Title: Finding One's Way
Author: Ceridwyn2
Feedback address: jlynnsca@rogers.com
Date in Calendar: 1 January 2007
Fandom: Wire in the Blood (novel series)
Pairing: Paula McIntyre / Chris Devine
Rating: PG
Summary: This story while a little different from most as it looks at a growing relationship between two women from a third person's perspective. It's taken place post- "The Torment of Others," the fourth novel of Val McDermid's series of "Wire in the Blood". It follows more to the books than the series.
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Disclaimer: The characters belong to Van McDermid, not me.

Finding One's Way
by Ceridwyn2

While the past year had kept the Criminal Investigations Division in Bradfield busy with cases, fortunately the psychopaths whose criminality lead them to serial cases had been less than forthcoming. For which Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan was more than thankful. During the investigations there seemed to be a continuous rush of adrenaline which got her through some of the most horrific cases.

Last year, she'd returned to Bradfield. Lured by Chief John Brandon to re-command her CID team, to once again defeat the threat of another possible serial killer. That case involved the deaths of some prostitutes and small-time drug dealers. And while they'd solved the case, it had left indelible marks on the team, including the rape of Detective Constable Paula McIntyre. This aspect of the case had a more psychological effect on Carol than she was willing to admit to anybody. Despite the fact that Paula had volunteered to be the bait to lure out the killer, Carol knew that by agreeing to the undercover operation Paula would potentially be at risk to the fates of the other victims. One of her worst nightmares came to light when Paula was abducted while under their surveillance. A punter had gotten Paula out of view of CCTV camera footage and knowingly cut the wire that had been secured under her leather jacket. When she'd finally been found as a result of Tony Hill questioning the suspect, a fellow plod, who'd also been working the case. Yet on the side, and for years,

Detective Inspector Jan Shields had been abusing prostitutes and manipulating others to kill for her. It apparently didn't seem to phase her one bit that one of the prostitutes had been a fellow officer. More likely, Carol felt, that Jan felt some rush of power over both Paula and Carol. Because of Carol's disclosure of her own rape at the beginning of the case, she figured Jan's abduction of Paula would make Carol more vulnerable to screwing up the case, thus leaving her to continue her reign of abuse, manipulation, terror and murder. The fact that a few of the officers under Carol's command at the time had shed some doubts at her ability to stay in control of the case had not helped her confidence.

In addition to the chaos going on in Bradfield, when Carol had been informed that they'd lost another team member who'd been following a lead in another concurrent case. Detective Sergent Don Merrick had been murdered up on the moors of Scotland. It had been a hellish few months and Carol had just wanted to hide under a rock. But she had a team to manage and cases to solve. The team became stronger. With the loss of Merrick, they'd gained another Detective Sergent Chris Devine, who had assisted in one of their previous serial murder cases. Devine had been initially seconded from the Met, and after her mother's passing had transferred permanently to Bradfield. She fit well within the team, quick to lend experience where needed.

As with Carol's own experience with rape, it did take Paula some time to work through the aftermath of her rape and torture. Throughout that time, Paula and Chris had begun to develop a strong friendship. Paula helping Chris with the grief of losing her mother, and Chris assisting in Paula through her post-rape trauma.

Cases came and went, some solved and some shelved as resources dried up. They worked hard long hours and formed bonds that were closer to each other than with any possible romantic entanglements outside of work. So it was not surprising to Carol when she began to notice that perhaps Paula and Chris's friendship had been taken further into a loving relationship. While it was not generally accepted to have officers involved in romantic relationships with each other, Carol understood that because of the nature of their work, the horrors they faced during the course of their investigations, sharing the burdens with others who also experienced the same, was often a draw for co-workers. She was at the point where you found love where you did. Her own deep affection for and with Dr. Tony Hill was testament to that fact. Tony's strange yet obviously effective methods for profiling serial cases with her team had drawn her to him from nearly the start.

Carol's current musings over a case were interrupted with a rap on her office door.

“Hey Gov, the gang are going over to the pub this evening. You interested in joining us?” DI Kevin Matthews asked her.

Carol looked at her watch. It was getting on half six in the evening and they'd done about as much leg work on the current homicide investigation as they could for the day She had been waiting for forensics report from the SOCOs, however, they had her mobile and could send her a message when she was needed.

“Yeah, sure, Kev. I'll just finish up this report and join you all there.” Carol was in need of some relaxation. A couple of their leads had panned out, only one so far succeeding. A paper trail on the suspects computer was being torn apart by Stacey. If there was something anywhere in any computer that she could get her hands on, Stacey could not only find it, but was able to trace it to the original source. It was with that the team had uncovered a malicious attack on a young Asian man.

When Carol had arrived at the McIsaac Pub a few blocks over from the Bradfield Police Department, the rest of her team were present. Kevin was up at the bar ordering a few drinks, Stacey and Sam Evans were discussing the recent Ashes cricket tournament, while Paula and Chris were huddled together sharing a joke. They looked up when Carol arrived at the table but did not alter their positions.

“Hey Gov,” Paula greeted her. “Things sorted for the night?”

“As much as they'll ever be.” She put her jacket around the back of the chair and grabbed a few bank notes from her billfold before heading to the bar. She returned from the bar with a glass of white wine. “So, what's the topic of conversation tonight, and it had better not be about work,” Carol said with a smirk.

They'd chatted through the evening, and despite Carol's comment, they were recalling interestingly silly and strange work experiences. The laughter got louder as the drinks increased. The camaraderie between the officers belied their different rank and status. As the evening drew to an end, everyone poured out of the pub into the streets having called for taxis.

As they awaited the cabs, Carol spotted Paula and Chris sharing at first a brief kiss, then a few more intensified kisses before getting into their cab. She remembered the passion and intensity of what it was like to be in love. She was happy for them. A quick nod to them as they broke off.

“Goodnight, Gov,” Paula called back to her.

Carol quickly wished them well before they left and her own taxi pulled up. Time to get back home to her quiet flat where her black cat waited for her to come feed him.