Peter Pascoe was confused as he lay still in bed. His arms were by his sides and he could hardly feel the girl pressed close to him. She was warm, her body soft and yielding, but he scarcely noticed. Normally he knew that he would be fighting back a heavy desire as her arm lay across his hips, but tonight... nothing. He didn't want her.
Work weighed heavily on his mind at that moment. They were midway through a case and the familiar feeling of utter exhaustion was beginning to take over. And yet he couldn't sleep. Whenever he closed his eyes, all he saw was Dalziel. The wounded expression on his face when he saw Peter with the Chief Constable. He hadn't said anything, which showed just how hurt he was. Normally, Dalziel would have chewed him out over it, but instead he'd just mumbled an apology - an APOLOGY! - and left the room. It made Peter squirm with guilt just thinking about it. He should have said something, told Dalziel that it wasn't what it looked like. Except it was what it looked like. Peter was betraying Andy.
The Chief Constable wanted to discuss the Fat Man's methods, thought that he was maybe straining himself too much. Peter's initial thoughts had been shockingly Dalziel-esque: He'd be a lot less strained if you stopped staring over his shoulder, waiting for him to make some tiny mistake so you can put him on leave. But then he had seen that there was a tiny bit of sense in his worries. Dalziel was the lifeblood of CID. When he was strained, they were all strained, strung out and worried. Dalziel needed careful handling when he was "strained".
"Andy has some... original methods," he'd conceded, "but he's the best man for getting the job done."
"Exactly. I don't want any of my DC's thinking that Andy's original methods are allowed. Dalziel has got away with far too much over his career here."
"Got away with, sir?" Peter asked, his voice carefully dead. He was giving nothing away.
"Yes, Peter. He has got away with far too much. And I don't appreciate hearing about you talking and acting increasingly like Dalziel. Maybe you hope it'll further your career. It won't. All it makes me think is that you can't take the pace as Peter Pascoe, so you try to be Andy Dalziel instead."
"I don't need to be Dalziel. I can do this myself."
"So when Dalziel asked you not to disclose that he'd been drinking, you instantly reported him?"
Peter's silence said more than words could. And that was when the softest of coughs had grabbed his attention.
"Sorry, sir. I'll come back later." Andy had turned away immediately, but Peter had seen the hurt on his face, though he doubted that Trimble would have noticed.
And now he could feel the guilt coiling like a snake in his stomach. Typical Andy, he had avoided Peter for the rest of the day, making it impossible for him to apologise, or explain, or even say anything at all. He groaned quietly and turned over. Beside him, the girl rolled with him, her body pressed against his back.
He almost pushed her away. It was too crowded with her here too, along with him and his roiling emotions. She didn't understand, of course, why he'd been so upset.
"He's just some guy you work with. No sweat," she'd said, twining her body around his.
He'd pushed her away angrily, and then not understood his anger. On the surface, she was right. Andy was just someone he worked with. But that wasn't all he was. Andy was his mentor, his friend, his confidante. There were times when Peter didn't know what he would have done without Andy's help.
He was painfully aware of the fact that, yes, without Andy, he wouldn't be where he was today. It annoyed him sometimes, but Dalziel never mentioned it. He praised Peter for the things he did right, and didn't chew him out too much when he went wrong. Most of the time, at least.
He knew that he had to explain, even if it meant going behind Trimble's back. His friendship with Dalziel meant more to him than anything else since Ellie left him. It wasn't like he'd planned it that way, but that was how it had turned out. He quite liked it, really. It was nice to have someone he could tell everything to, without worrying about offending them. Dalziel never got offended. You could call him a fat bastard to his face and he'd just smile.
And there was none of that relationship stuff to worry about. If they fell out, they fell out. Within a week they'd be talking again. It wasn't like that with women. Or at least, the women he dated.
Sleep was beginning to pull at his mind, blurring his thoughts and sending them off on crazy tangents. For a second he caught himself wondering what it'd be like to go out with Dalziel instead. Then he snapped his thoughts back to the present and laughed.
A moment later, he was asleep.