A/N: Hi :) I am not entirely sure where this fic is going, but I will be continuing with it I think. Reviews and helpful criticism are very much welcome, as this is my first fanfic. I am still not quite used to writing about someone else's characters :p Oh well, hope you enjoy!

In her flat, Carol was perched on the edge of the sofa. She should probably eat something, she thought, but she had absolutely no appetite. She was vaguely aware of Nelson rubbing up against her legs and purring, probably wanting his dinner.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Nelson," she said, bending down and planting a little kiss on top of the cat's head, "I've been neglecting you a bit, haven't I?"

In the kitchen, as Carol dished the cat food into a bowl on the floor, she was somewhat relieved at having found something to occupy herself with. She'd not really known what to do with herself when she'd returned home from her brother's funeral. She had already cleaned the flat twice, gone for a pointless, hour long drive and drank the best part of a bottle of wine simply because she didn't want to sit and do nothing. Well – perhaps the wine wasn't entirely for that reason...

Nelson was now tucking into his welcome portion of cat food, and out of the living room window Carol saw that it had begun to snow. It had been forecast to get a lot worse over the next few days, something Carol was not looking forward to. It was exactly the type of weather that had caused Michael's accident. Slippery roads and poor visibility...

A tentative knock on the door startled her out of her thoughts, although Carol didn't think that was such a bad thing. Opening the door revealed Tony Hill, hair slightly damp from the melting snow and carrying a bottle of wine.

"I assumed you'd already eaten," he said, holding up the bottle and smiling slightly.

"Come in," said Carol.

Tony made his way through to the kitchen with ease, and Carol observed how at home he seemed in her flat. She realised too late that she had left the near empty wine bottle that she'd been drinking earlier stood on the kitchen counter.

"You started without me," said Tony, nodding towards the bottle whilst placing his own bottle of wine next to it on the counter. Carol appreciated the fact that he was trying to lighten the mood, but she couldn't help but regret the fact that he'd seen another of her weaknesses. She knew deep down that Tony wouldn't think any less of her for it, but she still felt slightly ashamed that she'd resorted to alchohol (even if it hadn't been a colossal amount) rather than face the truth of her situation.

"Yeah I uh...needed a bit of Dutch courage," she smiled weakly, thankful that Tony didn't know what she'd had to drink before the funeral. "I'd better not have any more for a while though. D'you want to go through to the living room?"


Tony very rarely talked a great deal about himself, but now he found himself revealing even the most minute details of his day to Carol. This was partly because he was a psychologist. The first thing Carol had asked him was how his day had been, and he took this to mean that she didn't want to talk about herself. He assumed he had been right in his analysis because throughout their entire conversation, she made no attempt to tell him about Michael's funeral. The psychologist in him knew that avoiding the subject was probably not the best way for Carol to deal with her loss, but Tony Hill the person couldn't help but admire the way she was holding herself together. He noticed how uneasy she seemed; she was fidgeting with her hands, dragging the fingernails of one across the palm of the other. Tony could see that her palm was already raw from it. He reached out from his side of the sofa and encircled he wrist with his hand, forcing her to stop her actions.

"Carol..." he said, his voice so full of concern that Carol felt a surge of emotion bring her gaze to meet his eyes. In that moment he saw the agony that lay within her. She abruptly looked back down to where his hand touched her wrist.

"I haven't cried Tony," she said in a small, fragile voice, "not once." It was so unlike her. In the past he could always depend on Carol to be herself...always strong, independent, occasionally a little sarcastic. In a way she was one of the constants in his life. He hated the fact that it took something like this to happen for him to realise how much he appreciated that. Seeing her so evidently upset was one of the most awful things he had ever witnessed... worse than any crime scene she'd shown him.

To be continued :) hope it's not too awful :p