Hi, I'm Katie Duggan's Niece and I am an A2A addict.
Now that we've gotten that part out of the way, I have the following announcements: I will be borrowing the Ashes to Ashes characters from their creators, Ashley Pharaoh and Matthew Graham, for a bit of Post-Series 3 Traumatic Stress Syndrome therapy. Expect bad language (worse than usual for my stories), some original characters, and a guv-centric narrative that touches on the fates of nearly everyone on the team(s), particularly a vitally important character, who shall remain nameless for the moment. Oh, and anyone who hasn't seen series 3 can get up and leave now, because this is Spoiler City.
Now let's have a sustained round of applause for the one and only grainweevil, who took the time to transcribe 24 episodes of A2A, thus making my job easier. Take a bow, Al.
The following multi-chapter story started out life as a one shot with an ambiguous ending based on what I believed would happen to the team in series 3. Its only constants have been the initial premise and its title - which came to me before I saw episode 6 and heard what Gene said to Viv; cue the theme to The Twilight Zone. That's right; I've been working on this since the spring and have at last had to divide it into shorter chapters and lose the bittersweet ending.
Right. That's the admin out of the way. Let me know what you think of the story.
The Heart of a Lion
Chapter 1: Ticket to the World
I woke up that morning with my back hurting like a bastard. Mind you, that might have had something to do with sleeping on actual stone.
My first thought was that I had kipped down somewhere in central London, in one of the squares. That would have explained the statues of the lions and all. Only once I'd got a proper look round I saw it bloody well wasn't London, wasn't any place I remembered. There was open space stretching out all around me - stone, pavement, grass - and right in front of me was a fountain, larger than anything you'd see in Trafalgar Square. And that wasn't the Nelson Column off in the distance.
I turned round to look in the other direction and saw a statue of this bloke on horseback, with those four lions surrounding him - must have been a war memorial, or the Yanks' notion of one - and behind that, up the hill, a building with a great white dome, same one I'd seen at the pictures. Only this wasn't the pictures. Wasn't a dream, either.
How had I got there? Few drinks with Terry and Poirot - that was the last thing I remembered, that and going up the stairs of a pub, or maybe it was a restaurant. Yes, a restaurant. A trattoria, that was it.
But it looked like Terry and Poirot had left me on me tod. Terry and Poirot. Never thought that pair of twats would have had the bottle to try anything like that. I'd sort them out, soon as I found them.
Couldn't remember where I might find them, though. I must have well and truly drunk the equivalent of the North Sea in whisky the night before, even if I didn't have an headache and wasn't about to be sick. But I also couldn't have told you why I was in Washington Bloody D.C.
It wasn't secondment to the CIA; that much was certain. Just my luck, too, to be waking up at a sodding war memorial, and not in bed with an American blonde.
I sat back down on the stone steps to have a fag and think how to get this sorted, then decided to have a look through all my pockets.
Cigarettes, matches, warrant card. Everything in order. Wallet, but with American money inside - a lot, from what I could see. No passport, though, and no flask. But if someone had nicked them, they'd left me my warrant card and wallet, hadn't they?
I looked round again. It was still early morning, looked like, and there was no one about but for a tramp. Miserable bugger hadn't taken anything off me; I was sure of it. Nothing but a pair of carrier bags and a big grey blanket to his name. He just sat there muttering to himself, paying me no mind at all.
I didn't know if I'd hired a car or booked a room at an hotel. I must have done, but I couldn't remember it, couldn't remember a thing except for going up the stairs of that restaurant. Must have come directly from there to the monument. I'd have to find the trattoria and get my bearings, only I didn't know which direction it was.
There was a pathway leading up to the Capitol, but that was blocked by white barrier with STOP in big red letters, so I set off in the other direction - still uphill. It was slow going. Must have been the fags catching up with me.
On one side of the street were these great stone buildings; on the other, the Capitol and a car park, with a few coppers about. One plod was talking to his mate, standing next to one of the cars.
United States Capitol.
I didn't stop to have a word but as I passed I couldn't help but think I'd met that that bloke before. Could have sworn I knew the face, though not the uniform -
Uniform. I remembered then. He might have been Skip's cousin - looked just like him, bloody well sounded like him, from what I could hear, but for the accent and all.
I didn't stare as I passed by, though I looked back the once, just to make sure I wasn't going mad. The second time he didn't seem as much like Viv as I'd thought at first. Just another copper. Just another American copper.
I got up the hill to find there were signs everywhere, but nothing I recognized.
House Office Buildings
And there were no restaurants about, nothing at all like that, only another bloody barricade at the street corner. Good job I wasn't driving; there wasn't much of anywhere I could have gone, looked like.
Right. Best to continue on past the Capitol. But before I could take another step, I heard a shot, then a second. Shit.
I looked back towards the dome, then to the other side of the Capitol grounds, but those coppers in the car park hadn't moved a muscle, let alone drawn their guns. I listened for another shot but didn't hear anything. In fact it was dead quiet.
Two men down. U.S. Capitol.
Can't say where that thought came from, or those shots. Still can't. Must have been a car backfiring in the distance.
I shook it off and continued on down the street.
There were more people about now - tourists, joggers. At the edge of the Capitol grounds there was an area marked off with yellow police tape, and I heard this kid asking his dad if there'd been a murder there. Probably had been, I reckon, though it didn't seem likely, what with so many coppers around and all.
As I got to the next corner this skinny bird came running right past me. She was in trainers and a white t-shirt and red shorts, showing more leg than the entire Man City team.
Reminded me I'd had another dream about Alex Drake.
I reckon there weren't many coppers at Fenchurch East who remembered Alex. Poirot did, and of course Terry, and DC Slate had once actually asked me about DI Drake, but I told him to shut it, and he kept quiet after that.
Only Drakey herself wouldn't keep quiet. Trust her to find a way.
A few years back that Italian bloke across the street had come to me to get the flat sorted, and I had Terry take a couple of WPCs over to clear everything away. Even had a look round meself but couldn't bear it for more than a few minutes.
Most of Alex's gear went to the charity shop, but there were a few things Terry thought I'd want to send her, so I let him bring the boxes into my office, where they stayed. End of.
Not the tapes, though. I tried listening to a couple, couldn't do the others. Her voice. Her music. I'd burnt the lot, in a barrel outside Fenchurch East. Didn't want anyone in CID to find them in my office.
Afterwards I couldn't forget that voice, or Bolly herself. Plum in her gob. Head full of brains, common sense of a grain weevil. Gave me an headache, gave me the horn, and sometimes I couldn't tell one from the other.
Got into my head too, Drakey did. I saw her everywhere - on the streets, at the docks, in my sleep. Especially in my sleep. Sometimes I'd dream I was at my desk and she'd come in, in a skirt so short I could almost see what she'd had for breakfast. Or I'd walk into the station and there was Bolls at the desk, wearing a uniform - a bloody sergeant's uniform.
But most of the time I dreamed I was standing outside the Railway Arms in the dark, talking to Alex, and she'd be crying, and asking me to come inside the pub with her, just the once.
I'd always wake up before I could tell her I would.
Sun was so bright it hurt my eyes, so I thought it was a bit strange when that geezer turned up wearing a raincoat. Wouldn't have noticed him but for the raincoat. He looked familiar, too, like that copper, only I couldn't put a name to him either. Just another stranger, probably. Best to keep well clear of him.
I got to the next street corner, and another barricade, with STOP in big red letters. Shit. Like a bloody armed camp, it was.
But I could see a church some distance away, down yet another street, and there were sure to be shops in that direction, and restaurants too, maybe the trattoria where I'd left Terry and Poirot. I could have murdered a bacon butty at that point; there'd bloody well better be a restaurant nearby.
I looked to my right, then stepped off the curb, and just then I heard something - not gunshots this time.
"No, no, no, no!"
To be continued...
A/N: The characters are fictional. The places are real.