Jowd paused at the maintenance office door. Cabanela's call wasn't right, wasn't him. That much he was certain of, especially after everything he saw and heard this night. Now that he stood in front of this door his old senses he thought rusted were screaming at him. It was too quiet. Far too quiet for anywhere Cabanela was. Something was very wrong.
He braced himself and opened the door to find his worst fear confirmed.
Cabanela was sprawled in a chair head flung backward, neck resting awkwardly over the chair back. Blood ran down his face, left his hair streaked with grey and red and dripped to the floor. His eyes were open in a terribly unfamiliar empty and glassy stare. He was bruised, battered and even his coat was dusty, dirty and stained red.
Jowd fell back against the neighbouring desk and covered his face with a shaking hand. Cabanela was gone and here was he who had been prepared to never see the man again. After all it had been five years and he was doomed to the chair. Of course it was meant to be him who was dying. Now the roles were reversed. He was misguided indeed.
He thought he had thoroughly distanced himself from everything. Then things spiraled out of control and he was in the prison courtyard with a gun pointed at him. How fitting.
And the 'old friend's dropped out and the man he knew shifted seamlessly between Inspector and friend and back. Difficult to read at first, but it took him less time than he would have thought after all these years to settle back into Cabanela speak.
Then came the pocket watch. Ha, the irony. He had to appreciate it and judging by the look in Cabanela's eye he knew it too. 'No good at choosing presents'? Not like you to lie so blatantly, old friend. Maybe no good at giving normal presents, but they were always useful and the watch proved to be no different.
Five years and not a word. Five years harbouring a clash of certainties, but certainty was one battle Cabanela always won. Five years and he gives him the tool to bring this all to an end. Five years and he still grants him this trust. Always was one for the dramatics.
And it had all come to this. It was Jowd who was the one ready to die. It was his fate that instead fell to Cabanela. What a cruel joke.
He felt the comforting weight of the watch in his pocket and took it out to flip it open. The clock hands were giving him a new direction. A path to close this case.
Still have to claim a victory point, hm partner?
He straightened up. One more thing to do and so he found himself again ministering to the body of someone he cared for. He lifted the dangling arm to lay it across his torso and straightened his scarf. He'd hate to look so disheveled he knew. He moved on to brush away some of the dust from the coat; he always did pride himself on that white coat of his.
Then he focused his attention on his friend's face to wipe away what he could of the blood and very gently passed his hand over his eyes letting them close for the first time on this long night.
"You can leave the rest to me."
He started to leave and paused in the doorway. Back to back just like the old days. He gripped the watch.