Rating: P 6

Genre: Friendship

Summary: Fix-It ficlet for the end of "Promised Land" (post ep). They have been stuck together for days on end. It has been a very depressing case for Morse. And Australia doesn't agree with him.

word count: 531

Warnings: I'm no native speaker.

Beta: Veradee - thank you!

A/N: I used a bit of the original dialogue in the beginning. And for those of you who don't remember, the "original" end has Morse looking after Lewis and then walking up the stairs to the opera all alone while Der Rosenkavalieris being played in the background: "Hab ich mir gelobt, ihn lieb zu haben / In der richtigen Weis'" ("I promised myself to love him, the real way" - very roughly translated). This should really have been slash ...

"You're sure you don't mind?"

"No, why should I."

He still has the nagging feeling that Morse is somewhat disappointed about him staying in Australia with Val for a holiday. Which is a silly thought in itself …

"Well … you'll be able to have a good old read on the plane without me chattering away beside you."

"Yeah." Morse smiles, but it looks a bit forced. "Make a change."

Maybe he's worrying about getting to the airport and all? He explains that he can still bring him by car and fetch Val afterwards because she'll be arriving after Morse has to leave.

"Right." Morse is looking away. "Thanks."

"Well … I'll be off then. Enjoy your opera."

He starts but Morse's next words stop him in his tracks.

"It's er … It's an hour till the matinee. What are you going to do?"

"I thought I'd take a ferry, have a look around the harbour. It's one of the sights, isn't it?"

"Oh, yes. Well, enjoy yourself."

"Right. See you."

He has been in a good mood just until now but as he's leaving to catch his ferry, the feeling that something is off grows stronger and stronger. Morse seemed so ... lost, somehow. But he's a grown-up, really, and he's got his opera to look forward to. But then he suddenly remembers Val and the last row they had. She had been quite angry - telling him that he never got her right. "But that's because of men and women", she'd said in the end, waving her latest reading in front of him. If a woman wanted something, she'd explained to him, she would never just ask, "I would like to do this or that, care to join me?", no, she'd ask, "Would you like to do this or that?" And that, Val had said, was the reason men and women didn't understand -

Crap. Morse has just asked him to spend the time till his opera started together. And he didn't get it. He doesn't ponder any longer, he just turns around and tries to catch Morse before he's out of sight. His boss is just a small figure in the distance by now but he takes two steps at a time. He's faster than Morse, always has been.

"Sir!"

...

"Morse!"

At last, Morse turns around and he tries to catch his breath while he's taking the last steps.

"What is it again, Lewis?" Morse seems annoyed but he won't let the old man fool him again today.

"Care to have a ... coffee?" Luckily he remembers Morse's distaste for Australian beer before it's too late. "Until your opera starts. Boat isn't running away, Sir."

Morse watches him carefully. "I'd like to. What did you have in mind?"

He hadn't thought about that in time, but well ... "It's a big city. Let's walk for a bit - there should be some place where they serve something to drink."

Morse smiles a little. "Well then, Robbie. We've got one hour and the clock is ticking."

It's Robbie here in Australia, which is a bit weird, but then he ends up paying the bill, and that's just like home.

*** Fin ***