Hey, this is my first ever The Bill fanfiction which i decided to post purely because I've written several chapter s of it (which I've never done with any other story I've started). It will be Neil/Grace but not right from the off. This chapter takes place in the future and the story will flit backwards and forwards between past and present until the ins and outs become clear.
Please give it a go and give me a review!
Even wrapped up in their uniform and high res jackets every officer in that garden, on the street and in the surrounding wooded area was freezing. The temperature hovered precariously around the zero mark and most of the volunteers had retreated to the relative warmth of the epicentre of the massive search that had been going on since four o'clock. Despite daylight being short at that time of the year darkness had seemingly crept up on them. Now, at eight o'clock, with snow falling in drifts it seemed less likely that they would find her tonight. But no one was prepared to stop the search for one second. Come wind, snow, fog and freezing conditions it seemed no police officer was not going to rest until they found the little girl. Tiny footprints that could have been followed had been covered with fresh snow before the police arrived, lost as her grandfather and cousins had begun the first search. Police Sergeant Callum Stone knelt beside the massive Alsatian that was straining at the lead of its handler. In his hand was a kid's "Me to You" bear pyjama top. This particular dog was from the second group of sniffers that had been drafted in. The other half was searching the streets.
"You said the kid's been gone six hours?" The handler, a round bellied northerner, asked.
"Well, last seen six hours ago, she was playing hide and seek with her cousins. They stopped searching for her after twenty minutes and went inside figuring she'd get bored and come out. After another twenty minutes the grandmother made the older ones and her hubby start looking. When they couldn't find her they called us." Callum cleared his throat, the breath he released floated in a cloud into the dark. "We'll find her."
"We'll find her won't be, my lass?" The handler asked the dog which gave an agreeing growl. "Bit worried about the cold though if I'm honest." Callum glanced upwards. "I did a stint in search and rescue, came across adults that didn't survive going astray in such conditions."
"Like I said," Callum growled standing up, "we'll find her." The Alsatian strained against its lead, nose to the ground. Its head snapped up and she gave a sharp bark. The handler jogged with her across the garden and through the gate to the woods.
"The dog got something?" Jo Masters asked hopefully, stopping beside the massive dog.
The handler grinned and unclipped the lead. "Let's see. Go Lady." The dog set off, the handler and Jo following after her. She led them off the track that had been beaten into the ground after years of footfall erosion and into thicker trees and bracken.
"Kai had us in here before." Jo remarked, remembering being led in this direction by the missing girl's ten year old cousin. "He last saw her run off this way." The handler nodded gruffly as Lady leapt through a dying bush before them.
"I didn't think these woods were so big." The handler remarked.
"They border all the houses in this estate in a circle. There's a broken wall up ahead, it goes in a semi circle and it's a boundary line for the kids. We think Lily is somewhere within the line." Nate Roberts joined them as they crept towards the broken wall. When they reached it Lady's head shot in the air. With a sharp bark she pelted East. It was Nate who sprinted off after her, managing keep up as Lady followed the wall and then dived back into the trees. He emerged in a small clearing overshadowed by a fallen tree, the floor a carpet of crackling leaves. As Jo and Lady's handler appeared behind him they held their collective breath as Lady stopped at the split trunk of the fallen oak. The dog raised her head and barked loudly. Nate jogged over, shoved her out of the way.
In the hollowed out trunk Nate found six year old Lily Dasari.
She was dressed in a red coat and chinos just as her grandparents described. She wore matching red willies with her chinos tucked in. She was well wrapped up in her white hat, scarf and glove set. Just like in the pictures she was small and dark skinned with long dark lashes and thick dark brown curls framing her pretty face. Eyelids, delicate as butterfly wings, hid her big brown eyes that in the picture her mum had given them had been sparkling with excitement. But she was rigid with cold. Her jacket was stiff with ice, snow that had fallen on her as she had run to hide had frozen as she lay there. It had frozen in her hair too. Nate reached out and pulled her into him gently. Their cheeks brushed and the cold from that little body made him shiver. What kept him going was the way her chest rose and fell, every so often, giving the only hint that she was still alive.
"We have her!" Jo shouted as they ran back through the garden gate to where the paramedics were waiting with foil blankets. They took her from Nate's arms and bundled her off. The back door of the house was wrenched open and Jo turned to face the woman who years ago she would have considered her best friend. Grace Dasari stood on the top step, her eyes red, puffy and swollen from crying and mouthed "thank you" before running off with the paramedics who carried her daughter.
In the door behind her a confused, ashen faced Neil Manson stood.
It seemed like an age since he and Grace had last spoken. Yet even then, when things were so unsure and rocky she had never told him. Never even thought to inform him that she was pregnant or after the fact that he was the father of a beautiful little girl called Lily. Now he might never get to know his daughter, who knew what the cold had done to her, was she even alive? Neil wondered as he stood on the step in the cold watching the search wrap up. Neil wondered how everything had gone from being so good to this. Because this felt awful.