by Quiet Daydream
It was a Sunday morning. Kent got in quite early. This Sunday was not a good day. It was tainted with the events of the Saturday night. There he was, at a party, surrounded by hundreds of faces, cheerful, smiley faces who were in love, or were just about to fall in love. Strangers meet, talk, laugh, accidentally touch, connect and then become more, much more than mere strangers. He was the untouchable. It was like nothing could go through his thick armor. He kept thinking: ''Why am I like this? Why can't I stop?'' It physically hurt to smile. He was waiting for something, without having the slightest idea what that might be. Or, to be more precise, who that might be. He knew whom he wanted. He realised that a long time ago, but it was impossible. It was improbable, unreachable, unimaginable, and, crap... He was doing it again. He said he would stop. If he could only...
''Good morning, Kent!''
''Sir! Good morning.''
''Kent, since it's holiday, and Sunday non the least, we lack staff members, and several of us will have to do the double, if not the triple work. Are you up for it?''
''Of course, Sir!''
Not that Chandler asked a real question. Not that it wasn't obvious that Kent should comply because Chandler is his superior. It was apparent that Kent would, without a comment, follow the DI to the darkest corners of the world.
''How was the weekend so far? I bet these few days off did you good?''
''Yes, Sir. They were all right.''
That was a bit strange. Chandler was never interested in the way Kent spends his weekends.
But Kent thought that it must be because of the unique situation. He shouldn't be here. He should be having some fun, like most people at this time of the year. The trouble is that this situation became unbearable for him. Kent moved from the state of disinterest towards social events to the state of utter and complete indifference towards the world. He was angry most of the time. He was disappointed in himself. In his lack of ability to just forget about Him. Maybe the things would go smoother if he didn't have to see him every sodding day. And even when he had a chance, like now, to just say no to his invitation, all that it takes is a single vowel from the Chandler's mouth and he's there, by his side, ready to take the bullet for the man. This inclination of his is viewed, at least by Chandler, as a trait of a decent, if not the most honorable policeman, who is ready at any time, in any occasion to serve the law and the higher cause. He definitely doesn't see Kent as a man who is profoundly, desperately and hopelessly in love with his superior.
But what if something has changed? What if there was one day and one conversation that started it all?
''Kent, please, contact the family members, and I'll interrogate the witnesses personally.''
Kent looked at Chandler anticipating another order.
''We need to talk. When the situation calms, there is something that we have to discuss about.''
Kent was confused, and the expression on his face stated that clearly.
''I understand, Sir, but if it is important, you don't need to...''
''No, now is neither the time nor the place. Soon enough.''
Then he just left. He waltzed out of the room in his impeccable suit, while his footsteps were echoing somewhere, at the edge of Kent's mind.
'What is happening?' Kent thought to himself.
Has he become that obvious? Is his DI, finally making an intervention in order to set him straight. Will he get the sack? Is it all over?
He tried not to be so obvious. He tried not to stare, but recently, he was losing it. On several occasions, Miles, Riley and Mansell had to call him back to earth. The last time, he was staring at the Chandler during the internal control. Not just in a supporting way. He was literally smiling at the man, completely oblivious of the world and people around them. When the inspector asked a question, he was just standing there, glaring at Chandler, dazed and amazed by his words: ''One of the most respectable officers is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, our DC Emerson Kent. On several occasions he risked his own life, and good name in order to pursue criminals and bring them to justice. He was loyal when many failed to be. He was trained by our respectable DS Ray Miles who...''.
Who needs that kind of fascination? He felt like a dog who was chasing the moon. Chandler was just like the moon - distant, wonderful and mysterious. Kent was the tide that reacted to Chandler's changes. He was there as a support. He was there as a help, or a comforter, or anything else that he felt the need to be. Just for him.
And for what? He should just stop. He should end it. As soon as possible. Or else the love, the heat and obsession will drive him mad.
He stepped into his office. It was pristine, as always, and he could smell the refresher in the air. Mint. And lemon. And maybe a tint of... Jasmine?
Chandler told him to wait for him in his office, and he will come as soon as he takes the papers from Buchan. Buchan was there, of course. He was always there. The basement in the police station became his second home. However creepy that may sound.
Kent heard His steps before he could scent him. He scented him and heard the door being closed before he got a chance to see him. And then he came in vis view range. He slowly circled around the table and sat in his chair. He immediately took one of his wet tissues and started wiping his hands.
Kent didn't know what happened, but suddenly a voice came out of him: ''Did Buchan try to make you read every single file from the moldy section?''
Chandler looked at him, and there was a surprise in his eyes, for Kent hadn't been a joker around him lately. In fact, for a while. He was many other things, but never the joker.
Kent said that before he could control himself. He thought he shouldn't have.
''I apologize, Sir. I don't know why I...''
''It's all right. There is a truth to it.''
''Still, it was stupid of me to...''
''Kent, please, stop apologizing. We have to sort this out.'' Chandler sounded a bit angry.
''Sort what out, Sir?'' It was a puzzling moment for Kent.
''Your behaviour, and our relationship.''
''Relat...'' Kent swallowed a lump. ''What are you referring to?''
''Kent...'' He put his hands together and leaned forward.
Kent's heart skipped a beat. Or a couple of them.
''This is not good. I am obviously oblivious of the things that are happening with my team. I never cared about knowing too much, but this is affecting the work.''
Kent felt like a child reproached for his mischievousness by his schoolmaster.
It was sickening for a moment.
''You don't talk to me like before. You just look at me, you practically stare at me, every single time I try to praise you, or say good things about your work. It's like you cannot believe your ears. It's like you doubt my words. You don't go to the pub with the team if I'm going. I get all this: 'Yes, Sir', 'Immediately, Sir', but you are miles away. You stammer sometimes when you speak. You apologize constantly. As if you have done something terribly wrong. I'm worried about you. What is happening with you, Emerson?''
''You're worried? About me?''
''Well, do you think that I am that blind, or you just find me mostly careless and insensitive? We've been all together in this, for years, and I can notice things. I notice that something is out of order.''
''I didn't mean... What I'm trying to say is that I have nothing against you, Sir.''
''Then why have you changed your behaviour? You don't act this way towards other members of our team.''
''It's just that I have a lot of things on my mind. I have to figure some things out.''
''What kind of things, Kent? You're confusing. If it's happening only around me, then it concerns me. What did I do to cause this? I know I made some mistakes, and I know I was unfair to you in the past. That was awful. It still is, but, I thought we moved past that! There is no need to act this way. I want to help if I can, or apologize.''
''Please, Sir, just stop. You're not the problem.''
''We are friends, but at our work, we are professionals. You don't act professionally. Something is wrong and I demand to know what.'' He ended in a harsh, bossy tone.
And that was that final drop. He demands to know. Such a small, such a tiny word, but when you keep the lid on for so long, it's only the drop that it takes.
''Really, Sir? Really? You demand to know how I feel?'' Kent stood up, holding his hands in firm grips. ''You are so astute, so shrewd that you noticed, after so many years, that something is wrong with the DC Kent?''
''Kent! I care about...''
''Sir! Don't patronize me!''
''What? How am I patronizing you?''
''You sit there, in your chair, pretending to be the caring boss, pretending that you want to help, when you actually want to show how uncomfortable I make you feel, and how you want that problem to be resolved. Because that is what I am for you. A problem. Well, you know what? I am a problem. Not just for you, but for myself. I am a hazard to myself, and apparently to everything that is a mile near me.''
''Kent, calm down!''
''No! This is it Joseph Chandler! I quit! Today!''
''What!?'' Chandler was appalled.
This is it! But before I leave, I want...''
''Kent, what are you..?'' Chandler tried to interrupt him.
''No! I am tired. I really am. I like to think that I'm a good police officer.''
''You are, I never said...''
''Please!'' He was loud. ''Do not interrupt me now, Joe!'' That was the first time he called him the way he spoke to him in his dreams.
''You are the one who always speaks. I am the one who always listens. Always. To every single word that you say. As if everything that you do, and that you are is a perfection. But you are not. You are not a perfection, and it's nobody else to blame but me that I made you into one.''
Chandler's mouth was wide open.
''I made you into this divinity and nothing, not your OCD, not your introversion, not your reckless behaviour, not the moments of drunken delusion, or the insults that you sent my way... Nothing! Nothing could make me stop loving you.''
If Chandler hadn't been sitting already, he would have ended up on the floor.
''Everything that you do... Your smile, which is something that I rarely see makes me feel lost. The way you move, the way you breathe, your voice and your hair that is always so perfect, even after a fight... Who has a hair like that!? Do you know how many people have blue eyes? I don't know, but I know that yours are the deepest and bluest that I've ever seen! I love every single particle that flies around your body, and you! I idolize you to the level of insanity! But I can't to this anymore. I can't Joe. I love my work, but I can do this anywhere. And I'll do it a lot better if you're not there to distract me. Because I care only about you. When we are in the field, I am chasing bullets, because I don't care about myself as much as I care about you. And If I died, all that you would say would be: 'He was a cherished member of our team'. And that's it. You don't care, Joe. And I should care. About me. From now on, that's exactly what I'll do. Just leave me be. Just!..'' He waved his hands through the air as if that will put an end to everything. As if that was all that was left of him to say. And then he disappeared through the door. It's like there was an angry breeze in Chandler's office, and now it's gone.
Chandler was in a state of complete and utter shock. Kent LOVED him? He LOVED him more than himself?
He started to shake. 'He quit. He just quit.' Kent LOVED HIM!? Tiger Balm, where is his bloody tiger balm when he needs it.
He grabbed the balm, like a madman, and he moved the lid so fast that it flew to the right corner.
'Oh, my God what did just happen?'
Chandler felt dizzy, and nauseated. He felt a sharp pain rising in his chest. He started shaking and hyperventilating. It must have been a panic attack. He had one of those before. He stood up, to call for help. He didn't have enough time to react, he didn't know what, he...
''Joe! You poor sod, are you all right?''
He carefully opened his eyes to see Miles's freshly shaven face.
''You're all right now.''
''What? What's going on? Where am I?''
''Take it easy, lad. Everything is OK. You're in hospital.''
''Wha... What happened to me?''
''You fell and hit your head on the desk. Believe it or not, this is the good scenario. The concussion is not severe. ''
Chandler felt miserable. He was so weak.
He was confused, for a couple of minutes, his mouth was dry, and he was trying to remember what happened, when, in one swift blast it all came back to him: ''Nothing could make me stop loving you.'', ''I don't care about myself as much as I care about you.''
''Where is Kent?''
''Kent? Why do you...?''
''I called the lads and Riley to tell them what happened. But I couldn't reach Kent. I called him several times, but the kid is probably somewhere having the time of his life. Why are you asking?''
Chandler swallowed heavily. Kent is not answering his phone.
''Does this has something to do with him?''
''No, Miles! I just have to find Kent.'' - He tried to stand up.
''Whoa, whoa, you're not going anywhere, Joe!'' Miles pushed him back to bed.
''It's 24 hours. They have to follow your condition. There may be some internal bleeding. You hit that noggin of yours pretty hard.''
''Miles, you have to find Kent. Before I fell I'd seen him, I was nervous and stupid, as always. I said some awful things.''
''What's wrong with you? That kid is doing his best!''
''I know, Miles! I have to talk to him. I just...''
''All right! All right! Calm down! Dear God!
''Miles, please!'' Chandler was visibly distressed.
''Don't get your panties in a wad. I'll find the kid.''