Okay, so this is my first foray into New Tricks fan-fiction, so be gentle with me! :P I've been a *huge* fan of the show for years, such a massive fan in fact that I haven't dared to write anything for it, for fear of not doing the show and its wonderful characters justice. But, I had this idea and just couldn't let it go, so I thought I might as well give it a shot. :D It's just a bit of fun, really, with some slight Sandra/Gerry; it's probably just going to be a two-shot thing, and is set around now, sometime after the current series is set, I guess. Anyway, I'll stop rambling now and let you read. I hope you enjoy it, and please drop me a review at the end to tell me how I did! Or to tell me to never attempt writing for this fandom again... :P
Disclaimer – I don't own New Tricks or its characters, but I'd be incredibly proud and smug if I did. :D
Where UCOS Goes...
If there was one phrase in the whole world most apt to offend, Sandra Pullman was pretty sure that 'Celebration of Policing Ball' was it. She hated these bloody things. What did that even mean anyway – 'Celebration of Policing Ball'? The Met was hated, in general, no matter what they did. No matter how hard they worked or how good a department's success rates were, the police could never do well enough in the eyes of the public they were trying so hard to protect. And it bloody pissed her off. What they were celebrating, she had no idea. Public opinion was about as low as it could possibly go, and most of the Met's officers were secretly kicking themselves for their handling of the riots that had rampaged through the city in recent weeks.
'They're the uneducated offspring of uneducated offspring,' Jack had said between forkfuls of salad when it was all over the news one lunchtime. Gerry had agreed - 'Maybe they should be blasted with water cannons and plastic bullets – shower 'em with them for round one, give the lot of 'em a warning and then come back for round two with the real metal.'
But that wasn't the only reason why Sandra hated police balls, or police functions of any kind. She hated police balls because a certain D.A.C always seemed to see them as an opportunity to try it on with her, and his advances were constantly pathetic to say the least. She blamed her mother. If Grace had never hinted at how she and Strickland would 'make a lovely couple' in an attempt to save her daughter's bacon and get rid of him, Sandra was sure the idea would have never crossed her boss' mind. And this, this was about as bad as it could possibly get.
As a rule, Sandra Pullman didn't dance. Ever. But currently, she was being held just a little too close for comfort in the arms of Deputy Assistant Commissioner Robert Strickland, and was trying her best to put some more distance between them without him noticing. How this had happened, she had no idea. One minute she was making polite small talk whilst shooting 'help me' looks at Jack, and the next he was coercing her into a dance, insisting that she couldn't possibly deny him that. Well she bloody well could, Sandra had thought, but a little too late, because she was already being led towards the dance-floor where others were dancing and an orchestra was playing. She had briefly wondered just how much functions like this impacted on the budget of departments like UCOS before an arm was around her waist and she found herself dancing with Strickland. And she couldn't even look over to Jack and the others for help, because they were absolutely nowhere to be seen. She looked back at her boss, forced a strained looking smile and began speculating on how long it would be before she could slip away from him without appearing rude.
"Bloody hell, is that Sandra dancing with Strickland?" Gerry asked through a mouthful of canapé as he averted his baffled gaze to look at Jack, Brian and Esther.
Esther had been glancing hopefully from the dance-floor to Brian ever since they had arrived, and too right, Gerry thought. He didn't bloody blame her for wanting a dance. Why the woman was still with him, he'd never fathom. If he couldn't keep hold of a wife, how was it that Brian could manage perfectly well?
Jack chuckled in response to his question and looked at Gerry over the rim of his glass. "I think you'll find that's Strickland dancing with Sandra, Gerry. She looked like she'd rather spend two weeks in solitary confinement with her mother than dance with him when he led her over there."
Gerry smirked, knocking back some more of his own drink as he looked back over to where Sandra was held uncomfortably in their D.A.C's arms, a barely restrained look of pain upon her face. "Can't blame 'im for trying though; she does scrub up well, don't'cha think?" He looked back at Jack.
"Very well," he said with a single nod, but didn't elaborate. He merely watched with the faintest of amused smirks on his face as Gerry looked back over in the Detective Super's direction, his eyes lingering there a few more seconds. And they were right. In a simple but flattering dark grey cocktail dress, her hair partly held up at the back, Sandra Pullman did scrub up well. Unfortunately, Strickland seemed to think so too.
"I must say, you do look lovely tonight, Sandra," Strickland said, by way of what she was sure was supposed to be a very charming compliment. But he was just a little too close for comfort, and her skin was burning on her lower back where his right hand was currently resting. And it was most certainly not burning in a good way.
"Thank you, sir," she replied, and she couldn't help the clipped tone of her voice as she fought hard to let him know, without telling him outright, that she could never ever think of him as anything more than her boss. And her prudish, ever so slightly stuck-up boss at that.
Hints, it seemed however, Robert Strickland didn't pick up easily. Instead of getting the message and backing off, he smiled and brought his right hand around to rest on the other side of her waist, so that his arm was encircling her. A taut look of tension came into Sandra's expression as she strained slightly back against his arm, trying to increase the ever decreasing gap between her and her boss, before he tipped her too far over the edge and she did something she'd regret. Like lamping him one.
"How's your mother these days, anyway? Do you see much of her?" He still hadn't noticed anything wrong. Sandra suppressed a heavy sigh, the forced smile returning to her face once again.
"I, err, she's fine. As well as can be expected, anyway. And no, not much, I'm quite busy with UCOS and so on... I get to see her from time to time." Now, she couldn't hide the clipped consonants, the poorly constructed sentences that signalled she was reaching the end of her tether.
"Well, of course," Strickland said, and smiled at her again. "She's a most charming lady, truly. You're very lucky to have her."
Sandra smiled, and anyone who knew her better would have recognised it as a sarcastic one – one she always saved for the most dry-humoured of situations. "Oh incredibly lucky, sir. I don't know what I'd do without her." The fact that he couldn't pick up on her sardonic tone of voice was yet more evidence to Sandra that Robert Strickland was categorically, absolutely and most horrifically useless at 'pulling', as Gerry would call it.
They fell into what was for Sandra an extremely awkward silence as they turned again; her patience was wearing dangerously thin, and she glanced over, not for the first time, to see if she could catch a glimpse of Jack, Gerry, Brian or even Esther. Anyone who could possibly rescue her from what she was sure was the worst situation she had been stuck in for a long time. And that was counting the entire day she had had to spend working with only Gerry after Jack had taken a short holiday and Brian had fallen ill with some sort of twenty-four hour bug, annoyingly at the same time.
"Jesus, he's really not wanting to let 'er go, is he?" Gerry remarked, swallowing more of his pint in a fancy beer glass and raising his eyebrows at Strickland's newest move to pull their guv'nor closer.
"No," Jack said, grimacing a little on Sandra's behalf as he looked over. "Do you think perhaps we should do something? It's not usually something I would say about Sandra, but right now she looks like a woman in need of rescuing." He gestured with his glass and looked meaningfully at Gerry.
"What, me?" he exclaimed, pointing his thumbs towards his own chest. "Nah, she'd kill me. She'd probably rather dance with Slime-ball Strickland over there any day than 'ave me rescue 'er." Looking around, he frowned and turned more to Esther. "Where's Brian gone?"
"Well we can't send Brian!" Jack exclaimed behind him, alarmed. "She needs rescuing, not boring to death."
Esther smiled, amused and not in the least offended. "He's refusing to dance with me, which is hardly a surprise, so I've told him the least he can do is fetch me another drink. He's gone to the bar." She gave the two of them a long-suffering look. "And they say romance is dead."
Chuckling, Gerry said, "Yeah, it is in Brian's world. Well 'ow about this. I'll go over there and rescue Sandra," he jabbed a thumb over in the direction of the dance-floor, "And then she can come back here and talk some sense into Brian, make 'im have a dance with you. How's that sound? God knows she'd rather be talking grumpy-guts round than gettin' up, close and personal with-"
"Slime-ball Strickland," Jack interjected, a smirk in his voice.
Gerry looked rather proud of his master-plan. And not only because it involved taking his guv'nor for a short turn about the floor first. "Exactly."
Esther smiled almost conspiratorially at the two of them and gave in. "Oh go on then, anything to stop Brian being such a misery. What's the worst that can happen?"
What the three of them hadn't stopped to think of was the fact that where Brian was involved, the answer to the question 'What's the worst that can happen?' could be very, very horrific indeed.
So... *crosses fingers* I hope that was okay! I'll try to get the second part up soon (if you actually want more, of course), and I hope you enjoyed this first chapter! I tried really hard to keep everyone in character, so I'm sorry if anything's a bit OOC – please tell me if it is! Characterisation is always my biggest worry. :D Thank you for reading, and please review!