Not Yet

This is a missing scene from the episode "Der NEUE" (The New Guy)

Slash if you wish …

"What Rex needs is to sleep through the night again." Christian had said.

He had said, that Rex would wander around the house at night, never sleeping more than a few minutes, always looking for something … or somebody. And since setting foot into the house this evening for the first time, Inspector Alex Brandner understood why. Wherever in the house he was, the sadness was overpowering and the darkness seemed to follow on, no matter how much light was switched on.

This house felt strange. Empty and yet at the same time crowded.

Although it was largely empty of furniture, Alex understood why everybody had not been sleeping through the night here. Alex never knew Richard Moser personally. He had only heard about the tragic way the inspector was shot in the line of duty a few weeks ago. But here in this house, Moser's presence could be felt in every room. It was a lingering feeling of heaviness that was eating through the darkness and that hovered like a crushing shadow in every room.

Alex could see the loss in Rex' eyes as the dog followed him, measuring him, judging him, never letting him out of his sight and then finally disappearing into another room.

And he saw the loss in another set of eyes.

In this house, Christian Böck was not the cheerful, enthusiastic inspector, he had met just a few days ago at the banks of the river Donau. His walk was heavy, his voice low and guarded and he seemed to avoid looking too long at parts of the house, as if this would bring back something, the young man couldn't face.

Alex stroked Rex' fur gently as he whispered soothing words into his ear. The German Sheppard began to relax and grunt contently. He lowered himself down next to Brandner and began to close his eyes. Within moments, he was asleep and Alex continued to gently stroke his fur.

It was something he had done with Arco, his old dog, when he was upset.

Behind him, he felt Christian crouch down and place a gentle hand on his shoulder. The warmth of the touch and the sudden nearness of something soothing and gentle made Alex breath in deeply. It was strangely comforting, securing and centering, something he hadn't felt in a very long time.

"Do you want to stay with him tonight?" Böck asked.

Alex continued to gently stroke Rex' fur as the dog's breathing became more and more relaxed.

"Yes," he said. "In case he wakes up again."

"Good." Christian said and stood up slowly. "Have a good night, you two."

The absence of Christian's hand made Alex feel cold and lonely in this big house. Brandner looked down at the sleeping Rex. Was he really ready for another dog in his life? The loss of his dog Arco was still too raw in his heart and not a night would pass by when he didn't wake up sweat soaked as his mind replayed the explosion which took Arco's life.

But it seemed right here and right now that faith had made the decision for him. And maybe they would help each other to heal the wounds of the tragic loss, each one of them had suffered.

But Rex and him were not the only ones suffering. And this was another thing he wasn't ready for. Or was he?

Alex stood up carefully, as not to wake the exhausted dog and followed the blond inspector out into the hallway.

"Christian?" he whispered.

The younger man stopped in his tracks and closed his eyes, his hand poised over the door handle.

Alex came up behind him and placed his hand on his shoulder. He could feel Christian trembling softly beneath his touch.

"Stay …" he whispered. "Stay … with us."

The silence that followed seemed to go on forever.

"I can't .." Christian said painfully. Then he turned around and his blue eyes met Alex brown ones. And in that moment, Alex could see deep into the other man's soul and it made his heart constrict. There was loss, sorrow, pain, exhaustion. And the man in front of him was not ready to let go. But lurking in the depth of those blue eyes was something else … gratitude and a promise of hope.

"Not yet." Christian added heavily.

Alex took a deep breath and nodded in understanding.

Christian turned back to the door and opened it. Then he paused for another second.

"Not … yet." He whispered and walked out of the house without turning back.

Alex closed the door behind him and leaned his back against it. He stood there for a moment, letting everything sink in. And as he slowly made his way back to the sleeping Rex, it felt as if some of the heaviness in the house had lifted and the darkness had receded slightly.

The house had just become a little bit brighter.

But not all the way … not yet.

The End