So... my first Identity fic in a while! I had this idea a while ago, and watching "Identity - Heartsick" finally motivated me to write and share. It's very angsty, but I hope you like it... Rated T for themes.
For optimum effect, listen to "Set The Fire To The Third Bar" by Snow Patrol whilst reading.
Please enjoy, and read and review x
"Haven't you got somewhere to be, Brendan?" She asked, her voice soft. The dull ache in her arm throbbed with each beat of her still-racing heart and she held the limb out at an awkward angle. Her mouth tugged briefly into the most awkward of smiles.
"Don't change your plans on my account, will you? I'll live." She knew she wouldn't, knew in her heart of hearts that there was no way she could live without this charming, handsome, infuriating Irish man in her life, knew that as soon as he left her then she would do it, could do it.
"It's John Bloom I'm worried about." She continued, raising her eyebrows at him. Why was she being so offhand, acting like it didn't matter? Why wasn't he talking to her, staying so irritatingly silent as she fought the tears that threatened to consume her? "You know, I think he's been the victim of an identity thief." She concluded, half smiling at him, waiting to see how he would react.
"Poor guy." He murmured at last, his voice hushed, apologetic, ashamed. She couldn't let him blame himself – it was, in part, her fault, workaholic Martha too busy to notice him.
"His friends knew something was wrong. But he just wouldn't let them in." She wanted more this time, more than a single word answer, but she was disappointed.
"Idiot." He responded morosely, and she found herself agreeing.
"Yeah." She paused for a brief moment. "I'll miss him though." He raised his eyebrows twice, and she cursed inwardly. Stupid. That was stupid... why did I say that? She rushed on, trying to cover her lapse in judgement. "He was a good bloke... he was a bit of an arse sometimes, but he was a good bloke." The sarcasm – always the sarcasm, that biting wit that she used to cut people down in flames. "And you know, he was really good at his job." She finished, her eyes filling with tears she knew she could not shed in front of him. "Did I say that already?" She worried out loud, wanting him to break the silence, wanting him to jump in with some comment or reassure her... more than anything she wanted him to take her in his arms and whisper to her that it would all be alright, but it could never happen. Instead, he kept staring at her, his slate-grey eyes gazing at her with so many emotions darting across his face that it was impossible to recognise a single one. The clatter of heels broke the silence, and there was Tessa, the rest of the Identity Unit in tow.
"My God, Martha, are you alright?" Tessa fussed over the younger woman like a mother would fuss over a child, the concern in her voice evident. Martha scoffed, playing down the attention.
"Yeah..." she bit her lip as she lied, the words coming easily to her.
"Oh... I've just realised, there's actually no-one left in the office..." Tessa quipped, providing the humour needed to break the tension between the five of them.
"Well, I hope you locked up..." The DSI's tone was semi-serious, and then there was José, his constant presence always enough to take the spotlight off his socially shy senior officer, making his usual comment to break the silence.
"Those gizzos in Personnel would kill for your plasmas..." he joked, and there was a beat of silence before they all laughed, Martha's natural giggle bubbling to the surface despite her pain, the only sound absent being the throaty laugh of the Irishman stood before her.
Bloom cast his eyes over her bloodstained figure once, his brooding eyes meeting her laughing ones for the briefest of moments as she looked around. He knew it was time to go. No goodbyes, no tears... just go.
As she laughed, he turned and backed away the tiniest amount, and then as he realised she had not noticed, he blended into the dark tunnel behind him, disappearing into the background, running to his car and taking off in his usual fashion. As he drove away from the only woman he had ever truly loved, he cursed himself for his cowardice. He needed to tell Adile the truth, tell her he couldn't leave with her, and so he went to the bridge, seeing her stood at the crest with her bags strewn around her feet, waiting.
He walked towards her slowly, feeling the dread mounting as he did, and she was staring at him and then without a word he knew she knew what he was going to say.
"I'm sorry." He apologised automatically, his tone more emotional than he wanted it to be. She turned away from his stare, facing the city beyond the river.
"My father's right about you." Her voice was bitter, resentful. "Tell her I don't give up without a fight." She threatened, and he felt his anger bristle at this threat to Martha. Adile would never get close to Martha again, and he would fight to the death if he had to, in order to protect her from this woman with a vendetta. He stared her out as she turned and walked away, watching with grim satisfaction as she walked out of his life.
He left then, going down to the park by the river where his father had brought him when they first came to London, many years ago. He thought about Martha, wondering what she was doing at that very moment, never dreaming that the worst could really happen.
Martha could not physically go on. Her legs had given way under her as soon as she reached her bed, and she had fallen there, too exhausted to carry on. Work had taken over her life, her mind, her house, her car... everywhere were reminders of a world she loathed for what it did to her but could no more give up than give up her own life – or so she had thought. Yet here she was, about to end both in a single instant.
She sat up, taking the case file that rested on her bedside table and the biro she kept under her pillow. Scrawling in her messy handwriting on the back, she left a note for the few people that may care if she died, and then with a final burst of energy she stood, walking into the bathroom, the tiles cool on her stocking-clad feet. Her medicine cabinet contained everything she needed, she knew that much. Pulling at the smooth metal handle with her un-bandaged arm, the door swung open, revealing the mirror on the inside of the door. She stared at her reflection for a moment, the blood that stained her neck and arms, not bothering to rub it away. There was little point now. Others could do that for her.
The bottles were within easy reach, both constant comfort to her in her times of need. She turned from the cabinet, not bothering to close it, and padded back to bed, the cool bottle of vodka in her right hand and the small brown bottle in her left. Lying down, she unscrewed both lids, nose wrinkling at the clinical smell of the vodka and the musty smell of the Prozac. Closing her eyes, she knocked back the first few pills, swallowing them with a mouthful of vodka. Over and over, until she opened her eyes and the world was a blur, and she felt her head shifting, words being tugged from her soul by the alcohol.
"Call... John..." she giggled, and the smart-phone beside her responded, dialling the familiar number. She swigged a few more pills and as there was the tinny sound of a voicemail message, the inebriation passed and the pain began in her stomach.
"JOHN!" She screamed, her head whirling with patterns, pounding so much she felt she was going to pass out. "I love you..." she managed before finally the vomit rose in her throat and her muscles, too shocked to move her, failed to respond. She fell back on the pillows, choking, and took another swig of vodka, forcing it back. Her vision failed, her voice taken by the alcohol.
Everything went black.
By the time John picked up the voicemail, it was too late. Although he was miles from her, he called her name, running for the car, driving as fast as he could for her house, needing to save her. As he broke down the door, still screaming for her, he prayed that she would be alright, but as he slammed into her bedroom and took in the sight of her on the bed, eyes closed, surrounded by foul smelling liquid, he realised with a sickening jolt it was too late. She was gone.
He couldn't bear to spend a moment longer in the small room that smelt of Martha and death, and so he ran, going to the river and leaning on the railing, hands on his head, running his fingers through his hair, the tears running down his face. He could have stopped her. He could have saved her, if he hadn't left, if he'd stayed with her... so many ifs.
The cry of rage and self loathing was instinctive, raw, and he screamed and shouted, curling over so that he was bent double, shaking and sobbing and moaning. He'd lost her, and it was all his fault. The only woman he'd ever loved, and now he'd lost her.
He's there every day. No-one knows who he is, the man in the worn leather jacket. It's battered now, but it might once have been black. He can't be much more than fifty, but his hair is greying prematurely, and his face is lined with more than just age, with pure pain and loss and grief too. Eleven years he's been coming to this exact spot, and people have grown used to him. Some say he used to be a police officer, and so he's become known at the Black Sergeant. He knows, and he never corrects them to his true rank, too caught in his grief, still raw after all the years.
He brings a rose here every day, casting it into the swirling, filthy waters of the Thames, the brown water consuming the delicate white petals, tugging the flower downstream. He whispers as he throws it, and sometimes if the wind is in the right direction, you'll hear his words, murmured in a soft Irish accent, unaltered with his years in London.
"I'll always love you, Martha. It's my fault you're gone. If only you'd known."