For better or for worse

Set after Fever of the Bone: Tony and Carol are in Worcester but there´s one single occasion, which makes both of them feeling slightly embarrassed.


In less than half an hour it would happen; a thing no one had ever dared to think about. Well, except of a handful of people but those had already convened in the great house former belonging to Edmund Arthur Blythe, now Tony Hill's estate.

Tony stood in the bathroom and eyed himself critically in the mirror. The type of suit he wore irritated him more than his fear of talking to all visitants later. You'd prefer social interaction?, he asked himself. You would, but you'd prefer less attention most of all, wouldn't you?

A little bit nervous he straightened his tie. There was no reason to feel discomposed. It would happen once and never again. Hardly anyone would be present, it was going to be a small celebration.

Carol sat down trying not to crease her dress as she did. No one is going to care much anyway, she told herself. She would repeat it until she believed that lie.

When she heard steps nearing on the floor she immediately stood and began building up a calm masquerade. Whoever wanted to see her would most definitely not get to see her anxiety.

´Carol!´ Tony seemed relieved to see her. She nearly asked who else he'd expected. ´How are you?´ Piercing her with his deep blue eyes he slowly walked to her.

´Fine.´ She nodded several times to convince herself. ´What about you?´ Carol asked as he came to a halt.

´As lost as you,´ he smiled and gently covered her cheek with his hand. ´You look adorable.´

She leaned into his light touch, relaxing a bit as she did. ´All this mess because of a thermos flask of coffee, some kinky psychopaths and a bloody silly question and an even bloodier and sillier half truth answer plus a handy recorder.´

´A week turned out to be several years.´ Slowly Tony stroked her cheek with his thumb, feeling how stressed she was. He felt equally tense.

Silently, Carol nodded.

´That bad?´ he asked. Secretly he was toying with the idea of designing a flight plan, though it wouldn't help much considering the other attendees. On top of that he wasn't quite sure what Carol would think of his idea to alter the course of the evening to something less public.

´I'm feeling just a bit squirrelly.´ Carol answered truthfully, she couldn't lie to him now.

Now he cupped both of her cheeks with his hands. ´Who came? Who's here at the moment?´

Indistinctly she swallowed.

´Paula...´

Paula had noticed immediately that something was different. Only half joking she'd threatened both of them telling everything to the whole CID if she wasn't allowed to help them.

How on earth would they have been able to fool to Paula? She simply was too observant.

´Chris...´

Out of the blue Chris had appeared at the front door insisting to buy Carol a decent dress. She had not taken a no for an answer and kept making Tony and Carol a bad conscience. Her favorite line was that if both were to transfer to Worcester st the end of the year they just had to allow her to have a little bit fun now.

After that she and Carol had spent ages rummaging through numerous shops until Chris was pleased with Carol's dress.

´Kevin...´

Of course Kevin had adapted to Chris´ opinion. That he had found out about their secret had definitely been Carol's fault. She'd claimed in front of Chris and him that if she'd be tortured with a dress, Tony should have to wear a new suit. Tony would have done it for Carol on his own accord but fate wanted Kevin to help him with making this very important choice.

´Sam...´

In the time Carol was under Chris' bondage and Tony tortured by Kevin Sam begun to spreading tales in the CID to save Tony and Carol from more questioning and embarrassing as well as humiliating rumors.

´Stacey...´

Whatever Carol did—whether it was the cutlery or the decoration—Stacey followed her like an invisible shadow and changed it until she thought it would suit Carol's taste better. And she'd warned them both that it would make no sense to try to disappear. Not now, at least.

´She's probably preparing a power point presentation or fixing something on our laptops.´ Tony's smirk made Carol smile.

´Michael...´ She continued

For the sake of her family's peace she'd left a note for her brother. It turned out that his wife and child were away for treatment at a health-care facility and he actually had time to come. Even if his schedule had been full he surely would have taken some time off for his sister.

In the early morning hours this day he had attempted to talk to his slightly hyped up sister. She got distracted by everything and everyone. Unlike he used to know her. Talking to Tony hadn't been pretty much the same.

´Lucy.´

Carol's best friend was one of the guests. Over the last years they hadn't had a lot of contact. A main reason for this was that she didn't know a lot about Carol anymore who had had to fight with her own problems - and Tony. It had been way too complicated to mention even one of those with a single word.

When she´d arrived this morning both women had talked for a long while. Finally she wanted to get to know Tony. Tony had been as socially incompetent as always. Although this time even Carol wasn't close to enjoy harmless talks.

´Mum´

Never ever she'd felt a greater relief to have her mother around. (She couldn't imagine the same with Vanessa, whom she didn#t even want around.)

Her mother had hugged her closely and had exclaimed theatrically: ´Oh, sweetie. Now you're walking out on me, too!´ She'd acted insulted, but basically she'd been happy to find Carol in this situation. Her behavior had caused Carol to laugh freely and had wiped away the tension of the last days and hours for a few moments.

She´d approached Tony in nearly the same way. ´The legendary Dr Hill. Calming influence on my dear Carol…´

´Nelson...´

Tony grinned shortly as she mentioned the black haired cat. He was the one understanding the indefinable relationship between them best. He actually had committed himself to Tony first.

´You and me.´ She exhaled audible.

´Count the persons.´ Tony ordered in a low, reassuring voice.

´Including us: ten. Eleven with Nelson. If you want me to concentrate on something I need more difficult tasks.´

´Mh,´ he pursed his lips. ´Tell me how to get out of here.´

´Without us nothing's going to happen. So, if we back off they'll have to wait.´ Carol concluded.

´Do you think the back door is under surveillance?´ He joked finally, distracting her.

´We've had nothing but bad luck all this time, so why should we be lucky now?´ She frowned. ´Well, let's find out.´ Still speaking she pulled Tony to the back door. Carefully she cast a glance backwards. No witnesses. Cowardly she opened the door a few inches and then pulled it forcefully open.

Stacey stood in the door frame and smiled at both of them, forgiveness in her eyes.

It made them feel like small children again, secretly stealing the cherries out of the neighbor's tree.

Caught red-handed! The phrase filled the air but no one dared to speak.

´You can get off every Christmas party we organize or every other celebration if you want. Yet there's one occasion you have to be attend. You can't miss your own wedding.´


A/N: Thank you Shorina, thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me overwriting it !

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Hi :), this story came to my mind as we attended the golden anniversary of family. =) Please review if you liked it.