by elfin

He hasn't slept in days - since waking up feeling like death, lying next to it, covered in blood, and this whole nightmare had begun.  But as exhausted as he was, he was still fretting, obviously still going over it all in that busy detective brain of his.

Peter sat and watched as long as he could bear while Andy, still almost fully clothed in his crumpled white shirt pulled out over dark trousers, shifted restlessly on the mussed up sheets of the hotel room's double bed.

Finally he dropped the trashy newsagents novel to the carpet and kicked off his shoes, moving to first sit then - bugger it all - lie on the other side of the mattress, plumping up a couple of pillows, leaning back against them.

"Go to sleep," he murmured softly.

Andy settled awkwardly along his side, head turned away from him, and within minutes, without a word, he was snoring softly, fast asleep at last.

Peter too closed his eyes.  There was still too much adrenaline washing through him, making him feel vaguely nauseous.  It would be a little while before he relaxed, accepted it was over and Andy was with him, safe, exhonerated.  There'd never been any doubt in his mind.  Dalziel had done some questionable things in his time but date rape and murder were so far out of character it would have been laughable if the evidence hadn't been so blatently obvious. 

Obviously planted.  Obviously a set up.  Hadn't he known all along?

Too reliant on procedure - that was his problem and he knew it.  Too scared to go with his first, gut instinct.  How many dinasour coppers had gone under because they'd followed their feeling about a case?  How many criminals caged due to it?

He shifted slightly, not wanting to wake Andy, and slipped down the pillows a fraction, resting his cheek against the light, thinning hair.  He wasn't sure who he'd been more frightened for, Andy or himself.  Too set in their ways now to change, lives too entwined to separate.  Losing Andy, even for a short time, had felt like he imagined losing a limb would feel; still aware of its presence but unable to see it or touch it or use it.

Andy's possible guilt had been an unthinkable thing.  He got drunk and passed out, that's what usually happened.  Peter had witnessed it on countless occasions.  And nothing stronger than a Rennie passed his lips without a full forensics work up on the ingrediants listed on the bottle.  No drugs, not for Dalziel, not even in Amsterdam.

Turning his head, Peter pressed his lips to Andy's hair in something that might have been a kiss, might just have been a deep breath.  But lifting his hand to rest lightly on Andy's hip; that was definitely a deliberate stroking of his fingers over rough material before finally the adrenaline started to dissipate and he slowly drifted off to sleep.

When he woke he had no concept of what time it was, just that Andy was stirring next to him.  He opened his eyes just as the big man shifted back against him, paused, and turned over with some effort.

He said nothing, just looked at Peter, the gaze impressively assessing for someone who'd snatched only a handful of hours' sleep in the last few days.  Peter smiled, knowing at last where the fear he'd felt during those days had come from.  Bringing up the hand that had slept on Andy's hip, he brushed his palm over the fine head of hair and without drama or angst, leaned in to kiss him.

Definitely a kiss this time.  Andy's mouth moved cautiously over his own, at first questioning, then inviting more.  Peter was still smiling when he broke away.

Voice rough with sleep, Peter could hear the repressed tears when Andy said, "Thanks for believing in me, Sunbeam."

"You know I do."

"I think I do now."

"Go back to sleep.  I'll still be 'ere in the morning."

He hesitated, but settled in against Peter and closed his eyes again.  "Can we go 'ome in the morning?"

"Thought you might want to see the canals."  He couldn't hide the amusement in his voice, and Andy - wisely - chose to simply ignore it.