He knows he's probably in trouble as he drags himself up the stairs. He only went down to have a quick pint, and pick up some more wine. He's been gone about five hours now, he estimates, though it's really hard to care. Sitting on the garage floor after a scrap has left him stiff as a board, and freezing cold. The half bottle of Scotch - not to mention Guppy smacking him on the melon a few times - means his head's pounding. Everything aches, and he wants nothing more than to climb into a warm bed, and stay there forever.
But he can't do that. Enough of this. He's been trying so hard, but it's time to throw in the towel. He can't go through another encounter like that. All that's left is to tell her.
He lets himself into their room quietly, half hoping she'll be asleep but knowing he'd have to wake her up anyway.
True to his word, he's only another fifteen minutes or so. He even remembers the bottle of wine she wanted, as well as another of Scotch to make sure the room's well-stocked.
He does smell of beer a bit though - occupational hazard - and smoke. Not that it would ever bother him, but women seem strangely adverse to such things.
'What's for dinner?'
Bloody hell, this is like being married.
He went downstairs for a pint. Ridiculous really, at that time of morning, but he always recommended the pub after long operations that finished in the morning, so why should now be any different?
Of course, he got a bit more than he bargained for.
Which is why he's not trying to be quiet when he comes back into the room. If she wakes up, good. She needs to hear this.
The evening did pass smoothly, and it's been a long time since he's been so grateful for anything. OK, there was the inevitable drifting of his thoughts back to recent - and not so recent - events, but it helped to have a distraction. He forced himself to concentrate on what happened with her today, and it gave him some respite. In hindsight, maybe he shouldn't have picked up The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - he's seen it too many times to get fully lost in it.
Still. As things stand, he's got no complaints. But now it's over, and they do have to make an attempt at sleeping again. So he's in the bathroom, freshly out of the shower, newly shaved, and telling himself firmly that restraint is the order of the day, here.
Definitely a tad nervous when he emerges into the room, though.
Hours later, he couldn't honestly say if he's had any sleep or not. It's like hovering on the edge of consciousness, one foot in the land of the awake and lucid, the other firmly planted in the realm of nightmares. He jerks from images of blood and that gun, and his family, to Alex lying on his chest, comfortingly warm in the crook of his arm. Never awake, never asleep, and it gets to a point he can't stand anymore. During one of the more aware stretches, he jabs himself with a fingernail to make it stop, using the pain to bring himself back. He extracts himself from her, and heads to the bathroom. It's probably a good thing he destroyed the mirror. He doesn't want to see what he looks like at the moment.
The idea of lying down again is unbearable. He needs to move, but he's still too tired. Should go for a walk or something, but he can't contemplate dragging himself all the way downstairs and outside. He pulls his dressing gown from the wardrobe and lights a fag instead, pacing around the other end of the room a bit. Eventually, he sits down and sticks the TV on, flicking through endless channels (one of which, he notes vaguely, seems to be aimed at squid) until he finds football. England even. Euro 2012.
It'll do. He mutes the sound so she isn't disturbed, folds himself up in one corner of the sofa, and stares blankly at the screen. By the time the game's up, the night should be over. It feels like the first step on a long road, getting through this endless night. If he can do that, everything else should be a doddle.
He opens the door and steps back, so she can walk in first. The smell of whiskey is pretty strong - there's a bottle lying on its side on the floor, with a wet patch spread around it. Apart from that, it looks pristine. Two double beds on one side, a TV and sofa and armchair on the other. A door leading to the bathroom at the back. Just like a large-ish hotel room. The only indication that he rents it is the huge poster over the bed, the one she got him.
He tosses his keys down on the small table, and puts his bottle down. The taste of it is driving him a bit mental, and his eyes ache to the point of pain. Doesn't matter.
'Back in a sec.'
He needs to brush his teeth. And take just a second on his own to breathe.
~ ~ ~
This is probably the time he should be out among the troops, rallying spirits. He can’t bring himself to bother. There aren’t any major on-going cases. He’s free to stand in his office with his back to whatever they’re talking about out there, and stare out of the window.
He’s too tired for any of this. When he hears her come into the office – no one else would enter without knocking – he doesn’t look around.
‘Bugger off, I’m grieving.’