He recognised the
on the stranger's face, the confusion, the
bewilderment, the terror. What
the fuck? Where
What in god's name am I wearing?
The stranger stared at him - all wide-eyed and pale features. Was that how he'd looked when he'd first set foot in the place he called home now?
"P-Peter." But his hand wasn't taken.
He withdrew it and patted the bar stool next to him.
He glanced up,
silent attention the barman was giving the newcomer.
"Two double whiskeys please,
yourself away. But
kept the thought to himself, despite it making him
When had he become so comfortable here?
Sam turned back to
thirty seconds later two large tumblers of amber were
deposited on the
front of them.
Peter looked at
eyes blurred. "I was� in
chase. I'm - I'm a
Then again, maybe
a deranged illusion. Maybe
where comatose cops came, and there was somewhere else
solicitors, another place for quiescent quantity
surveyors, and so on. Another
year, maybe. Perhaps.
He wished cops got one close to the millennium.
Eyes sparkling with
tears met his own. Sam
had a drink -
downed the contents of the wide, heavy glass in one
do you feel?"
he asked, more to himself than to the stranger.
Peter didn't answer. Sam watched him put his
hands back on the bar
where they did the St Vitus Dance in front of their
Dark fingers pushed the glass towards him and
finally he reached for it, holding it in both
trembling hands to raise
them?" Peter nodded, a
movement of his chin. "Maybe
At least he wasn't
like a madman. Unlike his
was experimentally closing his right hand over what
Sam was assuming
invisible fingers. A
second later both
hands were flying to cover his ears, face contorting
in pain. Sam reached out,
an innate reaction,
"Peter? What is it?"
"I heard my name.
I think� I heard Andy."
Peter was looking at his hand as if it didn't
belong to him. "I'm sure
I heard him say my name."
He was used to his
sounding ridiculous. Peter's
his fear, was palpable.
"Now that sounds
something I might be interested in."
Sam's head twisted round, he hadn't even heard
the door's dull
signalled the king of the lions entering his natural
habitat. Hunt stepped up
to the bar, slapping Sam's
shoulder and leaving his hand where it was as he
leaned half over him,
over the bar to order a pint of lager, adding, "My
boy'll pay for it, I
need a piss."
Sam turned a
embarrassed expression on the stranger sitting next to
But Peter was
smiling - sort of. Maybe
used to it. My boss is
the same - a
Sam. "Always." But
the smile on Peter's face faded
fast. He was ducking his
covering his ears. More
voices? More sounds?
His own name spoken quietly, coaxingly; or the
shrill scream of
But he was
Nelson, leaning over the bar, saying, "It's time to
"Time to leave,"
Nelson repeated softly.
Maybe he was.
When the door
turned back to the barman.
Nelson looked up,
shoulder, and he felt a warm hand wrap around the back
of his neck
took the stool Peter had left warm.