A/N: So, I've just stumbled across the box set of Whitechapel and, let's be honest, DC Emmerson Kent is basically a fan girl dream! Quirky good looks, awesome cheekbones, and a definite (and adorable) crush on his boss … perfection. Naturally, fanficcing followed and this is the result.
A/N 2: ALL SPEECH IN BOLD IS TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE SHOW.
D/C: Did the message from Chandler's deceased father read "Give Kent a chance"? No it did not. Therefore, I am quite clearly not the owner of Whitechapel or any associated characters.
Set in and around the time the team discover Kathy's body (aka the first meeting).
Kent was only vaguely aware that his sergeant had arrived at the police van with another man, though he did notice a few things about the man: one, he was tall; two, he smelt like soap and expensive, fragrance; and three, he was well spoken. He might even have been handsome in a different light, and different circumstances. In short, this new man was nothing like the Skip and Kent welcomed a little change. He seemed like the kind of man Kent could aspire to be.
Emmerson Kent was never going to be like DS Ray Miles, never could be, and never really wanted to be. It wasn't in Kent's nature to be rough and ready. He'd rather be tall, smell like soap and expensive fragrance, and well-spoken. Besides, there was something undeniably attractive about a man in a good suit and tie.
'Talk me through the team,' Chandler ordered as they drove from the murder scene to the butchers. He'd remembered from his courses that it was important to state your authority early. He needed to reiterate that this was his was his investigation. It was already clear that Miles was going to be a challenge; he had, after all, insisted they take his car.
Miles balked at the command, but seemed to know his place enough to let it go.
'First you got DC Fitzgerald. Fitz for short; good man, good copper, been at my side a long time. He don't take any nonsense but this is a rough part of London, you can't read a book about the mean cold streets.' Chandler didn't miss the dig, but he did choose to ignore it. 'You got a job, Fitz'll get it done. Don't expect him to get a round in mind you, he'd rather chuck his Mrs. under a bus than dip his hand in his pocket.'
'Right,' Chandler did his best to take the opinion and nonsense out of the statement. He wanted hard facts. He wanted to know where each of his team's talents lay, not which one was most likely to pick up a bar tab.
'DS Sanders. Now, he's not the brightest of the bunch. Don't ask him to read anything whatever you do. But he's an all-round good guy, likes a laugh but who doesn't; it's what stops us going mad. He always stops off to get coffees on the way to any crime scene so best let him know your usual.' Miles glanced sideways at Chandler and mused: 'Probably some kind la-di-da Latte, is it?'
'I prefer tea.' Chandler replied curtly.
'Well, good,' Miles huffed, as though his whole night had been thrown off by the fact Chandler's regular coffee order wasn't something like "Mocha Latter with skimmed soya milk". He flicked the indicator up to show he was turning right, and continued with the team debrief: 'Then you've got McCormack. Again, good bloke. Scottish, but some poor bastard has to be,' Miles cackled a bit at his own joke. Chandler didn't. 'Solid as a rock, good family man. You got kids, Chandler?'
'No, don't suppose you have.' Something about the way Miles made the comment told Chandler there was more to it somehow, like he was insinuating rather than commenting but Chandler let it slide and instead asked:
'Who was the one taking the statement from the witness?'
'Ah, DC Kent. He's a good kid; hard-working, loyal, diligent. He takes some stick off the others but he's young and a bit … naive. He's a note-taker, likes to have everything laid out in front of him, all neat and particular. If you get a bit bored during the investigation, you can hide his notebook. Winds him right up, poor sod … gives the rest of the team a laugh too.'
'I have no intention of winding up any member of the team.'
''course not,' Miles scoffed. 'Not in the DI handbook, I'm sure.'
There's a silence that begins to stretch between them and there's nothing in the car to distract them from it except the rhythmic flashing of orange street lamps and the low hum of the engine. Eventually, to break the oppression of the silence, Miles mutters:
'You'd probably like Kent…. He drinks a crappuccino.'
Set whilst Miles and Chandler interview Rob Lees.
It was odd having Fitz sat behind the glass with them, but Kent couldn't help think it was where the man belonged. Whilst the skipper was heading up investigations, Fitz had been the golden boy of the team and he was bitter about his sudden demotion to slumming it in the viewing room.
It was only right. Chandler was the DI, and besides, Chandler looked better in that chair than Fitz did. He wore a sharp suit and serious expression. He looked like he could solve a crime without thinking. He looked like a real Inspector, like the kind you might see on the TV.
'Close your mouth, kid,' McCormack chuckled, nudging Kent on the shoulder. 'You'll drool.'
'I've got a ten copper alibi,' Lees laughed in the interview room and in one fell swoop threw the entire investigation straight down the toilet, throwing them into the relatively unfamiliar territory of a murder mystery. It wasn't often that Miles' first hunch wasn't correct, and the sergeant looked furious that that seemed to be the case this time.
'Well, that's that then,' Fitz groaned, getting to his feet and smacking Kent across the head for his troubles. 'Skip is not gonna be pleased with this outcome. Look busy, let's move out.'
'Who made you king?' Kent muttered under his breath.
'You did, princess,' Fitz chuckled leading the rabble out of the room. Kent looked around as though hoping for some kind of back up all he got was Sanders holding a bag towards him and a polite:
Set in and around the chalk scene.
'You haven't had a chance to know him,' Kent said as the team badmouthed the DI. It wasn't in the job description as detectives to jump to conclusions, but the team were suppressing that part of their nature in favour of bad jokes and a refusal to leave their comfortable status quo: the elastic band shooting past Kent's face straight from Sander's hand was testament to that.
Still, Skip knew how to treat them. He knew how to tame the rabble and get them working efficiently. It was just bad timing that once he'd set out his plan, DI Chandler came in stating the same thing but with fancier words and a haughtier attitude. Still, he'd asked for chalk and Kent had been forced to follow his own advice about giving the DI a chance and rose to his feet to fetch the chalk from a draw. Even before he tripped over Fitz's outstretched leg, he knew it was an action he'd pay for heavily later.
Still, the DI had asked him his name, and Kent had had another chance to breath in the smell of him, so it wasn't all for nothing.
'What'd you do that for?' Sanders demanded, kicking him hard under the desk. Kent shot him a "shut up" and turned away. He did not need to be reprimanded by the idiot who'd just called him a "teacher's pet".
Ultimately, in the final stand-off, it had been the skipper who'd won and despite a few mouthed apologies, Kent hadn't made any real effort to stand up for the new man in the office. He certainly hadn't stayed when Fitz had called him.
'You're bloody soft, you,' Sanders was shaking his head when Kent caught up with the group.
'I just didn't fancy sitting there all night waiting for someone to get the bloody chalk,' Kent shrugged as though it wasn't a big deal.
'Traitor, that's what you are,' Fitz muttered, punching him hard on the shoulder.
'Ah, leave the wee lad alone,' McCormack came surprisingly to his aid. 'He's got a tough job.'
'I do?'/ 'He does?'
'Do you know how hard it is to kiss every DI's arse in the station and still get any work done?' The rest of the group roared and Kent was left feigning laughter and muttering sarcastic "Very funny"s at every poor joke for the rest of the night.
They'd been at the pub for over an hour before Miles finally put a stop (of sorts) to the ridiculing.
'Go on Mrs. Chandler, get a round in,' Fitz had said, tapping Kent on the shoulder. Kent had rolled his eyes for what felt like the millionth time but he still made his way to the bar. He strained his ears to overhear their continued gossip but all he heard was Miles' warning:
'Now, when he gets back, no more "teacher's pet" jokes, right?'
'I mean it. Besides, there're plenty of other reasons to take the piss out of Kent. Jesus, the kid rides a bicycle, drinks a cappuccino in the morning, and his given name in Emmerson. We can be more inventive than this, ladies.'
It wasn't much but it was something, Kent supposed.
'What can I get you, handsome?' the barmaid asked.
'Five pints, please.'
Chandler stared at the chalkboard. It was basically blank save for a grid he'd created in meticulous detail. In the absence of any kind of ruler, he'd used the spine of a book to draw the lines. It had been a slow process but he was happy that the lines were straight and evenly spaced. He tried to ignore the fact that all the boxes were empty and instead focused on the chalk, turning it over in his hands.
'Thank you, erm…?' 'Kent.' 'Thank you, Kent.'
The exchanged played a little in his mind. He should have known the man's name. He should have remembered it from the conversation with Miles. He'd remembered stupid details (loyal, hard-working, and diligent), he'd even remembered the man's bloody coffee order (crap-puccino … cappuccino, cappuccino), but his name had slipped away like a shadow at sunrise.
He repeated it like a mantra in his head for a moment determined that he wouldn't forget it again. He had a strong, and sickening feeling that DC Kent might be the only one in the office willing to give him the time of day … or even a stick of bloody chalk.
Much like the whiteboard, his mind was blank (mind tricks to remember Kent's name aside), and he needed to fill his brain with something more practical. He needed help. He needed his Murder Investigation Manual.
Kent was left frowning by the appearance of a take-away coffee cup on his desk the next morning. He was first in, like always, and no one, no one, ever got him a coffee … not a proper coffee, from a barista. Sanders got that watered down crap for a corner shop occasionally, but usually as part of an elaborate, not-quite-hilarious prank. ('Sanders, why is there a crucifix in my coffee?' 'It's a cappuccino, mate.' 'What?' 'Done some research, ain't I? Cappuccino is named as such after the Capuchin Frias; catholic coffee.' And smugly, 'you're welcome.') Kent sniffed at the drink suspiciously.
'I find it's more effective if you drink it,' Chandler's voice took him surprise and he jumped violently spilling the liquid all around the lid. 'Sorry,' Chandler apologised as Kent turned to look at him. 'I didn't mean to startle you.'
'Sir, did you get this?'
'Just a small thank-you,' Chandler nodded, 'for the chalk.'
Now, faced with confused brown eyes, Chandler doubted his actions. Was this too familiar? There'd been nothing in any of his courses about how to appropriately interact with his team.
'There was no need,' Kent whispered. He seemed kind of overwhelmed, which was probably why Chandler heard himself say:
'It's just coffee. Cappuccino actually, DS Miles said that was your drink of choice so….' He trailed not really sure how to finished the sentence without sounding like a stalker.
'Thanks, boss,' Kent grinned; teeth on show, small wrinkles appearing at the corners of his eyes giving away his true age (not old, but perhaps not quite as young as he first appeared). The smile alone was worth the £3.20 that the thieving, artisan barista had charged him. In fact, he thought a friendly face in this hostile environment would be worth a thousand cappuccinos, but if he'd said that, Kent might have (quite rightly) lodged some kind of lawsuit against him, so instead he said:
'I'm just glad you're on time. I was worried it was going to go cold.' And before the nature of this relationship could be questioned, he focused on the task at hand: 'Can you follow up with forensics? I want to know what they've found; it'll be important.'
Set after Chandler's outburst about office (and personal) hygiene … and ties.
Kent had overheard the conversation. He'd listened to Sanders' theory ('must be gay'), but the shared idea around the office that cleanliness has a direct link with sexuality was totally unfounded and ridiculous. Kent would know better than the rest of these idiots, but he couldn't voice it. They couldn't know about him. They just weren't the kind of men who'd understand something like that. Jesus, they were casting all kind of ludicrous suggestions about Chandler just because the man liked to wash his hands before eating. Imagine what they'd say if Kent casually mentioned that the bloke sitting alone in the corner of the pub was just his type, or that his fascination with DI Chandler might not be strictly professional.
'What about you, Kent?' McCormack asked, munching his way through a third bag of crisps. The main topic of this evening's trip to the pub had been about which offensive ties they were going to turn up wearing the next day. Whilst he hadn't exactly been tuned in for a while – the bloke in the corner of the pub really was just his type - he guessed that they wouldn't have strayed far from the debate.
'I don't really have any funny ties,' he shrugged, sipping on his pint.
''course you don't,' Fitz shook his head. 'You'd need a sense of humour first.'
'Oi.' Sanders clearly thought that was overstepping the mark. 'Don't you worry, kid. You can borrow one of mine. Now,' he slung his arm around Kent's shoulders (he stank of deodorant thanks to his little joke of spraying himself every time the boss was in his vicinity), 'I've got two options: one rather fetching yellow number that says "World's Greatest Lover" or a black one with "FBI" on it.' And just so there could be no confusion, Sanders removed his arm from Kent's neck to mime the figure of a rather voluptuous woman and explained that the initials stood for: 'Female Body Inspector.'
'I don't think that's Kent's thing, is it son?' Miles said.
'What?' Kent panicked. Had he looked at the man in the corner for too long? Had his stolen looks towards the DI been a little too longing?
'Novelty ties,' Miles clarified, but the glint in his eye suggested that that wasn't quite what he'd meant. 'Not your thing.'
'Not really, Skip.'
'Well, I'll bring one for you just in case,' Sanders insisted, though Kent already knew which tie he would wear; a black one with silver crosses (or they might have been diamonds) which complimented his grey shirt nicely. Still, he thanked Sanders for the gesture.
'Ponce,' had been Sanders' first reaction when he spotted the tie the next day. His second reaction was: 'You're no fun, has anyone told you that?'
'It's a place of work, and it's a murder enquiry; it's not supposed to be fun.'
'Christ, you're starting to sound like him now.'
Kent knew Sanders' words were supposed to be an insult but really, they just felt like a compliment.
Set immediately after Chandler tells them to remove their novelty ties.
Strictly speaking, Chandler knew he was favouring DC Kent. It was easily done. If he wanted to hand out a job and hear "Yes, Sir" instead of the beginnings of a difficult debate, he gave the job to Kent. Forensics, leads about the Wilkes Street fire, anything else that might crop up - Kent, Kent, Kent. Besides, it was just nice to see someone taking notes as he spoke rather that wasting all their energy on showing off their ridiculous ties, though perhaps Kent wasn't showing off because his tie wasn't ridiculous? He, at least, seemed to be taking this situation seriously.
It was possible that Kent's dedication and willingness to follow instructions was the only thing stopping Chandler from drowning in this mess he found himself in.
'Er, sir,' the knock was timid, as was the interruption. He didn't need to look up to know who it was. Most of his team just bowled in like they owned the place.
'Kent,' he allowed himself to smile at the DC. 'You haven't found something out about that fire already, have you? That was quick.'
'Oh, no Sir. Sorry. I was actually wondering if….' The young man glanced over his shoulder towards Sanders, who was nodding profusely and gesturing to his own tie-less collar. 'Well, as no one else in the office is wearing their ties, Sir, I was wondering if it would be okay t-'
'Take it off,' Chandler beat him to the punchline. 'I was just trying to make a point and it was thrown in my face … as usual.'
Kent looked a little lost at that statement, like he didn't know what to do with it, which was understandable. He'd only asked to remove his tie and now he was being bitched at. Still, Kent's response surprised Chandler.
'They'll come round, Sir,' Kent promised in a low whisper. 'Just give them time.'
'We'll see,' he sighed.
It was at that moment that Miles called Kent away to the records room to help the team search through the files for an assault involving thirty-nine stab wounds. Chandler had half a mind to remind Miles that Kent had his own line of enquiry to follow but Chandler had faith that, somehow, Kent would find time to complete all his assigned tasks.
He smiled after the youngest member of the team. It was difficult not to be impressed by him.
Set immediately following the scene where McCormack finds the file on Emma Jones' attack.
'The boss was right, Skip.' Kent heard the words come out of his mouth before he'd had chance to really run them by any kind of internal censoring mechanism. Now that they were out in the open, he heard the errors: calling Chandler "the boss", daring to sound excited about an idea he'd hard. In a lot of ways, Kent was lucky that the only repercussion of his misplaced enthusiasm was Skip's scornful:
'Yeah, alright. Don't get your panties in a twist over your husband's amazing detective abilities just yet.' Then he turned to the Scotsman, 'you should present this to His Highness, McCormack. It's your find.'
'Let the kid do it,' McCormack suggested, pushing the file towards Kent. 'I've still not been forgiven for the "I Only Fire Blanks" tie yet.'
Set in and around Kent and Chandler's trip to the hospital to find out about Emma Jones' case.
Chandler had done it again! Once again, it had been too easy. Kent had been stood ahead of him, delivering the haunting news of an Emma Jones. He'd been asking questions about possible links, he'd show a genuine interest in Chandler's theory, and it was hard to ignore that he was the singular ray of positivity in a dark storm of scorn and distrust. Now, they were in a car together, Kent taking up what should have been Miles' seat and filling what would have been silence with nonsense and babble.
'What made you think of this thirty-nine stab assault, Sir?' Kent was asking. He was fidgeting endlessly in his seat; it should have been annoying but it wasn't.
'Just a hunch.'
'Based on the Jack the Ripper copycat theory, Sir?'
'Do you think this proves the theory then, Sir?'
'I don't know, perhaps.' He was sure he'd seen that road sign before. He'd lived in London all his life, but this was not a familiar part of town. 'Do you know where we are, Kent?'
'And you know the way to the hospital from here?'
'Well, I don't.'
'Oh, sorry, Sir, turn right just up here.'
'Right, and you don't have to say "sir" all the time, this isn't actually school … as much as I feel like a substitute teacher trying to control a bunch of class clowns.'
'Maybe that's the problem though, Sir.' Chandler winced at the title (it was overkill now) but he just focused on the instruction, 'left here,' and tried to take heed of the surprisingly sage advice offered to him: 'If you stopped trying to be the teacher, and just became part of the class they might take to you better.'
'I can do that, Kent. I'm heading up this investigation. It's my neck on the line if it goes wrong; not Fitzgerald's, not McCormack's, not Sanders', not yours, not even Miles'. Mine. I have a lot at stake here.'
'I know, Sir. There's a vicious killer with one attempted murder, and another murder under his belt. He has to be stopped before he can hurt anyone else … sir.'
Chandler felt immediately guilty. He hadn't even been thinking about the victims, he'd been talking about his own career, his own chance at a fast-track advancement through the ranks. The silence might have become awkward if Kent wasn't still standing in as satnav:
'Third exit here, sir.'
'Thank you,' he murmured, his mind wandering to consider the man next to him. Kent was young, bright, hard-working and conscientious. He had just as much right (more right some might argue) to be fast-tracked through the ranks as Chandler did and what was the difference between them really? A few courses and friends in high-places thanks to a family precedent. Chandler opened his mouth to ask what Kent's parents did for a living when Kent said:
'Here it is, Sir, on the left. You'd be better off parking on one of the side streets though. You usually have to queue for ages to get a space in the hospital carpark.'
'Mm, yes, good idea.'
Kent could hear himself babbling and even though DI Chandler had told him he didn't have to say "sir" quite so much, he could still hear the title slipping from his lips at the end of every sentence. Chandler wasn't even responding now. He was focused, determined to follow his lead, his idea and all Kent could find to say was: "He doesn't look well" and "I hate hospitals", and perhaps most inanely, "What do you think's wrong with him, sir?"
'Why would someone want to copy a hundred year old murder?' Kent mused as they walked away from Dr. Cohen.
'That is the question we're trying to answer,' Chandler hummed disapprovingly. The boss seemed distracted; this trip probably hadn't gained him as much as he'd wanted. Yes, there was the confirmation that the Emma Jones attack and murder 100 years ago were similar but they hadn't been able to talk to the victim. There were no new leads unless…
'Psst, officer,' the nurse at reception gestured him over.
'It's detective actually.' He'd worked hard for his title; he wasn't about to let some woman with an obvious crush on the DI do him a disservice.
'Whatever. You were with that Inspector, weren't you? Tall one, handsome.'
'Yeees,' Kent drawled suspiciously, squinting at the woman as she scribbled on the back of a self-referral form.
'Here,' she smiled, thrusting the note into his hand. 'Tell him to call me.'
Kent said nothing, he just nodded with a small forced smile.
'Kent,' Chandler's voice came down the corridor. He'd strode ahead to wash his hands (something about hospital-quality hand soap) but he was impatiently tapping his foot by the time Kent caught up. 'Come on. What's keeping you?'
'The lady at reception, Sir, she wanted me to give you this.'
'What is it?' Chandler asked, making no move to take it.
'Her number, I think, Sir.'
'Does she have some information on the case?'
'I don't think so.'
'Then why would she possibly want me to have that?'
'Maybe she's hoping for a date,' Kent suggested. For a detective, Chandler was being completely clueless.
'Oh,' Chandler slowed his walking pace slightly. Then, in one fluid movement, he took the note from Kent's grasp and dropped it into the bin. 'There's no time for that. No distractions; we need to be completely focused?'
'No distractions,' Kent repeated. He was trying very hard not to grin at the way the number had been disregarded. Something in him wanted to crack open a bottle of champagne and toast the moment, but instead he asked something about whether the boss wanted him to keep track of Emma Jones' progress and set-up an interview when she overcame the coma.
'Good idea,' Chandler agreed. 'Do that.'
"No distractions." Chandler shook his head at the idiotic nature of the comment. Whilst it was true he didn't need any distractions whilst he worked on this case, he was more than aware that the others in the team (Fitz, McCormack, Miles) all juggled work and family with very little bother. The truth was, if Chandler was going to be distracted by anyone it wouldn't be a bold, red-headed nurse at a hospital reception, it would be the curly-haired, babbling idiot practically bouncing in his passenger seat.
'You know, Sir, you're really onto something with this copycat thing, but does that mean there's another murder? Another,' he seemed to be totting up Ripper murders, 'four murders?' Before admitting: 'my historical murder knowledge isn't very good, Sir. Was it four?'
'I don't know,' Chandler hummed. 'My knowledge isn't very good either, but I know someone whose knowledge is.'
'Who's that then, sir?'
The question was left unanswered, but Kent didn't seem to mind he just let the question die before asking if Chandler needed directions back to the station.
'No, I think I've got it. Just jump in if I'm going wrong.'
Chandler was preoccupied as he drove. He needed to plan for the evening. What would be the best way to catch Buchan? Perhaps he'd be able to find him on his tour? He couldn't help but think that he'd prefer to spend his evening in a pub listening to Kent babble varying degrees of excitable nonsense, but Kent wasn't a Ripperologist; though Chandler felt that – if he'd asked Kent to become one – he'd be met with the familiar "yes, Sir" and the man would give mastering all there is to know about Jack the Ripper a bloody good go. The thought alone made him smile.
'Everything alright, sir?'
'Yes,' he chuckled, earning himself a bemused smile from the man next to him. 'I think it might be.'
Chandler had just presented his theory about the copycat to the office. Kent is all doe-eyed and enthused, Sanders seems intrigued, and Miles (along with Fitz and McCormack) is skeptical. Chandler has just suggested that they will keep vigil on the street corner in an attempt to catch the copycat killer in the act.
That smile. That nod. That silent vote of confidence written in brown eyes. It had been enough to keep Chandler going this far, but he also appreciated that - for all the stubborn disbelief Miles, Fitz, and McCormack were still fixing him with – Sanders was at least giving the suggestion a chance now too. He suspected a quiet word on Kent's part. He doubted the youngest DC could have any influence over the other three, but Kent and Sanders seemed closer; they were partners after all, and the ultimate odd couple. One highly-educated, enthusiastic, and conscientious, the other barely-educated, lazy, and a joker. Still, they seemed to get on and Chandler was grateful to have another member of the team who wasn't readily dismissing everything he said out of hand.
If he was uncertain if he'd won Sanders over, he needn't have worried. The promise of a stakeout which included overtime and free beers and overtime certainly had him onside.
Set in the lead-up to, and in and around the stake out at the end of episode 1.
It was quiet in the office. Miles had forcefully mooted the possibility that they should all be let go early due to the overtime they'd be working that night. They'd all left, except Kent who'd stayed until the end of his shift with a shrugged comment of: "It's not overtime if you don't do the actual time."
'I can pick you up.' The suggestion came as much as a surprised to Chandler as it did to Kent. 'Tonight, I mean,' he heard himself clarifying … and then over clarifying: 'I just thought, there's no point everyone driving and I think I'll be going practically past your front door. And you probably shouldn't cycle at night.'
It was a valid question. Chandler did not have a valid answer.
'It's dangerous,' he suggested tentatively.
'Right,' Kent agreed, because that's what he did and not because Chandler had made any kind of brilliant point.
'Anyway,' Chandler continued, this time at least he had something decent to say: 'I foolishly promised Sanders I'd pick up a curry on the way and you'll have a better idea of what he'd like.'
'Sanders?' Kent smiled wryly. 'You can pick anything off the menu and he'll be happy.' Then with a hint of glee, he suggested: 'Order him a Phall.'
'Right.' Chandler made a note of the name. 'What about beer? I was thinking we should have some drinks with us … create some authenticity. Do you think cans or bottles?'
'Cans,' Kent said, with the expression of a man holding back a laugh. Then he said: 'Haven't you ever been on the lash before, sir?'
'Not with any great intent, no.' He felt slightly embarrassed at the admission. He'd spent his entire childhood fighting his OCD, fighting his exams, and fighting to become a police officer; he'd never been the sort to drink on a street corner. 'It's not really something I'm comfortable with.'
'No, but you have a friend who persuaded you; a Sanders,' Kent suggested. 'They bring the Fosters, you bring the Phall; they burn the roof of their mouth off trying to prove how manly they are, you enjoy the show and drink the larger.'
'I've never been in a situation even remotely like that,' Chandler felt slightly horrified at just the thought.
'Oh well, sir, there's a first time for everything.'
'So, I'll pick you up?' Chandler confirmed.
'Sure,' Kent nodded.
'And then we'll go to purchase beer and curry en route.'
'Right … excellent.'
It didn't feel excellent. It felt nerve-wracking and horrible. Chandler had staked his reputation and his career on this hunch if it proved to be wrong, he was done for. He'd never make DCI … he wouldn't even be able to keep his place as a DI. He might make desk sergeant if he was lucky, confined to a desk where Fitz and Miles would delight in asking him to do menial filing and photocopying tasks.
Kent was waiting on the pavement when Chandler pulled the car up on his street.
'I didn't want to disturb my flat mates,' he explained, sliding easily into the passenger seat.
'I would have phoned,' Chandler said, aware of the cold smell that was coming off Kent. He must have been waiting a while. It didn't matter that his was an August night; this was London and it was far from warm. 'I'm not in the business of ringing doorbells and disturbing angry flat mates.'
'Nosey,' Kent corrected quickly. 'Turn right at the end of the street. There's a nice little Indian just around the corner.'
'Nosey?' Chandler pressed.
'My flat mates. They're not angry, just nosey. They don't believe I'm working, Sir' he dismissed easily. 'Never done an all-nighter like this before, I guess. Usually, it's an open and shut case all wrapped up in a couple of 9-5 shifts.' He smiled shyly. His jeans and hoody making him seem even younger than he was as he admitted: 'Then of course I couldn't tell them why I suddenly needed to work all night, confidential isn't it? So they've convinced themselves I've got myself a hot date and … well….' He trailed off a little embarrassedly, but Chandler wasn't willing to let him off the hook so easily. He had a theory about Kent, a theory he desperately wanted to be true and – without actually prying – he might actually be able to get the young DC to make the admission he was hoping for.
'Well, I don't want them to see you and get the wrong idea. I'd never hear the end of it.'
'Do you go on many dates with men?' he tried to make it sound casual, like a joke, the kind of off-hand thing Miles might say to get a laugh from his team.
'Not really,' Kent laughed the comment off, which told Chandler nothing more than that Kent was open-minded about gay relationships and not whether he was open to them. Chandler found himself glancing across at his DC with meaning. He wanted to say more, delve deeper, but they were already outside the Indian (it really was just around the corner) and Kent was already climbing out of the car.
'Ah, yes, Kent, you beauty,' Sanders beamed, when they arrived on the corner of the street Kent holding two bags of Indian takeaway up like a prize and Chandler struggling with two boxes of Fosters. 'I was beginning to think this was some elaborate stitch-up,' Sanders admitted, taking one of the boxes of Fosters and tearing into it like an urban fox. 'I was even walking around looking for Fitz, thought he was bound to be behind leaving muggins here stood on the street corner all night; no take-away, no beer, and no overtime.'
'I assure you, you will be paid overtime,' Chandler promised as he watched Kent crack open his own can of beer before offering one the Chandler. He refused it.
'Wasn't so bothered about the overtime as I was about the Indian,' Sanders shrugged with a degree of good-humoured honesty that Chandler hadn't been privy to previously. 'Now,' he peered into the carrier bag. 'What did you get me, Kent? This better not be a pissing Phall.'
'No, the boss wouldn't let me.'
The younger man still seemed disappointed about that, but he fixed Chandler with a small smile that Chandler found himself returning. It was ridiculous really, he was attempting to flirt at midnight with a man much younger than him who was currently sat eating curry from a foil container and chugging down a Fosters. That shouldn't be an attractive prospect for DI Chandler, but it was. Weirdly, it really was.
The whole night had been a bit odd. Sanders was talking to him like he was a human being and no one had fought him on anything, except to suggest that he needed to blend in a little more. That was probably true. In retrospect, he probably hadn't needed the suit and Kent and Sanders spent quite some time trying to talk him out of the tie. ('No one has ever worn a tie for a night drinking cans on the street, sir.' 'Not unless they've nicked it and they're wearing it round their head'.) He knew he was being ridiculous, but his suit and tie served a personal kind of comfort blanket. It restored a little order when he was forced to spend hours starting at the chaos of talent-less graffiti on brick walls.
As the night drew on, Chandler dreaded to think what the other faction were saying about him, though it might have been a tad more insightful that Sanders' "when I eat curry, I can smell it one my pits the next day" or his utter steadfast belief that Buchan was behind the whole thing.
At one point, Chandler returned from a scheduled trip to the restroom find the pair of them playing a child's game.
'Are you playing I-Spy?' he demanded incredulously.
'It's a good detective game,' Sanders insisted. 'If Kent suddenly says "I spy a man with a deerstalker hat carrying a bayonet", then I'll say "murderer" and you can make the arrest.'
'Wonderful,' Chandler deadpanned. Belatedly adding: 'I don't think that's how that game works.'
'We're just passing the time, sir,' Kent said. 'You can join in if you like.' That sentiment earned the younger man a thump on the arm from Sanders and a hissed:
'Are you joking? Join in?'
Chandler didn't feel like there was any need to expand on that, so he went back to watching the street as Sanders spied with his little eye something beginning with "S".
'Street. Streetlamp. Scarf. Socks. Sag aloo. Sky. Skip.'
'Emmerson, you Muppet. Where in the hell do you see Skip?'
Kent just shrugged and continued with more s-words: 'Street? No I said that. Slabs … like in the pavement. Stickers. Shutters. Shoulder. Shoes. Ooo, ooo, ooo,' - Kent clearly thought he had it - 'Sanders.'
'Balls,' the other DC groaned. 'Wish I had picked that, but no.'
A few more increasingly abstract guesses were uttered ("scrawny cat?" "Do you see a scrawny cat? Unless of course you're talking about yourself wahey!") before Sanders finally offered Kent a clue.
'What?' they both said in unison.
'That's your clue: The DI.'
'Oh,' Kent's face lit-up with the answer. 'Suit.'
But Sanders was not impressed: 'I can't believe you went for scrawny cat before suit.'
'Right, your turn.'
'No!' Chandler virtually exploded. 'No more. Please. No more rounds of I-Spy; I can't take it.'
'Sorry, sir,' Kent's apology came immediately and he sensed that Sanders was on the brink of apologising too, except that it was at that moment that a yellow Volkswagen Beetle drove past and Sanders thumped Kent on the shoulder and initiated a game of:
Chandler pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. His team's "ways to pass the time" were only serving to make a long night even longer. He truly believed that he could have whiled away the hours quite quickly if he'd just had Kent to talk to. He might've finally had chance to ask about his family, his schooling background, or why he chose to get around London on bicycle, but instead, he was stuck listening to children's games. The sun took a very, very long time to come up.
'Coffee,' Kent suggested. He'd just caught himself nearly asleep on Sander's shoulder for the third time and it was the last straw. If he was going to make it to the end of this shift and to his bed without passing out, he needed some caffeine.
'Good idea,' Sanders agreed, dragging himself out of what looked a lot like sleep, but he maintained was "resting his eyes." 'I'll go. Do you want anything, sir?'
'Huh? Oh, yes, erm … I'll have coffee. No tea. No coffee. I tell you what, pick me something off the menu,' he decided. 'Anything. It doesn't matter.'
Nothing really felt like it mattered now. They'd been there all night, all night, and nothing had happened. There'd been nothing even remotely out of the ordinary. What a waste of time, money, and resources. He was definitely going to be let go after this; his promotion was turning into nothing more than a distant fantasy.
'If there's no murder by the time we get back, he's had it,' Sanders stated as Kent pondered the menu. Kent didn't really have a reply for that. He knew Sanders had a point; this whole night had been a wasted venture and Chandler's hunch had got them nowhere. There would be no DI heading this investigation tomorrow morning and they all knew it.
'One black coffee,' Sanders put in the order. 'One Cappuccino and one … what's the DI having?'
Kent shrugged and kept staring at the words on the menu. He was too tired to make the letters focus and too upset about Chandler's fate to really care. Sanders took an executive decision:
'Actually, make that two cappuccinos would you, love? He'll like what you've got, won't he?' Sanders said to Kent as though that was somehow logical. Though it was really no more illogical than what followed: 'Should I ask for soya milk? He's big into all that healthy brain food, isn't he? Does he even drink coffee?'
Kent muttered: 'We probably should have spent more time getting to know him.'
'Ah, you gave him a chance, didn't you?' Sanders ruffled his curls annoyingly. He wasn't four … or a cat. 'It was never gonna work though, was it? Skip and Fitz wanted him gone, and when those two gang up on you, you've had it.'
'I really thought he had something with this copycat idea.'
'I know,' Sanders hummed, handing over the best part of £10 with a quip of: 'I should be arresting ing you, this is daylight robbery,' before focusing on Kent: 'I thought he had something too. Reckon we should know better than to bet against the Serg.'
Kent couldn't help but agree with that. Sergeant Ray Miles was very rarely wrong.
'Here,' Sanders pushed both cappuccinos into Kent's hands. 'I don't want to accidentally sip the DI's drink as we're walking back. I might catch OCD.'
Kent wondered for a moment if it was worth going into all the things that made that statement ridiculous. He decided it wasn't and trudged after his partner.
Set after the close of the episode. Chandler still has to drop Kent home.
'You okay?' Chandler asked, as he pulled the car up at Kent's door.
'I, er, yeah,' he forced a smile that looked fake and difficult. 'I mean, you were right, Sir.'
'I wish I wasn't,' Chandler sighed. 'I'd have given anything, even my job, to have been as deluded as Miles said.'
'Well, I'm glad it didn't come to that,' Kent mumbled. Tiredness seemed to be shutting down his inhibitions; he didn't even say "sir" that time. Or maybe it was something more than tiredness? 'That was gruesome, wasn't it?' Kent whispered. 'I mean, I've seen a dead body before. A woman with her skull bashed in from a heavy ornament, a man all bloodied after being stabbed with a beer bottle, but that was….'
Chandler understood the trailing off. There were no words to describe the horror this copycat killer was inflicting. Chandler didn't know what to do. He didn't know what to say. Part of him, a small part, thought briefly about reaching out and squeezing Kent's shoulder or thigh as a silent "I understand" but that seemed reckless and inappropriate. As in all situations where his instinct failed him, he resorted to his training and mentioned that Kent could seek out counselling.
The DC scoffed at the idea with a bit of a laugh.
'Imagine that,' he gave a watery smile, tears brimming in his eyes. 'Imagine what the others would say if they thought I needed counselling after a little bit of gore.'
'Kent.' No, what had Sanders called him: 'Emmerson,' he tried the name and Kent glanced at him immediately. It was right then; unusual but nice, it suited him. Chandler wasn't sure where he was going to go next, but Kent cut him off anyway with muffled apologies and fumbled excuses.
'Sorry, sir. I just … I'm tired, that's all and….'
'It's okay,' Chandler reassured him gently. 'I know how this job can get.' And before he thought it through he offered: 'Do you want me to come up with you?'
For a while, that's all there was, just … "oh". No explanation, no expansion, just "oh" floating between them awkwardly. Eventually, Kent took it upon himself to fill the silence with words, garbled, tired, nonsensical words:
'I mean, I'd like you to but the flat mates and … maybe some other time, unless of course you just meant because I'm crying, in which case you don't need to worry because that's not unnatural for me … when I'm tired I mean, and when it's been a long shift and …. And I think that curry too, that probably didn't agree with me, and maybe I should have gone home when Skip suggested it at lunch time because Sanders seemed alright, didn't he? And you, I mean you still look good, er great, er not tired…. Are you alright to drive?'
The question at the end was the only bit Chandler was really able to make sense of, so he just smiled gently and nodded. And, despite the sun being high in the sky and the birds being in full voice, he still whispered:
'Goodnight DC Kent,' and because that sounded far too formal for something that felt strangely intimate, he changed it to: 'Goodnight, Emmerson.'
Kent did no such omission and left the car with a simple, blushed: 'Night, Sir.'
I'm aware that this isn't the most thriving of fandoms anymore and that this series is over 8 years old but if you're reading this, a review would be lovely.