~ ~ ~
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.’
But it isn't normal circumstances. They're trying to catch a serial killer. On top of that...well. There are things on top of that. But all that aside, he doesn't want her doubts rubbing off on the rest of the team. They're nervous enough, especially Chris. They have to present a united front on this. So he holds her back as the boys climb into the back of the van.
'Nice one, Guv.'
He jerks his head at Alex.
'C'mon, Bols. You can help me carry 'em.'
He marches into Luigi's with force. Everyone's happy, the music's loud, the drink is flowing. He has a knot in his stomach, but he ignores it. She did what she had to do, now he's doing what he has to do.
He wasn't at all keen on this dating agency idea when she suggested it. Seems a bit dodgy to him - for one thing, dating agencies are for tossers. For another, it's quite likely that a murderer is prowling around this one. And lastly, he doesn't really want her going on dates with any of them. Even the ones who are not murderers. Especially not them, really. She'd be more likely to see them again.
But there is more to it than that, of course. He doesn't like putting any of his team at unnecessary risk, and this seems like it's inviting it. Potentially meeting a killer in his arena, on his hunting ground, rather than on their terms. She's probably right though; it'll cause a proper ruckus if they go around interviewing all the blokes registered there, and might scare the murderer off. He's not having that. Not after what happened to all those women. So he does the only thing he can to keep her safe; he gets in there and takes one for the team.
Which is why they're in his office, with an application form each, and he's pouring them a drink. Everyone else has gone, except Shaz.
This is more how it used to be. He likes it.
He'd kept a cab waiting, all the better to make a quick exit. He supposes it doesn't really make a difference now though, except the fact that he'd rather they come for him when he's already back in his office and not out here on the street like a scumbag.
She looks knackered. He doesn't say anything but does keep his eyes on her from behind his shades. Seeing her again, alive and awake - he can't articulate to himself how relieved he is. How right this feels, having her back.
But it doesn't stop it being awkward too. Impossible for it not to be, really. He did shoot her.