AUTHOR: elfin
TITLE: Shots In The Dark
FANDOM: Dalziel and Pascoe
RATING: PG-13, pre-slash
WARNINGS: none
ARCHIVES: Britslash only
PAIRING: Peter/Andy
SERIES: none

Characters beloved creations of and copyright Reginald Hill. Story
copyright MJHughes 2000

Email:  elfin@burble.com
Website:  www.sundive.co.uk


Shots in the Dark

by elfin



The third night of this stakeout and this time they were using their own
bait. Behind the bar, Wieldy served drinks as if he'd been a barman all
his life. Peter leaned on the bar now watching him, impressed by the
agile actions of the sergeant. "Think you can get a orange juice poured
without too much of the circus performance?"
Wieldy met his open smile. "Anything for you, Gorgeous."
Peter flushed. His snow-white silk shirt was light enough but the tight
black leather trousers were too tight for the heat. The club was
thrumming with couples and threesomes dancing. He'd been approached
several times but not by anyone who looked like their suspect so he'd
turned down offers of drinks and more.

It was getting late. Peter guessed that Wieldy was the only one
enjoying this stakeout. Edwin apparently wasn't overly amused at his
partner spending his nights playing barman at the town's most popular
gay club. Peter wasn't happy about his role as the lure for a serial
rapist but he knew Andy was less happy. He'd managed to turn the
decision around on the first two nights, meaning that they'd just been
watching and nothing had happened. But overtime was expensive. The
stakeout was becoming expensive and Peter just happened to fit the
description of victim. Blonde hair, blue eyes. All seven victims had
fitted that description. The last two had been murdered. The first one
had recently committed suicide. Andy'd lost his argument.

Peter had been dreading it, but now that he was here, playing the part,
it felt like he was tapping into a part of him hitherto undiscovered.
And by the way Wieldy had been watching him he imagined he was doing a
good job. He'd been playing up to his colleague for practice, having
some fun counting the number of come-ons he got and noting the more
unusual of the offers.

It was getting late now, or early depending on your point of view. They
were starting to wind it down, and someone not too far out of site was
beginning to get ready to give the call-off signal.

Peter caught Wieldy's eye and ordered yet another orange juice.
"Put a vodka in that and let me buy it."
The silken voice came close to his ear and he turned his head, his heart
rate leaping. But he kept his calm as the face he looked into was as
clear as the photofit they had of him. Peter risked a glance at Wieldy
to make sure he too had recognised their suspect. He had. In answer to
the offer, Peter nodded. His companion also had the same and placing
the small glasses on the table Wieldy moved off to alert their
colleagues around the building.

"Very kind of you," Peter told the other man, sipping the strong drink.
An incline of the dark head, twinkling of the eyes that seemed to
sparkle only with the colour of the lights.
"My name's Nicholas."
"Nice name."
"Umm...." The other man smiled his amusement and trailed a fingernail
over Peter's cheek. The inspector held himself in check. "You're very
beautiful you know." Despite the noise of the club, Nicholas' voice
seemed perfectly audible, as if it's mere presence could dim the volume
of everything around it. Yet Peter couldn't think of a response. "Come
with me."
"Where?"
"Just to a quiet corner where we can talk."
Peter nodded once and allowed himself to be turned toward the back of
the club. He felt Nicholas' hand on his shoulder and a small sharp
pin-prick in his neck. Yet when he turned there was just Nicholas
standing smiling and indicating a free corner seat in the dark beyond
the dance floor.

He thought at first it was just the alcohol. As Nicholas talked to him
the soft voice seemed to hypnotise him. The world starting to dim,
sounds became dull and his limbs started to feel heavy and light at the
same time, not completely in his control. There was a hand stroking his
leg, over his thigh, dipping in against his crouch and grasping him
there through the soft leather. Strangely, he didn't seem to be able to
stop what was happening. His drink was taken from him and his hand
directed into the front of the other man's trousers, pushed against hard
flesh. That voice was speaking directly into his ear. "I'm going to
have you. I have to have you. You're what I've been waiting for,
Peter."

An alarm sounded distantly in Peter's mind, but it was so away and he
wasn't sure what it meant. He felt himself being directed to his feet.
The floor felt like rubber, unstable, with the body beside him wrapping
close around him to steady him. Lips pressed wet kisses to his neck,
his head was turned and his mouth taken. He thought dimly that this
wasn't right but he couldn't stop it, couldn't pull away and the contact
was deepening.

"Let go of him and step away or I'll break your fucking neck." The
harsh voice in Nicholas' ear was deadly calm. A smile spread carefully
over Nicholas' face. He pulled his hand from Peter's trousers and
started to raise it. Then in one graceful motion he took something from
between his fingers and pushed it hard into his victim's shoulder.
Peter crumpled to the look, a puppet whose strings had been cut.

"Get an ambulance!" Wieldy's voice as Andy punched Nicholas hard in the
gut and grabbed his hand when he doubled over. He took the small
hypodermic needle from between the man's fingers and held it carefully.
Then he pushed the coughing man into Wieldy's custody and moved to kneel
next to his inspector.
"Peter? Peter! Come on, talk to me." He pressed his fingers to the
warm neck and found a rapidly slowing pulse. "Oh God.... Wieldy!" He
looked up straight into his sergeant's concerned face.
"Ambulance is on its way."
"It had better be bloody fast." He clambered to his feet and grabbed
Nicholas by the front of his black silk shirt. "If anything happens to
him, I'll make sure you never see the light of day again."
Nicholas just smiled at him. "He's going to die," he murmured quietly.
"And you'll never be able to have him."

*

The club cleared out, the only people to remain were a couple of
witnesses to Nicholas picking Peter up at the bar, and one man who'd
seen watching with drunken voyeurism the scene as it played out on the
back seat. Wieldy pressed the 'End Call' button on his phone and looked
up into the agitated face of DCC Raymond. It had amused Wieldy when
he'd volunteered to come out on this stakeout. It was high-profile and
he wanted a part of it. But for a dedicated homophobe, being stuck
watching a club full of gay men dancing together provocatively was not a
desired position to be in.

They'd let it play out between Peter and their suspect until Andy had
realised that something was wrong. He'd given the signal to go, but
moving through the crowd hadn't been easy or quick and it had gone on
just that little bit further than they'd meant it to.

"Was that Superintendent Dalziel?" Raymond asked him politely. He
envied this sergeant a little, he seemed so at ease in this place. The
young, he assumed, happy around others of their age.
"Aye," Wieldy's amusement at the DCC's discomfort had been wiped away.
"Inspector Pascoe's in a bad state, they've got him in Intensive Care
under full transfusion. A gamma-hydroxybutyrate overdose delivered by
hypodermic, the first shot into his neck, second into his shoulder.
They're trying to fight the effects but he's in a coma."
There was real concern in Raymond's face, yet Wieldy couldn't help the
thought that it wasn't so much worry for Peter as for the DCC's own
career should a man die under his watch.
"Look, we have everything covered here. Why don't you get down to the
hospital, see if Superintendent Dalziel needs... anything."
This surprised Wieldy. Perhaps Raymond wasn't as blind as he sometimes
seemed. "Right, Sir." He made sure he put a little respect into his
tone when he replied.

*

Wieldy stepped into the Intensive Care unit of Wetherton General and
spotted Dalziel immediately. It was nearing dawn and they'd all been up
for over thirty-two hours. The superintendent looked whacked. He was
sipping coffee and watching through a window into one of the four
single-bed rooms that made up the specialised unit. Wieldy stopped at
his side and for a time remained silent.

In the bed beyond the window Peter was barely visible under blankets and
tubes. Machines surrounded him monitoring and measuring God only knew
what. Wieldy blinked back tears that came unbidden to his eyes but the
escaped and rolled down over his cheeks. Suddenly his hardened
colleague, a man who could look after himself under the most trying of
circumstances, looked as vulnerable as a new-born.

"How's he doin'?" he asked finally, with some difficulty.
"He's holding on." Andy's usually strong voice was quiet. He sipped
his coffee. "There was... a crisis when they first brought him in, but
he came through that. They're doing everything they can." He took a
deep breath. "It's GHB, a known date-rape drug they've been having
trouble with in the states apparently. Check Nicholas' recent travels,
see where he's been." Wieldy could hear the reigned-in anger underlying
his boss' voice.
"Yes, Sir."
"I'll never forgive them if he doesn't make it. I told them it too
dangerous. We couldn't protect him in that kind of environment." It
was a rage that wouldn't be released in words. It would wait, fester,
until Peter either died or woke. Depending on the outcome the release
of it would be either violent or emotional. Wieldy prayed it would have
the chance to be emotional.
"He's got a strong will to live," Wieldy tried to reassure.
"Aye. They say death's not common in these cases. They say it's
usually Rohypnol used over here which isn't as dangerous."
"But the coma?"
"The coma could last... for hours or days, weeks, months...." He
trailed off. There was nothing he could do here. He turned. "Give me
a lift to the station, Wieldy."
The sergeant knew better than to argue. They'd be the first ones to
know if there was any change.

*

Dalziel stepped into the interview and closed the door. A duty
constable was standing silent, arms crossed, in the corner. Nicholas
sat at the table, smoking but not chain smoking. He looked calm,
cleaning his nails and waiting for the questions to start. He looked up
and smiled when Dalziel walked passed him.
"How's our Sunbeam then, Andrew?"

Dalziel stared at him. But all he did was smile and pull a drag on his
elegantly held cigarette. "You don't recognise me. Well, I knew that I
suppose. Or you wouldn't have played the game, would you?"


Dalziel closed the interview room quietly and burst into the main
office. "I want to know who he is!" he bellowed. "Run him through
every computer known. Find him!" He stormed through and slammed the
door of his own office, dropping into his chair. This was not what he'd
expected and he hated it when he didn't know what was going on. He
prided himself in always being one step ahead not just of his superiors
and subordinates but also of the criminals he chased. They'd been after
this guy for a month now. He thought they knew him, thought they'd had
him nailed down. But the use of GHB was new, wasn't it? Previous
attacks had been alcohol and violence. And the attack in the club
rather than waiting until they'd got outside. Something was going on
here that he didn't know about and that only added to the anger
simmering within him.

It took an hour, but sixty minutes after he'd issued the order Wieldy
entered his office and handed him a battered file. "He's not Nicholas
Franklin, he's Nicholas Devour."
Dalziel took the file and opened it. He signed. "Carver Hall, nine
years ago."
Wieldy nodded. "Nicholas Franklin is the name all the computers come up
with, but one of the sergeants - Sergeant Bold - thought he recognised
the man when we brought him in. He suggested checking the records
around that time. I found that in the archives."

Carver Hall. He and Pascoe had been working together a mere six
months. Six friends having a party while Lord and Lady Carver holidayed
in the Bahamas. Their son, Fredrick Carver, his girlfriend Katie
Donalds, Wallace and May Ador, Caroline Fields and boyfriend Nicholas
Devour. Early one morning they'd met for breakfast to find one of their
number missing. May Ador's body was discovered after an hour's search
of the house. She was hanging from the light fitting in one of the
spare bedrooms.

Initially police had agreed with the friends that she had killed
herself. But there was no note, and the pathologist had shed some doubt
that hanging that been the cause of death. So Wetherton CID had been
called in four hours after the body had been discovered.

::flashback::

"You can't trust the rich and powerful to be left alone for two
minutes!" Andy glanced up at the house when it came into view. "This
lot aren't even from around here! It was never called Carver Hall when
I was a kiddie. Bankcroft Manor is what it used to be. Then these
southern pansies turn up and start changing things...."
Pascoe was only half-listening to his boss. As he slowed to a stop at
the front of the house two men talking intensely just to the left of the
front doors caught his attention. Not so much an argument more a
difficult agreement being reached. He wished he could hear what they
were saying. But as soon as he and Dalziel climbed out of the car the
conversation was brought to a rapid end and one of the two went back
inside. Nicholas Devour, as he introduced himself, remained.

::end flashback::

"We arrested Wallace Ador for the murder of his wife. Put him away for
life."
"Coincidence?" But Wieldy knew his boss didn't believe in such things.
"Something's not right here, Sergeant. I'm going to find out what."
But he picked up the telephone and dialled the number he'd been given.
"ICU."
"Superintendent Dalziel. Is there any change with Inspector Pascoe?"
"No, Sir. Sorry. He's still in the coma and there's been no change in
his vitals."
"Thanks." He hung up. Time, they'd told him, didn't matter in these
cases. Days, weeks or months Peter could wake any time and make a full
recovery. But similarly he could remain unconscious and never come out
of it. An hour at a time, a day at a time, they'd told him to take it
as it came.

Dalziel looked wearily up at Wieldy. "Have we managed to find Ellie?"
"Not yet."
"She's taken Rosie on holiday."
"I know, Sir. We're trying to locate them."
Andy nodded. "Right. Time I found out what was going on isn't it?"

*

This time Dalziel didn't hesitate. He walked into the interview room
and sat down, activating the cassette deck to record and stating the
date, time and occupants of the room. Then he fell silent and looked
for a time directly at Nicholas.
"Is he holding on then?" Nicholas lit another cigarette and settled
back in the uncomfortable chair. "Nasty stuff, GHB. Nastier than
Rohypnol. But not to worry, the amount I gave him, if he doesn't die
they'll eventually force someone to take the decision to kill him. Will
that be you, Andrew? Will you be asked for permission to turn off life
support?"
Dalziel continued to stare. Peter was being aided in breathing but his
heart was functioning. He wondered if Nicholas was assuming a worse
state than the inspector was actually in. "Let's leave Inspector Pascoe
in the hands of the doctors shall we? Why don't you tell me your real
name?"
"Nicholas Devour. But you know that, don't you, Andrew? You've found
me at last."
"Why the pretence?"
"With the name? I didn't want to raise any suspicions, did I? You
wouldn't have played my game."
Dalziel shifted, lighting his own cigarette. "We're not playing your
game, Devour."
"Nicholas, please. Calling one another by surnames, it's so... common,
don't you think? But you always do that, don't you, you policemen.
Except... Pascoe wasn't Pascoe, was he? Sunbeam, I remember it striking
me as odd." He smiled coldly. "You've been playing my game for a
month, Andrew."

Dalziel stood, leaning over and switching off the tape. Nicholas showed
no surprise at the action, nor did he question it when Andy again left
him alone in the room with the silent constable. He did turn once the
door had closed. "Is it possible to get a cup of tea?"


Wieldy looked up as Dalziel perched on the edge of his desk, a troubled
expression overlaying the worry etched into his features. "He's talking
too easily. And I've got a horrible feeling that he's right about us
playing his game. We were looking at the crimes when we should have
been looking at the criminal. There was such a set pattern, something
so easy to follow and bait... we didn't look for anything else."
"Like what, Sir."
"Another motive, Wieldy. Rape's about power. But I don't think he was
after power over his victims, he wanted it over us. And he got it,
didn't he? He upped the ante by killing and we went in guns blazing."
Wieldy listened, not certain he was sure what Andy was talking about but
more than willing to take in any theories. "We had a simple MO we could
bait. But that's what he was waiting for."
"But... we were there for three days. Why did he leave it? If he
wanted to be caught why not attack on the first night?"
"Because we weren't using our bait at the start were we?"
"Peter?" Finally Wieldy saw where Dalziel was going. "You're saying...
it was a trap? But... how could he know who we'd use?
"Because he remembered. He knew Peter from the Carver Hall case. He
set it up so that Peter would be the obvious bait." Dalziel tapped his
fingers against the top of the desk. "But why?" He got up. "I'm going
to the hospital."

*

::flashback::

"Right, Sunbeam, why don't you take the two ponces and I'll take the
husband."
Peter frowned. "Sorry, Sir?"
"Devour and Fredrick."
"They're not...." But his protests fell on deaf ears and Dalziel just
walked away. Peter turned at the chuckling behind him.
"Why do you put up with it?" Devour was standing against the doorframe
leading into the front lounge. "He's horrid to you. And you so eager
to please."
Flustered, Peter indicated the room behind him. "If you'd be so kind.
I do need to speak to you."
"And the other ponce?"
Regaining his composure he said, "I'll have Fredrick brought it after
you've told me everything you know."
Devour smiled and pushed off the wooden frame, backing into the large
room. He made himself comfortable in the corner of the sofa, watching
Peter as he sat on the edge of the armchair cushion. "He's wrong about
Fredrick. Straight as a flag pole. Desperately in love with little
Katie. He's planning on marrying her if she'll have him, which I expect
she will given all the cash in the family."
Peter took a few notes. "Wrong about Fredrick but right about you?"
He leant quickly that Dalziel's sometimes embarrassingly direct mode of
questioning could often produce the fastest results.
Devour smiled. "Why, Sergeant? Are you interested? I must say, I
doubt I'd turn you down. Blonde hair, blue eyes... are you taken?"
Although he tried not to, Peter straightened, frowned as macho-like as
he could. "I'm afraid you're as far from being my type as it's possible
to be."
"Ah, shame. Still, maybe one day, ay?"

::end flashback::

*

"We're doing all we can, Mr Dalziel. Why don't you go home and get some
sleep?"
Doctor Simeon was standing at Andy's side in front of the glass looking
into ICU Room Two.
"I can't. It's like... just the thought of going to sleep and him
going...."
"If he goes, it'll be peaceful and quiet. He'll just... slip away.
He'll simply stop breathing. Even if you're here what'll you do?"
"The last thing he heard is that bastard's voice. The last thing he
felt was the terror of that man's hands on him. I can't let him die
like that, I won't." He looked across. "Can I... sit with him?"
Simeon considered this. Then nodded. "All right. But full scrub,
gown, hat and face mask when you go in. He's very vulnerable at the
moment."
"Thanks."

Dressed in the white medical garb, Andy took the seat put next to
Peter's bed by Jenny, the unit room nurse. He hesitantly reached over
and covered his inspector's hand loosely with his own. Then he looked
up at the nurse. She was a well-built lass, under usual circumstances
he'd have been after her telephone number. "Will he hear me?"
"Sometimes. If you can talk to him it can only do good."
Andy nodded. He returned his attention to Peter. An oxygen mask
covered his nose and mouth. His skin was as pale as the top blanket
covering him. His temperature was down, not dangerously low but a
heated blanket had been added to the others. Saline was being dripped
into his system through the IV, the blood transfusion was continuing,
and they'd fitted a catheter. Monitors measured every bodily function
via leads stuck to his body. Under all that it was difficult to see the
human being fighting for his life. But the doctor saw Peter, and so did
the nurses. Everything they did was done with Peter in mind.

Pascoe was all Dalziel could see. In amongst the technology lay a man
who six hours ago had been as lively and cheerful as anyone in that club
they'd staked out. He'd never wanted Peter undercover like that.
Seeing his inspector step out of his car last night, perfect white silk
shirt hanging out over tight black leather, had been quite a shock.
Even when he'd let his imagination run wild he wouldn't ever have come
up with that image.

"Peter, it's Andy. I'm here, Petal. You have to come back to us ya
know. You can't stay in there all day. It's complicated this one, I
need you." He hadn't really expected a reaction but perhaps a tiny
hope.... There was nothing, just the steady bleeping of the monitors.
He remembered when Rosie had been in hospital, rushed there with
meningitis. He'd gone to see them, finding a devastated Ellie barely
holding on. But Peter... Peter had been in a worse state somehow. He'd
found him sitting at his daughter's bedside, pale, eyes swollen with
unshed tears. They'd shared a short greeting, but Peter had excused
himself. Leaving Ellie with Rosie, Andy had gone in search of his
inspector, finding him on the roof of the building, tears sliding over
his face. Pulling him into a bear-hug, Andy'd held Peter tight. They'd
stood for an age, just holding on to one another in the desperate need
for support.
"I wish I could hold you now, Peter." The words were barely whispers
but the nurse caught them, and she smiled gently.

Andy held his friend's fingers, cushioning them, stroking each one
lightly. "I'm gonna find out what's going on for you. I won't let you
go not knowing why. I won't let you go at all. I can't. So you just
hang on in there, okay? And come back to me."

*
::flashback::

"So what do you think?"
"I wish I could say I thought Devour did it," Peter caught Andy's grin.
"Come on to ya did he?"
Peter flinched. "I don't think he's our man."
"Me neither. Hasn't the nounce. The husband on the other hand,
Wallace, he's definitely hiding something."
"I bet you think they're all hiding something."
Andy grinned at that. "Impressive, and you've only known me six
months. It usually takes people years to work me out."
He smiled in reply. "Maybe I'm just a born expert."
It wasn't an answer he was used to or expecting. He liked this lad,
despite all his better instincts. They'd become close in six months,
closer than he could ever remember being to any man under him. He was
starting to feel that in Peter he could find the kind of loyalty Wally
Talantire had found in him. And it scared him.
"We need motive, Peter. Find one."

::end flashback::

*

"Interview resumed twelve nineteen pm. Superintendent Dalziel and
Constable Atkins present. Suspect Nicholas Devour, also known as
Nicholas Franklin, has declined the offer of a solicitor."

Dalziel crossed his arms on the table. "Tell me about your victims."
Nicholas smiled. "So, we're playing it that way are we? Fair enough.
I'd go to the club, watch, wait. Find someone with blonde hair and blue
eyes and chat them up. Stupidly desperate some of them, but there are
plenty of women in your usual clubs who are just as desperate so who am
I to say? The first five I just plied them with drink, took them out to
a nearby alley, two to a rented car, one to a hotel room, and raped
them. Two were too drunk to complain, the other three were a little
more difficult. But you weren't doing anything."
"What were we supposed to do?"
"You were supposed to send in bait, organise a stakeout. I'd given you
the club, the description of likely victims. But you lot just ignored
me. So I thought I'd better get your attention properly. The sixth,
Joe, didn't struggle at all. I actually think... he wanted me. Perhaps
he liked it rough. I got angry, I was planning on leaving a message for
you lot but until then I hadn't imagined I'd kill him. I put my hands
around his throat and as I fucked him I strangled him. I found I
enjoyed it. Odd that, I didn't think I would."
"And the seventh man?"
"Same thing. Only he struggled from the start. I tied his hands with
his own shirt and strangled him too." He smiled then. "Finally, you
paid attention to me."

Andy lit a cigarette and sat back, fingers grasping the edge of the
table lightly. "So you had our attention. So what?"
"That first night, I looked for you all. I was fairly sure there'd be a
barman but I couldn't work out which one." He chuckled. "Your Sergeant
Wield is not your typical copper is he?" Dalziel wasn't sure whether he
could hear an implication in Nicholas' voice or not. He let it go. "I
saw a few suspicious characters up on the balcony though. One thing was
missing though, and by that second night I was starting to worry. The
only two coppers you had in the Mid-Yorkshire CID who fitted the
description of your victims were PC Hector and Inspector Pascoe. I felt
sure you wouldn't use Hector. I hoped I'd got it right. And on the
third night, there he was."
"He?" But Andy's heart and stomach were turning over.
"Inspector Peter Pascoe. He'd put on a little weight over the years,
didn't look so much the innocent, enthusiastic man he used to be. But
that blonde hair and those stunning blue eyes.... I know you won't
believe me, but when I saw him, spoke to him, I didn't want to hurt
him. For a moment, I just wanted to take him, rape him perhaps
but...." He shook his head, for the first time seeming unsure of what
he'd done. "That's why I only gave him a little of the dose of GHB at
the start, enough to make him woozy, easy to handle but not enough to
alert you lot immediately. When I touched him, had him there... I
stayed in the club with him because I knew you lot would follow me if I
left but also... I wanted you, Andrew, to see. It was only when I knew
I'd been caught that I ended it. I couldn't let him live. I'd gone
through enough to get him there, to kill him. I couldn't back out after
all that. But I didn't want to, not at the end."

"And that's supposed to make it better?" Andy stood up, anger rising to
the surface. "You raped seven men, killed two and my inspector's lying
in a coma and you want what? Sympathy? Why? Why Peter? Why go to all
that trouble just to get him?"
Nicholas shrugged. "Something to do."

::flashback::

"Miss Fields, why don't you tell me about that night?"
The young woman wiped her eyes and set her features in determination,
regarding what, Peter wasn't sure. "Well... you see... Nicholas wasn't
with me that night... he... was with Wally."
"Wally?"
"Wallace. He and Nicholas...." Peter looked blank. "They were having
an affair."


"Motive, lad. They were knocking one another off, she finds them,
threatens to divorce him and take everything, so he kills her."
"We've no proof of that."
"Well ask him, see what he says."

::end flashback::

*

Andy stepped into the Intensive Care Ward and into organised panic.
Alarm bells were ringing, not fire alarms but quieter, from a room.
Rounding the corner he looked through the glass into room two and saw
the doctor and three nurses crowded around Peter's bed. There were
needles, and the terrifying sound of electricity charging. Dalziel
could only watch, his heart in his throat.

It lasted only around a minute and a half. When they backed away, Andy
couldn't catch his breath. He heard nothing for a few long seconds.
And then a beep, followed by another. And they weren't pulling the
sheet up over Peter, they were making him comfortable again, covering
his body that had been exposed for the paddles. They'd restarted his
heart.

Andy stared at Doctor Simeon as he passed, and he paused outside the
window. "I know I said I wouldn't, but... he's been doing so well. I
couldn't let him die, not without a fight. He's doing all he can I'm
sure of it. So I felt I had to." He shrugged. "Sometimes emotions
shouldn't be allowed to get in the way and sometimes perhaps they
should."
"Thank you."
Simeon nodded. "Let him alone for a few hours, okay? All this... it's
traumatic to his system. To yours too." He moved away.

*
"Tell me!" Andy slammed his palms flat on the table top. Even Nicholas
started. "Tell me why I've just watched them restart his heart! Tell
me why my inspector's dying!"
Nicholas frowned. Leaning forward he steeping his fingers, arms lying
along the table. "Are you too stupid, or too blind to work it out?" He
studied the policeman's face. "Too blind, you're not stupid."
"Tell me!"
"Get rid of him, and turn that tape off. I've confessed to seven rapes,
two murders and perhaps the killing of a policeman, I'm sure you'll see
to it that I go away for long enough."
Andy hesitated and then reached out and stopped the tape. He looked up
at the constable. "Leave."
"Sir..."
"Now."
Atkin knew better than to argue.

"Just me and you." Dalziel took his seat. "Now talk."
Nicholas sighed. "At Carver Hall, you got the wrong man. Wally didn't
kill his wife, I did. We were going to blame it on Caroline, but Wally
couldn't go through with it. I told him if he didn't stick to the plan,
I would go to jail and he said he wouldn't let that happen. He loved
me, I think he still does. I loved him. You took him from me, locked
him up where any filthy bloke could get the hands on him." He pointed
with the glowing end of his cigarette. "I hated you for that."
"Then why hurt Peter? Why not me?"
Another long breath. "I saw you, watched you while you conducted that
enquiry. I'd never been so close to the police before. It was
exciting, in a way. And over the few days you were there, I saw
something. I saw the way you looked at your sergeant. I looked at him
too, I couldn't blame you. He was... breathtaking. Incredible
innocence and such stunning beauty. I knew how you felt about him and I
was happy for you to have him, after all, I had Wally. And then you
took Wally from me."

Andy was staring at him. "It was eight years ago. Why now? Why wait
all this time?"
"Why? Because up until two months ago, you didn't have him. I found
out... he got married and I thought, poor Dalziel. I went away then,
took a holiday and came back. And I looked you up. And found that
somehow, you had him."
Dalziel shook his head. "I don't know what the hell you're talking
about."
"Come on, Andrew. No need to be coy. I saw you on several occasions,
going back to your place together, leaving in separate cars in the
morning."
He didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "He's lodging in my 'ouse you
idiot!" He sat back, his expression disbelieving. "He and his wife are
getting a divorce and he's kipping in my spare room until he gets his
life sorted out. Or at least he was, before you put him in hospital!"

Nicholas stared back for a moment, and then he did laugh, heartily and
loudly. When he caught his breath, he met Dalziel's incensed gaze.
"Oops."
Before Andy could reply, the door opened and Wieldy poked his head
inside. "Sir, it's the hospital," he said without apology or preamble.
Dalziel met Nicholas' stare and watched the face crease into a cruel
smile.
"It's over, Andrew. He's dead. Can you feel your life shattering?" He
leaned forward. "Can you understand at this moment how I felt?"
Dalziel rose, not wanting to accept. Someone had once said to him, hope
lasted only as long as it could. Knowledge lasted forever. To accept
that Peter was gone, to not even have the hope to cling to... he felt
sick. Pushing his chair back he stepped around the table toward the
door.
"I told you you'd never have him."
Ignoring the taunts, Dalziel closed the heavy door behind him.

He picked up the phone in his office and punched the button to connect
him to the incoming call. "Dalziel."
"Superintendent. It's Doctor Simeon. He's awake. He's asking for
you."
For a moment Andy found he couldn't speak. He felt his stomach turn
once again, this time to give way to butterflies. "He's alive?"
"Yes. Are you okay? He's awake. We'd appreciate it if you'd come
over."
"Right. Yes. Absolutely. Ten minutes." He put the phone down and met
Wieldy's desperate expression. "He's awake." Wieldy closed his eyes
from a moment, offering up a prayer to any god who cared to listen. "I
have to go. Listen. I want Nicholas to think he's dead. He's made
that assumption already so let's leave it that way for now."
"Right, Sir."
"Right." Grabbing his car keys Dalziel rushed out.

*

Scrubbed and gowned, Andy sat down quietly next to Peter's bedside. The
oxygen mask had been removed, the transfusion finished.
"He's just drifted off to sleep," the nurse told him quietly. "His
breathing and pulse are normal and his temperature's come back up."
"I thought... after this afternoon...."
She nodded. "Sometimes that's the way of things. The heart stops, we
restart it and that's enough of a shock to the system that the patient
wakes soon after. The fatality rate after GHB overdose isn't
particularly high."
"And any... residual damage?"
"We'll have to see. He was fairly coherent when he woke. He asked for
you, asked where he was, he was agitated, but understandably so. It's
always confusing waking up in here, and frightening." Andy nodded, gaze
wandering back to his inspector. "He may not wake again for some time,"
Jenny explained, sounding apologetic.
"He can sleep for as long as he wants," Andy told her softly. "I'll
just... sit here, if that's okay."
"It's perfectly okay."

It was late in the evening when Peter next opened his eyes. Andy was
there, holding his hand, stroking strays hairs back from his face with
uncharacteristic care. "Hey, Beautiful. Welcome back."
Peter managed a smile. "Andy...."
"You called, I came." For a minute or so Pascoe lay quietly, but his
face was creasing in growing agitation. "Take it easy, Sunbeam," Andy
coaxed gently, "nothing to get upset about, you're safe now."
But Peter seemed to be remembering something of importance. Finally he
mumbled, "Andy... he called me Peter."
"Yeah, I know. I'll explain later, when you're better and out of 'ere.
Nothing to worry yourself about. He confessed to the crimes we
suspected him of."
Another little smile. "Worth it then."
Andy was horrified. "Peter... nothing's worth you being here,
nothing." He wanted to say more, but now wasn't the time. After they
were out of here, then they could talk. But until then it could all
wait. "I know the hospital's not far from the station but the Bull's
closer and I'd rather be in there."
"Sorry."
Andy stroked his hand over his friend's hair. "Just recover, get better
so I can take you home."
"I'd like that."
"Aye. Me too."
His eyes closed slowly and for another few minutes he was quiet. Then
he looked at Andy again. "I feel sick."


An hour later Peter was curled onto his side, sleeping under the
influence of anti-nausea drugs and gentle sedation. He'd thrown up nine
times in all, worried his doctor, panicked his boss and had several
members of the senior medical staff in to examine him. In the end
they'd spoken to an expert on the effects of GHB overdose, a Doctor
Simon Grade in San Francisco, who'd reassured them that this was normal
and that he should settle through the night.
"It fucks up the body, sits around for a while in the tissue. It'll
work its way out eventually. He was lucky with the coma. I've known
people stay under for weeks. Try to calm his system down, lots of
saline, water when he can handle it. Keep him quiet and he should be
over it in a few days. Wasn't raped was he? No? Good. Sounds like
the poor lad's got enough to deal with."

Andy remained at Peter's side in an attempt to keep him calm while the
activity around him became more and more invasive over the hour.
Afterwards, he sat holding his inspector's hand loosely, sponging his
face down. His temperature had shot up and now instead of trying to
bring it up they were working to cool him off. By eight o'clock they'd
brought it down to 99 degrees.

Doctor Simeon checked on his patient and his patient's guardian. "Andy,
you should go and get some food, take a break. He's okay."
Dalziel didn't really want to leave, but his stomach was complaining
despite the evening they'd had. He nodded. "You'll call if he needs
me."
"Of course. I'm sure you'll be back later."
"Aye, if that's all right."
"It's not exactly policy, but I'll make an exception in your case."

*

Wieldy looked up when Andy entered the office. "Sir... how's...?"
Andy sat down in the chair opposite his sergeant. "He's out of the
coma. Spent most of the afternoon puking his guts and being prodded by
doctors. He's sleeping now, thank God. I don't think he could have
taken much more."
"But he's going to be okay?"
"Aye, that's what some yank doctor told us anyhow. Said all this were
normal." He fell quiet, letting the myriad of thoughts and emotions
swamp him for a time.
"Pint, Sir?" Wieldy asked eventually.
"Aye, in a minute. Where's Devour?"
"Cell three."

'Nicholas Devour, thinks Inspector Pascoe's dead.
He isn't, but let's leave it that way.
by way of DS Dalziel'

Andy smiled at the yellow Post-It note written in Wieldy's neat hand and
stuck to the cell door. He had the door opened and stepped inside,
schooling his features carefully. "I've come to suggest you get a
solicitor, Mr Devour."
Nicholas, sitting on the hard cell bed, knees pulled up under his chin,
regarded Andy with something close to sympathy. "No tears, Andrew? Do
they know, this lot, how you felt about him?"
Dalziel crossed the room in three long strides, getting into Devour's
face. "I don't know what you're talking about. As I told you, you were
wrong about me and Peter."
"I know I wasn't."
"We're taking you down for rape and murder."
"Is that difficult for you to say, Andy? I'll see you in court. I'll
be making sure I hear a full account of what Peter and I shared before I
killed him."

Andy straightened. He turned to the sergeant watching over them. "Sort
out the paperwork, will you Sergeant?"
"Yes, Sir. Seven counts of rape, one count of sexual assault, eight
counts of murder."
"Seven counts of murder, and one attempted murder." Dalziel turned and
smiling, he caught the raising of Nicholas' eyebrows, the fading of his
triumph. "Sorry, Nick. Peter came out of the coma. He'll be fine.
Never mind, ay? Maybe you and Wally'll be reunited in the showers."

*

"We'll have to reopen the Carver Hall case," Dalziel muttered into his
pint.
Wieldy nodded. "You think Wallace is innocent?"
"I don't know. I'm not sure how much of Devour's confession I believe."

"Why did he do it?"
Andy sighed. "He got it into his head eight years ago that I had
something for young Peter. Two months ago he came back into the country
to find out that he'd moved in with me and jumped to the wrong
conclusion."
'Not the first to do so.' But Wieldy didn't speak the thought.
"He decided that because I'd taken Wallace from him he was going to take
Peter from me. He said... at the end he didn't want to kill him which
was why he'd only given him the tiny dose at the start."
"You believed him?"
"I don't know." He drank three deep gulps. "I hate cases like this,
Wieldy," he told his sergeant. "It's hardly ever black and white but at
least there are usually only shades of grey. This one... this has a
spectrum of colours as well."

*

After a pie and a pint at the Black Bull, Wieldy walked to the hospital
at Andy's side, talking about this and that, nothing too deep, nothing
too serious. They watched for a time through the glass at Peter
sleeping soundly, still on his side. After a few minutes, Doctor Simeon
joined them.
"He hasn't woken since you left."
"Temperature?"
"Still slightly high. Sleep's good for him, it'll help him to heal."
He looked from one detective to the other, and glanced at his patient.
"My suggestion would be for both of you to go home and get some sleep.
You've both not slept for God knows how long. He's not going anywhere
and he's out of danger. Give me your home number, Andy, I'll make sure
you're called it anything changes, I promise."

*

There were signs of Peter's habitation all over Andy's house. Wieldy
accepted the whiskey from Andy and sat down, putting his legs up on a
just-tall enough tower of hardbacks.
"I'm constantly amazed that you two don't kill each other." Wieldy
stated in a fit of brevity.
Andy snorted. "Aye. One night I'll find him baking his socks and bake
his head." But there was nothing but affection in his tone. "It's nice
having someone around," he admitted quietly. "Twenty years is a long
time to live in a silent house. Coming home to him or hearing him let
himself in at night, it's... nice." He finished lamely, but Wieldy
completely understood.
"It does make a difference, sharing with someone." He allowed himself a
smile at the thought of Edwin.
Andy regarded his sergeant carefully. "Do you love him?"
He gave that some thought. For ten years he'd loved Maurice. And then
it had fallen apart, and he hadn't loved again. He wasn't in love with
Edwin when they'd moved in together, but was he now? "I think so." He
paused. "Do you love Peter?"
"Yes." Simple, obvious. After today he just couldn't find it within
himself to deny such a direct question. He looked up at Wieldy who
smiled. "And not a word."
"Why don't you tell him?"
Andy chuckled. "I'm not sure how welcome that kind of admission would
be."
"More welcome than you imagine." He wondered if he'd have been as brave
before moving to Enscombe, moving in with Edwin. He took a sip of
whiskey, not quite having the courage to look straight at his boss.
"Something you know that I don't, Wieldy?"
He shrugged. "Nothing for certain. Just... a feeling, an instinct."

Silence fell over them, a thoughtful, introspective silence. Andy
offered another whiskey, but Wieldy shook his head. "I'd better be
getting home, if you think you're going to be all right."
Andy smiled. "Don't worry, I've got Peter's teddy bear to keep me
company. You get home to your man. And give him a hug from me."
Wieldy grinned. "Aye, Sir, I will. Ring me, if there's any news."
Dalziel nodded and saw his sergeant to the front door, watching as he
climbed into his car. "Where's the bike?" he called out just before
Wieldy closed his door.
"That's the other Wieldy you're thinking of." He grinned widely.

*

Andy had another whiskey and went upstairs. Passing the door to the
spare room, in which Peter was bedding down while he and Ellie sorted
themselves out, Andy hesitated. He pushed the door open and leaned
against the wooden frame for a few minutes. The room was typical Peter
- a total mess. Dalziel couldn't understand how someone who kept a
perfectly tidy desk, someone so neurotic about his filing he'd
hyperventilate whenever Andy went near his meticulously kept system,
could be so messy at home. Dirty shirts and underwear littered the
bedroom floor, socks interspersed with paperback books. The duvet was
half-on, half-off the bed, sheet creased and rumpled underneath. There
was one surface - practically the only one in the house now - not piled
high with books; the windowsill.

Peter slept with the curtains open, so that he could see the moon he'd
told Andy one night. He tended to use the sill as a bedside cabinet.
Deodorant, aftershave, two combs, a small framed photo of Ellie and
Rosie, and the thing that had most surprised and amused Andy, 'Chocolate
Moose'. Chocolate was a large hand-puppet moose that a university
friend apparently had given to Peter at graduation. Andy crossed the
mine-field of laundry and lifted the toy from its seat on the
windowsill. Easing his hand and arm up inside in the puppet in a manner
than he'd pointed out to Peter was obscene and probably against several
Animal Rights Acts, he held the soft moose close to him, stroking his
hand over its head as he gazed down at the photo.

He wasn't expecting the surge of emotion that hit him. Lowering his
face he squeezed his eyes closed and took a deep breath. Peter's scent
overwhelmed him. Clutching at the toy, he let him cry. Today had been
too much. Worry and anger sat badly on exhaustion. Fears, hitherto
buried under hope and an adamant refusal to believe Peter would die,
wormed their way to the surface. Bad enough that he'd watched Peter
groped at by that bastard who'd raped and murdered. But to lose him...
it wasn't something that he could comprehend, wasn't a thought he could
bare.

Sniffing back his tears, Andy lifted his head, chuckling to himself.
"I'm getting ya all wet." He wiped the patch of damp fur with his
palm. "God, listen to me, talkin' to ya just like he does." He'd
watched the delight on little Rosie's face when her Dad made Chocolate
Moose talk. It had brought a smile to his own lips too. How would he
have ever forgiven himself if his goddaughter had lost her father?

Pulling himself together again, he left the room using the small patches
of visible carpet like stepping stones, taking the toy with him. In his
own room, he put it down onto the pillow and that's where it remained
through the night. Only in the morning did he question his own actions
of the late hour.

*

It was a rare sight that greeted Andy at the hospital the following
morning. Wieldy was standing at the window into the ICU room in which
Peter slept. Edwin was stood at his side, and as Dalziel approached
silently he saw the book seller reach the short distance between them
and take his partner's hand in a tight, reassuring squeeze. Wieldy
turned his head, smiled, Andy presumed, and they were about to leave
when Andy made his approach known.

To his surprise and happiness, they didn't break the contact that
remained between them. Wieldy smiled at him. "Morning, Sir."
"It's Saturday, Wieldy, Andy'll do just fine. Morning Edwin."
"Andy." There was a cheeky challenge in the voice that Dalziel might
have risen to had the scene inside the small hospital room not grabbed
his attention so completely.

Peter was lying in the narrow hospital bed, spread out on his front, one
leg pulled up so that the foot poked out from under the selection of
blue and white blankets that had obviously been carefully manoeuvred
over him through the night, each time he'd moved. As had the tubes and
the wires that connected him to the various monitors. "He's a messy
bugger even asleep!" Andy muttered with affection.

"He's the most irritating patient they've ever had in, according to the
nurse."
Andy glanced at Wieldy. "Irritating?"
"In the kindest possible way. Told me he was restless all night."
"You'd think after yesterday he'd be knackered, wouldn't you?"
"Some hopes." Dalziel turned and found Doctor Simeon standing next to
him. "We gave him a bit of assistance in the end. He almost strangled
himself on the ECG wires." It was an attempt to lighten the worry of
the last twenty-hour hours. "You can go and sit with him if you want.
He should be waking soon."

* * * * * *

To have Peter home was all he'd wanted for a week. It would take a
little time, the doctor had warned them, for Peter to feel human again.
Now, Andy stood in the kitchen and watched his inspector for a while.
Pascoe was standing outside on the patio under the kitchen window, one
arm wrapped around himself, the other ending in a cooling mug of
coffee. Too close this time. Yorkshire wasn't L.A., it wasn't supposed
to get so dangerous. Okay, there were armed officers, murders and bad
guys like they had in the states.

"Peter?" Dalziel stepped outside. "You okay?"
Peter turned to look at Andy over his shoulder.. "Just... looking at
the moon."
Used to these poetic moments, the older man went to stand with him. For
a few minutes they just stood side by side. And then Andy turned.
"Listen, Peter, I'm sorry I let them put you undercover in that club,
I'm sorry I didn't work it out before...."
"Stop it." Peter's tone was gentle. "None of it was your fault. Not
back then and not this time."
"I got the wrong man."
"You only have Devour's word for that. Wallace never confessed to
anything different. We charged him and he said nothing."
"If I'd arrested Nicholas you wouldn't have been through the hell you've
been through. I wouldn't have almost lost you."
Peter put his hand on Andy's arm. "You didn't lose me."
"Oh, God... Peter...."
Without warning, Peter wrapped his arms around Andy, one around his
neck, the other around his waist, holding him. The embrace was returned
immediately, tighter, almost desperately so. "I know," he murmured
softly. "I know."

For a time they stood locked together, perhaps in silence, perhaps with
more being said between them than ever got said in words. When they
finally moved apart slightly, Peter remained in Andy's arms, head
cushioned against the other man's shoulder.
"Andy,"
"Um?"
"One question, before we decide what this means." He squeezed one of
the arms that surrounded him.
"Shoot."
"Why is Chocolate Moose sitting on your pillow?"
Dalziel chuckled. "He was keeping me company."
"I see." Peter thought about that for a time. "Perhaps I could do that
in future."
Andy dropped a kiss to the blond hair tickling his nose. "Perhaps you
could, Sunbeam, perhaps you could."


fin
elfin
29/10/00


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