two-inch long scar where the blade of
Granger's knife had penetrated Peter's flesh. But his eyes lingered on
it.

Peter moaned softly under the relaxing movement of Andy's hands. His
muscles were finally relenting under the gentle, warm pressure. He felt
thumbs work their way up the back of his neck either side of his spine
and press carefully into the pressure points at the base of his skull.
He closed his eyes, not caring when the next shirt button was unfastened
and the material moved down away from his shoulders. Andy's touch was
exquisite, he wouldn't have ever believed the other man capable of such
expertise in the art of massage. Wherever he'd found his skills, Peter
was glad of it.

Despite the cocoon of warmth surrounding him, he thought later that he
perhaps should have been surprised when he felt breath against his skin
and soft lips touched to the scar at his shoulder. Instead, he leaned
his head forward slightly, moaning softly once more, encouraging if you
will. Andy was encouraged. Barely thinking, he moved his hands down to
undo the final two buttons of Peter's shirt before sliding it completely
off his shoulders and down his arms. He lay a trail of fine kisses
along the line of Peter's muscle from shoulder blade to spine. He
followed that with kisses to each vertebrae until he reached the top
one. Then he realised what he was doing.

Andy lifted his head, barely breathing. And Peter turned to look over
his shoulder, eyes sparkling, lips parted, his own breathing ragged.
"Don't stop," he murmured, "it's wonderful."
"I don't want you getting cold." Andy offered. It was a poor excuse.
"Then don't let me get cold." Peter let himself fall back and was
accepted into a close hug, Andy's arms coming around him, head settling
on his shoulder.
Cautiously, Dalziel let his fingers spread out over warm skin. "I love
you," he told him certainly.
A quiet whimper escaped Peter's throat and he pushed further back into
the embrace. "I never thought I'd hear you say it," he whispered.
"You've no idea how long I've waited."
Andy turned his head into Peter's neck. "Aye, I think I do, Sunbeam.
I'm sorry I've made you wait. I just hope it'll be worth it."

A smile touched Peter's lips. "I know it will be." He pulled his arms
slowly from the shirt and covered those that held him. He dropped his
head back to Andy's shoulder, leaning slightly to one side and turning
his face upwards. Not one of the million or so kisses Andy had imagined
bestowing on Peter had been this natural. It just happened. He touched
his mouth to that being offered and felt his friend's fingers comb into
his fine hair. Lips parted and a curious tongue touched the tip of his
own. After the initial hesitant contact, once they'd both decided this
was perfect, Peter tilted his head forward slightly white coaxing Andy's
tongue further into his mouth. Once he had it there he sucked on it
longingly before pushing into the other's mouth for a taste of his own.

Andy pulled away as carefully as he could. Not for anything did he want
to chance Peter thinking he'd made a mistake. But he caught the sudden
uncertainty in his Sunbeam's eyes. He kissed the slightly swollen
lips. "This isn't good for your neck or your shoulder."
Peter grinned his relief. "So we find a position that is."
Andy shook his head, stroking one large hand over the soft honey-blond
hair he'd ached to run his fingers through more often than he could
remember. "You're supposed to be resting."
Peter stared at him, glanced down at where their arms lay over one
another across his naked chest and shook his head. "Not tonight I'm
not."

* * *

Edwin carried the last of the dishes through to the kitchen, pinching
Wieldy's bum as he leaned over to put the two bowls next to the sink.
"I take back everything I ever said about either of them!" he stated
categorically.
Edgar turned, smiling, pleased and relieved. "I'm glad. Peter's a dear
friend as well as a colleague. And Andy...."
"Andy's wonderful. And they do look good together." He started to
return to the dining room when Wieldy grabbed his arm and pulled him
back.
"What?"
"I said they look good together."
An amused smile graced his hard features. "They're not together."
"Of course they are!" Edwin regarded his boyfriend, surprised.
"They're so together it's frightening."

But Wieldy wasn't to be so easily swayed. "Peter's always had something
for Andy. Andy's always had a thing for Peter. But they're both too
straight to do anything about it."
"And I thought you were the observant one." Edwin went back to Edgar
and placed his hands on the slim waist. "Something's changed. Maybe it
was when Peter got hurt, but something has definitely changed."
Wieldy narrowed his eyes and pressed his lips together. Then he said.
"A tenner says you're wrong."
Edwin smiled delighted. "Done. Show them the spare room and then tell
them they have to fight it out between them - the bed or the sofa down
here."


As soon as their hosts had left the room, Peter turned and stole a quick
kiss from his companion. "We should tell them," he murmured.
Andy willingly gave the kiss, then took one in return. "Wieldy's a
detective, let him figure it out for himself."
"Umm...." Peter licked his tongue around the other man's lips. "You
taste of chocolate."
"Is that a bad thing?" He encouraged Peter's exploration, sucking on
the tip of the roving tongue.
"I'd love to cover you in that mousse and lick it off slowly."
Andy frowned, uncertain. "It would take a lot of mousse."
Peter chuckled, pulling away when they heard the other two coming back.

Seated at the dining table they looked the picture of innocence. Wieldy
glanced at Edwin, but the other just smiled and invited their guests to
retire to the lounge for whiskey.


It was the wee small hours of the morning by the time the four mounted
the narrow staircase. Wieldy opened the door of the spare room and
indicated the double bed within. "You'll have to toss for it," he told
Peter and Andy, not realising his pun until Edwin turned away with his
hand pressed to his mouth trying to stop himself from laughing. "I'm
afraid the loser's on the sofa downstairs."
He caught the glance between them. "Actually, Ed, we'll both be fine in
here." Peter grinned, unable to stop himself.

The smile spread over Wieldy's face like a slowly advancing front. But
he just nodded. "Right. Good. About time." He caught Andy's
expression and actually blushed. "I'm glad," he told them then.
"Sure?" Dalziel had worried that Wieldy would be concerned about
favouritism. But then, hadn't that always existed?
"Positive. At least now when you're away Peter'll have a reason to be
moping about the office instead of having to make things up. And when
you call in, the conversations really will be for adults only."
"Nay, lad." Andy wrapped his arm around Peter's waist. "I'll be taking
him with me now, sommat to keep the bed warm."

Wieldy wished he could take a photograph of them now. He considered
asking them if they'd sit for Caddy in her studio one afternoon. They
did look good together.
"Right, then. Night Sirs."
"G'night Ed." Peter stepped into the room, out of Andy's embrace, and
the other man, raising his eyebrows suggestively art the sergeant,
followed him.


fin
elfin
26/9/00


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