London After Midnight

aka Abbey's Indelibly Humiliating Crossing Jordan Fanfiction Attempt

SETTING: Directly after "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", which I am using as a season finale, rather than a season premiere which it was rightfully supposed to be. So basically, season three has happened, and ended with the honorable James Horton biting the big one. (Or did he? Eh, that's another fanfic for another time.)

DISCLAIMER: My friend Christine used to be obsessed with disclaimers. I can't really think of anything clever to say in this particular one except that I didn't pick the title because it sounded gothic or "Red Shoe Diaries" or anything. It's the name of a band that has a song that will be mentioned in a future chapter. This is my first solo fanfiction attempt for this particular show and I hope all bodes well, but if not then don't hesitate to tell me... no, actually, do hesitate, because I'm my own harshest critic so if it gets to the point where I shouldn't even bother then I'll most probably take it down before anyone has the chance to tell me it blows.

NOTE: I am the world's largest Jordan/Nigel shipper and for this I do not apologize in the least. Rock on.

BY THE WAY: I don't own anyone or anything that isn't already on my person, although judging by where the show's at right now, I fucking wish I did.

SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADEU: I bring you...

Chapter One

"Two Shakes of a Lamb's Tail"

Nigel

Eleven o'clock on a Friday night. On some level I can't bloody believe it. Eleven o'clock and where am I? Sifting through thousands and thousands of dental records looking for a potential match on a John Doe so badly burned in a warehouse fire that we're lucky we got so much as two useful teeth out of his mouth. Well, maybe not that little, I'm exaggerating. But it was bloody hard work. Now all that's left is the computer shit, thank God, but even still I wish I was finished. I fixed myself a double shot of espresso with my coffee about fifteen minutes ago and while I'm not exactly flying now, it's helping to keep my eyes open at least. It hurts to remember those blissful years when I was a teenager back in London before my Dad hailed me off to the Royal Navy; I could stay up until five in the morning and roll out of bed in time for tea during the summers when school was out. No responsibilities in the world. It was the eighties and the clubs were extraordinary, packed with feisty anarchist birds and revolutionary new music and ecstasy and blow and dancing, moshing, grinding... and I could wear eye makeup and it wasn't considered gay or goth or even pretentious, just cool. Just alternative, something you could do to distance yourself from all the other people and their labels. I miss when alternative was new. I hate being the oldest bloke in a goth club nowadays, I feel ridiculous, just me by myself at the bar waiting for someone that isn't pre-bloody-pubescent to tap me on the shoulder and ask me what my story is. Not even necessarily a woman, a bloke would be all right - I mean, I could use a bloody friend or two. Can't really picture Bug at one of those shindigs, Christ that's a laugh. Fact is Bug doesn't like to go out much at all except for the odd night at the Pogue, but I haven't felt much like going there myself lately. It's become quite the popular hangout, especially for certain members of the Boston PD. Well, maybe just one. It's gotten so that I don't even want to see Detective Woodrow Hoyt if I don't have to. And as for Jordan... bloody hell, it's not really her fault, after all. I don't think she knows. Well, I mean... surely she must know something, she's not a stupid girl by far. But then, Jordan's so wrapped up in her cases and her own drama most of the times that I'm surprised she even knows I exist. If she knew, things would probably be different. But I've been hiding my feelings from her for a long, long time, nearly a decade. I've gotten so used to it that I couldn't imagine my life without that particular cross to bear. It's silly, I know, it's ridiculous and above all, cowardly. But I am a coward. I am one. Especially when it comes to Jordan.

I don't seem to be getting anywhere with this John Doe and I suppose I should really just pack it in and go home, but I've got a lot of extra work piled up here. Death waits for no one, and unfortunately no one waits for me. Not even my quirky Vegan roommate with the stutter, he's undoubtedly at one of his late-night Texas Hold 'Em games with his old college buddies and he won't be home until four, at least. Bug's still floating around here somewhere, I suppose we could go grab a burger or something but there won't be anything to talk about except work, so I might as well just stay here.

I fear I'm starting to slip into some kind of latent period, not a mid-life crisis exactly, I'm still a bit too young for that, but maybe just the opposite of one. Instead of going out and doing foolish things and making drastic changes in my life, I mostly just stay in now and watch the telly, or stay at work late and make overtime, with which I purchase petrol for my bike and junk food and the occasional pornography off of digital cable, and even that has been lapsing recently, it's like I've got no sex drive at all. It's like I've got no drive, period. It's like I'm depressed, I suppose. I just don't want to admit it. And the plain fact is, I've got no one to admit it to.

I'm lonely, and it's pathetic. I'm a pathetic sod.

"Bloody fuckin' hell, I wish I could just drown myself out sometimes." Ah yes, Nigel-san, talking to yourself, the fabled first sign of insanity. At least there isn't anyone to hear me. But then I probably wouldn't do it if there were someone in here to hear me. Where's Bug? I cast a quick glance over my shoulder to ensure he isn't just being very quiet in a corner with his butterflies or something. No, no sign of the little bugger. Good.

I take my headphones from their usual place wrapped around a speaker on my desktop and plug them in, fitting them carelessly as well as they will over my rather large ears. I've got thousands of mp3s on this computer, only a fraction of my full collection, all illegally downloaded of course, and I'm positive I'll be sued at some point but I'm really starting to get apathetic about the whole bloody thing. Isn't that just so American of me? Until the Napster police come huffing and puffing and blowing my flat down, I just don't give a bloody fuck.

I only have to scroll a bit before I decide the Pistols might be nice right about now, and so I turn my speakers up and click play, and if I didn't have my headphones on all the dead in the place would be promptly woken, and maybe they will anyway because I'm drumming my fingers quite hard on my desktop, perfectly in sync with the backbeat of course. And then the music just takes me away like it so often does, and I barely even realize that I'm singing at the top of my lungs in an impression that would do Sid Vicious proud were he still alive today. "Fuck this and fuck that! Fuck it all and fuck the fucking brat! She don't want a baby who looks like that! I don't want a baby who looks like that!"

"Jesus Christ, Nigel, I can hear you from the break room." The voice is muffled through the foam lining of the headphones and the loudness of the music and my drumming and my voice. But I hear it just the same and I'm instantly contrite, clearing my throat and lowering my headphones to rest around my neck.

"Buggles," I greet him, swiveling my chair around so I can look at him as well. "The coffee's shit tonight."

"I couldn't agree more," he mutters, as monotone and as Liverpudlian as ever, bringing his styrofoam coffee cup up to eye-level and inspecting it as he would a piece of trace evidence. "But caffeine is caffeine." He lowers the cup to his lips and drinks from it with a halfhearted shrug. "Listen, Dr. Macy just called. He's coming back in tonight. Remember the guy who murdered Carl Jeffers? Jordan's brother. I forget his name. It seems he committed suicide. Jumped off a building, landed in water. Drowned. Probably cracked a rib when he hit the surface, which would explain his inability to swim. That's just my inital opinion, I'd have to actually see the body. But anyway we'll both get a chance to. They're bringing him in right now. Macy wants us both on the case, at least for as long as the D.A. lets us keep the body. You know Walcott, she'll have him transferred the second she finds out."

"Yeah. Right." I'm nodding as he speaks, listening carefully, trying to process it. James Horton committed suicide. Jordan's brother. Christ, that's a fucking earful. I tear the headphones from my neck and turn off the song. "Did Garret say if Jordan knows?"

And then he says the four worst words ever to come out of the mouth of a short, irritable Northerner of Indian descent. "She saw it happen."

"Bugger all," I mutter, turning away and swivelling my chair back around to face my desk, perhaps to hide my rather obvious distress. I bring one foot up and rest the heel of my sneaker on the edge of my chair, knobby knee jittering anxiously, bent straight up. That espresso is kicking in, it seems - I suddenly feel like I could lunge up and run a decathlon. Of course it could just be my nerves, or perhaps a lethal combination of the two. My chair squeaks with each jerky reflex of that joint, filling the silence of the room and providing background music for my voice when I speak again. "Is she all right?"

"Her brother just offed himself, it would be pretty hard to say yes to a question like that," I hear him reply from somewhere in my blind spot. "But she's not hurt or anything, as far as Macy says. You can ask her for yourself when she gets here."

I give a start from the chair, the foot on the edge propelling me forward to a standing position. I just might run that decathalon after all. My chair rolls backward and collides with my printer, which turns itself on.

"Bloody hell." I reach forwards and turn it off, placing both palms flat on the desk and then using them to push myself away, pacing across the room again. I make a stern concious decision not to ask my next question and then my voice betrays me, asking it anyway. "Is Woody with her?"

Bug looks up at me with peaked interest, and if the situation we've found ourselves thrown into weren't so dire, I'm sure he'd have smirked as well. "Why do you ask?"

I make another stern concious decision, and this one is to not look at Bug, not at all, not even one unintentional glance. My eyes, at least, seem to follow orders.

"Nevermind," I mutter, pretending to be interested in some misplaced files on my desk. "No reason."

Voices in the corridor interrupt anything Bug might have to say to that, and I thank whichever God you like for small favors. My sneakers take me to the hallway but I linger just out of sight, like always, like so many aspects of my life. A pack of people, and Garret leads them, barking orders to subordinates and yammering on about Walcott flipping her lid. I don't see Detective Woodrow Hoyt anywhere, but then I don't see Jordan, either. My eyes narrow as I scan the crowd, the office filling up with the usual corporate workday noises, lights flickering on, eleven o'clock gradually turning into nine AM.

And then I see her. Just a flash of her back, brushing right past me without taking notice and hurrying down the hall, long dark curls disappearing into the sanctuary of her office and slamming the door behind her.

"If anyone asks for me, Buggles-" I begin distractedly, hardly making the effort to turn my head in acknowledgement of the little bugger.

"I'll tell them you'll be back in two shakes of a lamb's tail," is his vapid reply.

...TBC, baby...