Hello my friends!
Got the itch to write again, especially since my first WC fanfic story "Someday" garnered over 10,000 views! Bless you all for reading! I hope you will enjoy this next endeavor. I honestly didn't think I could crank out another one, so yay me! I plan for this story to be a multi-chapter one so buckle your seat belt and settle in. I am always interested in what you think. Enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: Whitechapel belongs to ITV. Any other characters were created by me.
Chapter 1: An Unexpected Turn
D.C. Emerson Kent frowned in dissatisfaction at the reflection staring back at him in the mirror. His unruly dark curls were being especially uncooperative this morning and had that extra bounce. He looked like he had just woken up and stuck his finger in the electrical socket in the wall. Unfortunately, he didn't have time to tame them as he was running late. Kent frowned again as he assessed his appearance. He hated the way this particular hair style made him appear like a teenager again. There was nothing he could do, but sprinkle some water on his dark locks, run his fingers through, and call it a morning or else he would be really late. Oh well. At least his suit was presentable. There were no signs of wrinkles on his favorite charcoal-gray suit or on his light blue shirt, which he had meticulously ironed the night before. His ensemble may not have come from Savile Row, but at least he looked professional. Just like Chandler did. Kent then gave himself a gentle slap on the cheek to snap him out of his daydreams.
"Like he's ever going to notice how I look," he mumbled to himself as he headed out the door. Unfortunately in his rush to leave, Kent ripped the hem of his sleeve of his favorite dress shirt, causing the threads to unravel. This day couldn't possibly get worse.
"Well, well, well. Look who decided to show up for work this morning? That's not a good look, kid. And you lot always say I'm always late."
"Piss off, Mansell. Just because you're dating my sister doesn't give you license to make comments about my actions. You aren't exactly the paragon of virtue."
"My, aren't we touchy? I wouldn't take such a high and mighty attitude. The boss wanted you to come into his office as soon as you got in. And he didn't look too pleased."
"Lovely. Just what I needed," Kent muttered sarcastically under his breath. He took a quick glance at the DI's office and saw the serious look on Chandler's face, corroborating Mansell's story. It didn't inspire any confidence in Kent as he made his way across the room. He got an ominous feeling in the pit of his stomach that it was bad news. His aunt always said that he took after her side of the family with their psychic abilities. He hoped that she was wrong in this case.
"Excuse me, sir. I was told that you wanted to see me."
"Please sit down Kent. I have some important news for you."
"I'm sorry for being so late. It was inexcusable."
"Yes, it certainly was, but that's not the reason why I asked you to come into my office."
"Is something wrong? If you'll pardon me for saying so, you don't seem like your usual self this morning."
The older detective gave a wry smile. He could never hide his discomfort when it came to personal matters.
"I've always been honest with you Kent, so I'm not going to beat around the bush. The fact of the matter is, you've been temporarily assigned to another department. You'll be on loan to the South Yorkshire Police force working with DI Spencer's group up in Sheffield for the next four months."
"This is a joke, right? Oh I see now. Mansell must have put you up to this. I'm surprised you played along, sir."
"I assure you, this is no laughing matter."
"You're serious?" Kent replied realizing with a sense of forbidding doom that he was being sent away.
"Quite serious. You're expected to report to Detective Sergeant Jack Lawson by the end of the week. Of course you'll need some time to get your affairs in order like finding a place to stay and moving up to Sheffield so I've already had a meeting with Miles to discuss how your duties will be shared among the other detectives in your absence. Everything has been settled."
"You decided all this before discussing it with me first?" Kent asked, his voice reflecting surprise and hurt. Didn't Chandler even think how this would affect him? Didn't he even care?
"Kent, get a hold of yourself. I didn't find out about this either until last night. Because of the urgency of the matter, there wasn't time to get in touch with you. It's not like I'm getting rid of you permanently. This is a resource issue and I have to abide by orders from the head office. The situation is out of my hands."
"I know that, sir. It's just…do you really want me to leave Whitechapel?"
"Of course I don't," Chandler answered in gentler tone. "But this isn't my decision. Sheffield needs another detective to help with their case load effective immediately. Since it's a temporary assignment, it makes sense to relocate an existing staff member from another district who is already familiar with procedures and standard protocol. I've previously worked with DI Spencer, who is in charge there and we have similar backgrounds. I'm sure you'll adapt to their system in no time."
"But why choose me to go? Surely there are more qualified DC's."
"You will be accomplishing two objectives. Besides helping another district in need, Commander Anderson believes that you need to be exposed to other environments to broaden your horizons and experience how other departments operate. After all, you've never worked anywhere else besides Whitechapel. Of course, you will be compensated for your accommodations on top of your regular salary."
"It's not the about the money, sir. What if I don't fit in with them? Maybe we won't get along."
"I don't think you have to worry about that, Kent. You're the most amiable person I know and I'm sure you'll be able to adjust. You'll be fine. Besides, it's only for four months. You'll be back here before you know it."
"With all due respect sir, I've done everything you've asked me to do without protest. I've never asked for anything up to this point. To be perfectly honest, I don't know if I can do this."
"I know that it's asking a lot from you on such short notice, but I wouldn't have agreed if I didn't think that you were the right person for the job. I know you'll do a good job for them as you've done here for us. I believe in you, Kent. And I know that you won't let me down."
"But I don't want to leave," Kent replied, looking at him sadly with those huge brown doe eyes.
"I understand your apprehension, but it's only temporary. Think of it as an adventure. You'll be in a new environment with people from different backgrounds and experiences. Who knows? Maybe you can even teach them a thing or two. Furthermore, you'll gain some favorable standing with the head office that may open new doors and opportunities for you in the future."
"You sound so eager to get rid of me," Kent replied ever so softly as he lowered his gaze downward to the floor. He couldn't hide the disappointment reflected in his voice.
"Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a business decision, Kent. What I feel is irrelevant to the situation."
Kent wished Chandler WOULD feel something; anything. It was as though he was implying that Kent was expendable and therefore, didn't need him in Whitechapel.
The young DC was silent for a moment before responding softly, "Yes, sir. I'd like to leave a little early today if that's all right with you. There are a lot of my affairs I need to get in order if I'll be moving to Sheffield by the end of the week."
Kent hated lying, but his emotions were in turmoil after being suddenly saddled with the news that he would be going away for an extended period of time. Needless to say, it was quite a shock for him.
"All right," Chandler replied a little uncertainly as he watched him leave. He was going to let the matter go, but at the last minute blurted out, "Kent, wait. I won't force you to go if you really don't want to do this. And if that's your decision, I won't think any less of you."
The younger man gripped his fists tightly against his sides, suppressing the urge to blurt out the truth. He couldn't very well admit the reason he didn't want to leave was because of Chandler, himself. Besides, if Kent protested, it would prove to everyone who still doubted his abilities that he couldn't handle being a detective constable. And he had worked too hard to lose his standing with the other team members to back out. More importantly, he didn't want to lose Chandler's confidence in him.
"I can handle it. Just had a touch of nerves. Excuse me, sir," Kent replied quickly turning away to make his exit.
Chandler frowned in concern. He had the feeling that Kent was holding back. Perhaps he felt cornered and couldn't say what was really on his mind for fear of reprisal. Kent always said and did the right things whenever he was given orders, but Chandler never really knew what his DC was thinking deep down. Lately, it felt like things were not right between them. Actually, it hadn't been right for some time. He hated to think that Kent had become disillusioned with his job. Or even worse, with Chandler himself.
"I'm taking off now, boss. Need anything before I go?"
"Nothing that can't wait until tomorrow, Miles. Good night."
"Right back at 'ya. I know this is a novel concept for you, but try to relax."
"I am ALWAYS relaxed...well, most of the time," Chandler replied with a wry expression on his face.
The older man laughed out loud as he turned to walk out of the incident room.
"On second thought, could you stay for a moment?"
Miles turned and walked back half-way.
"A moment and not a second longer. Judy's got a roast chicken for dinner and if I'm late, I'll be lucky if the kids leave me the bones. If they keep eating at this rate, I'll need to take out a loan just for the groceries alone."
"You've known Kent longer than I have. Do you think he's the type of person to speak his mind if something was really bothering him?"
"He may be a little reserved at times, but he's always worn his emotions on his sleeve. If he didn't agree with something, he would definitely tell you. Why do you ask?"
"Kent said that he was all right with going to Sheffield, but he hasn't been himself ever since I broke the news to him earlier this week."
"I can't say that I'm surprised. If he's been mopey these past few days, it's probably because he's going to be away from his favorite boss for such a long time," Miles replied astutely. "And I don't mean me."
"This isn't a joking matter," Chandler replied dismissively. "I wish you wouldn't make light of it."
"Who said I was joking?"
"Maybe I shouldn't have agreed to let him take on this assignment. Maybe it's too much for him. Judging by the way Kent initially reacted, he probably thinks that I want him to leave."
"Did he actually tell you that?"
"He didn't have to. Miles, I don't want Kent thinking that he's expendable. I just thought it would be a good career opportunity for him."
"Well, what do you know? You really do care about him."
"Was that ever in doubt?" Chandler replied in slight annoyance.
"I was beginning to wonder. You know, I'm sure he'd perk right up if knew how you're feeling about the whole situation. After all, you have such a way about you."
"I'm being serious here."
"So am I. In all the time that I've known you, this is the first time I've seen you like this."
"Being anxious and worrying over the one person who absolutely worships the ground you walk on. It's too bad Kent isn't here to see this. I think he'd faint from the shock."
"I'm just concerned because he's a member of my team. As I would be with any other members of the group."
"You wouldn't be this concerned if it was anyone else and you know it. Kent is important to you. Anyone can see that."
"Don't you have to go home?" Chandler replied in irritation.
Miles laughed again before giving Chandler a gentle clap on the shoulder.
"Don't worry about Kent. He's a big boy and can take care of himself. He's a professional, you know. Besides, it's only going to be four months. If he can survive that whole Kray business, he can handle anything. He put up with you all these years, didn't he? He deserves a badge of courage for that alone."
"You really have a way of making a person feel better," Chandler replied dryly.
Kent turned to look up at Chandler's office from the courtyard with longing. It was the night before his departure and he would have given anything in the world if the older man told him that he would be missed during his temporary reassignment. It would have given Kent a glimmer of hope and make the days less lonely being away from him. Instead Kent was indeed alone and worrying about the future. He should have listened to his instincts and avoided Chandler like the plague when he realized that he was falling in love with his boss. It was never a good idea to fall for a straight guy, especially someone as complicated and difficult as Joseph Chandler who had enough hangups for the both of them. And then there was that issue of him being his boss that made Kent's situation all the more complicated.
It wasn't like Kent had planned for it to happen. It just…did. He found himself drawn to Chandler like a moth to a flame from the moment they met. His mother often said that you don't always get to choose the person you fall in love with. No truer words were ever spoken. Kent had always been a level-headed person who kept his feelings on the down low. He had never been prone to falling in and out of love easily, unlike his twin sister, Erica. But he knew in his heart of hearts that his feelings were not fleeting or superficial this time. It was the real deal. Kent was in love with Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler.
At first Kent thought it really was just an infatuation that would eventually go away. After all, these kinds of emotions were fleeting, especially with the mentor-student type of relationship they had with each other. But with Chandler, it was different. He thought his feelings for Chandler would go away, but they didn't. In fact, they only intensified over time, making Kent realize that it was useless to deny his feelings any longer. Chandler was everything Kent aspired to be in every way. His imposing presence, his calm and cool demeanor, his sense of right and wrong, and his unrelenting determination in the face of adversity, gave Kent the impetus to become a better detective and to strive for perfection. Any words of encouragement or praise, or even the slightest touch from Chandler made Kent feel like he was on cloud nine.
To be honest, it was a rather vexing situation to be in. Kent wished that he had the courage to just come out and say how he felt, but if he did, it could potentially drive Chandler away forever and Kent couldn't risk that. Up to this point, he had been perfectly happy to wait and let his unrequited feelings remain unrequited preferring to worship Chandler from afar, waiting patiently for an opportunity to arise. But it had been far from easy, what with the crazy murder cases and the drama of dealing with Chandler's recent amorous adventures. It wasn't as if Kent hadn't tried to make his feelings known to Chandler. On a whim, he had invited Chandler out to the pub to have a drink, albeit in a clumsy half-handed way in the guise of a group function. It had taken every ounce of courage Kent had to make the first move. He had been thrilled that Chandler actually accepted, thinking he would automatically decline. Unfortunately, either by fate or just bad luck, Chandler never got a chance to follow through on his promise. Now that they would be apart for several months, the feeling of dread that someone would come into Chandler's life and steal his affections constantly loomed over Kent like a dark storm cloud. After all, it wouldn't be the first time that happened.
After one last look, Kent left the station feeling as though it would be the last time. Although he would miss Chandler terribly, perhaps this temporary assignment was a blessing in disguise. It would give some space between them and would also give Kent time to think and reassess his options. After all, there was only so much rejection a person could take.
"Hello there. You're that new detective from Whitechapel, right?" a cute redhead with a pixie haircut asked Kent after his orientation with his new head boss, DI Spencer.
"That's right. I'm DC Kent. Looking forward to working with you," he replied shaking her outstretched hand.
"Likewise. Got a first name?"
"Uh, Emerson," he replied uncomfortably after the woman moved her hand up and gently gripped his chin.
"Emerson, hm? That's a unique name. You're kind of cute," she replied turning his head side to side as if examining a fine specimen. "I'm DC Collins, but everyone calls me Casey."
"Nice to meet you. Is there any particular reason why you're touching me like this?"
"I've never seen anyone with eyes like yours. They're gorgeous," she replied unashamedly as she removed her hand. "By the way, are you with anyone at the moment?"
"Um, well, I…uh…that is, I…" Kent replied nervously as he tried to back away.
"All right. Back off, Casey. It's DC Kent's first day with us you know. We don't want you driving off another one," an older man's voice came from behind them. He was a tall man, probably in his late-forties with slightly graying hair around the sides and temples of his raven colored cropped hair. There were definite signs that he had been handsome in his youth. His stern voice was tinged with humor as he spoke, making Kent relax. "Now run along. I'm sure you can find something more productive to do than harassing the staff."
"Tch," the younger woman replied in annoyance as she was shooed off by the detective sergeant.
"Sorry about that. I'm Detective Sergeant Jack Lawson. Let me officially welcome you to Sheffield, DC Kent. We've heard so many good things about you from DI Chandler."
"Thank you, sir. Glad to be of service."
"Hope you won't mind starting right off the bat on your first day."
"Not at all. I'm ready whenever you are. DI Chandler said that your department has been swamped lately."
"He wasn't kidding. It's like everyone decided to cause trouble all at once. We're grateful for any help you can lend us. How about I give you a tour of the place and then brief you on our current caseload?
"All right. But before we continue, does that always happen with newcomers?"
"What? You mean Casey? Oh don't mind her. She's just trying to make me jealous. We've been dating for five years and she does this whenever we have an argument. She thinks that it works every time."
Kent's eyes widened in obvious surprise at the older man's candor about his relationship with his much younger colleague.
"Are you so surprised that someone like her would be together with an old fart like me?" Jack replied teasingly.
"That's not what I was thinking at all, sir! It's just that I'm surprised you would be so open about your relationship in the workplace. Aren't you worried about what people will say?"
"It's not earth-shattering news around here. Besides, everyone pretty much minds their own business. I'm a very pragmatic man, DC Kent. I don't believe in standing on ceremony and I couldn't care less what people think. Besides, they know me well enough that I would never put personal business before work. The same goes for Casey."
Kent gave a wry grin. He sounded a lot like DS Miles, minus the coarse language.
"She and I have nothing to hide, but we also try not to let our personal issues interfere with work. Today is one of the few exceptions."
"It must be nice to be able to work with someone you care about without having to worry about fear of reprisal." Kent's heart tightened even as he spoke those words.
"It can be a blessing and a curse. But enough of this. You didn't come here just to get the local gossip. Let's get down to work, shall we? Or else DI Spencer will have us drawn and quartered."
"I heard that, Jack. And don't give DC Kent the wrong impression about us," DI Spencer commented loudly from his office. It's bad enough that he has to work with YOU. I don't want him thinking we're all assholes around here."
Jack snickered in response. The verbal exchange and teasing between DS Lawson and DI Spencer and showed the easy-going rapport they had with each other, making Kent feel immediately at ease. They reminded him so much of Miles and Chandler. Kent sighed heavily. It was only the first day away and he already missed Whitechapel. For more reasons than one.
To Be Continued...
Upload date: 12July2016