*Pilot, September 2000*
Boyd turned the engine off and let out a big sigh, leaning his head back against his car seat. It had been a whirlwind of a week. The cold case unit had solved their first case, but they had almost lost Mel in the process which took some of the shine off their success. Spencer and Frankie were finally getting along better, Boyd had been promoted to Detective Superintendent, which he had been surprised but pleased about, and his and Grace's friendship was gaining in strength once more.
Now all he wanted to do was enjoy a rare weekend off with Jen and Matt. Climbing out of his car, Boyd thought about his partner. Even though she used his surname, they had never actually gotten around to marrying, and in that particular moment, it bothered Boyd. He was tempted to propose; if Jen said yes, it would the perfect end to an almost perfect week.
But as soon as he opened the front door, Boyd knew something was wrong. The house was too quiet and it felt too empty, so slowly, making very little sound, he made his way down the corridor towards the kitchen, the only room where a light was on.
Jen was there, staring at the doorway, as though she was waiting for him to come home. "Hello, Peter."
Boyd stopped just inside the kitchen. "What's going on?"
Jen sighed. "Let's sit down."
"Let's not. What's going on?"
"I don't want to fight over this," she said. "I just want you to listen for a moment. I got a call a few days ago from Matt's father…his biological father. He wanted to see me so we met for lunch. He wants a second chance, Peter; he wants me and Matt back so we can be a family."
Boyd felt as though he'd been kicked in the balls, but he kept his expression neutral. "What did you say?"
Jen sighed and started pacing. "At first I was going to reject the idea. I remember how he just ran off when I told him I was pregnant. But we talked all afternoon, and I think he is genuine. I - I said we'd try. I've already packed my things. I'll stay with my sister while Greg and I get to know each other again." She stopped in front of Boyd and looked into his dark eyes. "I know that when I leave here, I'll never be able to come back. I made my decision with that in mind."
"I see," Boyd replied, now feeling as though he had been stabbed as well. He couldn't tell Jen she was wrong; if things didn't work out with Greg, Boyd would have taken her back. Her and Matt were his last chance of having a family and doing things right.
Jen reached out and put her hand against Boyd's cheek. "Yes, I think you do, Peter. I would offer to keep in touch, but I don't think you'd want that either."
"Is it the job?" he asked suddenly.
Jen smiled as she looked at him. "Despite your worries, I've never felt threatened by your friendship with Grace. It's not you, Peter. I know that's a corny line, but it's true. I know you love Matt like he's your own, but he's not. Somewhere down the line, you could both easily have ended up resenting each other and I don't want that."
Boyd clenched his jaw, and while it looked like anger, it was actually to stop himself from crying. "I understand," he said stiffly. "You should go. Matt will be missing you."
Jen stood on her toes and kissed Boyd's cheek, very close to the corner of his mouth. "I'm sorry to do this to you, Peter, but thank you for being understanding." She walked around him, stopping in the corridor. "I've left my keys on the table. Take care of yourself."
Boyd heard the front door slam but didn't move for a long time. Once again he was alone, with no one to talk to…. Suddenly he found himself with his mobile to his ear, unaware of whose number he had dialled.
*"Hello?"* a voice answered.
Despite what had just happened, Boyd smiled. Of course it was her he had called. "Hi, Grace."
*"Boyd? What's wrong?"* Grace asked, sensing the break in his voice.
"I -" He paused. "It's Jen. She's - she's gone."
There was a short silence. *"I see. Do you want me to come round?"*
Boyd sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "Yeah. If it's not too much trouble."
*"For you? Never,"* Grace replied gently.
Boyd looked around the house with a certain distaste. Although it was his, it held more bad memories than he cared for. When Mary divorced him, she had told him to keep the house for two reasons. One was it held absolutely no good memories for her, and if she had her way she would take a JCB to it and flatten it until it was completely level. Boyd winced as he remembered the tone she had used to deliver that comment to him; it could have been used to strip the hulls of oil tankers. The second reason was much more practical, and it also came as something of a surprise to Boyd; Mary didn't need the house because she would be moving in with her boyfriend. Boyd didn't even bother to ask when they had met, or even how long they had been seeing each other. As far as he was concerned, he just wanted the divorce over and done with as soon as possible and if Mary didn't want the house, he'd keep it.
Then when he met Jen and little Matt, the house had come in useful as Jen had been living in a small flat. But now they had both gone, with no chance of them returning. The only contact Boyd had with Jen since she had left was a quick phone call to let him know how wonderful everything was going for her. Boyd had almost retorted in his most sarcastic tone, but stopped himself at the minute. After all, no one was really to blame for Jen leaving, and while he had hoped she would stay, deep down Boyd knew she would move on eventually. Because really, he wasn't husband or father material, a fact he had proven twice, on both accounts, now.
And now he found himself moving into a smaller house in Greenwich, away from the memories of his current abode and neighbourhood. And while he was looking forward to the change, Boyd was finding actually getting there was difficult. He had packed up the boxes with his meagre possessions and gotten no further. For some reason, he lacked motivation to give up a large part of his life. And so when someone knocked on the door, it was a welcome distraction and a good excuse to stop doing nothing.
"Grace," Boyd greeted his visitor, frowning at the same time. "What are you doing here? Is everything okay?"
Grace smiled. "I thought you might like some help. I can imagine this isn't easy for you."
"You're a bloody mind reader, you know that?" Boyd replied, slightly sourly.
"I've known you long enough to be allowed that title," Grace said, her smile growing. "So, do you want some help?"
Boyd acquiesced immediately. "Thank you."
Grace's expression grew both mysterious and mischievous, and she turned to look over her shoulder. "You can get out of the car now!" She looked back at Boyd. "I thought five pairs of hands were better than one or two. And I thought it would be good for us all to…."
"Bond?" Boyd asked, suppressing a groan which masked his genuine smile of gratitude.
"Something like that."
"So, where's the heavy stuff?" Spencer asked as he, Frankie and Mel all walked up the path.
Mel squeezed his bicep. "Yeah, plenty of muscle there."
"Pity about the lack of brains, but I suppose you can't have both," Frankie added with a grin.
"Why do I have a bad feeling about this?" Boyd asked, looking upwards and not actually speaking to anyone in particular.
Grace touched his arm. "You know you love it," she said as they all trooped inside.
"Why do you always have to argue with me?"
"It's an ingrained habit. Besides, you started it."
"Of course. Who tried to make me cry as a baby?"
"You're not serious! You can't remember that!"
"Why not, Grace? You do."
"Why? Because you're older…by about six months?"
"Look, Boyd, for once, just don't argue."
"We'd never talk if we didn't argue."
"We stopped talking once, remember? And that was because of an argument!"
"Grace, I don't…."
"I don't care, Boyd! For once, this is what *I* want. And I want to spend Christmas with my oldest, dearest, best friend…before I murder him! I want to eat more than I should and then kip in front of the TV afterwards, leaving the dishes until the next day. I want to drink and be merry, and I want you to do the same, but not on your own. With me. Is that too much to ask?"
"Alright, Grace, you win. But…."
"Oh God, there has to be a but!"
"No need to take that tone. I was just going to suggest that maybe next year, we could invite the rest of the team. Make it a…family thing. If we're all still working together and haven't killed each other by then."
"I'm shocked. Peter Boyd, sentimentalist. I never thought I'd see the day."
"Do you want company at Christmas or not?"
"Yes. You'd make the perfect Scrooge."
Spencer almost screamed in frustration as they reached another dead end. "I don't believe this!"
Mel sighed and leant against a wall. "We could just phone Boyd and explain the situation to him, you know," she said.
"Or better yet, Grace," Frankie added.
"And have to endure never ending ridicule over this? No way."
Mel and Frankie looked at each other and rolled their eyes. "Yeah, because there's no way this situation is embarrassing in the *slightest* so far," the pathologist muttered quietly. It was loud enough for her companion to hear, causing the DC to choke on her laughter, but Spencer remained unhappily unaware.
"Let's go back," he said. "We must have made a wrong turning on the stairwell."
In another part of the building, Boyd looked at his watch for the thousandth time. "Where the hell are they?" he asked in frustration.
"How the hell should I know?" Grace replied, equally frustrated.
"I know, Boyd!"
In fact, the younger members of the team weren't just 'late'; they were on the verge of being declared MIA, and Boyd was one breath away from sending a search and rescue party out for them when they walked into the room, looking breathless, fed up, and ever-so-slightly embarrassed.
"Where the hell have you been?" Boyd asked, and there was an echo when he spoke that sounded surprisingly like Grace.
"We were just…," Spencer started to say, but was interrupted impatiently by Frankie.
"We got lost, okay? I mean, what do you expect? A little warning would have been nice," the pathologist grumbled.
Mel nodded in agreement. "Yeah. But instead, we show up to work this morning to find our office looks like a yoga centre and no clue as to where our new offices are."
"Except this." Spencer held up a crumbled piece of paper. "How were we ever to find our way with this, sir?"
Boyd blinked. "Why are you looking at me? I didn't draw it. I've never seen it before in my life." He stopped and stared at it suddenly. "That's why you're so late! And you call yourselves coppers." He shook his head, debating whether to laugh loudly or groan in total despair.
"What?" Frankie asked.
Mel tilted her head to look at the paper and suddenly groaned loudly. Boyd was proud. "Spence, did you check the back of the paper?"
"No, why?" he replied.
Mel grabbed it and turned it over. "'We've moved. Down the corridor, third door on the right'," she read.
"That's Boyd's scrawl," Frankie confirmed, looking over Spencer's shoulder.
The DS frowned. "Then who…?"
All eyes turned to Grace, who just spread her hands in an innocent gesture. "What?"
"Grace, go to your office," Boyd said sternly.
"Does it have a lock?" Mel asked. "Preferably lockable from the outside."
Frankie shook her head. "You should be ashamed, Grace."
"Why?" the profiler replied. "Don't you have a sense of humour?"
"Not on a Monday morning we don't," Spencer told her, and while his expression was serious, his eyes were smiling.
"What are we doing here anyway, sir?" Mel asked Boyd.
"We live here now. More space, separate interview rooms within our office…." He gestured to the right. "…Separate offices for me and Grace, and more staff to help us. Generally better all round."
"Supposedly," Grace added.
"What about me?" Frankie asked.
"Larger lab, more technicians," Boyd said. "And it's far away from the rest of us."
Frankie grinned. "Great! How do I get there?"
Grace's expression was smug. "Look at the map."
*Burn Out, June 2001*
When Christie asked Grace how old Joe would have been, she hesitated before she answered. Luckily, the DAC just thought she was debating whether to tell him or not and didn't pursue the subject. When he left, Grace let out a long breath she didn't realise she had been holding.
When Grace had started talking to Boyd again, she didn't realise that Boyd had constructed a web of lies to protect himself from the truth. Unfortunately, he had started to believe the false truths and Grace could see they were now doing him more harm than good. But she also knew that trying to break Boyd out of the cycle would cause him irreparable damage. So for now, she lied for him, staying in his world with him just so he wasn't alone. They had both been alone before, and for too long, and Grace was determined it wouldn't happen again.
So if she had to tell the DAC that Joe was older than he actually was when he disappeared, what did it matter? For now, Boyd had to be protected. It was wrong, and all of Grace's instincts as a psychologist screamed at her that she was as insane as some of the patients she had treated, but she couldn't bring herself to hurt her oldest friend. Not again.
"What've I done this time?" Boyd asked, startling Grace, and she looked up to see him stood in her doorway, his arms folded across his chest.
"What are you talking about?"
Boyd smiled. "That look you're wearing, Grace, is reserved especially for me. I think by now I'd recognise it."
Grace sighed. "Ralph was asking me where you were before we took this case, and I told him to go easy on you…because it was Joe's birthday."
Boyd nodded slowly. "And why are you upset with me?"
"Ralph asked how old Joe would have been."
Grace hesitated again. "I told him the age you had given me."
"Eighteen?" Boyd asked, looking confused.
"No, twenty five," Grace replied, frowning a little. "You told me he would have been twenty five this year."
"I know, but…I lied, Grace. You know that," Boyd said. "You know how old Joe really is, how old he was when he disappeared."
Grace shook her head a little, her expression bewildered. "Yes, but I thought…."
Boyd stared at her for a long time. "You thought I was deluding myself, that I had actually started to believe the lies I've been telling people." He ran a hand through his hair. "I know how old Joe is and I know how old he was when he disappeared, but do you really think people would understand? Making him older than he is makes it more acceptable. I know that's a really shitty thing to do on my part, Grace, but it's been necessary. I know I was a bad father; I don't need everyone else giving me grief for it."
"I'm sorry, Boyd. It seems that, once again, I misjudged you."
Boyd smiled. "I'm used to it after all these years. Do you fancy a drink?" he said quickly before she could retort.
"After a comment like that, you owe me one," Grace replied, her eyes flashing dangerously. "And not here."
Boyd's smile softened. "I was thinking the Greek place down the road."
"Oh, you're definitely forgiven," Grace said, smiling back.
*Blind Beggar, June 2001*
"I thought I might find you here."
Boyd turned to look at Grace in mild surprise. "I wasn't exactly hiding."
"Oh." She sounded a little crestfallen. "Shall I go then?"
"No, I was just…. Never mind." Boyd turned his attention back to the empty car park below. He was stood in his office, looking out of the window, his mind clearly elsewhere.
Grace leant against the doorframe with her arms crossed. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"How could someone do that, Grace?" Boyd asked, his voice quiet. "How could someone kill their own son?"
Of all the things he could have said, that was not what she expected. Carefully, moving slowly, Grace entered his room and sat on the couch. She knew it had been a good idea to bully him into buying one each for their offices.
"But Nick wasn't James' son," Grace pointed out gently.
Boyd turned. "What does that have to do anything? Matt wasn't my son, but I'd never dream of killing him."
"You knew that from the beginning, though."
"So? Family is just that, Grace, no matter what shape or form it comes in," Boyd replied, leaning against his desk. She was surprised to see his eyes glistening with unshed tears. "How could a father do that?"
Grace just shrugged slightly. "I don't have an answer for you, Peter. I'm sorry."
"Were you talking about me?" Boyd asked suddenly.
Grace blinked, taken aback at the sudden change in conversation. "Sorry?"
"You said that even the sweetest children can grow up into monsters and we'd still feel drawn to them, feel affection for them," he said. "Or something like that. You were trying to rationalise things for me, as usual."
"I remember the conversation. What made you think I was talking about you?"
"I'm a monster."
"No, you're not," Grace scoffed. "What an absurd notion."
"So you weren't talking about me?" Boyd asked.
Grace smiled. "No, but not because you're not a monster."
"I couldn't have been talking about you because you weren't a sweet child," she told him, smirking broadly.
Boyd stared for a moment before exclaiming, "Grace!" and then laughing with her.
*A Simple Sacrifice, July 2001*
"Can you believe Mel wasn't even alive in '75?" Grace asked, staring at the ceiling.
Boyd grunted. "I can't believe it was over twenty five years ago." He shook his head as he played with the stem of his wine glass.
"It seems like a lifetime ago," Grace murmured, sipping her drink.
They were in Boyd's office after hours, Grace on the couch with her legs tucked underneath her, Boyd sat behind his desk, his tie long since discarded and the first few buttons of his shirt undone.
"So," Boyd said after a while, his tone casual, "What were you doing in '75?"
Grace threw her head back and laughed loudly. "I've been waiting for you to ask me that!"
Boyd smiled. "I didn't think I should in front of everyone else," he said, then grimaced.
Grace sobered instantly. "Stitches?"
He nodded. "Every so often I pull them. Don't worry, I'm fine," he assured her when her expression turned worried.
"You'll tell me if you're not."
"Yes, Grace, I'll tell you."
"Peter, you could have…."
Boyd held his hand up. "Grace, please, we've been over this. I could have and I didn't. That's it. End of story."
"Can I help it if I'm worried about you?" Grace retorted smartly.
"I'd worry if you weren't," Boyd said. "So, are you going to answer the question?"
"What question? Oh, that one." Grace blushed magnificently. "No, I don't think I will."
Boyd raised his eyebrows. "Why, Dr Foley, were you…?"
"No," Grace cut him off quickly. "It's not what you're thinking, although I'm certain what you're thinking is how you did your back in."
Almost as soon as the words left Boyd's mouth, he realised what he had said, but it was far too late to repair the damage. Grace started choking on her drink and Boyd was forced to leave the safety of his desk to help her.
"Sorry," he muttered.
"Don't mention it," Grace replied eventually. "So what *were* you doing?"
Boyd shook his head, settling next to her. "You first."
"Yes," Grace said quickly. "Oh, alright, if you must know, I was part of a drama group."
Boyd just nodded. "And?"
"And I spent most of the year learning Shakespeare only to find I have stage fright," Grace replied. "Needless to say I gave drama up and never set foot onstage again."
"See? That wasn't so bad. What was the role?"
Grace sighed. "Iris in The Tempest. Now you."
Boyd's face darkened. "Not a good idea."
Grace looked surprised. "Why?"
Boyd poured them both another drink, making sure that when he sat back down, there was a good distance between himself and his old friend. "You sure you want to know?"
"Do you remember when Nick Patterson and I arrested your father?" Boyd asked, and Grace nodded. "Well I had to rugby tackle him to the floor and he still resisted arrest. It wasn't until later I realised I'd done something to my back."
"Peter, do you think I'm still angry with you after all this time?" Grace asked him in surprise. "It was over twenty five years ago, and we've both done worse to each other." She shifted across the couch until their thighs and arms were touching, then she laid her head on his shoulder. "Is your back better now?"
"Thanks to Annie," Boyd replied, resting his cheek lightly against Grace's hair.
She sighed somewhat contentedly. "Good."
*Every Breath You Take, July 2001*
"Are you going to tell me where we're going?" Boyd asked irritably.
"No," Grace replied.
"Grace, I'm tired."
"Why are you being grumpy with me?"
Grace sighed and looked at him. "Because you won't shut up. It's a surprise for your birthday, alright?"
"I don't like surprises," Boyd grumbled.
Grace rolled her eyes. "You sound like the Grinch. Come on!"
Three hours later and Boyd was busy gloating, very loudly, that he had been right and Grace's plan had been a bad idea.
"Seriously, what made you think I'd want to go to see a live band?" he shouted as they walked along the river.
"I didn't realise it was going to be so loud!" Grace yelled back, drawing strange looks from a few passer-bys.
Boyd turned his head sideways a little to look at her. "That didn't answer my question."
Grace looked back. "You don't have any idea?"
Boyd stared back ahead, his hands thrust deep into his coat pocket, his scarf wrapped around his neck and his collar up to ward off the chill in the air. "It's cold," he noted, thinking that such a temperature in July should have been illegal.
"It always is on your birthday," Grace replied.
"It's not my birthday."
Grace cuffed him on the shoulder. "Close enough. If you remember rightly, we were a little busy on the actual day."
"We went to see a band. We walked down to the river and sat by it," Boyd said suddenly and quietly. "We got cold and I hadn't brought a jacket for you to borrow. So you borrowed my arms instead." He paused. "You thought I'd forgotten."
Grace slipped her arm through his and held onto it. "I wondered."
"How could I forget? You broke up with me not long after."
Grace sighed. "I don't want to talk about that, Boyd. Not today. Can't we just enjoy this time together?"
Boyd nodded and flexed his arm, effectively squeezing hers. "No, Grace, I never forgot that day, just like I never forgot any time I spent with you, both good and bad."
"You say such nice things sometimes, Peter," she replied, leaning her head against his shoulder.
"At least we've got jackets this time," he muttered after a while, earning him a light whack on the stomach followed by his favourite sound in the world; Grace laughing.