Chandler snapped the band around his wrist. He had never taken if off. He kept control, he felt control and the slight pain and the sound of the slap assured him.
He took a deep breath and looked in the mirror over the sink. It had been a month since the Bogeyman case but he had to get along with it.
He missed Morgan but every time he thought about her he would snap the elastic.
It was 8am and the rest of the team were arriving and starting paperwork, idle but content.
Miles, after Morgan's death, had been more worried than ever over Chandler but he remembered Morgan's advice and he knew if Miles tried to connect with Chandler he would only be pushed away.
But at least Chandler still spoke to Miles. Miles caught the eye of Kent who sighed and quickly went back to writing on his desk.
Chandler didn't blame anyone for Morgan's death but he took it out mostly on Kent, which was understandable.
Kent had been the one who most suspicious of her and, if you wanted to add, might have led the mother unwittingly to Morgan.
The atmosphere was more hostile than it had ever been, and the damp weather didn't make it any better.
On better news, Buchan and Riley had been talking more. Mansell and Kent often wondered if they had started dating but Buchan was still as ambitious as ever in his archive and Riley still like to flirt with some of the uniform.
Chandler entered the room and Miles was waiting in his office. He all but ran past Kent, avoiding him.
The same stab in the gut Kent felt whenever he did.
Chandler smiled at Miles and shut the door.
"Good morning." Miles said, sitting down.
He observed the desk; it was gradually getting less organized. Success, thought Miles. At least one thing had done Chandler good.
"Morning how's the family?" Chandler settled.
"Great! The little 'un started walking Friday!"
Chandler genuinely smiled. He was close to the family, closer to Miles' than his own.
"That's brilliant, Miles! I cannot wait to see them next!"
"That won't be long! I'm inviting you to a christening. It's a little late but now that things have quietened down around here, there's no better time."
"It has been, but that's not a bad thing." Chandler tugged at his collar. Miles tilted his head noticing the fidget.
"I was hoping actually that-" Miles paused.
"Yes?" Chandler's light, big eyes looked at him.
"Will you have the honour of being a God Father to Lily?"
Chandler sat back in his chair, taken aback, his eyes widening. "I don't know what to say, Miles."
"A 'Yes, thank you.' would be ideal!" Miles smiled.
Once Chandler had his breath back he nodded, smiled and stood up and shook Miles on the hand. "Of course I'll be honoured to!"
"I hope I'm placing Lily in good hands." Miles teased.
"Just so you know this does not mean that, now I am a part of the family that you can boss me about!" Chandler joked.
"Oh, you're kidding? It was the whole reason why I asked you! But seriously, I can think of no better person."
There was a pause.
"Miles I haven't thanked you fully for your help. Throughout this month it's been tough but I just want you to know I value our friendship greatly."
"No need to thank me."
Soon afterwards Miles ordered the team around himself and Chandler.
"Is there a case sir?" Kent asked hesitantly. He addressed Miles. He couldn't dare face Chandler.
"Not as bad, Kent." Miles replied and shouted again for everyone to crowd around.
"Right, now everyone is here I got an announcement to make. I would like to invite everyone to my little Lily's christening! I'd be thrilled if you all come along! But especially Chandler here who has just agreed to be God Father." Everyone in the room applauded and whooped. Mansell patted Chandler on the back, Chandler stood stiffly for a second than discreetly pulled at the band around his wrist. Kent saw it and looked quickly away.
"However, what most of you may not know, I am pretty old for my age." The room was filled with both complimentary 'Noes' and scoffs, Miles laughed and held his hand up to quieten them. "It's been on my mind recently that whilst I am extremely proud with the team and the work that you do, I no longer feel the need to stay." The crowd shuffled and looked at each other. "I have decided to trust you lot as I go on to retirement."
Chandler looked at Miles and his face fell, he had not expected this. He dreaded the thought of Miles leaving. It pained him.
The crowd reacted in the same way and they protested at first but many respected Miles and his decision and knew that he was ready to leave. Kent and Buchan looked at Chandler, questioning how he would cope with Miles. They exchanged glances.
Riley was the first to shake his hand and gave him a friendly peck on the cheek. "It's sad to see you go but I'm happy for you!" She told him.
"Thanks Riley. I'll be expecting you to keep these boys in shape without me."
Mansell butted in, "She does that already." He laughed. "Sorry to see you go, sir." He added, shaking his hand.
Buchan shook Miles his hand next. "I know you and me had our disagreements but it will be a shame."
"It's funny I think I'll miss our little arguments."
"I no doubt it will save you some headache though."
"Oh, bloody hell it would!" Miles laughed and gripped Buchan's hand tenderly.
Miles moved on to Kent who mournfully took his hand. "I'm sorry to sorry to hear sir. I want to thank you for everything. You've always been good to me." Kent gave him a smile, which was a little sad but Miles knew he was always sensitive.
"You are a good lad Kent." They had moved away from most of the team and Miles added quietly. "I want you to do something when I leave."
"Keep an eye on Chandler for me. I won't be around to do it myself anymore and I know you care about him as much as I do. I don't want to see him slip."
Kent sighed and thought for a moment. "I will, but I doubt he'll listen to me. He doesn't trust me anymore."
"Hey, me and Chandler hated each other when he met. Things change. Well, he still is a pain in the arse but give him time. Don't be too forward."
"OK, sir. I'll keep an eye out."
Miles patted Kent's shoulder and moved on to Chandler. He was dreading this more than the others and the way Chandler stood didn't reassure Miles at all.
"I know I should have told you before but my mind is made up." Miles said before Chandler could speak.
"It's just all so sudden." Chandler put his hands in his pockets and looked down. "I'm happy for you but I'm scared."
"Don't be. I'm always your mate. Whenever you need to talk to me I am always by my pond feeding my fish. It doesn't change anything."
Chandler looked up. There was a pause.
"What if I can't deal without you?" Chandler finally managed to say.
"Nah, you don't need me. I was always in the way, remember? Besides, I think you've shown how good a DI you are by now."
Chandler shook his hand. "Have a good one Miles. Thank you for being my DC. It's going to be different without you."
"Just make sure you take care of yourself. You're a God Father now!"
They shook hands and gripped softly.
The church was packed and the day was sunny and warm, a thankful day in April. The christening had just ended and Chandler was filled with such warmth and friendship than he did in a long time. However it was tainted bitterly by the fact Miles was leaving the team soon and he could not imagine it without him. He played a little with Miles' children on a grass patch where the gravestones had yet to fill. He kicked a ball and laughed with them. He was a God Father now. Perhaps the only chance he had of becoming close enough to being a father.
Miles held Lily in his arms as he talked to some of his friends and his wife came over to Chandler.
"Thank you for today. Ray and I are really grateful, especially Ray. He sees you very fondly."
"It's a pleasure, Mrs Miles. I am so grateful to you two. Miles is a very close friend."
She smiled sadly.
"I don't know how Ray is going to cope without the police force but at least he will always have you."
"I have both Ray and Lily to look after." Chandler laughed.
She did too.
Miles saw the two and joined them, letting Lily walk on the grass towards her mother.
"Is he boring you?" Miles asked his wife jokingly.
"He couldn't possibly." She laughed and picked up Lily. "I'll leave you boys to it."
"That was a beautiful christening, Miles. Thank you."
"Oh don't thank me. Finally a happy day we can all be a part of, eh?" Miles found a bench and sat down, Chandler joined him.
"A good day to start my retirement." He finished.
Riley and Buchan came to the church together and Mansell had a new girlfriend, some blonde he had met a week before. Kent joined Mansell and the blonde.
"Nice christening wasn't it?"
"Yeah, it was nice. I just can't stand churches myself. Always remind me of weddings."
The two failed weddings Mansell had. Kent rolled his eyes. He didn't think the blonde was impressed.
"You came alone?" Mansell noted, looking around the small crowd for a girl.
"Yes, I didn't want to be rude." Kent avoided the glare from the blonde towards him.
"The Sargent wouldn't have minded." Mansell insisted. "Maybe next time we'll finally get to see someone."
Kent raised his eyebrows and nodded, "Yeah, maybe."
Mansell excused himself as he received a nudge from the blonde to move on.
Kent also hated churches. He believed in the spirituality of a church but the fact that he had not yet committed to anyone made him feel down. Besides, he had attended far more funerals than he did weddings. He liked the christening though. It was good news after the pressing atmosphere he felt for a long time. Yet again, Miles was leaving. He now wondered whether he should follow. Kent wasn't good enough in police. His feelings kept going in the way from being professional. Maybe he could take up a new career? He always liked animals.
Kent looked around and realised he was standing on a stop alone, everyone in their own groups chattering. He saw Chandler and Miles chatting on the bench. He sighed and walked to his scooter. He felt bad for leaving them but they wouldn't notice. He slowly put his helmet on and drove away.
"Is that Kent driving away?" Miles pointed out. "Hm, he must have some sort of emergency."
"That's odd." Chandler simply said.
"Oh well, must have been something personal."
There was a pause.
"You haven't been speaking to him then?" Miles faced him, and raised his eyebrow.
"I've been busy."
"He feels guilty enough. Don't make him feel worse."
"I'm not making him feel worse, I-I just can't, Miles." His voice was down to a whisper.
Chandler knelt down and rubbed his face. He flicked the elastic.
"I know. I'm sorry."
Miles knew Chandler still hurt. If only Miles hadn't been so desperate to hook Chandler up. He should have known how it would hurt Chandler. He was just grateful he hadn't gone off the railings. His OCD was lessening and that strange elastic band around his wrist acted as his anxiety.
"She gave you that didn't she?"
Chandler stopped and paused. He didn't know what to say. He swallowed and sat up so Miles could see his expression.
"Very clever she was. Her advice helped you to cope."
Chandler's voice nearly cracked. "She was. I just wish that I had driven her back then and there. If I did then-then-"He gave a great sob.
"You're doing good Joe; I wouldn't be leaving if I didn't think you could handle it. I have great hopes for you."
Joe nodded his thanks but he couldn't agree. He felt he could crumble at any word, touch or breath. But, as he always did, he carried on. The DI everyone saw him as. Besides, it barely even started with Morgan. He just wished they had had longer. The sun beated down on the pair and Miles huffed with the heat.
"I think a nice cooling lager is in need. Coming?"
Miles stood up and waited for Chandler. He stood up and they both walked towards the crowd together.
The after party was held in the pub. It was a joint celebration, first the christening and secondly Miles leaving party. Buchan was in mid conversation to Chandler about the possibility of an assistant.
"So, about my suggestion, what do you think?"
"An assistant? Doing what exactly?"
Buchan thought for a white before theatrically explained, using his hands in doing so. "Well, seeing as the archive builds up rather quickly, it would be a good idea to have another person sorting out the criteria so when you consult me I wouldn't be as busy and you'll have another handy researcher, obviously, not as good as me of course."
Chandler thought about it. Ed Buchan had always been the best of help and Chandler held him in high regard. He bargained.
"I'll hold you responsible in finding that person. I'll have to make sure they are trustworthy and who have the right experience. But, I think it would be a good idea."
"Fantastic! Thank you, Joe. You won't regret it. I'll get onto it immediately!"
"Ed!" Chandler called after him as he rushed away excitedly. "Remember it's only small hours and limited pay. Don't be too excited!"
Buchan nodded and said "Of course, of course." He smiled joyfully and found Riley talking to Mansell sitting at a table.
"I got it, Megan! Chandler agreed!"
"Oh thank god. So you don't need me helping you now?" Riley smiled slyly.
"Well, maybe sometimes." Buchan blushed.
Mansell rolled his eyes and took a swig from his pint.
Buchan frowned. "Where is the blonde girl you were with today?"
"Oh she's gone and left."
"I knew she was an escort!" Riley teased.
"No, she wasn't! I don't think she liked the fact I was in the police. She probably couldn't deal of the fact that I could be in danger anytime."
"Hm," Riley replied sceptically.
Buchan drank some of his orange juice, heard an engine pulling up and saw Kent's orange scooter pull up outside the window.
"Look whose back!"
Riley and Mansell looked over their shoulder and saw Kent come in through the door.
Mansell frowned. "A bit strange weren't it, going off like that?"
"He must've had to go somewhere quickly that's all." Riley rationalised.
"Well, at least he's back. That's what counts."
Buchan nosily eyes Kent as he moved to the bar and ordered a drink. Chandler saw Kent and turned his body slightly away.
"Something's not right there. What do you think it is?" Buchan asked the two.
"If you ask me Kent's a bit fruity."
Buchan and Riley stared blankly.
"Gay." He explained to them.
"What? Kent?" Buchan looked back again.
"Think about it. We've never seen her with anyone have we, especially not a woman?"
"Well, neither has Chandler." Buchan pointed out.
"Not until recently though. And that is probably why they aren't speaking."
Riley laughed at Buchan and Mansell. "You two are worse than woman, don't you know that?"
"I am only suggesting. Look, Kent's looking at Chandler now."
"You don't think Kent has feelings for him do you?"
"Why not? He had a problem with Morgan and other DI. It makes sense."
Riley looked back at Kent, who was now apologizing to Miles about leaving without notice earlier.
"Most of the time Mansell I don't agree with you, but this time, you might be right." She said sadly.
Mansell raised his glass and drank, proud of himself.
The party was quietening down as half of the people had left and the ones who didn't were far too drunk to know better. Miles was playing poker with Mansell and another officer they knew. Buchan and Riley had left earlier, with Mansell grudging Buchan a little. He could not believe they were having a fling. Riley was a tough bird, Buchan was far too gentle for her. But perhaps that was where he went wrong. Mansell wasn't soft or the marital type and he doubt he ever would be.
Kent decided to stay longer to make up for the leaving the others in the church. He had told Miles his mother had called him. She was in the hospital, she was ok, she had kidney problems. She only had the one but they had found a suitable donor and Kent did visit her in the end. She was the only person he spoke to about the job. She would often ask about Chandler but he'd now change the subject.
Kent was still surprised to find Chandler had stayed behind as well. He wasn't the type who remained behind but, then again neither was Kent.
Kent ordered another a coke. He was driving after all, and decided to approach Chandler. He hesitated at the bar and asked the barman to add Jack Daniels in the coke and paid extra. It was his only drink of the night so it should be ok. He needed it for courage.
"Evening, sir." Kent managed.
Chandler was dazed for a moment. Kent had disturbed him deep in thought. He looked up and saw it was Kent. He opened his mouth to say something when he paused.
"I'm sorry, sir, I disturbed you." Kent began to walk away when Chandler stopped him.
"No, it's fine. Take a seat."
It took a moment for the two to be comfortable and Kent took a gulp of his drink.
"Congratulations on being God Father!" He started.
"Thank you. It's a huge honour. I'm glad it was Miles. I needed to repay him."
"I honestly don't know how the office will be without him."
"Neither do I."
Kent sipped at his drink again; noting this was the most Chandler had spoken to him since Morgan.
"I trust you'll do great, sir. The biggest difference will be a new DS."
"Yes, I've been thinking about that." Chandler was speaking softly, looking into space. He decidedly took a gulp from his warm beer he hadn't touched for half an hour.
Kent nodded, he didn't know why; he just needed to do something to break the awkwardness.
Suddenly Chandler sat up and opened his mouth, hesitating slightly then went out with it. He looked Kent in the eye.
Kent seemed to shrink under that stare.
"Kent how would you like being promoted to Detective Sergeant?"
The air was still between them. Chandler looked away and back into looking into space.
Kent stared at Chandler, looked at his jawline and then his hair and back to his eyes. He hadn't heard right surely?
"Sir, are you sure?"
"I just asked you didn't I?" Chandler went back to looking at Kent and he seemed back to his old self, relaxed and in authority.
"I don't understand. I thought you hated me." Kent's emotions were surfacing. He tried to remain placid.
Chandler looked away, looked about the room and knelt towards Kent.
"I just want the past behind us, everyone. I need to forget."
Chandler held his temples.
Kent tilted his head. "But I was wrong. You don't trust me."
Chandler sighed "For goodness sakes Kent, stop thinking I blame you. I don't. Not anymore. I used to but you were just a scapegoat. I blame myself for what happened."
"If I hadn't spoken about my suspicions maybe it wouldn't have wasted so much time."
"Kent, please. My personal life does not concern you and you should not feel responsible over it. Understand?"
"Yes sir." Kent sighed. He still wasn't fully assured.
"Good. So, are you willing to take Miles' position?"
Kent faltered. He wanted to jump up and say yes. But it was dangerous. What if his feelings come in a way of a case again and cloud his judgement? Could he deal seeing Chandler in even more danger, or worse, with a woman? Kent bit his lip, thinking hard. He didn't dare look at Chandler. He felt a swell of tears coming. He didn't know why.
"Yes." He gulped and faced Chandler who softly smiled and grabbed his right shoulder.
"Congratulations Kent. You start Monday." He smiled and they clinked their glasses together for a toast.
"What's all this then?" Miles asked walking up to the table.
"Kent has just agreed to be DS." Kent was not sure if Chandler was happy about it or just putting it on for him and Miles.
"And I thought I was irreplaceable!" Miles laughed. "Congrats, Emerson, and good luck. You're going to need it with Chandler."
He winked at Kent, referring to their conversation earlier at the church. Kent nodded and smiled.
"Thank you." He told Chandler when they were both leaving. "I forgot to say before. I was a little overwhelmed."
"I have good faith in you Kent. As long as you're clear headed and control your emotions better you could challenge Miles."
Miles walked past behind them, his wife on his arm.
"I heard that!"
Kent and Chandler laughed and it really broke the ice between the two.
"Goodnight sir!" Kent bade Chandler.
"Night, Kent. See you Monday, Sergeant!"