the_gene_genie: (Ashes 3x03 - Versus Keats)
DCI Gene Hunt ([personal profile] the_gene_genie) wrote2011-11-12 12:45 am
Entry tags:

OOM: 3x04.

When he came home from the pub last night, there was writing on the wall at the bottom of his steps.

When he looked back, it was gone.

Definitely had a few too many.
~ ~ ~
When the girl with the shotgun waves it around in the street, he’s mindful (afterwards) that usually when that happens, they all dive for the nearest cover, and then shoot back.

Today, he runs towards her. Turns out it’s quite safe – she’s D16. An undercover copper, from a different bloody station. On his patch. What happened to the days when other DCIs let you know they were running operations on your territory? He has to let her go. She leaves the shotgun in his hand; he unloads the thing with enough temper that it feels like he could snap it in two.

It’s only afterwards it occurs to him that he normally doesn’t do that. Run towards birds brandishing lethal weapons. So what if he wasn’t scared? So what if he knew, knew, there was no danger this time? It’s still strange. He normally doesn’t do that.
~ ~ ~
Keats, naturally, knows all about said undercover bird, which is especially annoying seeing as no one would tell him a bloody thing. Louise Gardner, going under the nom de plume of Sarah Huddersfield. Working out of Hanfield, under DCI Wilson. Infiltrated the Stafford family six months ago, seems well-in, etc etc blah blah. He knows all about Terry Stafford – at least he gets to shout Keats down on that score, when it looks like the bloke thinks he can just waltz in and brief his team.

He’s also keeping a mental score sheet. Not long ago, Chris was taking stuff out of his office because ‘Jim asked for it’. Today, he’s taking orders from the twat like it comes natural to him. He’ll keep an eye on that. Chris has always been easily led, and it’s not like he doesn’t have form for playing for the wrong team. He’s not going to worry about it too much, though. He was pretty clear last year what would happen if he screwed up again. Still, with Keats actively working to turn them against him, it bears a bit of attention.

‘Maybe you should run with this. Think of it as an opportunity. See how you do working with another station. A modern police force needs to learn how to work as one entity, as well as separate cells.’

Oh, please.

‘Good, right! In case any of you were wonderin’, that’s Twatspeak for givin’ us the OK to speak to DCI Wilson.’

Keats gives Drake one of those looks, like he’s a poor kicked puppy because the nasty cat made him look a twat again. He thinks he doesn’t see them. He wonders what Drake would say if she heard the way Keats talks to him when everyone else has gone home. She wouldn’t be all sympathetic then.

Or maybe she would. Maybe it wouldn’t make any difference. A depressing thought, but he entertains it every now and again. Hard not to, these days.
~ ~ ~
Wilson sits in an office so clean, you can practically smell the polish. Not a file in sight, not a dirty mug or scrap of paper. Disgusting. He’s got a hell of a grudge against Terry Stafford, though. It’s even understandable, as he reckons the bloke ran him over four years ago. He walks with a stick now. Gene can’t help thinking of Harry Woolf, and his vendetta against Arnold Malone. Funny what memories the subconscious throws up sometimes. He hasn’t thought about Harry for years.

One thing is blindingly obvious, though – Wilson’s not up to the job. Stafford’s avoided prison most of his life already. He’s a slippery bastard, and it needs a real bloke to take him down, not a cripple.

‘Let’s see what Terry does when he’s got me breathin’ down his neck. I’ll take over from here.’

‘With the greatest of respect, I can’t allow that.’

‘With the greatest of respect,’ he brings his hand down hard on the man’s shoulder. ‘I’m not askin’ you, I am tellin’ you.’

This needs to be done right, and he’s the one who’s going to do it. Stafford’s a murderer who walked free, and now he’s spreading heroin through the city. Wilson stuck a girl in undercover, and didn’t even know about the drugs. This shambles has gone far enough.
…or maybe it hasn’t. Maybe he should have listened to Drake when she said they shouldn’t go and see Louise. Running into Terry probably didn’t help, though it was nice to let the bloke know he was coming after him. But if he’s honest, it probably wasn’t worth Louise turning up a few hours later, face slashed, blood everywhere, in bits about what Terry’s son did to her. Little Danny’s a bastard, but Wilson reckoned he was still just the monkey. Louise reckons different, and Wilson, it seems, knows jack shit about all of this.

He watches from his office as Chris looks after her, and then Alex. And then…Keats.

He’s glad he’s got a drink in his hand.

Keats, with his hand on her shoulder. Keats, looking into her eyes. And Louise, smiling back at him, clearly reassured.

She sits in the chair he pulls out for her. Gene drinks, and watches, and feels like the power is shifting away. There’s a voice in the back of his head, nagging away about something (wrong one, wrong one)but he doesn’t know what it means, and he’ll listen to his gut over his head any day.
~ ~ ~

Chris has started referring to Keats as ‘the Guv’.

He’s too surprised to shout, even. And then too angry.

And then…what?

He’s losing, is what. He’s losing badly, and they’re slipping out of his grasp, and he doesn’t know how to make it stop.

It’s a bad, bad night.
~ ~ ~
‘You know, considering the lack of support she seems to have had, I think Louise has done a really good job. You know, she brought us Daniel Stafford. Guv, I think maybe at the end of this case, we should bring her on to the team.’


‘Well, at least consider it.’

‘She’s a decent enough cop, but she’s a liability.’

‘Well considering what she’s been through, I actually think-‘

‘I’m not a babysitter, Bols.’

‘I know. I just don’t want to send her back over to Hanfield. Y’know, DCI Wilson, I don’t think he’s handled her very well I just want to give her a chance, Guv. Somebody like you-‘

‘Do I look like a slice of toast?’


‘Then stop butterin’ me up like some demented housewife.’

It’s not that he doesn’t care about Louise, or what she’s been through. But he’s not a babysitter, and she just…doesn’t belong here. Maybe if she hadn’t looked at Keats like that yesterday – but then, what does Keats have to do with this? Nothing.

Nothing at all.
~ ~ ~
They’ve been making progress. It’s a good enough day that they’ve got Danny Stafford banged up for possession, and him offering up his old man on a plate. So, the deal pisses Drake off but he hasn’t said ‘yes’ yet, and it can all wait until tomorrow anyway. He’s sodding knackered, and she won’t stop wittering on, and all he wants is a couple of quiet pints, and then to go home to bed. This case is bothering the crap out of him, and he doesn’t know why, and it can all go away for a few hours.

He’s so close to getting what he wants. But then, for some reason, Chris hares off out of Luigi’s and the next thing you know, he’s hauling him off the prone form of Danny Stafford, who’s choking on the floor of his cell.

‘He raped her! The bastard raped her!’

If it’s true, then Danny deserves a lot worse than what Chris gave him. Deserves nothing less than to have his bollocks removed with two well-placed bricks, and not even a stick to bite on. But the fact is, Drake’s got a point. Danny’s going to scream ‘police brutality’ and get off scot free. Chris…he doesn’t know what to do about Chris. But after everything he’s done in the past, it’s going to be next to impossible to get him off this. And Keats is going to do nothing less than cream his pants over it. This is exactly the sort of thing he’s been looking for, waiting for, expecting. He’s going to bury them with this. Him and his poxy report. And it had to be bloody Chris. Again.

Maybe the police did let Louise down. Maybe she was shoved in undercover with not enough back-up, not enough protection. Maybe the Staffords have chewed her up and spit her out, and maybe the force was wrong to expect her to cope.

But no one ever said this job was easy. You do the best you can, over and over. Some people fall by the wayside and it cuts every time, of course it bloody does. They can only try to do better. He can only try to do better. And there’s still time to save this. No one’s dead yet. They can all come through without getting buried.
~ ~ ~
‘Do you know the real tragedy? Christopher Skelton could have made a decent copper. Better than decent. Instead, he ended up getting roped in with you.’

‘Danny Stafford had it coming to him.’

Keats takes off his glasses, pinches the bridge of his nose. The put-upon father, with the wayward son.

Gene just sits there, and looks at him. He can put on whatever act he likes. He’s not getting Chris.

‘Well, it doesn’t look good for Chris. At all. His time in the force is over. But I could pull some strings.’

Here it comes.

‘Have him transferred over to my team. A personal guarantee to rehabilitate him, keep an eye on his progress.’

He’s shaking his head from the first word. Not. A. Chance.


‘…oh, I’m sorry. I thought you said ‘no’?’

‘You heard me.’

‘You want to throw away his career. Make him sacrifice everything, just because of your stubborn pride?’

He says nothing. There’s nothing to say. Keats is not getting his hands on Chris. End of.

‘What you gonna do, Gene, when your team abandon you?’

The bloke has the ability to change in a snap. From the dedicated copper with someone else’s best interests at heart, to a snake in the grass, all sneering threats, sly insults.

He wishes he could say it doesn’t bother him. But it does. Not because he’s scared – well OK, it is, but it’s not a physical fear. When Keats talks like this, it’s like he’s referring to something that he should understand. But he doesn’t, even though something nags at him from somewhere dark in the back of his head. All he can do is sit there, inscrutable, and hope like hell the bloke doesn’t see how much he doesn’t get it.

‘Because they will. One by one, when they realise what you really are.’

What he really is.

This is about Tyler again, isn’t it? Has to be.

He can’t listen to it again. He doesn’t want the memories it brings up. So he stands – it’s gratifying to see Keats sit back in fear, expecting violence. There’s nothing he’d like more than to smash those poncy glasses through his chinless face. But all he does is stretch out a finger, and knock his plastic cup of tea all over his lap.

‘Typical! Yeah, when the pressure’s on, you revert to teenage behaviour. A spoilt kid in his dirty sandpit.’

‘I’m not the one who’s gonna have t’change his trousers.’
                                                                                           (I know what you did. Three years ago.
What you really are.)

Somehow, all this is only connected to the Staffords in the most peripheral way, now. There’s all this other stuff. But he doesn’t want the other stuff. He doesn’t understand it, and he’s determined not to go there. All he can do is hang on to what he knows, and that’s how to catch the bad guys.

If last night was a bad one, it’s got nothing on this.
~ ~ ~
The bastards attack Alex, and snatch Louise.

…bugger Louise, for a bit. They attacked Alex.

…but no, they might well kill Louise. None of them can ignore that. Especially when they learn Danny escaped from the ambulance on the way to hospital. It doesn’t look good, as Keats is only too happy to point out in front of everyone.

Shaz gives them the lead they need. Bloody Wilson, of all people, taking backhanders from Danny to look the other way on the dealers he’s been killing off. The old twat actually tries to justify it, like having one heroin kingpin in the city would be a good thing. ‘Sometimes you have to shake hands with the Devil for the greater good’. For Christ’s sake. At least now he knows why the bastard reminded him of Harry Woolf.

But when it comes down to it, he thinks…he thinks maybe he was right, and the Staffords don’t matter. With what comes next, it seems like all that other stuff he was thinking about, all the stuff he doesn’t understand – maybe that’s what matters, today.
~ ~ ~
Louise is lying on the ground, gasping for breath. It’s impossible not to feel sorry for her, even if it turns out Terry turned her ages ago, and she’s been working with them all along.

It doesn’t matter.

He watches Keats walk over, and kneel by her side. He’d like to go and do it instead, but he can’t move. And anyway, she’s not one of his. Never on his team. She looked at Keats that way, felt his hand on her shoulder, sat in the chair he pulled out.

He stands with his team around him, and they watch her die. But just as she takes her final breath, he looks up. Keats looks like…if he was the religious sort, he’d think the word rapture.

But he’s not.


He thinks it anyway.
~ ~ ~
‘I’m saying, you were right to believe her. The bottom line is, we trust each other.’

‘It’s not that easy though, is it?’

But that’s the thing. For him, it’s exactly that easy. It’s as easy as saying, ‘yeah, OK’ when a mate asks you for a no-questions-asked favour. It’s as easy as looking at the bird sitting next to you, your DI, and knowing she belongs here. Because they’re a team, and he trusts her.

But she doesn’t trust him. She hasn’t since she woke up from that coma. He’s known it, and kept trying to pretend everything could go back to how it was. But here she is, looking at him like that, and saying these words.

‘How could you tell if somebody was hiding a deep, dark secret?’

What he’d do, is ask. He’d ask, and trust the answer, because he would trust the person asking. It’s a lesson she needs to learn, but he doubts she ever will. It breaks his heart, if he’s honest, and he’s too tired not to be. He’ll try, and try, but she’ll never learn.

‘To lose a fellow officer…words aren’t enough.’

‘You’re still talking.’

There’s only one thing left to sort out, and that’s Chris. Cue SuperJim to the rescue.

‘Chris, I’ve been asked to file a report about your assault on Daniel Stafford. And as far as I’m concerned, it was accidental. He attacked you, you defended yourself. ‘

So, Pencil-Neck can bend the rules when he feels like it. But then, he already knew that. He already knows the bloke wears two faces. Chris doesn’t, though. Chris falls over himself thanking him, and nearly calls him ‘Guv’ again.
(One by one, when they see what you really are.)
And Alex wants him to thank the bastard. He would have expected more of her, last year. Of all of them, she should be able to see that Keats is just trying to pull Chris away. Lure him with kindness, because he’s the weakest link. Kindness is the last thing the lad needs. You’ll kill him with kindness, but she can’t see it, and she’s nudging him and telling him to stand up and thank the man who’s trying to rip his kingdom apart.

‘Thank you, Jim. For what you did. Thank you.

And thank you for gracing us with your presence. For coming down from your ivory tower, to poke and prod us mere mortals. And for giving me the chance to work with such a fine figure of a man.’

‘Oh, for God’s sake…’ she’s saying, but he can’t stop now.
(Spoilt kid in his dirty sandpit.)

‘Y’know, sometimes I’m surprised I can even look at you, such is the brightness of the sun that shines from your arse. Thank you, Jim.

Thank you.’

He drains his glass, his chest tight. Only Ray is smiling. The others…oh, sod it. Who cares?

Keats won’t stop staring at him. He can feel the hate from here. But it’s not as bad as what’s coming from her, and he can’t stand it, won’t think about it.

‘Right! Who’d like a bloody drink?’

Because he, for one, is going to drink, and drink, and never think of this day again.

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