Lestrade glances at his watch and then huffs out a sigh, leaning against the wall. The Americans are running late. He taps his fingers against the wall and then makes a conscious effort to stop fidgeting. He hasn’t worked an international case before, and frankly he’s not sure why this one’s been dropped into his lap, except the Americans requested the original investigator stay on the case. So on the case he’s staying.
He glances up at two people walk in with a familiar brisk pace, and then quickly moves to intercept them.
“FBI?” he asks. The woman looks surprised and the smallest bit gratified, while the man she’s with immediately holds out his hand.
“Agent Francis,” he says.
“Detective Inspector Lestrade,” Lestrade returns. He looks back at the woman just in time to see her expression shift into an easy, professional smile.
“Agent Dunham,” she says, shaking his hand. “So, you want to show us the site?”
The site in question is—well, Lestrade’s not too sure what it is, which is kind of the problem. It’s a room that’s pitch black, no matter what sort of lights they try to shine in there. And they’ve lost three people in it—two civilians, which started this whole mess, and an officer going in to investigate, which officially kicked this up to the top of the list.
The room’s not large, either, which makes the whole thing more skin-crawling. The building plans have it as a 10’x14’ office.
Dunham shines her torch into the darkness, but she doesn’t look too surprised that it doesn’t penetrate the black. Certainly not as surprised as Lestrade felt when he first saw it.
“So what’s the FBI doing working stuff like this?” he asks, leaning his shoulder against the wall, but careful to keep an eye on the black stuff to make sure it stays in the room. Dunham’s lips twist a little. “You two Mulder and Scully?”
“Funny man,” Francis says.
“Charlie,” Dunham says, softly scolding, and Francis huffs out a sigh. “We get that a lot,” she says, glancing back at Lestrade. She looks back at the darkness, frowning, and then has to lift a hand to cover a yawn. “Long flight,” she apologizes. “Have you got a rope or anything?”
“Afraid not,” he says.
“Hmm,” she says. “How attached are you two to your ties?”
Around the same time Dunham’s knotting the ties together and then tying them around her torch, Lestrade starts maybe noticing how gorgeous the woman is. So he likes them smart and complicated, so everyone’s got their own tastes.
She throws the torch into the darkness. No light is visible, so she starts reeling in her makeshift rope.
Except the second tie—Lestrade’s tie, to be exact—has been ripped in half. No more torch, and no more tie.
“Ah,” she says, wincing a little and shooting a quick, guilty look up at Lestrade. “Sorry about that.”
“Eh,” he says, shrugging. “I don’t like ties anyway.”
“Huh,” she says, keeping her eyes fixed on the darkness. “You wear them pretty well.”
Francis looks suspiciously as if he’s about to start laughing, but Dunham stares him down.
“But really,” Lestrade says a bit later, as Francis fires a flare into the room, “what’s going on here?”
Dunham flashes him a grin. “Does it look like we’ve got this figured out?” she asks.
The darkness eats the flare, and Lestrade’s got to admit that no, no it doesn’t.
Lestrade’s sitting on the floor opposite the room, watching Dunham take readings. A few loose strands of hair fall into her face, and she huffs out a sigh. She pulls her hair out of it’s tie, and it falls forward, framing her face. It’s the sort of hair a man wants to run his fingers through, Lestrade thinks, and then snorts at himself.
She’s already tying it back up, kneeling on the ground as she works.
Francis comes back down the hall, and when he meets Lestrade’s eyes he’s got a knowing look on his face. Bastard.
“This doesn’t make sense,” Dunham says. “It’s showing a higher density inside the room than should be possible.”
Lestrade’s always hated the shows with the technobabble, but he tries to keep up as Dunham calls a Walter Bishop back in New York. So maybe he wants to see this through, or something. A little outside of homicide, but a man likes a change of pace.
By the time the darkness starts seeping into the hallway, Lestrade’s rethinking his position on a lot of things.
Like never bothering to take his vacation days.
He’d be lying if he said he completely understood how a rogue scientist – by stealing and using some American scientist’s research – managed to turn himself into some sort of dark, energy-consuming entity. Frankly, it sounds like a load of fake science.
He’s lost his coat, too, and his shirt in the process. Francis keeps making Kirk cracks, and if they weren’t all sprawled out on the roof, muscles aching and recovering from being slightly electrocuted, he and Francis would be having words. Right now he really isn’t too sure he can manage to crawl that far, though.
“So that’s what you do?” he asks, later, once they’ve recovered enough to start staggering down the stairs and preparing to phone their respective bosses. (For once, Lestrade’s really glad of this being need-to-know.)
“Pretty much,” she says. She glances at him, though, and her eyes are dancing mischievously. “Usually with less clothing casualties.”
“Mmm,” he says. “At least they fell to a worthy adversary. Although usually I need at least dinner, first.”
Dunham leans against the stairwell and raises an eyebrow.
“Is that so?” she says.
Francis makes a smart remark as he passes between them, and Dunham flips him off affectionately. “Case closed,” she adds thoughtfully.
“No conflict of interest,” he says, his voice even.
“Olivia,” she says.
“Get a room!” Francis shouts up from the next floor down.