RIPPER STREET: That Was Her Name
RIPPER STREET FANFICTION
Canon-compliant up to Episode 2 (In My Protection)
[Pretty much one-sided pre-slash and angst]
Homer Jackson knew that Edmund Reid did not have any children, because if he had, he would never have stopped talking about them. There would have been names and he might even have seen the midget or midgets once or twice with Reid's brown hair and most likely his stubborn-ness. Homer just barely knew that Reid had a wife (called 'Emily'). But he knew Reid had no children. He didn't know that he used to.
It was after the case with the Jewish brat, Gower and the ring and who is Matthew Judge, captain and when he was just settling down into the rhythm at the coppers shop when a girl died. She was twenty one and she worked at a tailors shop in Whitechapel as a assistant and her name was Sophia Anne Reynolds.
It was Drake who dragged him over to do the autopsy, which was nothing new because that was all Drake ever seemed to do: beat people up, drag people places and generally lurk in corners being a nuisance.
It was fairly simple really – she had been stabbed twice, put up a bit of a struggle (dirt under her fingernails and battered hands) and died in an alley not far from where she worked. It was when he looked up and noticed only Drake was there (lurking in a corner, of course) and wondered where Reid was. Reid was always there at the autopsies and was usually pretty helpful. In his defence he hadn't noticed Reid was missing because he was absorbed in the corpse – but where was he?
"Elsewhere," Drake was characteristically laconic when asked. Drake also glared at him.
"Running around hunting someone?"
"No...Sir," He made sir sound like an insult.
"Well, where is he?"
Drake said nothing and glared more, standing at an approximation of parade rest, blocking the door. His posture was slowly getting a bit more defensive, protective of his Inspector.
"What's happened? Something wrong?...What's he done now?"
Drake looked at him still, mouth twisting with something like worry. Suddenly he relaxed, shoulders slumping and stepped to one side so the doorway was clear. "He's in his office," he said gruffly. "You talk to 'im."
"What's happened?" Now he thought about it, he could remember Reid's door being closed when he came in. He hadn't given the matter much thought, being slightly hung-over.
Drake said nothing and gestured at the open doorway.
Reid was at his desk, doing paperwork with a ferocity that surprised Homer when he came in (at Pinkerton, everyone hated the stuff). He didn't bother knocking and so must have surprised Reid, because he broke his pen nib and then swore (rather creatively). He yanked a desk drawer open violently and started rummaging through it, barely looking up at Homer as he came in and sat down. Homer noticed that his hands were shaking. Minutely, but enough that he couldn't fit the new nib on.
"Hey," Homer said and Reid looked up.
He looked...not very good. Drawn and ill and filled with some sad emotion (grief?). He also looked oddly vulnerable which made Homer very angry. He wanted to find whoever had made Reid, made Edmund vulnerable and harm them. But he clamped down on that emotion and focussed on Reid.
"Hey Reid," he said again, instead and Reid looked at him wide eyed, pen clutched in one white-knuckled fist and a nib gripped desperately in the other hand, both hands still shaking.
Homer sighed. This was going to take some work.
Deftly, he took the pen out of Reid's clenched hands ignoring the way their fingers brushed. He got up and closed the door and then sat back down opposite Reid.
"So buddy." Nothing. He tried again, "So, Ed," that didn't work either. Reid's lips twitched though, so it was worth a try. "What are you upset about?"
"Oh yeah?" So he sat there instead. Homer wasn't the best at the 'talking to people about their issues' thing, but he knew that sitting there and staring at the person usually did the trick.
Reid didn't look at him, instead looking down and flattening both his hands against the desk, as though it would stop them shaking.
Just when Homer was thinking of saying something, Reid blurted out: "That was her name."
"Sophia Martha Reid. My daughter. Sophia after Emily's good friend and Martha after my mother."
Emily was the wife, Homer knew that. But a daughter? Reid was talking faster now. "She died," he swallowed. "She was only two, but she got ill, and, and..." He drew in a gasping breath. He was probably hyperventilating now (maybe has been for a while), Homer guessed.
"Easy buddy," he said and then got up abruptly, chair screeching on the floor, when Reid shot him a small, panicked look.
He went around the desk quickly and stood behind Reid, pushing his shoulders down until Reid's head was almost between his knees.
"Breathe nice and easy now," he muttered to him, hands on his warm shoulders. "In and out slowly, Ed."
Reid managed a weak chuckle, but obeyed, breath huffing in and out, strong shoulders moving beneath Homer's hands.
"I'm sorr—," Reid began and Homer stopped him.
"Don't be sorry," he fairly snapped, "don't be sorry for anything. Just breathe, c'mon Ed."
"Ed?" Reid queried weakly.
"My new name for you. Don't complain, buddy."
"Buddy?" Reid huffed out a breath.
"Means friend in Yankie language," He affected a British accent and was ridiculously pleased by Ed's answering laugh.
"Right," he let go reluctantly and Reid sat up.
He wouldn't look at Homer when he sat back and kept glancing away. Since arriving in Britain, Homer was tempted to curse, again, the damn British and their god-damn stiff upper lip.
He tried a guess. "You've never talked about this, have you? To anyone at all."
Reid flinched. "No."
"Well?" Homer said impatiently. "I know something's wrong, so talk."
Reid stared at the floor. "She was my daughter...she died when she was two. Don't know why. Just," he stopped haltingly. "Got ill. 'magined her like the girl that died. Sophia would be so independant, have a job. She had brown hair..." His voice trailed off. "My Sophia had brown hair." A single tear leaked out.
Homer was off his feet before he knew it, barrelling around the desk and yanking Reid, yanking Ed upwards into a hug. Did Brits hug? Homer didn't think so, but he held Ed tightly, rocking him back and forth while Ed sobbed in his arms. He betted that this was probably the first time his friend had talked about this, ever.
The murder had actually been rather simple, said Drake two days later as they walked to the copper shop; Sophia Reynolds had a brother called Theodore who had a mate called Bob, who kept making advances towards her. One day, he followed her to her shop and then after she was done working, tried to prep-os-istion-ing her again. She refused an' he got violent and killed her.
So why was the doctor needed again?
Well, apparently, the guv'ner looked better after Jackson had talked to him, but now he was looking sad and unhappy again, now they had finished dealing with the Sophia girl. He was doing paperwork.
Homer had to resist the urge to laugh at Drake.
When he got to the station he went straight to Reid's office, closing the door behind him and sat down on a chair.
"Hey Ed," he said.
Hah hah! The last line rhymes. I seem to have this issue with writing angst-y oneshots from fandoms that barely exist. Sorry (not really sorry). So the psychology behind this one is:
Homer Jackson kind of fancies Edmund Reid, but does nothing about it because: a) Reid's straight (or is he? XD); b) Reid's married and most likely faithful and c) isn't this about the time Oscar Wilde got jailed for well, gay sex and the like? Plus, Reid's rep. would be ruined (to be fair, he'd be in prison).
My theory is Reid never talked about his daughter, never properly mourned her. It wasn't really the done thing, in that day and age, for men to cry and show weakness. My thinking is, he threw himself into work at that point, a bit like Mac Taylor does with Claire in CSI: NY. This whole fic kind of got the idea from a fic I read, Mac/Danny or Mac/Flack, where Mac gets sadder and quieter when the victim's name is Claire.
Plus, I just love the camaraderie/chemistry/friendship that the two have, especially in the second one, where Reid is helping with the autopsy.
Sophia Martha? When I kept thinking of (relatively) common girls names, I kept realising I knew people called that and I hate it – even if there is pretty much no connection – calling people things if I know that name in real life. Martha is Reid's actual mom's name (Wikipedia says so).
Other than that, please read and review – I want to know if there are any other watchers of Ripper Street out there. XD
P.S. – This is a one shot. It shall remain a oneshot. It was never intended to develop into full-blown slash (if you see the innuendo, then you're as dirty as I am).
CROSSPOSTED TO AO3 UNDER THE SAME NAME.