disclaimer: not mine. rating: 13+ er, one bad word, omg.
Fandom: Red Cap Set: Post series one, pre series two.
Notes: I was eyeing the Roper pic on the RC list, and, er, this only kind of has him in it. But it's words! That are fic!

echo now
by ALC Punk!

"I didn't think you smoked." It's the first thing Jo can think of to say, and it's lame, and she wishes she'd not wandered back into the office.

Neve shrugs, takes another drag on her fag, "Now you know." She flicks ash towards the tray, misses. "Fuck."

"The cleaners'll get it." Jo offers, trying to tear her eyes away from the tear-tracks on Neve's cheeks. She's sure there's some great, feminine response she's supposed to have seeing a sister cry (her year mates would've laughed hysterically at the thought), but she can't feel anything but the awkwardness of walking in on a private moment.

"Yeah." Abruptly standing, Neve begins shoving things one-handed into her open case.

Sitting at her own desk, Jo considers asking, again doesn't. She has case notes to finish on the latest reports from Bosnia, and a letter to compose.

"They've transferred me," Neve says into the silence, her tone brittle.

"You didn't want to go."


More shuffling, and Jo realizes she's read the same line for the third time. It's awkward to be here, not knowing what to say. "I'm sorry," she finally offers.

"It's--well, actually, I suppose it is." Neve shrugs, suddenly all herself again, the tears gone. She stubs the cigarette out. "You haven't got the word yet, have you." There's something rather superior in her tone.


"We're both out. Transferred to new posts, pending approval from our dear Mr. Vicary."

Jo freezes, head coming up to stare at Neve. "What?"

"Close Protection want you back, and Burns has okayed the transfer."

"He can't have done, he--"

Neve shrugs, "Perhaps Captain Howard ran over him, I didn't ask." She looks lost for a moment, then regains herself. "I've been told my new assignment is exactly what I need to further my career."

"But you're not happy."

"Of course I'm happy." But the glitter isn't happiness, and Neve looks away, glance straying to her cigarette. "Well, I'd best be going."

"It was... nice working with you." Words Jo knows she's supposed to say. She stands, offers her hand and is almost surprised when Neve takes it firmly.

"Yeah." Neve grabs up the briefcase and looks at her. "You, too."

Jo stares after her, then moves and picks up the cigarette, uncertain. Lots of things swirl through her head. Things she's not sure about. She's just, just, figured out how she works with Roper (and the team), and now they're going to send her away. It's a bitter thought, and suddenly, she thinks she knows why Neve was crying.


She looks up to find Roper watching her, hands in his pockets. "Hey."

"Didn't think you smoked."

The repetition of her own words makes her half-smile even as she sets the butt down. "I don't." She reaches out, unable to resist patting him on the arm. "I need to have a talk with Captain Howard."

"We still on for dinner?"


He looks like he's used to getting this sort of rejection, and shrugs. "Alright."

"Roper..." But she doesn't know what to say.

"I'll be down in the Officer's Club," he offers, then turns to leave.

Jo doesn't promise she'll be there. She's suddenly afraid that she can't.