Spikings beckoned Harry to follow him through. He'd had to wait several days for this opportunity to catch her on her own "You do realise that Dempsey isn't eligible…" he began

"The application was for myself" Harry clipped, she'd wondered when Spikings would address her request

"If" Spikings stopped himself - there was no if about it "when you get this promotion your working relationship…"

Defiant Makepeace launched into her prepared speech "I joined the force as a career"

Spikings made to continue but Makepeace cut him off "My promotion to Sergeant was within 18 months"

"And thoroughly deserved" Spikings commended, he decided to try and change tack to the light hearted version "Does Dempsey know he's going to marry the next Commissioner?"

His question drew Harry up short "I wasn't aware….You're not meant to know…."

"Officially I know nothing" Spikings low and measured voice did not prepare Harry for the explosion that was to follow "But Sergeant if you think I don't know everything that is going on in my unit, that I didn't come away from the farce that you two created in Paris at least satisfied that the end had justified the means" he snatched the application form off the table and waved it around "Dempsey can't come up in front of the board for at least two years"

"I can't waste any more time" Harry yelled back in frustration "And as things stand we can't get married…."

Spikings threw his eyes towards the outer office and Harry stopped short, hanging her shoulders she whimpered "We can't get married and carry on can we?" The realism that she had considered from every angle possible over the past week bore through her question "even you can't pull that many strings can you Sir?"

"When I paired you with him I had no idea… O Christ" Spikings had no idea what to say "You and Dempsey are the best team I've ever had work for me" he passed Makepeace the paperwork "There's a section in there to list referees I suggest you use Dempsey"

…..

"We have to talk about the future" Harry had spent that last twenty minutes trying to say those words, ever since she and James had thrown their one case into the boot and started towards Kent

"What about it - you and me - I thought that was the plan"

"You do realise they'll never let us work together" Harry was twisting her fingers nervously

"Spikings will fix it"

"I'm not so sure that he can"

"Sure he can, he'll fix anything….. What's with the paperwork?"

Harry coloured, she'd had the envelope for nigh on a fortnight and not known how to raise the subject; she watched Dempsey ease onto the M2

"It's an application for my inspector exams"

"Inspector" Dempsey echoed, initially unsure of why she was being so coy he laughed "Can't you just do the commissioner ones?"

She knew he didn't get it; she turned to look out of the passenger window

She had buried her head in the sand for the past few weeks. The 'now' she enjoyed; she liked her work, the buzz of undercover - her and Dempsey working the scenarios, arguing about paperwork, putting two and two together and coming up with five giving them some inspirational arrests. And then they just had fun outside of work - he would tease her or tell preposterous stories, they'd enjoy a night out, he would tell her how much he loved her - it seemed that having said it once the flood gates had opened and she?

Harry watched the green fields pass by, her contemplations halted at the same point, as if there was an invisible barrier. Yes she loved him -not only was he passionate about his work but about her, he loved life and he made her laugh and she loved just being with him – she loved his presence there in her life. The trouble was there was the 'now' and then there was 'the future'; it wasn't that she didn't want the future with him - good grief she had been like a giggly school girl before Paris being persuaded (correctly as it turned out) that this would be 'it' by Angela but she hadn't really thought the future through and neither, it was perfectly obvious, had he.

The spring flowers along the roadside sped past, the trees were greening up and the countryside was looking forward to a new year but the car now felt decidedly chilly; Dempsey had worked something out.

"Inspector? where? SI10?"

"I don't know, I've not thought about that - I don't know if I'll pass the exams"

"How can you not think about that" Dempsey demanded

"How can you not think about our future" Harry countered echoing back his anger

"We work together now I don't see no difference"

"Well for one we can't get married and pretend we're not even together; At the very least I want to invite SI10 to our wedding"

"Oh so you still want to get married" he checked allowing a bitterness to taint his words

"Why wouldn't I?" Harry had asked the question of herself enough times recently

Dempsey shrugged "you ain't making it very obvious"

"I have fought to get into SI10, to work undercover, to have a firearms licence, to get Spikings to put me out there" she paused to check his face, he wasn't happy "I'm a career woman"

"But we're a team"

"Face it Dempsey"

"So you thought you'd go off and become an Inspector"

"Well that's the next step"

"Pardon me but I would have thought talking to me would be the next step"

"Like we've had the time?"

"You cut me out again"

"I make my own decisions"

"Well let me give you another one to make" as they came to the end of the M2 he turned left

"That's towards Faversham" Harry observed acutely

"Nearest train station" he replied curtly "I'll get the train back to London"

"But you're expected in the morning"

"Not much point if I'm not going to be there soon anyway" he pulled into the station and as he parked turned to look at her "You decide"

Harry looked shocked, she felt more stung and even more riled "fine" was all she said as he left the car. She didn't wait to watch him walk into the station but hitched herself across into the drivers seat and spun off.

Dempsey was last to leave the train. The past hour and five minutes had provided him with ample time ask the same question over and over again. It had provided no time at all to decide on an answer. What shape would life in the future take?

Would he always work in SI10? Promotion? Well whilst he'd turned down the offer back in New York ostensibly because of it's location on the wrong side of the pond he hadn't wanted ever to be in a position where he was forced to comply with pedantic rules and regulations. Harry? Now that was more of her scene somehow she managed to work within the straight jackets and still come up with the answers. She was good at that, she was a good cop - a very good cop and was obviously made to fly to the top.

He walked the length of the platform, unable to make any decisions.

Harry had just about accepted the conclusion that she had chosen the wrong station. Trains alternated between St Pancreas and Victoria. She had plumped for the northern station and driven like a bat out of hell praying that her camacarzy driving would be countersigned by SI 10. She had radioed in to say she was on a job and asked for clearance and then hung up before anyone could question her. Her mind had been totally occupied by her driving and only in the last 8 minutes since parking had she had any spare capacity to consider the wisdom or otherwise of her actions.

Dempsey, hands shoved in pockets, meandered aimlessly through the gateway.

You need a lift anywhere?" Harry's deadpan voice surprised Dempsey. Given that he had no thoughts he realised that he had not expected to see her here, he was pleased to see her though.

"Depends if you're going in the same direction" he kept the same pokerfaced level of expression

"Canterbury" she replied trying to keep emotionless and turned to walk out leaving him with the decision.

Outside Dempsey veered right towards the driver door but Harry shook her head "I offered you a lift" she remonstrated

"You ain't gonna drive like you must have to get here?" James checked

"You have a seat belt - use it" she instructed him as she dived into the London traffic