Another one, so soon? Yeah, I wanted to finish this before taking my break, so lucky you :)
Recap: Chandler convinces Kent to give him another chance as they confess their feelings to one another. Kent says goodbye to Dylan.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Whitechapel.
More Than Words
Chapter 12: Coming Home
"So that's the plan. I'll wrap up things here and drop off my Vespa at my old flat on Friday. Then you'll pick me up on Saturday and we'll come back to Leeds so that we can move the bulk of my belongings to London."
"Are you sure you don't want me to stay longer?" Chandler asked uncertainly as he was about to leave.
"They need you back in Whitechapel. You've been gone long enough and I'm sure DS Miles would appreciate it." Kent reached up to cradle Chandler's cheek in one hand. "Don't worry. I won't run away again."
"You always know what I'm thinking even before I do," he replied softly, covering Kent's hand with his own. "I'll be counting the days until you come back home for good."
"So will I. You still owe me the money for bailing you out of jail," Kent quipped jokingly.
Chandler laughed before kissing Kent soundly. The feeling would have to last until they could be reunited once again.
"I think that's about it. I've got everything packed," Kent replied coming down with the last of his belongs. "Where's Molly? I wanted to say goodbye to her."
"Molly refuses to come down," Andy replied uneasily. "She's having a hard time with you leaving."
"I'd better go talk to her."
Kent knocked softly on the open door and opened it to find the little girl on her bed, hugging her stuffed bear in her arms with her grandmother's arms around her.
"Can I come in?"
Molly looked up and nodded affirmatively. Maggie left them alone as Kent came in and sat next to the little girl.
"I'm leaving now. Don't I get a goodbye?"
She looked up at him with tears in her eyes, making Kent's heart clench in pain. "I don't want to say goodbye. And I don't want you go away. Don't you like me anymore?"
"Of course I like you. I love you, Molly. But I have to go back where I belong. I have to go home. Tell you what. You can call me anytime. And I'll come back and visit. I promise."
"No you won't. You'll go away and never come back."
"Hey, have I ever broken a promise to you?"
The little girl looked down as she wiped her tears with the back of her hands, shaking her head back and forth.
"Listen to me. You're going to grow up and have lots of friends. You'll experience new and exciting things. Then if you're lucky, maybe you'll find someone who likes you and makes you feel like you're on top of the world. I know that it's hard right now, but it will get easier with time. Before you know it, you won't even miss me anymore. As much as I would like to stay here, it's time for me to leave. My family misses me just as much as you do."
"You promise to come back and visit?" she asked uncertainly.
"Pinky swear," he replied hooking his finger through hers, sealing the pact between them.
Molly reached under the bed to pull out a rolled up sheet of white construction paper with a ribbon tied around it. "This is for you in case you forget me."
Kent untied the ribbon and did everything in his power not to lose his composure. She had given him the drawing she made earlier of the whole family, which included himself. He pulled the little girl into his arms and hugged her tightly.
"I couldn't forget you even if I tried. I'm going to miss you so much, Munchkin. Hey, do you want to know a secret?"
He bent low to whisper something into her ear. Molly's eyes lit up with excitement as Kent nodded his head affirmatively. Her joy was infectious as it brought a smile to his face. After all, how many fairy tales came true?
"It's time to go," Chandler called out to Kent softly, after they loaded the last box into his car.
Kent nodded as he turned to say goodbye to his second family. "I didn't think this day would come so soon. Saying thank you just doesn't seem enough."
"Now don't get all sentimental on us, Emerson. It's all I'm doing not to break down completely," Maggie replied in a tremulous voice as she hugged him and kissed his cheek fondly. She then turned her attention to Chandler. "We're leaving Emerson in your hands, DI Chandler. Make sure he doesn't get into too much trouble."
Chandler smiled and nodded his head. "I won't let him out of my sight."
"Thank you. For everything," Kent said with heartfelt gratitude to his friends.
"Take care, son," Andy replied shaking his hand before giving him a big bear hug.
Kent bent down to give Molly one last hug. "You look after Grandma and Grandpa, okay?"
The little girl nodded and smiled. "I promise."
Max whined as he sensed that something was wrong. Kent reached over to rub the dog's head. "I'm counting on you to watch over everyone as well, Max."
The dog barked in response and licked Kent's face in farewell.
Andy, Maggie, and Molly waved until Chandler's car disappeared off into the distance.
"I'm going to miss him so much," Maggie said, wiping at her eyes. Andy put a comforting arm around his wife.
"Yeah. Me too," he replied, feeling a little misty-eyed as well.
"Don't worry. Emerson has the Prince with him," Molly replied confidently. "He's going to live happily ever after. Just like in my story."
"Hey, look who's here? The Prodigal Son returns!" Miles announced loudly, as Kent stepped into the incident room for the first time since he came back from Leeds. The entire room echoed a cheer of approval and gave a round of applause, welcoming Kent back.
"This is so embarrassing," Kent replied, feeling uncomfortable at receiving so much attention. "Thank you everyone. It's good to be back."
Mansell gave him a gentle headlock and mussed up his hair playfully. "Just couldn't stay away from us, right Kent?"
"Yeah. Something like that," he replied, extracting himself from his clutches.
"The team wasn't the same without you, Emerson," Riley said as she gave Kent a hug.
"Joe did everything possible to look for you while you were gone," Buchan added. "I don't know how many times I came in the morning and he was already in his office going over all the information we gathered. I don't think he even went home some nights."
"The boss did that for me?"
"He sure did. He wasn't going to stop until he found you."
"Well Kent, now that you're back, you may as well get up to speed. Here are the case files we're working on," Miles said dropping a stack of folders on his desk with a loud thud. "Get caught up as soon as possible."
"And we're going to need background information on each one of them. You'll take care of it, won't you?" Riley asked as she added more folders on top of the stack that Miles just added.
"I could use some help with my stuff as well when you're done with that." Mansell chimed in.
Kent sighed as Mansell, Riley, Buchan and Miles left him alone while they headed towards the door leaving him with all the dirty work. "Welcome back, Kent, indeed," he muttered under his breath as he plopped down in his chair. Some things never change. But it was okay. He was back to being a detective constable again. And he couldn't be happier.
"Surprise!" everyone shouted a few moments later, causing him to jump back in in alarm. Riley came in with a huge cake while Mansell and Miles carried of tub of chilled champagne. Buchan came in behind them rolling a cart with an entire assortment of hors d'oeuvres and snacks.
"We got you, Kent. You should have seen the look on your face. It was priceless."
"What's this all about?"
"It's a party for you, you silly goose," Riley replied. "What do you think it is?"
"It was all Joe's idea. He wanted to officially welcome you back."
Kent was visibly moved. With everything that happened the past two weeks, and coming back to Whitechapel, it was all finally catching up with him as he was overwhelmed. Kent's eyes wandered over to where Chandler was standing and smiled. Chandler met his eyes and smiled back.
"Here you go, boss," Miles offered, handing Chandler a glass of champagne as he hovered at the door to his office observing the festivities. It was Kent's moment, and Chandler was going to let him soak it all in.
"It was nice of you to spring for the celebration, sir. You really went all out."
"We have a very good reason to celebrate, Miles. And besides, it's good for team building and morale."
"Yeah, whatever. Anyway, nice job on getting Kent to come back. How did you do it?"
"It wasn't easy. I literally got into a fight over him."
Miles looked at him dubiously. "Fine, don't tell me."
"Going home yet, boss?" Miles asked at the end of day.
"In a few minutes. By the way, I haven't seen Kent in a while."
"The last I time I saw him he was heading upstairs. Maybe he went up on the roof. I think with the party and everything, it was too much for him so he's probably clearing his head. That boy needs to learn how to stop being so soft."
Chandler smiled at Miles' obvious attempt to sound exasperated. He had always suspected that the detective sergeant had a soft spot for Kent.
"Don't worry about him. I'll make sure he gets home safely.
"I have no doubt that you will," Miles replied, smiling slyly as he headed home. "Goodnight."
Chandler headed up the stairs up leading to the roof and found Kent standing against the parapet overlooking the city as evening settled in. He walked up to him and slipped his arms around Kent's waist from behind, startling the younger man. Chandler pressed a kiss against his temple as Kent leaned back against him.
"What are you doing up here all alone?"
"I was just thinking, that's all. Everyone tried so hard and went out of their way to look for me. I didn't realize how much they cared about me."
"That's because they took after my lead. Things just weren't the same without you."
"I'm starting to believe it. By the way, thank you for the party. It was a wonderful surprise."
"Since we never got a chance to have the surprise dinner I had planned, I wanted to make it up to you."
"I told you that it wasn't necessary."
"It's my prerogative to spoil you. You should take advantage of it."
"I'll have to remember that later on. For someone who says he has difficulty showing affection, you've gotten pretty good at it."
"You make it easy for me," Chandler replied, kissing Kent's cheek affectionately. "I just can't seem to keep my hands off of you."
"I'll have to remember THAT later on as well," Kent replied teasingly.
"If you keep saying things like that, I won't be able to hold out for much longer. That could be quite an inconvenience when your desk is only a few meters away from mine."
"I have a confession to make. Back then, I purposely moved my desk so I could be closer to you."
"Since we're making confessions, I never did put in a requisition for your replacement."
"I was wondering why it looked like my desk hadn't been touched. It was probably much easier than breaking in a new DC. You only wanted me back because I did all the dirty work."
"That's not true at all!" Chandler replied vehemently. "You're very important to the team."
Kent chuckled as Chandler tightened his embrace in retribution. "That was cruel. It's fortunate that I happen to be in love with you."
"You know something? For the first time since I came to Whitechapel, I feel like I really belong here."
"You always will, as far as I'm concerned. By the way, I have something for you."
Kent turned around, staying within the circle his arms. "What is it?"
Chandler took out a worn piece of folded paper from the inner pocket of his suit jacket and handed it to him.
"My resignation letter? You kept it with you all of this time?"
"It was the only thing that kept me going while you were gone. When I was about to give up, I would always read it to give me the push that I needed. Now that I don't need it any longer, I think you should do the honors."
Kent slowly tore up the letter and watched as the bits of paper wafted into the night air and was carried away by the breeze. He felt a sense of freedom and security; not only in regards to his place in Whitechapel, but also in himself and in Chandler's love. Chandler pulled Kent against his chest and gave the younger man a slow and tender kiss, making him melt in his arms.
"Welcome home, Emerson," Chandler replied softly after they parted.
Kent's eyes shone with love and unbridled happiness as he smiled back at him. Their journey together was just beginning.
A/N: Sigh, so we come to an ending of another multi-chapter story. Now I can cry ;_; I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. I have to admit, that it was a challenge to write my third version of how Kent/Chandler get together. Thank you for reading and for all the lovely comments, your insights, and your encouragement! May you all have happily-ever-after endings as well! :)