DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to Talkback Thames and probably a lot of other people whom I have absolutely no contact with.
SPOILERS: The episode this is set after was aired in England in the middle of last year. There may be spoilers for readers in other countries.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Involuntarily, she kept glancing at Amber across the locker room. Since the roasting from Inspector Gold she hadn't said a word and, despite telling herself she couldn't care less, Honey was beginning to worry. It wasn't like Amber Johannsen to stay quiet for that long.
After pushing her belongings into her bag she finally took pity, sitting next to her colleague on the wooden bench. 'You alright?'
As if that was going to fool her for a second. 'That bloke was a bit full on.'
Amber shrugged. 'Didn't notice.'
'Look, it's alright to be scared in situations like that,' persisted Honey. 'We might be coppers but it doesn't mean we're invincible.'
'What's that supposed to mean?' asked Amber, her eyes flashing angrily into life. 'You think I was an idiot to go down there alone, don't you?'
'Well, now you mention it, yeah. Alright, he hadn't drugged you like he thought but you were still in a locked room with a rapist. Why'd you put yourself in that kind of danger?'
'Oh, you're a fine one to talk! You married a murderer!'
Stung, Honey jumped to her feet and grabbed her bag. 'Next time I won't bother trying, okay?'
Just as she reached the door the unmistakable sound of Amber bursting into tears hit her eardrums. Against her better judgement she turned round to catch sight of her arch-enemy desperately trying to stem the waterfall. No part of Honey would allow her to leave her like that. Instead, she dropped her bag to the ground and tentatively put an arm around Amber's shuddering shoulders. 'I shouldn't have shouted, I'm sorry.'
'Try saying that without spraying me with tears,' Honey answered, trying but failing to raise a smile. 'Alright. Come on, let's get you out of here. I'll get you a cab.'
'I don't wanna go home,' Amber said quickly. 'I... Well, I live on my own.'
Noting the way it was killing her rival to disclose all this Honey decided to take it easy. 'We could get a drink somewhere.'
'I'd rather not thanks.'
'Okay, not a good idea,' she conceded. 'That leaves one option, doesn't it? You're coming home with me.'
'It's settled,' Honey said before she got drawn into yet another argument with PC Johannsen. 'You ready?'
Perhaps it was the shock but for once Amber complied with an order. 'Yeah, sure.'
'Nice place you've got here.'
'Yeah,' Honey answered as she pulled a bottle of wine out of the fridge and searched through the drawers for the corkscrew. 'Scott left me something at least.'
'Pity you had to marry him first,' Amber commented as she finally took a seat at the table after a thorough examination of the kitchen. For a rubbish copper she was pretty good at hair-line searches. 'Sorry, didn't mean that how it sounded.'
'It's fine. I'm trying to move on, can't do that with people mollycoddling me can I?'
'Don't worry, I'll do my best not to.'
'Yeah, I'll count on it.' Honey poured them both a glass, glad to see her colleague was looking a little brighter than in the locker room. 'Here.'
'Thanks.' Amber downed the drink and poured another one straight away. 'I needed that.'
'What are you, my mother?'
'I'm only trying to help!'
Amber opened her mouth, probably to argue, then shut it again. 'Yeah, okay. Thanks.'
Honey shook her head. 'Why can't we do this? Why do we always end up fighting?'
After a moment Amber shrugged. 'I don't get on with women.'
'Cause you sleep with their boyfriends?' Honey asked innocently, recalling her short-lived relationship with Steve Hunter and how that had ended. Seeing her colleague's face fall, she amended, 'Sorry. Kind of proves my point though. We can't help it.'
'Well, I can be a bit of a cow sometimes.'
'You admitted it!'
'You don't have to sound so happy about it,' grumbled Amber.
'Oh, I'm sorry,' Honey answered, trying to stop herself grinning. 'It's just you never said anything more honest.'
Probably despite herself Amber started laughing. 'Give me that bottle.'
'I suppose I miss him. Then again, don't have much to remember do I? I don't think there was a time when we were both ourselves. I mean, he was always holding something back and I was...'
'You suspected him all along?' Amber asked softly.
'No! Well, I don't know. It's easy to look back now and see everything differently, I'm not sure what I really thought then.'
After refilling her glass Amber sighed. 'I've never been as scared as I was tonight. I really thought... I was an idiot to go in like that but I just... You know, no one takes me seriously, no one ever has. I was trying to make an impression.'
'Well, I don't think I'll forget tonight in a hurry. You scared the life out of me.'
'Didn't think you'd give a damn. Thought you'd be glad to see me cock up.'
'So did I actually,' Honey smiled. 'Look, can we call it quits? Start over?'
Amber shrugged. 'You sure you want to risk it?'
'What, a knife sticking out of my back? Yeah, I'll risk it. Besides, it'll knock Gina Gold off her perch. She'll have nothing to moan about if us two are mates.'
That was an incentive by the look of it. Amber held out her hand. 'Deal then.'
Taking it, Honey suddenly felt the irresistible urge to do a little more than shake her colleague's hand. Leaning across the table she kissed her quickly. 'Deal.'
Amber frowned. 'What was that?'
She shrugged innocently. 'Sun Hill friendship ritual. You have to have mates to have heard of it.'
'Is that what they're calling it these days?'
'Sorry, I don't follow.'
'No, course you don't,' Amber answered. 'Look. We're out of wine.'
'I've got it,' Honey said, taking the welcome opportunity to escape from the table for a moment. As she got to the fridge she felt a movement behind her, turning she found her colleague dangerously close. 'Amber?'
The PC grinned wickedly. 'I've got another ritual.'
'It's not exactly a friendship thing though.'
She swallowed. 'That's cool.'
Amber kissed her, much more erotically than she'd anticipated. 'Still cool?'
Taking the chance to take control Honey pushed her new friend back against the counter. 'You tell me.'
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