Disclaimer: Ghost Squad Copyright Company Pictures/Channel 4 UK.
A/N: Written for the Jonas Armstrong Fansite Christmas Fanfic Exchange.
The six words/items I had to use in my fic were: Pete, Wreath, Bruges, Rudolph, Leapfrog, The Mayor of Casterbridge
Warning: implied sex and swearing
With thanks to Sunnyday30 for the beta.
Follow the Clues
"Follow the clues," Amy had said.
So Pete had followed the clues, and presently he found himself sitting in the middle of Bruges, watching people dressed as Father Christmas playing some absurd game of leapfrog, propelling themselves over misshapen Rudolphs made entirely of papier-mache, complete with paint-daubed red noses. Pete shook his head, concluding these people were either mad or drunk, possibly both. And I'm mad for being here he thought to himself, when I could be back in Bristol in my tiny, under-heated, under-furnished, bare-fridged flat.
At that less than happy thought, Pete decided that perhaps a few days in Bruges in the company of Amy Harris wouldn't be so bad after all – provided, of course, he could actually find the said Miss Harris who was now over an hour late in meeting him.
Pulling the scrappy piece of paper out of his pocket, Pete checked he'd not misread Amy's proposed meeting place. No, he was definitely in the right spot. So, where was Amy?
Exasperated and more than a little worried, Pete fumbled in his coat pocket for his cigarettes, asking a passerby for a light as he did so. A few quick puffs and he felt decidedly better.
Standing up, Pete slid his mobile phone from his jean's pocket. There was a text from his mum asking if, this year, he might manage to remember he had a family other than the never talked about police unit that he worked for, and would he be home for Christmas Day? Another reminding him that he only had £1.20 of credit left on his phone and did he want to top-up now? Nothing from Amy. Hurriedly, Pete tapped 'where are you?' in capital letters, and then shoved the phone back into his trouser pocket.
Taking a final drag on his cigarette, and grinding the remaining butt under his training shoe, Pete watched the crazy, leaping Father Christmases for a few more minutes before returning his attention to the scrumpled piece of paper and Amy's message, hoping that if he stared at it for long enough Amy might suddenly materialise in front of him.
Three cigarettes later, Amy still had not turned up. Nothing else to do, Pete thought, but to go back to their hotel and wait.
Sliding an out-of-date credit card between the door and the doorframe, Pete let himself into Amy's room. It was as she'd left it that morning: clothes strewn on the unmade bed (they'd requested no room or maid service) and make-up and hair accessories covering the surface of the dressing table.
Pete plonked himself on the bed, contemplating the mini-bar and immediately dismissing it. He had to find Amy. What if the supposed drug baron they were trailing had somehow rumbled Amy's cover? Pete inwardly shivered at the thought; even though he knew Amy was more than capable of handling herself, all evidence pointed to the man being a brutish thug who would not hesitate in harming anyone who got in his way. The thought of Amy being hurt, or worse, had Pete again checking his phone and reaching for another cigarette as he contemplated what to do next. Damn. He'd smoked the last one in the market square. Annoyed, Pete crushed the empty carton in his hand and tossed it expertly into the dainty, flowered bin sitting by the dresser.
Pete contemplated Amy's mess of a bed, while idly wondering what sort of nightie she wore in bed, if indeed she wore anything at all. A book, lying on top of one of Amy's lacy, black bras, caught his eye. Since when did Amy Harris read books? Not that he could talk – the closest he got to reading was the topmost shelf in a newspaper shop.
Curious, Pete picked up the book. The Mayor of Casterbridge. The title didn't sound very exciting. Pete flipped the pages and a piece of paper fluttered to the floor. Pete picked it up. Scrawled across it – in Amy's handwriting – were the words 'how long did you wait?'
Clueless, Pete scrabbled about on the bed, giving a "yes" of triumph when he found a sealed carton of cigarettes lying among Amy's things.
"They'll be the death of you, you know."
"Amy!" Pete exclaimed, dropping the packet and jumping off the bed, and then pulling himself up short, his pleasure at seeing Amy alive and well quickly overshadowed by his annoyance at the two hours of torment she had just put him through.
"Where," Pete exploded, along with a string of choice expletives, "have you been?"
"Nice to see you, too, Pete." Amy shrugged out of her thick, padded jacket, slinging it on a nearby chair. Bending down, she eased off her ankle boots, gave each of her stockinged feet a quick rub, and then sat on the edge of the bed.
Without waiting for an invite, Pete sat next to her. "Well?" he said, folding his arms tightly across his chest.
"Sorry," she said, laying a placating hand on Pete's thigh. "I didn't mean to worry you. But at least this proves one thing."
"What?" Pete asked, staring at Amy's petite, ring-devoid hand, disappointed when she removed it from his leg to run it through her dark, wavy hair.
"That I actually know you better than you think I do," she replied.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that I knew you would only wait for me as long as it took for you to run out of fags."
"What a load of tosh," Pete retorted. "I was—"
No, he thought, cutting short whatever he was about to say. I am not going to let Amy know that I was worried about her. I'm her lookout, her support, her co-worker, not her ruddy father.
"You were what?" Amy asked.
"Nothing," Pete mumbled. "So where were you then?"
"I was Christmas shopping."
"Christmas shopping," Pete repeated slowly. "Amy Harris, are you telling me that I sat around freezing my butt off just so you could go buy...what exactly?"
"Well, there were presents for my mum, and presents for—"
"No!" Pete interrupted, pushing himself off the bed and heading for the mini-bar. "I do not want to hear it. For Christ's sake, Amy. We're supposed to be looking for a drug dealer, a dealer Ghost Squad just happens to think is selling smack, crack and God knows what else to corrupt police officers back in the UK, and you're out Christmas shopping. Effing unbelievable!"
"Pete, will you just calm down and let me explain."
"No, I will not calm down." Changing his mind about the mini-bar, Pete stomped back to the bed and swiped up the sealed carton of cigarettes, along with Amy's handbag.
"Put that down."
"Don't worry," Pete said, starting to rifle through Amy's bag. "I'm not about to try and unravel the mysteries of a woman's handbag. My lighter's bust, remember?"
"I remember," Amy grimaced, recalling Pete's half-drunken tirade in the wine bar shortly before they'd caught the flight to Bruges, and the hurled lighter, among other things.
"Look, I hate flying, all right," Pete grumbled, still trawling through Amy's bag for the much-needed lighter.
"And just how exactly was getting half-cut and punching some poor guy's lights out going to help with that?" Amy asked, still frowning.
"He had it coming." Pete wasn't going to tell Amy that the man in question had been ogling Amy for the best part of an hour and that that, coupled with his fear of flying, had sent Pete over the edge.
"Oh, for heaven's sake, here." Amy wrenched the bag from Pete's hand. "I was going to save this for Christmas, but..."
Amy opened a zipper on the inside of the bag and shoved a small, colourfully wrapped package into Pete's hands.
"It's for you," Amy interrupted. "It's a present, to say thanks. Thanks for being my partner. Thanks for always looking out for me." She crossed the room, opened the small fridge door and proceeded to pour a couple of large drinks.
Slowly and carefully, Pete undid the tiny package. It was a lighter. Solid silver by the look of it. Pete turned it over. Inscribed on the back were the words: To Pete, Love Amy.
"Amy," Pete said, part touched, part annoyed. "This is very thoughtful of you, but while you've been gallivanting around the shops, there's a nasty piece of work out there whose scent may already be going cold because of the time we've wasted today."
Carefully putting down the two drinks she had just poured, Amy advanced on Pete, her dark, brown eyes flashing dangerously. The words 'if looks could kill' sprang into Pete's mind.
"There is no drug baron," Amy said through gritted teeth.
"What?" Pete shook his head, nonplussed. "What do you mean, no drug baron?"
"I made him up."
"Why? Why would you do that?"
"Because it was the only way I knew you'd come away with me. Because I know how much this job means to you, and that unless I made up some cock-and-bull story about police corruption, I knew you'd never come willingly, especially as you hate flying so much."
"But why here? Why Bruges?" Pete asked, silently repeating the words 'come away with me' to himself and wondering if they meant just what he thought they meant.
"Because a month or so back I won some stupid competition on one of those internet sites and the prize was a couple of tickets to Bruges, so I thought, why not."
"Let me get this straight. You had two free tickets to Bruges and you wanted me to come with you to, what, go Christmas shopping?" Pete looked at the lighter still clutched in his right hand.
"I admit the idea of Christmas shopping in another country appealed, but that wasn't the reason." Amy paused, looked indecisively at the bed and then at Pete.
Squaring her shoulders, and taking a deep breath, she said, "In case you haven't worked it out by now, I like you, probably a lot more than I should and probably a lot more than you like me."
"No. Let me finish."
Pete nodded, waited patiently, his heart beating notably faster than usual.
Amy licked her lips. "I'm pretty certain someone's been bugging my flat, keeping an eye on my every move."
Pete inwardly squirmed. McKay had asked him to bug Amy's flat shortly after Amy had joined Ghost Squad. He hadn't been comfortable with the idea, but he knew better than to question Detective Superintendent Carole McKay.
"And?" he asked, suspecting there was more to this than Amy wanting to keep her Christmas presents a secret from all and sundry.
"And I also know McKay doesn't like the idea of her employees fraternising, as it were, so I thought that if we got away from under her watchful eye for a few days then..."
Amy trailed off, letting Pete digest the information.
"Look, if you're not up for it," Amy said, snatching up her jacket and obviously wishing she were a million miles away from the man standing in front of her, "we can simply pack up and go home and put this down to a completely stupid and bad idea by yours truly and never speak of it again. Only I—"
"Shut up, Amy," Pete said, moving towards her.
"I said, shut up."
Slipping the cigarette lighter into his shirt pocket, and cupping Amy's delicate, little chin in his hand, Pete tilted Amy's head upwards until his bright blue eyes were gazing directly into Amy's liquid brown ones.
"Pete?" Amy dropped the jacket onto the floor.
Wrapping his arms around her and pulling her into his chest, Pete said, "Amy Harris, you are the most contrary, bloody-minded, completely bonkers woman I've ever met. But you are also gorgeous and I can't believe it's taken me this long to see it."
Nose to nose, Pete brushed Amy's lips with his own. Willingly, Amy parted her lips, returning and deepening the kiss. Pete noticed her breath was warm and smoky.
"Seems like I'm not the only one who can't give up the habit," Pete murmured, before kissing Amy again – long and hard.
Burying his hands in Amy's mass of wavy hair, Pete gently but insistently started pulling her towards the bed.
"Are you sure?" Amy asked.
"Are you?" Pete replied.
Amy nodded, smiled, and Pete smiled back.
As Pete pulled her down onto the bed, Amy asked, "What will we tell McKay?"
"What?" Pete murmured, running his hands under Amy's shirt and deftly unhooking her bra.
"She thinks we're working on a case, she'll expect reports."
"We'll send her a present, a nice Christmas wreath or something," Pete replied, sweeping Amy's belongings, along with The Mayor of Casterbridge, onto the floor. "We'll tell her we're following up some major leads and might not make it home before Christmas."
Amy smiled. "So," she said, unbuttoning her shirt and watching as Pete pulled his sweatshirt over his head, "I hope this means you're going to get me something nice for Christmas?"
Smiling, Pete said, "That depends on how good you're prepared to be."
"How good do you want me to be?" Amy smiled back, watching as Pete unbuckled and removed his trouser belt.
"I'll give you a clue," he said, grabbing her hand and guiding it downwards.
As cool hand encircled warm flesh, Pete grinned. He had been right. Spending a few days in Bruges in the company of Amy Harris might not turn out to be such a bad way to spend Christmas after all. Indeed, he might even learn to love flying.
~ fin ~