|TITLE: A Striking Balance
FANDOM: Dalziel and Pascoe
PAIRING: Dalziel and Pascoe
RATING: NC-17 for m/m sex
WARNINGS: lovely loving sex :-)
ARCHIVE: Britslash only
'Dalziel & Pascoe' characters copyright and beloved creations of
Reginald Hill. Story copyright Maddy Hughes, 2000
A Striking Balance
a year ago
Dalziel stopped the bottle half way to his lips. He stared at the
carnage around him, carnage that only two hours ago - before his
admittedly somewhat extended lunch break - had been a peaceful and
rather pretty village green. "What the 'ell...?!"
There had, he would have been the first to admit, been a metre-square
patch of grass stripped from the lawn just to the right of the marked
cricket pitch and some earth shovelled up from that shallow ditch, piled
as tidily as the police knew how at the side. The site had been
cordoned off to stop the interested villagers from standing on the
delicate burial of what had once been, it seemed, a young man.
But that had been before he'd nipped out to join an old friend of his in
a midday pie and a pint. Amazing what destruction could be wrought in a
couple of hours.
There was a bright yellow digger parked in the centre of what had been
the cricket pitch. A good twenty square feet of grass had now been
lifted, along with a good deal of earth that had been unceremoniously
dumped onto the edge of the village green.
Eyes blazing, Dalziel lowered the bottle of beer and looked around for
his sergeant. Peter was standing in the centre of the chaos.
"Pascoe!!!" His bellow cut through the noise of the digger, the
shouting of the men working the digger, the open-collared constables
talking loudly around the edges of the ditch and the onlookers chatting
amongst themselves. Sergeant Pascoe straightened from whatever he'd
been bent over looking at and glanced around him until he saw his boss.
And then, with a surprising spring in his step, he headed for Dalziel.
"Don't 'Sir' me, lad! What the bloody 'ell is this?! I'm gone for two
hours and you turn a beautiful village green into a building site!"
Pascoe's face fell. "You told me to dig it up!"
The Superintendent's eyes widened in disbelief. "I told you to do some
diggin' around! For background and stuff, any reported or unreported
disappearances in the village."
The usually intelligent Sergeant stood silent for a moment and Dalziel
found himself looking forward to whatever was coming next. He was
slightly disappointed when Pascoe unexpectedly managed to redeemed
"We have found another six bodies, Sir."
Dalziel rolled his eyes. He couldn't stay mad at Peter for long, that
had always been the trouble and probably always would be. It was what
allowed the smart-alec BA graduate to now and again make a monumental
idiot of himself and still retain both his promotion and his boss'
grudging respect. "All right, Sunbeam, let's have a look." 'How do you
always manage to strike gold?' But he kept the thought to himself.
Seven sets of human remains had lain buried under the village green for
nigh on five years. This at least was agreed upon by the pathologist,
three forensics boys and two archaeologists from the local museum. It
was the two archaeologists who had immediately caught the attention of
Dalziel but possibly for the obvious reason that one of them was a
long-haired blonde female wearing a tight-fitting sleeveless T-shirt
without obvious sign of underwear.
Out from nowhere, Sergeant Wield stepped into view. He looked as busy
as he always managed to look. Dalziel had never worked out how he did
it, but he did and sometimes it amused him, sometimes it irritated him.
Sometimes he dragged the man out to the pub in the evening just to stop
him working. There wasn't a woman to stop him working - that was a part
of the problem. Not that Dalziel had a problem with it. He wished
Wield was happier with being gay - otherwise wasn't it a contradiction
He thought about that. And he thought about Peter. At some point (and
Dalziel knew exactly when that point had been - as they'd been held as
prisoners in Tankie Trotter's mocked-up army cell) the university
graduate had wound his way into the senior policeman's life. It hadn't
taken too long for him to wind his way into Dalziel's soul. Rightly or
wrongly he saw Pascoe as his protégé. He already had a sergeant in
Wield. Pascoe was a different proposition altogether. Dalziel knew
himself well enough to know when it was more than his professional
inklings drawing him to someone. Peter drew him like a child to the
Feeling warm inside, which wasn't a feeling Dalziel was too used to, he
gazed around for his sergeant.
Pascoe was in his element. He had charge of the four men with their
digger and the five constables. He was born for this job, Andy had
decided some time back. Whatever Peter had been thinking when he'd
signed on for a university course in Social Sciences was beyond the man
who'd let the education system at the age of sixteen. But his degree,
or maybe just Peter's own temperament, had stood the young man in
excellent stead for his shining future.
Dalziel decided it was time he pulled rank and got his subordinate doing
something useful. He sidled up to him, stood for a second to watch the
archaeologists at work, and then began to reel off instructions.
"Right, better start putting some procedure in place." He met Peter's
frown with a generous smile. "I want to know how long each of them's
been in the ground, and I don't want to hear guesses from Mork and Mindy
over there." He indicated the museum's pair. "I want the locals
interviewed, and by that I mean the ones still alive. I don't need you
digging any more up." He could guess his sergeant's expression and
didn't need to see it. "Start with the onlookers, make 'em feel like
they're bein' helpful. And get a team of uniforms in here to start
house to house. I want to know who remembers what about the time when
this lot went into the ground. I want to know the names and details of
everyone who's disappeared in the last however many years. Don't just
rely on memories, get someone checking records." All standard stuff in
a case like this. "And Peter," he was wiggling his finger now, "no more
diggers. I'll be in that pub over there tasting the local brew and
chatting to the landlord. When you've got some news come over and I'll
buy you lunch."
Pascoe watched his boss go as he became aware of Sergeant Wield
approaching. Time to delegate, he thought positively.
Dalziel had been in the pub precisely ten minutes when the heavens
opened over the village and it poured down. The landlord and his barman
for the afternoon, one Edward Lockstone, looked up wanly. "That'll put
the punters off," he murmured, seemingly indifferent.
"I wouldn't bet on it," Dalziel took a long sup of his ale. "There's a
good few coppers and other such educated people out there who'll be
looking for shelter in the next few minutes."
He was right. The archaeologists were in first, followed by the two
from the museum (the girl once again caught Dalziel's eye due to the now
almost completely transparent nature of her T-shirt). They were very
closely followed by two constables and Sergeant Wield. The landlord got
the drinks served faster than anyone could pull off their shoes and find
their wallets in their waterlogged pockets.
Fifteen minutes later some previously invisible cook had brought fourth
pies, chips, warm baguettes and sandwiches. Someone had lit the log
fire for those who had taken up sanctuary on the battered sofas. And
Dalziel was finally starting to get a little concerned as to the
whereabouts of his favourite sergeant. He took his pint over to the
window. Forensics were still at work, although a green tarpaulin had
been thrown over most of the site to protect the open graves from the
rain. He thought he could make out Peter's slim form still standing in
the rain. Wield came to stand behind him and he nodded to the somewhat
smaller group out on the green. "What's got Pascoe so fascinated?" he
"They've found some pendant buried along with one of the bodies. I
think Peter recognized it."
Peter stood with the rusted chain wrapped around his fingers, the small
irregular-shaped pendant rested against his palm. Dalziel could make
out the design in gold, two letters wrapped one within the other. 'R'
and 'P'. Peter had been standing like that long enough for his clothes
to have glued themselves to his body when a large hand dropped to his
shoulder and he looked up into the frowning eyes of his boss.
"What's that you've got there, lad?" Andy looked his inspector over
quickly. The moisture on his face might have been tears, but was
probably rain. Peter hadn't allowed his solid exterior façade to crack
on the job since that very first time. For a moment he remained silent,
and then he pooled the chain into his boss' waiting hand.
"'R' is Reggie Glenayre. 'P' is Pauline, his girlfriend. Was his
girlfriend when she gave him this."
Dalziel closed his fist carefully around the small pile of metal in his
palm. "Who was this?" he indicated the bones at their feet, just passed
"Reggie, I think. That was around... its neck."
"And you moved it?!" The automatic question was out before Andy could
stop it. But Peter looked away.
"Sorry. Just... it was a bit of a surprise, seeing it there. It's
unique, she made it for him."
"And who was Reggie?"
"My room mate, first year university. Then my housemate for the next
Dalziel nodded. Peter's university years were a part of his sergeant's
life he knew very little about. A part of him had been trying to learn,
trying to listen more and more over the last year or so.
"When did you last see him?"
"I've been thinking about that. Five years ago more or less." He shook
his head, blinking back tears that surprised him. "Sorry."
"Don't be daft." Dalziel gave a deep sigh. "Right, let's see if we can
find out what the hell happened to him, shall we?" He patted his
sergeant's back reassuringly.
* * *
Andy woke slowly. He was warm and comfortable and although it was dark
outside and a glance at the clock told him it was 2am he actually felt
happy. There was a movement next to him and he turned onto his side
smiling. Peter was facing him, face relaxed in sleep, tousled hair
beautiful against the white pillow. He'd been through hell and back
recently. But he looked better, looked more at peace and certainly more
healthy than he'd been in weeks.
'There's nothing between us!' he'd told Ellie in complete sincerity when
she'd all but accused him of stealing her husband. But he hadn't been
entirely truthful with her. A couple of days later he and Peter had a
flaming row. It had started at the office one afternoon with him
accusing his inspector of negligence. That might have been a little
harsh. But after a few minutes they could be heard through the whole
station. And a couple of minutes after that, Pascoe had declared that
he was moving out and left the office.
Dalziel had followed his inspector home for a couple of reasons.
Firstly he'd been sure that he didn't want to stay in the office after
their outburst, and he definitely hadn't wanted to be around when the
ACC found out about the spat. Secondly, he hadn't wanted Peter to move
out. As much as he went on about it and despite his lodger's
untidiness, he loved having him around.
Peter drove like a manic. Andy drove like a Formula One racing driver.
They'd reached Dalziel's house together and the row continued.
'You want rid of me then I'll leave.'
'Peter.... Wait.' Inside the house Dalziel slammed the door. 'Listen
'You said your piece, Andy.' He was half way up stairs now, heading for
the spare room in which he'd been sleeping for the last four weeks.
'You made yourself very clear.'
'Peter! Just stop, please. Listen to me.' Peter was standing next to
his bed now, picking scattered clothes up from the floor. 'Sunbeam, I
don't want you to move out.'
'You could have fooled me!' he answered sharply. 'All you've done is
get at me, you're on my back about every damn thing. I can't do
anything right for you like I can't for Ellie.' He grabbed his suitcase
from the corner. 'I'll get out of your hair then you won't have to
bother about me.'
'Peter.... Where will you go?'
'Anywhere! Somewhere away from all this, somewhere I can't get hurt again.'
Andy stepped into the room. He was confused. 'I'm not trying to hurt
'Why do you call me that? All these affectionate names you've started
to save for me. I don't want them! I don't want the pretence of
affection from you.'
'Pretence? You're losing me, Peter.'
'You don't even like me! I don't know why I love you.'
The silence after their shouting was deafening. Peter's eyes dropped.
Andy's eyes stared. 'Peter....' He stepped further into the room.
'Look... forget it.... I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything.'
'Shouldn't have....' Andy reached out, taking the suitcase from Peter's
hand and throwing it back into the corner. 'Love....' Peter closely
resembled a deer caught in car headlights. Andy ran his hand up his
colleague's arm, anchoring him there. 'Peter, you have no idea....'
"I love you, Petal," he whispered, not wanting to wake his lover.
Someone else unfortunately had other ideas. The doorbell rang twice
before blue eyes opened to watch Dalziel swing himself out of bed with
an exasperated sigh.
He tied his robe, leaning down to kiss his dazed companion's lips.
"Sounded like Wieldy's ring," he muttered.
Peter rolled his eyes. But nowadays it didn't bother him so much to be
woken at obscene hours of the night to be called to work. Because Andy
was usually being called out too.
Dalziel opened the door schooling a grouchy expression that was mostly
for show. Wieldy managed to look uncomfortable despite doubtless having
an incredibly good reason for disturbing the two detectives tonight.
"Don't stand on ceremony, Wieldy." Andy threw open the front door and
left his sergeant to close it behind him. "What's up, lad?" Sergeant
Wield followed his boss into the lounge, glancing up the stairs when
Peter appeared at the top looking more half-awake than Dalziel. Wieldy
indulged himself for a moment, watching the approaching man. His hair
was all over the place, his eyes blurred and the blue towelling robe he
wore picked out the stunning colour of his eyes. Ed shook himself, and
apologised for the early wake-up call.
"Don't worry about it, Wieldy." Peter bypassed the lounge and padded
bare-footed into the kitchen to stick the kettle on. Edgar wondered at
how comfortable and at home Pascoe looked here in his boss' house but
his musing was interrupted by a gruff voice.
"Are you gonna tell me what you got us out of bed for or are you gonna
stand there and stare at my lovely inspector all morning?" Wield felt
the blush. "Cos if you are, I'm goin' back to bed." The sergeant
glanced at Peter again but he was chuckling to himself as he made the
drinks. Wield gave up trying to work this out and sat himself down in
"Two kids found a body about an hour ago. She was in a shallow grave in
the park. The only clue to her identity was this." He held out his
hand and dribbled a thin gold chain into his boss' palm. The final
thing to fall was a pendant made up to two letters, 'R' and 'P'.
Dalziel sighed deeply.
A couple of minutes later Peter wondered in with three mugs and handed
one to Wieldy as he dropped down carefully to the sofa close to Andy.
As Dalziel took the mug Peter saw the gold clutched in his other fist.
Knowing it wasn't something that he could keep from Peter, however much
he'd like to, he opened his hand and watched Peter's expression as he
saw the pendent for the second time in twelve months. He recapped
Wield's story. "There was only one, ever, wasn't there, Petal?" he
Peter nodded. "But it can't be, can it? Because I've got it."
He almost knew that it wouldn't be there. Peter had a few valuables
gathered in a small box by his bedside. His wedding ring was inside,
cufflinks that had belonged to his father, a St. Christopher Ellie had
given him one Christmas and the pendent they'd found in a shallow grave
a year ago. Only that wasn't there any longer. He stepped back into
the lounge. Andy knew too. "Gone?"
"Gone." He nodded, sitting back down. "How?"
Not for a moment did they think what they were perhaps meant to think;
that Peter had anything to do with the girl's death. And both
detectives knew their boss wouldn't allow anyone else to think it either.
"Better get this place checked for holes," Dalziel muttered. "And you
and I ought to get some clothes on and get ourselves over to the crime
Wieldy watched them take their coffees upstairs. He frowned to himself,
and the musings came back unbidden. He was sensitive at least to
Peter's feelings even if not to Dalziel's. The honest, plain and simple
truth was that up until a couple of weeks ago Pascoe had been miserable,
depressive, snappy and not very pleasant to be around. He'd ridden the
rollercoaster of separation, despair, hope and now the certainty of
divorce. He was losing his beloved daughter and Edgar had been able to
understand if not help.
But Dalziel in his own odd way had done more for his inspector than
perhaps he realised. He'd moved him in, badgered him to keep him
feeling, if it was only pain that he felt. He'd forced him to face
first his responsibilities, which he must have worked out frightened
Peter to death, and then his life. But the final push had been
inadvertent. Peter had had to kill a man to save Andy's life. And he'd
done it without thinking, without flinching and without second-guessing
afterwards. It had ended his marriage finally and totally. But what
had it begun?
Wield sat back in his chair, closing his eyes and wishing he could just
sleep. He'd been on his way out, finally, at midnight tonight when he'd
been called to the crime scene by Detective-Inspector Franks. He'd
already missed three dates this week. He wasn't sure if Jase would
continue accepting his very real excuses and heartfelt apologies.
"Sunbeam," Andy poked his head around the door of the spare room, "you
Peter nodded. Like Dalziel, he'd pulled on jeans and a jumper. A warm
autumn day it might have been, but at two in the morning it was cold.
Andy grabbed him for a quick hug.
Until they'd started this, Peter had only caught glimpses of Andy's
capability for tenderness and compassion. The phone call he'd had from
Dalziel after his friends had been murdered in Thornton Lacey. The
gentle treatment after his near drowning at the gypsy camp. The
understanding of his hang-ups since Ellie had left.
Being loved by Andy Dalziel was to be wrapped in a cocoon of affection
and desire. It was also to be reassured that no matter what, this was
one relationship that wouldn't dissolve beneath him, that wouldn't be
torn from him. Never again would he be asked to choose between his
career and his heart, between Andy and his lover, because now they were
one and the same.
Andy dropped a quick kiss to Peter's lips as he released him. "Let's go
see what a mess the underlings have made of the crime scene," he
murmured, "then I can get you back into bed."
Peter grinned and followed his boss downstairs. They had to wake Wieldy
who'd fallen asleep in the five minutes he'd been alone.
Five hours later they found themselves back at the station. Andy got
ten coffees from the machine and found a tray. He ridded himself of
five cups putting them in front of Peter as he slept in Dalziel's spare
office chair, head on his arms where they were crossed on his desk. He
risked a gentle touch to his inspector's hair before sitting down behind
the desk and starting in on his own five caffeine hits. Wieldy came in
fifteen minutes later. Dalziel had sent him home when he and Peter had
headed off for the crime scene. He looked rested, showered and as neat
and tidy as ever.
"Everything all right, Sirs?"
Dalziel looked up, exhausted. "We're knackered, Wieldy." It would have
helped if they'd gone to bed four hours before being woken and slept.
But they hadn't. And he'd only had an hours' kip before Wieldy had rung
the doorbell in the early hours. Peter didn't move. "Close the door.
Have a coffee."
Sergeant Wield did as he was told, pulling one of the less comfortable
chairs up to the desk, reaching out and taking one of the plastic cups
from in front of Peter. "Do we know who she is yet?"
"Pauline Greenham." Dalziel gave the name as if Wieldy should remember.
The look on his face showed he didn't.
"A year ago, Mike Aston here dug up seven bodies on a village green."
Wieldy nodded his recall. "Where we found the pendent."
"Right. It was around the neck of a man whose identity was confirmed as
Reggie Glenayre. The 'P' stood for Pauline."
Now he was on track. "Pauline being the woman found tonight." He
sipped the drink that the machine's owners liked to call coffee. "So...
someone killed Reggie six years ago and buried the body along with
another five bodies of students who were in Reggie's year at university.
Has that same person now murdered another of those students, a woman
who happens to have been close to one of the original victims?"
"Good question. I've often said I liked the way your mind works,
Wieldy." There was a definite 'but' at the end of the sentence.
Sergeant Wield was always open to changes in the basis of his
conclusions. You had to be with Dalziel in charge.
When the boss didn't continue, he pushed slightly. "There's something
"I would say there was." Andy spoke carefully, gaze settled on his
resting inspector. "I think our mysterious killer has murdered the
wrong person. Last year we had to shelve the case. No connection
between the victims except for same university years - and there were
hundreds of people in Peter's year. No theories. Dead ends one and
all. This time we have a connection, and someone burgled my house to
make that connection obvious."
This was new. "Someone did steal that pendent then?"
Dalziel nodded, picking up a third coffee. "They went over the house
earlier. The kitchen window had been forced. Neat job. They'd even
varnished the outside of the window frame so that I wouldn't notice."
"They wanted to connect Pauline's body to Reggie's, so we'd know.
Perhaps that's the connection we missed."
"Perhaps." He looked again at Peter. "Perhaps we need to take a step
back before we go forward. That pendent for start, and what the 'P'
actually stands for."
Pascoe lifted his head then, no surprise on his face, just a weariness
of his boss always being right. "It stands for 'Peter'."
They all sat back, and the inspector looked from his boss to his
sergeant. "It's not what you think." Wieldy surprised them both then
by getting up to leave. Peter sighed and motioned for him to sit back
down. "I said, it's not what you think." He picked up one of the
cooling coffees. "Reggie and I were room mates and house mates.
Pauline was a friend. But Reggie was gay. He admitted a crush on me at
the end of the first term. He never made a move on me the whole time
but by the time he graduated he said he'd fallen for me heavily, he was
in love with me. Pauline... she gave him that pendent, she was an art
student and had made it for him. She said if anyone asked he could say
it was P for Pauline."
"As you told us while perverting the course of justice." But there was
no anger or accusation in Dalziel's voice.
Peter hoped it was just his professionalism he was concerned about.
"I'd have said something if it started to make a difference."
But Wieldy was frowning. "Why didn't you say something before?"
Peter shrugged, a year on he really wasn't sure. "Didn't want the
rumours, I guess." He looked guiltily at Wieldy who nodded his
"I don't see what spin this puts on anything."
Dalziel downed his fifth cup. "Apart from Peter having to watch his
back a little more carefully. You might be a potential victim, Sunbeam.
I don't want to find your body under some leaves in the park."
"I can look after myself."
"I know, I know. Just watch yourself until we find out who's knocking
off your fellow graduates and why." He looked at his watch. "Right,
let's find out what Pauline Greenham's been doing with her life since
university shall we?"
It turned into a very long day. Around ten that night Peter invited
Wieldy down to The Black Bull for a break. Jase was long gone, and
Wield could never turn Pascoe down not just because he always bought the
first round. "Where's the Big man?" Edgar inquired as Peter put the
pint down in front of him. The pub was unusually quiet for this time of
night, even midweek.
"Caught up with the ACC. He said he'd join us here if he got away
before closing time. Hope so, or I'm walking home."
They sat in a companionable silence for a while, each drinking the first
pint quickly. Thirsty work, thinking. Peter got the second round in
too. And by then Wieldy thought he might have just plucked up the
courage to put voice to the question he'd been wondering about for a few
days now, but that had been driving him mad since this morning.
"Peter, can I ask you a personal question?"
The familiarity and the covert tone told Pascoe exactly what he was
about to be asked. He'd been waiting for the sergeant to ask it all
day. He smiled. "Yes."
Wieldy wasn't sure if that was the answer to the asked or unasked
question, so he ploughed on. "You and the boss...."
"Yes." Peter's eyes were twinkling.
"I mean... I know you moved in because of Ellie leaving and all. And I
know you and her are getting divorced now...."
"Wieldy, the answer's yes, just between you and me."
Ed sat quietly for a moment, and then grinned. "I'm happy for you, for
both of you."
Peter nodded. "Me too. Just... I don't want you to think that I'm
sleeping my way to the top."
Ed shook his head, frowning. "I'd never think that, Peter. You're a
good detective. One of the best. Besides, if you were sleeping your
way to the top I'd have recommended the ACC rather than Andy Dalziel."
Peter chuckled. "Definitely. It wasn't a choice unfortunately. I just
Wieldy nudged him. "Stop it! You're making me feel all warm and gooey!"
When Dalziel arrived just in time to get in a round before last orders,
he found his two favourite subordinates grinning at one another and
swapping amusing comments.
"Why are you two looking like Cheshire cats?"
"Only if you'll tell us why you're so grumpy all of a sudden." Peter
sipped his third pint, eyes dancing over the rim of the glass.
"Rebecca was having a rant." He didn't miss his two subordinates share
a glance. There had been rumours rife around the station from the first
time he and the Assistant Chief Constable had met. He was glad in a way
because it meant everyone had overlooked Peter moving in with him even
if it had been completely innocent at the time. Peter, though, knew
better when it came to 'Rebecca'. "All right, knock it off. She's not
"We know." The comment was made from behind Wieldy's pint, but
Dalziel's stare could penetrate mere glass. He glanced at Peter who was
looking guilty as hell and realised what they'd been grinning about when
he'd walked in.
"You told him?" He was surprised rather than angry. Still, despite
everything, he wasn't sure why Peter was with him.
Peter shrugged. "He guessed."
Pascoe's smile curving his lips and lighting his eyes was doing terrible
things to Dalziel's libido. Wieldy was watching them, and he found
himself thinking about Jase. He left the last pint untouched and the
second half-finished to excuse himself. "I'll see you both in the morning."
Dalziel dragged his mind back to the present long enough to quip, "Not
too early this time, Wieldy." And then his attention returned to his
"He won't tell anyone," Peter reassured his boss.
"I know he won't. I'm just... I didn't think you'd want anyone to know."
The smile vanished from Peter's face. "Why not?"
"Sunbeam... I'm older than you, more worn out than you, a great deal
uglier than you...." He couldn't continue because Peter's hand was now
clamped over his mouth.
"Shut up and listen." He whispered, "I'm with you because I love you,
Andy. To me you're an intelligent man, kind, generous, great company
and a mind-blowing lover. If you weren't a Superintendent and I wasn't
an Inspector working my way up through the ranks I'd be shouting it from
It was all Andy could do not to grab him and kiss him there in the pub.
He managed to keep his hands to himself until they got home. Peter
leaned back against the wall of the entrance hall, taking Dalziel's
hands into his own and pulling him forward until their mouths met in an
open kiss. The light on the answer machine was flashing and they had to
listen to it before taking this upstairs.
"Peter, it's me.... Listen, I've been thinking and... I miss you, Love.
I'll coming up to see my mother and I was hoping we could meet. It's
not too late, Pete. We could make a go of it down here. I think I
might even be able to put up with you being in the force if I knew you'd
be coming home eventually... at the moment.... I miss you so much. I'm
sorry... look, I'll call tomorrow and maybe we could meet for a drink
The tape started to rewind itself as Peter continued to stare at the
machine. He was aware that Andy's hands had fallen from him and his
lover was heading for the kitchen. He muttered to himself under his
breath. "Shit." He followed Dalziel through from the light of the hall
into the darkness of the kitchen. "Andy...." He could see the big
man's silhouette against the back window where he leaned against the
sink. "Nothing's gonna change, Andy. Not now." Peter stepped around
the table, placing himself in front of Dalziel.
"She wants you back."
"I don't know what she wants. But I don't want to go to London. I
didn't then and I don't now."
"She said, Peter, she'd be happy if you stayed in the force."
"No, she wouldn't be!" He was angry with her for messing him around,
for putting them through this tonight. "A month at most and then she'd
realise that everything was the same as it had been when we were up
here. I don't want to work for the Met. I don't want to leave
Yorkshire and Andy, I don't want to leave you."
He reached for his lover, and was gathered up roughly, almost
desperately, into strong arms. He returned the embrace with relief.
"It's over between Ellie and I. I accepted that. It wasn't easy and it
hurt like hell but you got me over it. I've started again, Andy.
You're more of my life now than you ever were and I refuse to give that up."
The emotion in his outburst didn't surprise Dalziel; Peter had always
been one for impassioned speeches once he got going. But the words
brought tears to his eyes. He hugged his lover tighter. "Can we go to
They undressed in silence and moved into one another's arms with ease.
For a long time they just stood together, holding one another skin to
skin. And then Andy's head turned in the crook of Peter's neck and his
lips started to play against his skin. Peter moaned softly, fingers
spreading on Andy's skin, one hand moving up to cradle the back of his
neck while the other halted at the base of his spine.
"Andy...." The breathy whisper brought Dalziel's mouth around to cover
Pascoe's. He twisted his fingers in soft blond hair as his tongue
played slowly and sensuously in the warm mouth of his lover.
The first time they'd done this they'd both been as nervous as hell yet
desperate enough to take it as far as they'd dared. Until Peter,
Dalziel had never imagined himself wanting a man in his bed. When he'd
first laid eyes on Sergeant Pascoe across a courtroom, he was amused at
the mess the man was making of being a witness. But that whole mess
with Tankie Trotter had convinced him there was more to Peter than a
smart-ass graduate in a cheap suit.
Yet it hadn't been until later, a few months after they'd started to
work together, that other feelings had started to come to the fore.
Peter was guiding him to the bed, kneeling on the duvet, pulling Andy to
sit with him. "Tell me something," he was saying, "tell me when you
first got a hard-on because of me."
Andy smiled, and then chuckled. This was something truly incredible
about he and Peter; they laughed in the bedroom. They joked together,
in warmth peppered with desire. He'd only ever known it once before,
while Peter had been away on his honeymoon. Had that really been the
reason for his madness at Lake House? Peter wiped the thoughts from his
mind with a deep kiss as he knelt up above Andy.
"What are you thinking about?"
Peter's eyebrows wiggled. "I can't have you thinking about someone else
while you're with me, Andy," he murmured, amused. "And you haven't
answered my question."
Dalziel drew his hands down over Peter's muscular thighs, thumbs
pressing in a gentle massage. "The first erection I ever had over
you...." He had to think back. He knew, without having to consider,
the moment Peter had wound his way into his heart. He knew also the
moment he'd realised he loved his sergeant, when he'd heard Peter and
Ellie had discovered three of their friends dead in their country house.
Superintendent Backhouse had telephoned him to confirm Peter's story
and he'd spoken to Peter, doing all the talking because he'd not wanted
to hear the pain in his cheery sergeant's voice. He found that his
first sexual thought of Peter hadn't been long coming after that. "When
we were investigating those burglaries and that bloke who urinated in
that old woman's kettle."
"Aye. Remember we went over to the Bull and I bought you a pint, told
you I was sorry about your friend Colin. Then Wieldy turned up looking
all pleased wi' himself cause he'd found out our man had diabetes."
Andy gazed up into the dark blue eyes watching him with heat and need.
"Wieldy came around and sat down next to you. Close to you. And
suddenly I was as hard as a miner's pickaxe. You turned to look at him
and your profile, just so suddenly innocent and vulnerable yet as
tempting as a whore in a monastery." Peter might have blushed, but the
lighting was low in here. "What about you? Didn't ever I would guess,
until I put my hand down your trousers that first time." Andy was
smiling, but Peter's expression remained heated.
"No, before that." Dalziel looked surprised and sceptical at once.
"During the time of that business with Kassell and the sting you lot
were setting up at Haycroft Grange and hadn't bothered telling me about.
One night, after I'd spoken to you on the phone and you'd warned me
off, I dreamt about you. I woke up with a raging erection and as I
alleviated it, I thought about you, thought about having you watching
me, making sure I was doing it right."
Andy would have laughed had it not been for the fact his cock had
started to ache painfully at the image Peter's words brought to mind.
Roughly he pulled his lover's mouth down to his own, the kiss savage and
affection in one sensual, sexual mix. He wrapped his fist around
Peter's erection, but a hand took a hold of his wrist and stopped him.
Peter pulled back from the kiss and gazed at his lover, his expression set.
"Andy, I want more...."
Andy smiled, a little bemused. "More? Petal, you're living in my
house, sleeping in my bed. You have my heart and soul. You're even a
named driver on the car insurance! What more can I give you?"
But Peter looked at him unblinking. "Make love to me."
"No." Dalziel shook his head, his answer out before he could think yet
he'd put an awful lot of thought into the decision a long time before
the request had been made.
"Why not? You said you loved me...."
"And you know that's true."
"I want you." Peter's soft voice grew quiet as he lowered his mouth to
his lover's ear. "I want you inside me. I want to feel like you're a
part of me physically as you are in every other way. I've always been
yours, Andy. I know you want to claim me, take the control you've
wanted from me since the start. Take it." He emphasised the last two
words, with his tone and with his teeth, biting down so very gently on
Before that plea, his mind had been set in concrete. But Peter's words
had melted him like butter. How could he ever refuse this man anything?
"Peter... I can't hurt you."
"I'm not asking you to hurt me." Leaning back, turning with graceful
agility, Peter opened the drawer in the table beside the bed and took
out a small bottle. Andy's eyes went wide.
"How long have you been planning this, Petal?"
Peter grinned, coming back into Andy's arms, the bottle hanging from his
fingers. "Not long. I knew you wouldn't bring it up, so I had to."
Dalziel swallowed. "Are you sure about this?"
"Yes. Absolutely. Come on, Andy. Don't you miss it? Sinking into a
warm, welcoming body, being a part of the person you're with."
He missed it, yes. He was only human after all. But he'd never
imagined it would be a part of what he and Peter would share. Now here
it was being offered to him freely. "Christ, Peter...." He took the
bottle from his lover's fingers and holding it, he realised he wasn't
overly sure what he was supposed to do.
His hesitation brought Peter's arms around his neck and lips down to
Andy's once more. "I've never known you so pensive," he chuckled softly.
"I've never been here before, Sunbeam."
"You think I have? But how hard can it be?" Taking the bottle back, he
unscrewed the lid and dribbled some of the viscous liquid to his palm.
Reaching between them he took Andy's cock into his hand and started to
rub, up and down, coating it until Dalziel imagined the friction alone
would bring him to orgasm. He didn't want that now. He wanted to carry
this through. With all the self-control he could muster, he stilled
Peter's glorious hand. Leaning forward, he kissed his young lover at
first tentatively, then more decidedly, tongue dancing across his lips
and into his mouth. At the same time, he took the bottle from Peter's
hand, poured some into one palm and handed it back. He coated his
fingers and reached between them.
Stroking back from behind Peter's balls, Andy let his fingertips tease
the tight, virginal opening to his lover's gorgeous body. Peter moaned
roughly into his mouth yet Andy maintained the kiss, aware of Peter
somehow putting the lid back on the bottle and dropping it to the bed.
He teased for a while, then gathering a little more courage he pressed
the tip of his index finger against his lover's anus. Peter's groan
upped in pitch as he opened around the fingertip. Andy pushed further
inside, and suddenly Peter was thinking he might just have asked for too
much too soon. But he wasn't going to back out now. All he could feel
was Andy's finger inside him, twisting minutely, touching something
within him that made him want to scream. Instead he whimpered into his
lover's mouth, begging in that sound for more. When it wasn't given,
Peter took matters into his own hand.
Breaking the kiss, he pushed Andy back, straddling him, manoeuvring them
both until the head of Andy's thick cock was where his finger had been.
Peter took a deep breath and relaxed. He was dimly aware that they
might be doing this too fast, but he was never one for thinking his
actions through. Holding Andy's cock in place, he lowered himself onto
it. Once the slick tip breached him his own weight took him down onto
the shaft. His yell of pain mingled with the other man's cry of ecstasy.
Peter stilled, pulling in breath after breath, reassuring himself that
all this was normal. "Jesus Christ, Andy...."
Dalziel reached out, one hand on his lover's folded leg, the other on
his softening cock. Slowly, drawing out every stroke, he caressed
Peter's erection back. Hard once again, Peter had relaxed enough and he
rose up, rectal muscles squeezing along Andy's entire length, forcing a
bewildered, strangled cry from him; more pleasure than he'd ever felt,
more intensely than he'd ever felt it.
Peter shifted himself back and eased down again. The head of Andy's
cock scraped over his prostate and his deep groan touched Dalziel. The
expression of pain crumpling his lover's features had become a look of
pleasure akin to what Andy imagined was on his own face. Peter had been
right, more than right, they should have done this long ago. He found
the other's hand clawed into the bedclothes and covered it with his own
as he continued as rhythmic a stroking of Peter's cock as his exploding
brain could manage.
He wouldn't last long. He didn't know how any man could with such an
intensity of pressure on his aching erection. Peter lifted himself once
more and dropped, with a little more ease, all the way down until his
buttocks were flush with Andy's thighs. Dalziel came hard, suddenly,
his orgasm spiralling out from his balls through to the tips of his
fingers. A tremor drove through his entire body as he bathed Peter's
insides with his semen.
Peter felt Andy's cock pulsing inside him, felt the sudden heat of the
orgasm and the shaking of his lover's body. The grip of the hand
wrapped around his cock tightened convulsively and without warning he
was coming, semen fountaining through Andy's closed fist onto his
stomach and chest. The resulting clenching of his muscles forced a
second wave of pleasure through his lover and Andy cried out at this
Dalziel dropped back against the bed, every muscle in his body turned to
jelly. Peter collapsed exhausted on top of him, moaning as a last
fission of pain struck him when Andy's softening cock popped out of his
body. He shivered once and then Andy's arms were around him, holding
him as Andy loved to, like he was the most precious thing in the world.
For a long while neither spoke. What was there to say after that?
Large hands stroked soothingly over Peter's back to his buttocks. He'd
be sore, than was for sure. But he'd done his homework in this as he
did in everything and a few minutes later he peeled himself from Andy's
body and took himself off to the bathroom.
Andy shifted around until his head hit the pillows and dragged the duvet
up over himself. Lying on his side he waited until Peter came back into
the bedroom and switched off the light before crawling into bed. He
wriggled back until he hit Andy's chest and settled there, the other's
arm curled over him.
Dalziel dropped a kiss to the damp blond hair. "You all right, Sunbeam?"
"Yeah." There was no hint of anything but exhausted satisfaction in
Peter's voice. Andy was relieved. What they'd just done had been more
intense than anything he could remember sharing with another person
before. It didn't seem to be the time to bring up the message on the
answering machine, but he did it anyway.
"What are you going to do about Ellie?"
There was a smile in Peter's voice when he answered, as if he knew Andy
was going to ask exactly that. "I'll guess I'll meet her, but nothing
she'll say'll change my mind." Peter squeezed the hands holding him.
Turning onto his back in Andy's arms he smiled as lips caressed his
"It's your life, lad. You have to do whatever makes you happy."
"My point exactly. What we just did made me very happy." He grinned in
the darkness, hoping his lover felt the same suffusing warmth as he did.
He ran his fingers blindly through Andy's fine, ruffled hair. "Now
stop worrying and go to sleep."
"Yes, Sir." Dalziel settled down, arm wrapped proprietarily over
Pascoe smiled into the darkness. "'Sir', now I could get used to that."
When Peter took an early lunch two days later to meet Ellie, nothing had
broken on the case and they seemed no nearer to finding Pauline
Greenham's killer as they had been to finding Reggie's a year ago.
After the embarrassment of their last meeting on neutral ground, in a
restaurant of Ellie's choice, when she'd delivered her ultimatum and
left, Peter had insisted on a quiet pub in a small village just outside
Wetherton. There at least they could have a row in relative peace.
He had to admit Ellie looked good. It only served to reassure him that
she didn't need him. Perhaps if she'd looked terrible his heartstrings
might have been easier to tug at. As it was, his first question was
about his daughter.
"I bought you some photos." She handed him a small collection taken
over the last couple of weeks. They were just of Rosie, just for him
and he was grateful.
"I'd like to see her." Ellie nodded. They'd agreed to let her settle
in London for a month before Peter saw their little girl. After that he
would have open access to her, weekends, holidays and whenever he wanted
"She misses you."
"I miss her."
This time at least they had drinks and sandwiches. He asked her about
her new job and listened. She asked him about his job and got agitated
when he said he was still happy doing it. But she relented enough to
"So... could you get a transfer to the Met?"
He looked at her for a few seconds. "No, Ellie."
"You mean the Fat Controller wouldn't approve it."
"I mean, I don't want it. I belong here, this is my home."
"No it isn't." She shook her head. "You weren't born here, you haven't
lived here all your life. Your home is in Lincolnshire and you belong
with Rosie and I."
This claim on his life angered him, but he managed to keep his emotions
in check. "I don't want to work in London."
"Why? Same job, same rank, better pay. What would be different?"
She was baiting him and he knew it. He decided he wasn't going to rise
to it. "I don't know whether you've noticed, Ellie, but the city's not
quite the same as Wetherton. London isn't Yorkshire and the Met isn't
the nick. It takes a certain type of copper to work in London and
that's not me."
"It could be."
"No, it couldn't."
"What's he said, Peter? That you couldn't hack it? That you're too
It didn't take a genius to figure out who 'he' was supposed to be. But
his anger melted suddenly. Andy might have thought it, but he'd never
said it. Peter knew it might well have been true but that wasn't the
reason he didn't want to leave Wetherton and he felt safe in that knowledge.
She sat watching him, wondering when he'd ask why it always came down to
Andrew Dalziel. Why was he always the bad guy? Why was he the one she
blamed for the break up of their marriage? The questions never came.
Instead he smiled at her, shaking his head. "He'd be right, wouldn't he?"
She stopped to change tactics. And while she started to think about
Plan B, she really looked at him. "Have you lost weight?"
He shrugged. "A little."
"You look... better." He did. His hair shone, eyes sparkled and his
contentment was starting to show through. Not wanting to think what
that might mean, she smiled unguardedly and reached up to touch his
hair. He allowed the contact, sitting still. Until she moved to kiss
him. Then he turned his head away.
His action genuinely surprised her. She was still his wife after all.
All that gone between them had been emotions, heartbreak, pain and
blame. But as two animalistic human beings she believed that the
physical attraction would remain as it had throughout their history
together. She was obviously wrong. "Peter?"
"Sorry, Ellie." He shook his head. "I accepted it when you left. I
cried for me, for losing Rosie, and finally I accepted that too because
I had to."
"We hurt one another, Peter." Her tone acknowledged her part of the
guilt but in her eyes as in his he was equally as responsible.
"I know. Let's not go through it all over again."
When he got back into the office, Andy was gone. But Wieldy gave him a
note that Dalziel had left for his inspector. "Like being back at
school, passing notes like this," the sergeant murmured as he wiggled
his eyebrows. Peter sighed dramatically, taking the note from Wield's
'Forget to tell you about the CC's bash tonight, 'White Hart Hotel' in
town. See you there, Sunbeam, got business to take care of. A.'
He muttered something to himself and looked up. "Are you going to this
thing tonight with the CC?"
Wield nodded. "Is that what it's about?"
"Aye. He forget to mention it before of course." He looked down at his
suit. It'd do.
"I'll give you a lift if you want. Save you and the Super having two
cars there. Yours'll be all right in the car park over night."
Andy got home just before six. The CC's annual drinks night had been
something that had completely slipped his mind before this morning when
the ACC had called him into her office to yell at him regarding a
certain detective lying about evidence found.
He had time to shower, change and make himself look gorgeous for his
daft inspector. He went into the lounge to pour himself a scotch and
hesitated. Since he and Peter had started their mad affair he'd been
drinking less, eating better and had even tried to give up smoking.
Sometimes he thought he was growing soft; Peter's influence rubbing off
on him as his had obviously affected his subordinate.
He moved from the lounge to the kitchen, filling the kettle and
switching it on as the doorbell rang. Padding back down the hall he
opened the front door.
"Ellie." Only a tiny part of him was surprised to see her. "Come in,
"Thanks." She followed him in and closed the door behind her, glancing
into the lounge as they passed. There was a small pile of books by the
armchair, the top one laid open. She smiled to herself, recognising her
husband's passed time. "I hope I'm not disturbing...?"
"No, just having a cuppa. It's the CC's annual bash tonight, thought
I'd make myself look the part."
She pulled a chair from under the table and sat down, hands spread on
the light pine top. "Is he in?" She was pretty certain she knew the
answer but wanted to be sure.
"Nay, lass, he's working as he should be." Dalziel wished he'd hung
around long enough at the station to catch Peter after he'd come back
from his lunch with his wife. But the truth was he'd been nervous about
what news his inspector would have for him and he couldn't face hearing
that news at work. Best they have that conversation at home.
But here was Ellie. The question was had she come to gloat or had she
come for his help. He couldn't believe how frightened he was about
"I met him for lunch," she told him uselessly. "Did he say?"
"Aye, he got your message last night when we got home."
She read the measured tone of his voice and interpreted it wrongly. "I
know you think I abandoned him...."
"I don't think anything of the sort." He fetched two mugs from the
"I thought if I gave a little...." She shrugged. "He seems to think he
wouldn't make it in the Met."
Andy felt like cheering. But the triumph didn't last long. His gaze
settled on Ellie and he sighed to himself. He loved them both in his
own way. He'd been at their wedding, was Godfather to their daughter,
had prayed for them when Rosie had been in a coma suffering from
meningitis and grieved with them when their friends had been murdered.
He was a close friend of the family. 'I didn't mean to steal your
husband.' He looked away, suddenly as guilty as he'd ever felt.
"...so I have a favour to ask," Ellie was continuing.
Andy poured the hot water. "Ask away, lass."
"Speak to him for me? Make him see sense? I know you could push
through a transfer."
Andy put one mug in front of her and sat down opposite. "Ellie... how
long do you think he'd survive in the Met?" He kept his voice quiet,
his tone coaxing.
She sat back. "So I was right, you do think he's too soft."
It brought a smile to Dalziel's face and he wondered how Peter had
reacted to that accusation. "He's not cut out for the Met, lass, and
you know it. If he doesn't want to go all the transfers in the world
won't move him."
She shook her head, sipping at her tea. "What is it with you and him,
Andy? From the start you've had this odd obsession with him."
Wrapping his hands around his own mug he regarded her. "The first time
I really met him we were being held at gun point by a madman who was
playing me for an army private and him for an officer. Peter didn't
know what the hell he'd got himself into. He was scared to death, Love,
but he held himself together, carried himself brilliantly and ended up
taking a bullet for it. I sat by his hospital bed, held his hand, and
promised him I'd give him a chance." He took a drink. "It's not
obsession, it's pride. I pushed him his whole career, but I won't push
him out of Wetherton, Ellie. I owe him more than that."
She nodded, perhaps finally understanding a little of what bound her
husband and this man together. "Just... just talk to him for me, Andy,
Dalziel stepped into the hotel lounge and looked around. Peter and
Wieldy were at the bar, sharing a joke, ordering pints on the Wetherton
constabulary. Andy made his way through the small crowd and dropped his
hand to Peter's shoulder. "Make mine a double, Sunbeam."
Peter turned a smile on him that was worth its weight in gold. "What
"Some of us have been working," he lied easily, taking his inspector's
untouched pint from his fingers and grinning before supping the ale.
"By God, I needed that."
He might have promised Ellie that he would talk to Peter regarding a
possible transfer, but there was a time and a place and now, here was
neither. Finally leaving his subordinates to their joke-swapping he
approached the Chief Constable, feeling that three pints inside him and
a fresh one in his hand was defence enough against any cocky remarks the
puffed-up idiot might make. At the same time Peter and Wieldy finally
dragged themselves from the bar, Pascoe heading off to talk to Novello
who was standing looking lost in one corner of the room. Edgar circled
around the CC and Dalziel, but was stopped in his tracks by the
inimitable red-headed Constable Seymour.
Dalziel clinked his pint glass to the CC's whiskey tumbler. "An
excellent party, as usual, Sir," Andy told his superior with gentle
"Thank you, Andy." The large voice was already slurred. "You've been
doing well, you know." He winked. "Some good results this year,
Superintendent. We like results."
"Yes, Sir." He hid his sigh in his ale.
"You've got a good team, Andy," the CC was continuing, and Dalziel
thought he caught another wink. He glanced at the door and saw his ACC
join the party. He wondered briefly if Rebecca had any idea how
fetching she looked in a simple white shirt and black trousers. His
libido started to pay attention to just how good until he watched her
pass Peter and greet him, hand grasping his arm for a moment as she
laughed at something he'd said. Peter was definitely on form tonight,
Andy felt with a mixture of pride and suspicion. He'd expected his
sensitive inspector to be depressed by his wife's visit, had even
imagined that Pascoe might not turn up here tonight at all. But he was
happy, smiling and joking. He frowned to himself, wondering. And then
Peter glanced over at him, and smiled that smile that made his whole
body sit up and pay attention.
Andy groaned quietly and returned to his pint and to the CC. But to his
surprise and slight horror, Chief Constable was also looking over at Pascoe.
"I'll tell you, Andy," he murmured softly, "if you're not giving that
lad a decent fuck, I'd certainly like to."
Dalziel could barely believe what he'd heard. He lowered his pint,
staring at his superior who was still grinning lecherously at Peter.
Wieldy, who'd been the only other person in the bar to hear the comment,
stood agog at hearing such a vulgar statement from a man he'd always
Had Peter been only what their colleagues believed him to be, Dalziel's
'golden boy', then Andy might have let it go for the sake of his career.
But that wasn't the case.
Andy and Wieldy might have been the only witnesses to cause, but almost
everyone in the bar saw effect. In one graceful movement, Dalziel had
thrown his pint over the Chief Constable, soaking his face and hair in
real ale. Luckily he didn't compound the incident by following up with
an insult. He put his now empty glass down onto the nearest table and
walked out of the lounge.
There were several reactions. A few people furthest away from the
epicentre of the storm chuckled in amazement. A couple of Dalziel's own
team turned to one another and simply raised their eyebrows, worried
that anything more might constitute insubordination in someone's book.
The ACC acted quickly to fetch a towel from the bar to dry off her boss.
Wieldy bided his time and when he eventually got the CC alone, some
minutes later, he simply told him, "You might owe Mr Dalziel an apology,
Sir." He disappeared into the crowd before the CC could put a name to
his face. But the man knew now that someone else had heard the utterly
unprofessional comment he'd made under the influence of drink.
Peter, who hadn't quite been able to believe his own eyes as he'd
watched his boss throw an almost full pint over the Chief Constable,
handed his drink to Novello and went out after Dalziel.
"What the hell was that in aid of, Andy?" he challenged, finding the big
man just before he left the hotel's deserted reception area.
Dalziel turned, ready to swing for the next man who tried to be witty.
Seeing Peter, his anger evaporated. He let himself drop back to lean
against the wall. Hands dug deep into his pockets he eyed his inspector
with undisguised affection. "He... said something he shouldn't have."
Pascoe's eyes went wide. "You just threw your career away because of
something he said?!"
Dalziel sighed dramatically. "I hardly think throwing a drink over the
CC is grounds for dismissal, Sunbeam. Suspension without pay for a year
But Peter wasn't going to let this go. "Andy, for God's sake.... What
the hell did he say?"
He hesitated. But the only reason he could think of not to repeat it
was his own, daft reoccurring need to protect his student. And that
had never stopped him before.
"He looked over at you and said, and I quote, 'if you're not giving that
lad a decent fuck, I'd certainly like to'."
He'd leant over time that while he might do things without thinking,
Pascoe had the rare ability to act without his brain ever getting
involved. Peter turned on his heel the moment Andy finished and headed
back toward the lounge without a thought regarding what he was going to
do once he got there. But Dalziel was ready. He reached out and caught
his inspector's arm.
"Leave it, Petal. I've already defended your honour."
Peter's changing expression suggested he might have done more than throw
his drink over the CC. "He can't say things like that!"
"One senior officer to another.... He's of the Old School, Peter, you
know that. Things like that are permitted between gentlemen." This
strange reassurance didn't help matters. "Let's get out of here."
Still not happy, Peter followed Dalziel anyway. Because there really
wasn't any point in doing anything else. If anything was read into
their joint disappearance it would be at worst that Dalziel's
high-flying graduate was showing loyalty toward his boss, at best that
Pascoe had been ordered to take the Superintendent home. None would
have guessed that as they neared Andy's new Rover, Peter wrapped his arm
around his boss' waist and slipped a hand into his trouser pocket.
Dalziel's eyes widened and he squeaked as skilful fingers rubbed over
his waking cock through the material of his trousers before hooking his
They drove for a mile or so in silence, Andy considering what a mess he
might have made to his career. Away from the hotel his imagination was
starting to work on what might be happening at the scene of the crime.
The CC certainly wouldn't have repeated his comment to anyone else in
that room, he was positive about that. He would have either denied all
knowledge of what had set the explosive Superintendent off or made
something up. He'd have to get in early in the morning and see Rebecca,
clear up his own story. He wondered vaguely if anyone else had heard
the slur on his and Peter's character.
Andy finally decided to think about something else. "Ellie came by this
evening," he told his colleague. Later, he'd admit to having given that
statement even less consideration that he'd given his action at the
hotel before carrying it out.
Peter glanced across at him, not sure he could take much more of today.
"What did she want?"
"She wanted me to sort you out a transfer to the Met and failing that
she asked me to talk to you, see if I could talk you into moving."
"I don't believe it."
The tone of Peter's voice should have been a warning. If he hadn't had
the three pints, Dalziel might have caught onto it. But he simply said,
"She still loves you, Petal."
Surprising himself with his control, Peter checked the rear-view mirror,
indicated, pulled the car carefully over to the kerb and killed the engine.
"How many times are we going to go through this, Andy?"
He heard the measured tone then. "Peter... this is your family.
Perhaps... perhaps you should give the Met a chance, a secondment...."
But he was already talking to himself. Peter had taken off his
seatbelt, opened the car door and gotten out. He didn't even slam it
behind him, just closed it with a quiet click and walked away from the
car. Andy dropped his head back to the headrest and blinked the tears
from his eyes.
He sat in silence for a few minutes, watching the rain start to drizzle
on to the windscreen. Finally, he reached over the steering wheel and
cupped the car keys in his palm where they hung from the ignition.
Swearing softly to himself, acknowledging what a daft prat he could
sometimes be, he shifted his bulk over to the driver's seat. The Rugby
club was just around the corner and he decided he'd go there before
going home. He didn't dare think about whether or not he'd find himself
living alone again.
Jacko was sitting at the bar when Andy slouched in. It was fairly empty
otherwise. "What the 'ell's eatin' you?" It was his usual welcome.
Dalziel frowned and caught Sid's eye behind the bar. "Whiskey.
Double." He shuffled up onto the barstool next to Jacko.
"Where's the Missus?"
Dalziel fixed him with a hard stare, but it soon softened. "We had a row."
Jacko chuckled. "Oh dear."
"That's not the worst of it. I threw a pint over the Chief Constable at
his annual drinkies night."
The other man's eyes widened, and Sid's expression was also a picture of
surprise as he put the drink down in front of his new customer. When
Dalziel tried to pay for the whiskey, Sid held up his hand, "Nay, on the
house, Andy. You sound like you need it." He wondered off, obviously
"Quite a night you've had," Jacko agreed, grinning from one ear to the
other as he sipped his beer.
"Umm." Dalziel threw back half his whiskey.
"Were you serious about...?" he titled his toward the door.
Andy sighed to himself. He'd never actually told Jacko about he and
Peter, never actually told anyone, but for some reason the man just
seemed to have jumped to the right conclusion. He thought about it, but
as long as he didn't confirm nor deny Jacko's suspicions they seemed all
right just assuming one knew where the other was coming from. "His
wife's back in town," he told his friend sketchily.
"She wants him down in London with her. She came to see me this
evening, asked me if I could help talk him into it."
"Bugger, Andy, you have had a bad night."
"Aye. On the way back from the chucking ale over the head of Wetherton
Constabulary I went for the try and told him I thought she might be
right, he should transfer to the Met."
Jacko chuckled again, obviously glad of this free entertainment on an
otherwise quiet night. "Why didn't you just tell him to piss off out
yer house? Less painful for both of you."
"Yeah, yeah." Dalziel threw down the rest of his whiskey and as he put
the empty glass down he caught Sid's attention. "Same again, Squire.
And call me a taxi would ya?"
The house was quieter than it had ever seemed. Andy paid the taxi
driver a decent tip, surprising them both, and let himself in.
Switching on the hall light didn't do much to diffuse the dark. He took
a deep breath. Peter belonged here now. When Andy's wife had left him,
the place had felt empty for years. But he'd remained in the house
anyway. He had a terrible sinking feeling that if Peter were to leave
he wouldn't be able to stay any longer.
Pulling himself together he hung up his coat, padded through to the
lounge, poured himself a large scotch and went to settle down at the
kitchen table. One of Peter's many books lay open, text down on the
pine, and he picked it up, reading the top paragraph of the page.
'As they waited at the coat check, Philip watched Rob close his eyes
once, twice, open them, turn, and say, "If it's not too late for you,
would you like to come back with me to my room for some tea or apple
juice or something?"
Why had Philip made him go through that?'
Frowning, he turned the book over in his hands, reading the cover. 'The
Lost Language of Cranes' by David Leavitt. Peter had what could only be
described as an eclectic taste in reading material. There were a couple
of Mulan Kundara books scattered around the lounge, one 'Tales of the
City', a few odd historical novels.... Andy shook his head, bemused by
his own emotions and he wondered if he'd ever loved his wife with this
The rain started to come down hard against the kitchen window. He hoped
Peter wasn't out in it, but he knew in his heart that he would be. His
inspector liked to walk, apparently did a lot of it. It was time to
think, Peter had told him once, time to be alone, away from everything
so that all you're left with is yourself and you have to take notice.
It wasn't good to lose touch with yourself, the amateur psychologist had
spouted one evening over dinner, burying your mind in work was just a
way of hiding from what was really the problem, a way of running without
ever getting anywhere. Dalziel remembered making some bad quip about
Peter obviously not practising what he preached. His colleague had
treated that comment with the contempt it had deserved.
"Where are ya, Sunbeam?"
Peter took the tumbler of whiskey out into the beer garden. It was
spitting with rain and he found himself alone outside. He chose a
picnic table with an umbrella shading it from the elements. It was
chilly, but hardly freezing. He didn't want to be inside a smoky, noisy
pub. He wanted to think, to make sure that in his own mind he had his
Once upon a time, twice upon a time in fact, he'd loved Ellie
desperately. His daughter was and would always remain the single most
important person in his whole life. But did he still belong with them?
They couldn't make it work up here, not even for Rosie's sake, so what
made Ellie think they could make it work in London? Especially now that
his soul at least belonged to someone else. Had it always? Was that
what Ellie had meant when she'd told Andy that he was the problem with
When he thought about seeing Rosie only at weekends and during the
school holidays he felt a stabbing in his heart. But had he spent that
much more time with her when he'd lived with them? Suddenly he felt his
balance sliding from under him. He swiped at the tears he imagined were
clouding his eyes. But it was just drops of rain blowing in under the
He turned his thoughts to himself, to the career he'd worked so hard
for. Transfer to the Met was a frightening thought. And that even for
a moment Andy imagined he'd be able to go... that hurt. It stung him
when he wouldn't have thought it could. He was fooling himself.
For a long time he hadn't been aware of his changing feelings toward his
boss. At the start he'd liked him, respected him as a good copper, a
fine detective mind trapped inside an overweight, medically threatening
body. But then he'd married Ellie. And Andy had started to treat him
as a friend over and above their professional master/servant
relationship. He'd been promoted and Rosie had been born. Ellie had
asked Andy to be Godfather. They'd made him a part of the family that
day and they'd easily grown closer and closer.
Then everything had changed.
Andy had been shot in the immediate aftermath of the hostage situation
at The British Grenadier Inn. Peter had gone straight to the hospital
and finally been allowed to see him a couple of hours after he'd come
out of the operating theatre. Dalziel had been unconscious, asleep
under the anaesthetic. And for an hour or more Peter had sat silently,
holding his boss' hand as Andy had held his on the two occasions he'd
ended up hospitalised in the line of duty. Eventually he'd dropped a
kiss to Andy's forehead, whispered a prayer and left. The next time
he'd seen him was when Andy'd dropped into the passenger seat of his car
and asked why three months had passed without so much as a phone call.
Ellie'd called. Sent a card. She hadn't said a word, just that Peter
was snowed under playing at Chief Inspector.
He remembered the night in the Black Bull, after the lunchtime when he'd
suggested he could kip on Andy's legendary comfy sofa.
'So where are you staying, Petal?'
'B&B in town.'
'That must be costin' ya.' Peter shrugged. What choice he had got?
'Come on, Sunbeam, let's go grab yer stuff and move you in to my spare
He was so grateful that the only way he could express himself was to
spring for a bottle of single malt at the off licence on their way home.
He threw back the amber liquid and left the empty glass on the table.
Andy's head snapped up at the sound of a key rattling in the front door
lock. He lowered the book with his glass as the door opened then closed
and heavy footsteps made their way across the wooden floor of the hall.
Peter appeared in the doorway, a little bedraggled, but none the worse
for wear. Before Andy could get his apology in, the other man asked,
"Do you love me?"
Dalziel nodded without hesitation. "Aye, Sunbeam, very much."
"In that case, promise me, Andy, you won't make me take a transfer."
The Superintendent felt his heart being pulled at; turned inside out.
He put glass and book down and got to his feet. When he was sure Peter
wouldn't run, he went to his lover and gathered him into a fierce hug.
It was returned with similar force, Peter burying his face into Andy's
neck, just holding on.
"I don't want to go to London. I don't want to leave Wetherton. And I
don't. Want. To leave. You. Have you got that?"
Andy almost laughed with relief. "Clear as a summer stream, lad."
"Good." Peter pulled back and initiated a long, deep kiss. "Don't
They might have taken it further then, found out how wonderful making up
could be. If the doorbell hadn't disturbed them. Andy sighed. "Christ
Peter went out into the hall. "No chance of any sleep anytime soon...."
He opened the door and scowled meaningfully at the sergeant standing
"Wieldy, this is becoming a habit," Dalziel told him from the kitchen
"Sorry, Sir." At Peter's invitation he stepped in from the beating rain.
"If this is about tonight...."
But the sergeant was shaking his head, smiling now. "Not at all, Sir.
I wouldn't worry about that if I was you. I think the worst you should
expect in the morning is an embarrassed apology from the CC." His
expression gave away nothing, but Andy's face broke into a relieved smile.
"You heard what he said."
"Certainly Sir, and I made sure he knew he was overheard."
Striding forward, Dalziel patted Sergeant Wield heartily on the
shoulder. "Well done, Wieldy. You might just have saved my neck. And
in return I won't tear a strip from you for interrupting yet another
It didn't take Sherlock Holmes to read the gradually fading tension
between the two lovers. Whatever had been said, everything looked
sorted now. Wieldy privately wondered what a full-blown row between
these two would sound like. He found he never wanted to know.
"So is there a reason for this nocturnal visit or do you just fancy one
of us?" Dalziel was certainly back to himself.
"Another body, Sir," they were told smoothly and regretfully. "Dumped
by the side of the A1 at Marten."
The rain, now falling steadily, could be seen in the powerful police
spotlights that picked out the cordons in the dark of the night. The
body had already been covered by the time Wieldy drove Pascoe and
Dalziel out to the site. Andy's first stop was beside the pathologist
just removing his gloves. He didn't need to ask.
"White male, early thirties. I would say he'd been hit by a car but I'd
like to do a full autopsy before staking my reputation on it."
Dalziel nodded. "Right. Any ID?"
"None, I'm afraid."
"Peter might be able to ID him for you." It was Wieldy's voice as he
stepped around them and approached the area where the body lay. To the
left of them, crouched down with his back to the scene, Pascoe was
throwing up what little he'd eaten this evening.
Dalziel was joined by a pale Inspector Pascoe some minutes later. He'd
taken a good look at the deceased and understood why the pathologist had
speculated upon a hit and run. "You all right, Sunbeam?"
"Don't be. Proves you're still human." He patted his inspector on the
arm. "You recognised him?"
"Aye. Mark Casey. He shared a house with Reggie and me." He shook his
head. "What's happenin', Andy?"
"I don't know. But you're gonna have to watch yerself." He let out a
long sigh, turning to Wield. "Right, I want witnesses, interviews, the
usual stuff. Do what you can tonight, carry on in the morning.
Meanwhile, Peter's goin'a tell me all about his university days, which
he's been dying to do for years."
Andy put the mug of hot chocolate into Peter's waiting hands. He was
curled into the corner of the sofa, the arms of his cream jumper pulled
down over his wrists. "Thanks."
Dalziel carefully stroked his fingers over Peter's before he settled
into the other corner, sipping his own drink. "Can I tell you
something?" The other man smiled and nodded, blue eyes shining in the
soft lamplight. "When we were in Frank's pub - before you fucked up and
got yourself taken hostage - hearing your voice outside... it was like a
lifeline. I thought with you outside...."
"I messed that up, didn't I?"
"Peter... none of it was your fault. What I meant was... having you
around, knowing you're close by, it makes all the difference in the
world." Andy glanced up. "Bet you never thought you'd hear all that
sloppy nonsense from me, did ya?"
Peter chuckled. "I like it," he murmured very quietly. "Andy... when
you were shot...."
"I heard your cry, Petal. I don't think I'll ever forget it."
Pascoe hesitated, but he said, "I blew your cover that afternoon, didn't
I? That comment about your phrase, 'shut your mouth, give your backside
a chance'. I could have got you killed."
Dalziel reached out, wrapped his hands around Peter's wrist. "Don't,
Sunbeam, it's been over a long time. Worse I got from your slip was a
punch in the stomach. I got a lot worse from Reynolds' cockup. That
whole thing was a mess. Including, no, especially, you getting yourself
used as a human shield and joining us in hell. Couldn't believe it when
I saw ya lying on the floor of the bar, his gun in yer face."
Peter couldn't think of any way to follow that and decided to lighten
the mood. "Are you finally gonna let me tell you about my university
Dalziel smiled expressively. "Captive audience."
"Something else I never thought I'd hear from you." Peter drank his hot
chocolate. "But I don't know what you want to hear. Nothing...
suspicious happened, nothing out of the ordinary. We were students."
Andy frowned. "What does that mean?"
"No responsibility, no worries passed getting your exams, doin' yer
"Someone's knocking your lot off, Sunbeam. There must be a reason for
He sighed. Glancing at the clock above the fireplace he followed it up
with a groan. Gone two am. "You think a hit and run's too much of a
"Peter, they're your friends. Did you know Pauline Greenham and Mark
Casey were up in this neck of the woods?"
"I haven't kept in touch. Ellie and I... we stayed in contact
obviously, and Timo, Rose, Colin and Carlo...." He faded off,
remembering the four close friends who'd been murdered, whose blooded
corpses he and Ellie had discovered that terrible morning.
Andy reached across, touched his lover's hand. "We can do this
Shaking his head, Peter put his mug down onto the carpet and shifted
around into the crook of Andy's arm, stretching his legs out over the
sofa. Andy too ridded himself of his mug and moved to make room, also
bringing his legs up. Holding Peter snugly, he rested his cheek on top
of his head.
"I've lost too many friends," Pascoe murmured. "Lost so much...."
"Come on, lad," Andy's tone remained gentle. "Life goes on. We all
lose people. That's the way of it. There'll always be survivors left
alone to grieve. You have to remember the good times, the laughter and
Peter snucked down into the embrace, pillowing his head against Andy's
shoulder. He felt big fingers combed through his hair and smiled
contentedly. He let his eyes close. "There was a reunion, about a year
ago. Ellie and I went. Pauline told us she thought Reggie was abroad
"Was Mark there too?"
"Aye. He were happy enough, just got a new job in the city."
"Then what was he doin' up here?"
Andy slipped into quiet thought for a while, trying to put three and
three together. "Is there anyone else we should be warning?" he asked
finally. There was no answer. Looking down he realised Peter had
fallen asleep. His breathing had evened out and his head was heavy
against Andy. Dalziel sighed ruefully. They'd both regret this in the
Dropping his head back into the corner of the sofa Andy found his
lover's hand where it rested on his stomach. He covered it with his own
and closed his eyes. Before he followed Peter into sleep, he swore
silently that whatever was happening, he would do his damdest to keep
his inspector safe.
* * * end part one * * *
Fiction Archive] [BritSlash