DISCLAIMER: Would that they were mine – but then this wouldn't be called FanFiction!
Sophie was not sure whether to be relieved or disappointed when she heard her DI's voice outside greeting the pathologist. Whilst it would be nice to prove herself, it would also be nice to have an impartial view of the evidence.
" Right, Dr Hobson tells me it was the candle stick in the study or close enough." In response to a bemused look he shook his head and called over his shoulder," Constable, candlestick in the study?"
"Well, you did have a body in the library to solve once so I heard."
"Good, lad," he chuckled, then turned back to his DS. "Never mind, sergeant, you'll learn. You wait til Dr Hobson starts, she's terrible with puns."
Sophie ran through all the evidence that had been presented so far, although it was slightly distracting to have the PC coughing when she was relaying the gist of the witness report.
"OK. We'll head back to the station. Have you got your car, I was expecting to be caught up with this liaison meeting most of the day so I got a lift in?
"Yes, sir, but don't you want to speak to the Professor?"
"No, Hooper confirmed her whereabouts and she's not too keen on me, so you can take her statement later. You'll doubtless get more out of her."
Sophie was surprised as so far everyone she met seemed to like the DI, even Hooper respected him.
"Does she not like men or something, sir?"
He laughed," Ceri Mulligan is very fond of men and makes no secret of the fact. She also has very fixed views on a range of subjects, including the appropriate age differential in a relationship. We just disagree, so we tend to keep our distance."
Sophie was intrigued. Was the Inspector with a much older or younger woman? He had certainly implied as much and Wiggins's smirk reinforced that opinion. She was beginning to wish she had not been too concerned about giving a good impression to encourage gossip. Later on a chat with Lisa Otterly was in order. Pre-warned was better than putting your foot in it by accident.
That thought resurfaced just after they returned to the station and the DI had stopped to talk to uniform. A slightly familiar looking tall lanky figure was walking down the corridor just ahead of Sophie and she was just wondering how he managed to be in this part of the station unescorted when a loud cry echoed around the walls.
" James," came the cry and was followed by the totally unexpected sight of Chief Superintendent Innocent positively launching herself at the man. He laughed and hugged her back.
" Nice to see you too, ma'am."
'Ma'am?' That was, if possible, even more surprising.
"I told you, James, it's Jean."
He just shook his head. "Always be ma'am to me."
Innocent raised an eyebrow and on anyone else that expression would have been called wicked. " Still using people's titles, James? Interesting."
Even from a distance it was clear that he was blushing, as the back of his neck coloured up.
"Ah, our new sergeant. James have you two met?"
" I found the body killed with the candlestick in the study, so we met at the scene."
Sophie found herself being scrutinised closely by the senior officer.
"But do I gather she only met Dr Hathaway ?"
He shrugged, " I've been busy and you know what crime scenes are like, no time for chit chat."
"Right, well, I'll catch you before you disappear again. You'll be in the office later?" At his nod she turned and gesture for Sophie to follow her.
Dr Hathaway smiled, but said nothing.
In her office the Chief Super took her time settling behind the desk before motioning towards the visitor's chair.
"Why do I get the feeling that we need to work on your observation skills, Sergeant?"
That was unexpected, as was the next question.
"Tell me what you have learnt about Inspector Lewis."
" Not a lot, ma'am, he's friendly but doesn't reveal a lot."
"The accepted word is apparently enigmatic, they tell me. Come on, you've been working together for nearly a fortnight now. You must have picked up a few things. Tell me what you've noticed around the office."
" Inspector Lewis seems to get on well with everyone, he is meticulous and hard working and must be good at the job because he mentioned that you had persuaded him to stay on when he was considering retirement."
" I don't think I can take the credit for that. Um, your observations are all of actions, how about we try other clues, think if you have noticed any anomalies."
" People often show you more of themselves in the ways they differ from the expected. Little things can be quite telling."
"Oh, I know it seems trivial, but when I made coffee the other day DC Hooper made a point of stopping me using a blue mug, said it was the Inspector's, but he doesn't seem the type to worry too much about that kind of thing."
" Good, did you notice anything special about the mug which would make it significant?"
Sophie felt like she was back at school being talked through a maths problem, especially as she got the same sense of her mentor restraining themselves from stating what was obvious to them.
"I can't be sure,but I think it said Cambridge University on one side and there was a picture," she frowned in concentration," yes, a picture of rowers possibly."
Innocent's smirk was disconcerting, but she prompted," Anything else?"
" There were some unusual books on the shelf by DI Lewis's desk. Well, not unusual so much as, I don't know, they didn't quite fit. There was a Bible, a couple of dictionaries and, oddest of all, a new looking one about faith and policing, yet the Inspector said something the other day which sounded like he didn't have a faith."
Innocent reached across to her own bookshelf and handed Sophie a book.
"That's it, ma'am," she read the title, " 'Reconciling Faith with Modern Day Policing in Britain' by, oh, by J. Hathaway.."
"Formerly the extremely promising DS Hathaway, fast track Cambridge graduate. Unfortunately, his potential was also seen elsewhere and he was offered a junior research post and the opportunity to continue his studies. I don't think anyone will be surprised when it becomes Professor Hathaway, except possibly the man himself."
Sophie was stunned and very grateful that she had not had the chance to voice her thoughts about James Hathaway.
The phone rang and that was the cue for her departure. Well at least it explained the textbook perfect account of finding the body and the protecting the scene from heavy footed coppers.
Back at the office the man in question was reclining in the Inspector's chair with his hands behind his head and his feet propped on the desk, for all the world as if he owned it.
Before Sophie could decide what to say, the DI came in behind her and frowned at the interloper.
"Get off me desk, cheeky sod."
He was met with a calm smile and a hand from which dangled some keys.
"I come bearing gifts."
Lewis took the keys then, to Sophie's amazement, bent over and kissed the mouth that was smiling up at him.
"You finished with your statement?"
"No, the Chief Super waylaid me and then wanted a word with DS Harding here," he gestured in Sophie's direction, doubtless taking in the flabbergasted expression which had to be on her face. " I think your esteemed leader omitted to tell her something though."
Lewis turned and, try as she might, Sophie could not clear her features in time. Inwardly she cringed, this was not a good way to make an impression. And it was not as if Innocent had not at least hinted. Words swam in her brain and finally, possibly too late, the links formed. Blue mug,Cambridge graduate, a book on faith and policing, theology department, appropriate age differential ( not Lewis's phrase, borrowed from someone else?), keen on men, meeting for coffee, Lisa's frown when she mentioned not being keen on workplace relationships, that PC's coughing, hearing the same phrase about candlesticks from two different men, Innocent's pointed comment about using titles, Lewis being tired and grumpy when she started, the new term starting as she started a new job, bloody Hooper trying to be helpful when she didn't expect it. God, she was slow. If it had not been for the two men watching her she would have dropped her head onto the desk in front of her - very hard.
With relief, she suddenly noticed that her audience seemed more amused than cross.
"I'm sorry, lass, I didn't think...I went to say something earlier but then Innocent interrupted and I just assumed someone would have said."
"And here we thought it would be impossible to keep a secret around the station."
" James, leave her alone. Haven't you got a witness statement to write?"
" Not a policeman any more, I expect coffee and a charming detective to take down my wise words."
Lewis snorted and chucked a pad at him, " You'll only want to correct their spelling or grammar, so may as well write it yourself, it'll be quicker."
Hathaway batted his eyelashes in such an overdone way that Sophie had to laugh, "But maybe I like spending time here."
"Until you remember whatever it was that Ceri had to show you and you'll be off to chase up other sources or trying to reword everything."
"Oh, that, I'm not sure it disproves anything, despite what she said. Not when you take into account..."
Lewis cut across him without any ceremony, with a smile at Sophie, " And from this point on individual words may be familiar, but don't expect to follow the argument."
"Shall I get Hooper to make that coffee then, sir?"
At his nod she picked up the blue mug and headed out.
Today's lesson, well learnt, was 'Judge not, lest ye be judged.' (Matthew7:1)