"Yesss!" Brian Lane looked up excitedly from his laptop, his fist clenched in success. His excitement was not shared by his colleagues as they each awoke to his triumphant proclamation.
"What?" Sandra Pullman blinked several times in quick succession as a dozen files slipped from her lap. She lifted her hand and pushed against the hair that had fallen over her forehead. She sighed as consciousness fought for dominance over staying asleep. Her eyes fell to the papers that were scattered at her feet. Urgh, she did not want to have to pick them up. Wait, why were they there? Why was she asleep in the chair anyway? Why were the chairs so damned uncomfortable? She turned her head, stretching her neck. The chairs clearly couldn't be that uncomfortable, her boss, Robert Strickland was still sprawled in his, eyes closed, gently snoring in complete ignorance of Brian's wake-up call. Which is why she was awake now. Forcing the continuation of her waking state, she gently touched her boss' arm and said quite firmly, "Sir?" looking around further, their other colleague was still slumped in slumber over his desk. "Gerry! Brian, what have you found?"
"Geruph?" murmured Gerry Standing as he lifted his head from his desk. "Whsasph chipper fund?" He stared vacantly at the items on the desktop wondering at each of them in bewildered turn. His eyes settled on the deserted coffee mug half-filled with a beverage that may have once been warm but was now covered in a thin film of ice. He shook his head, ice? More like the milk had turned in the time it had been made and left. Why had it been made? They had been late last night, looking over files in the case. When had he fallen asleep? Why had he woken up? Brian. Brian had woken him up. Brian had found something. Brian was talking, moving, excited. Stupid bugger. Pushing against the desk he forced himself to stand and move to where Brian and Sandra were hastily moving papers around and scribbling notes on the boards to the other side of his workstation.
"Should we wake 'im?" Brian paused in his thought as he stepped back from the board.
"So…what?" Sandra was still struggling to maintain the get-up-and-go attitude. Truth be told, she had always struggled with the sudden switches that she had to make between waking and sleeping. Not as much as Gerry did though, she allowed herself to smile; as she watched he was mentally inserting matchsticks to prop open his eyelids. And as much as Gerry was struggling with the abrupt alarm call, as she looked to where Brian was pointing, Robert Strickland clearly had never succeeded in the waking part. It was a sweet picture, his perfect suit crumpled in sleep, stubble forming on his chin, hair no longer in its designated professional look, note book falling from his hand.
"Hurup?" he mumbled as the notebook dropped and his fingers clenched ineffectively at the air where it had been before grunting and shifting slightly.
Stifling a laugh, Gerry moved to the kettle. Brian continued to stare at their superior before Sandra gave him a pointed look which led him back to the job in hand. "So I think we should start by talking to Hallie again."
"Again?" Gerry said exasperatedly. "She's already told us to get stuffed twice!" He retrieved his abandoned mug from his desk and washed it out in the sink.
"Sir," Sandra said quietly, laying a hand on his upper arm. "Sir?"
"Mnmph?" Robert Strickland stirred. There was a hand on his arm, that was different. So was sleeping sitting up. It was a woman's voice too, that … was become less than a usual occurrence. But she called him sir? Oh shit, it was Sandra Pullman's voice. As part of his brain raced in intelligible yells, the rational voice that told him what tie to wear in the mornings and when to get a hair cut quietly and calmly asked why was he sleeping in a chair. They were in the UCOS office, working late. He must have dozed off. How embarrassing. He opened his eyes to see Sandra's piercing blue ones looking tired and amused at him. Amused. Great. He coughed. As if that would restore any dignity. "What have you found?"
He grunted as he sat up. Must have been asleep longer than he thought. Shit.
"Coffee, sir?" Gerry Standing was thinly disguising his amusement.
"We think we've found, well Brian's found a link between Hattie and the victim…"
"Thank you Gerry, yes," he rubbed his eyes. Sandra was talking. She was telling him what they had found, what Brian had found; she always made sure he knew which of her team had found the missing link. He smiled involuntarily, he'd read her record of course when UCOS had come under his remit, she hadn't always been so circumspect, a glory-hogger who had used both her talent and her wiles to get where she was in rank. That wasn't why he respected her. There were other high-ranking female officers that caught his eye. Most of which had shown the same single-mindedness in getting to where they were. He could almost be sure when they took him to bed that they were trying to use him to further themselves more. He would stretch to breakfast sometimes. But for Sandra Pullman…what he would stretch to for her…
"What do you think, sir?" oh shit.
"Er, yes, Hallie would seem to be the … yes, thank you Gerry," he took the steaming mug that the former DS handed him. "Yes," he cleared his throat. He hated the springing into life after sleeping in a chair. How long had he been asleep, anyway? "You should talk to her again."
"Maybe we'll wait for day to break first, eh?" Gerry coughed. "I'm going for a cigarette."
The coffee was good. Sandra approached him again and sat down. He didn't know how long they had been there for, but the just woke up look suited her. They could solve the case tomorrow, send off to the CPS for the culprits to be decided upon in the next week; but what mattered at that moment to Robert Strickland was that he had spent the night with Sandra Pullman and woken up to her voice.