Disclaimer: Elizabeth George owns the Inspector Lynley world, I just play with it for fun. (Most of this is based on the BBC TV series as I'm slowly reading the books in between coursework assignments and real life.)

Author's Note: This is my first attempt at an Inspector Lynley one shot. I loved the BBC TV series with Nathaniel Parker and Sharon Small.

It had been a tough time for Lynley; first his wife Helen had lost their baby, and misunderstanding his feelings, had left him temporarily to deal with it. His partner Barbara Havers had been having a tough time career wise with her being demoted and nearly out of the Force, and then being shot. Then just as things begin to recover does Helen get fatally shot. He had turned to drink to dull the pain, but it didn't work and Havers had managed to get him out the swamp he was drowning in.

It was strange; that for two people at complete opposites, how well he and Havers - Barbara, he must stop referring to people by their last name, an habit picked up from the elite education he had received. It was strange that Hav- Barbara and he had evolved from disliking each other; she because he was the Eighth Lord of Ashington, the Met's Golden Boy and he because she was so prickly, so plain, outspoken, defensive, judgmental... the list went on, to how well they got on together both professionally and personally. At times it was almost as if they were a married couple. He could not imagine working with anyone else now, they complimented each other, knew how the other worked.

As he worked with her, he had realised that she was prickly because she did not want to be a doormat, and she wasn't used to being treated with respect, being treated as her own person. Even now compliments were hard for her to deal with. And she was pretty but it was a quality you had to look for because of her nature, most tended to overlook her beauty. Her eyes were her best feature, reflecting the intelligence and the passion she had for making sure was justice was served.

It was easier to talk to H - Barbara than it was to talk to his own wife. Barbara had seen the things he had- he didn't really need to explain, she would give him an honest opinion and tell him if he was being an upper class twit or something more earthy sounding. He chuckled, yes a few of Barbara's juiciest barbs had been quite 'earthly' in flavour. But she kept him down to earth, but to this day she still had trouble calling him by his first name, preferring to call him Sir as befits his police rank. To Barbara he had confided his emotions on being a father, his feelings on events both work related and personal. She had been his confidante, his unofficial counsellor. And now he thought about it, she had hardly confided in him in return, just snippets - about her family on their first few cases together. He definitely remember the argument they had over his painting her old home duck white for a quick sale so she could move on with her life. He remembered Hassim and his daughter Haddiyah, her next door neighbours and her telling him of her 'dates', making him laugh over the varied faults.

Another memory, of them moving in her new fridge together and then he finding her underwear in a drawer. He still smiled at her blushing cheeks. But then another memory stuck him; they stayed in a two-bed roomed cramped caravan and he had just emerged from the bathroom. Her eyes were like saucers, finding it very hard to concentrate and trying so hard not to look at him. He nearly lost her on that trip to some bogs. He was so scared that day, so afraid he would lose her again. The first time he realised was when she was shot. He had been so impatient for news. He had secretly paid for the best possible care and then when she had been threatened by that police officer- murderer at gunpoint, his heart had been his throat.

Thomas Lynley also knew that his mother and sister also approved of Barbara, often hoping that she would come and visit. She was refreshing. Lynley smiled dreamily. Now if only she would call him Thomas; he had always hated Tommy...