A/N: Well, hi there. For anyone who thinks this could possibly be a Phil/ Sam, it isn't. Not really my cup of tea if you know what I mean. So, anyhow, don't read this if you have any aversion to 'alternative' relationships and I don't own any of the characters. Though I wonder if I confess they talk in my head I'd been able to keep them.


Samantha Nixon sighed as she closed the file and leaned back in her chair.

Even considering the lightness of the long days she had to admit it was late. The sky was turning was a shade of purple, no one had bothered to turn on the artificial lighting when they'd left so shadows were being cast everywhere. Over by the whiteboard there was an elephant. A distorted elephant. A dancing elephant.

Yes, that was probably an indicator for her to go home. It was dancing in the direction of the doors anyway.

As she gathered her things she felt a presence. Looking up she couldn't see anything until a figure emerged from the gloom. 'Who's that?'

Phil Hunter stepped further forward. 'You're jumpy, ain't ya?'

At the sight of him, she relaxed. 'I thought everyone had gone. Where were you hiding?'

'Had stuff to do in the DI's office.'

'Going through his drawers were you?'

'Yeah, cause I'm like that.'

She smiled. 'I was just about to go.'

'Straight home is it?'

'Tonight, yeah.'

'Only I wondered if you were up for a drink, curry maybe?'

What was that in Hunter language? Did she even have to ask? 'Not tonight.'

'Alright. Another time?'

Without a thought she nodded. 'Later in the week maybe.'

'You're on.'

After he'd left she briefly pondered why she hadn't just turned him down flat. It was obvious what he wanted. It was always obvious what Phil Hunter wanted. And she had to admit the idea didn't exactly repulse her.

A few years ago the mere sight of DS Hunter made her want to vomit. Corrupt, a womaniser, manipulative of criminals and colleagues alike. Had he changed or had her attitude just changed? Somewhere along the line she'd begun to see him as more than the station bad egg.

They'd been caught in that underground tunnel together- that had been a turning point. In the world there was only a certain type of person who thought they could get away with fathering the child of gangster's wife. Phil was that type. But getting shot, almost bleeding to death... Well, strange as it sounded, it had brought out the best in him. Down in that tunnel they'd almost kissed, she was the one who'd drawn away. What had she told him, 'I'll save your life but I won't kiss you'? It had sounded so right at the time.

Things had been so difficult recently what with Abi's pregnancy and the Hugh Wallis debacle. Perhaps she just needed someone to lean on.


'Sheelagh? Anyone home?'

'Hmm?' It took her a moment to realise Lance was addressing her. 'No.'

He smiled. 'Didn't think so. Can I get you another drink?'

'No, thanks.' She shrugged apologetically. 'I'm not feeling very sociable.'

'Sheelagh, can I ask you something?'

That sounded ominous. 'I suppose.'

'I wouldn't normally say anything but you have been like this for a few weeks.'

'Lance, spit it out.'

He looked uncomfortable. 'Is this about Gabriel?'

'What? That's ridiculous.'

'Is it? Sheelagh, much as I hate the guy, I've seen the way you've been looking at him.'

How could she have been giving out signals she wasn't even aware of? 'Lance, please.'

'Are you falling for him?'

'No! He's not even interested.'

'I wouldn't bet on that either.'

Fairly soon after she made her excuses. The atmosphere had turned a little frosty between her and Lance considering his refusal to accept she wasn't attracted to Gabriel and vica versa. His argument then had been 'the lady doth protest too much'. Did he have a point?

She had kissed Gabriel and been disappointed when he hadn't wanted to follow through on it. But at the time she'd thought it was more out of need for companionship than a true attraction.

But it was Gabriel! A checkered past didn't seem to cover it. For starters, he'd been involved with Kerry Young. More than involved really- she had been carrying his child. Then there had been the various allegations against him. PC Ruby Buxton had accused him of setting someone up for handling stolen goods, she'd even quit because of it. And Marie Carver always maintained he had attacked Jim with a bottle when he was unconscious. Speculation surely.

There was just something about him that drew Sheelagh in his direction. Maybe just her craving for someone. Anyone. Gabriel was as good a choice as anyone.