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Ordinary World

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I turned on the lights, the TV and the radio
Still I can’t escape the ghost of you

Mickey flicks off the radio and turns into the familiar car park at Sun Hill, then sits for a moment, his stomach churning. In a minute he’ll have to go in and face people. He isn’t ready. He’ll never be ready.

It’s the night shift, he reminds himself. There won’t be that many people about. He checks his reflection in the rear-view mirror: he’s wearing his best suit. The bruise on his forehead from where Delaney had hit him has finally faded, the cut healed over. He doesn’t look too tired. To an outsider, he looks completely normal, together even.

He’d known that working for the Canley branch of MIT would bring him into contact with his old colleagues at some point. Gary’s dad’s disappearance had just brought about the inevitable. He tries to focus on what Gary must be feeling right now. Personally he’d be delighted if his old man disappeared without trace, but Gary must be going through hell.

He knows he should move quickly. There’s no hope of finding Mr Best alive, not with all the blood they’ve found, but he needs to get on and interview the suspect. He wonders who will be the first person he sees when he goes in. Bumping into Jack wouldn’t be too bad, they’ve seen each other a few times since Mickey transferred, but he can’t face the thought of seeing Okaro or Sam or Ramini or Reg... or Smithy.

Minutes pass and he realises he can’t sit here anymore. His boss will be calling soon for an update. He gets out of the car and strides towards the front desk, ready to show everyone just how together he is.

...

Jack is back with Rachel. Jack is back with Rachel. He can’t believe it. He’d thought he’d managed to get through to Jack, that him calling things off with Rachel had been the one good thing to come out of... what happened. Now he’s talking about settling down with the GBH-committing prostitute and a baby that might not even be his.

“You can forget playing happy families with your tart, Guv,” Mickey says harshly, wanting to provoke Jack, wanting Jack to lose his temper like he would have done in the past, but Jack doesn’t react at all. Because Mickey is damaged goods now and Jack won’t even raise his voice to him.

Talking to Jack doesn’t work, so he pulls Rachel aside, much to Tony’s despair. “Why do you hate me so much?” Rachel asks quietly, one hand on her pregnant belly. “Because of Delaney? I swear Mickey, if I’d known what he was going to do I’d never have asked for your help...”

So Jack had told her, of all people. As if it isn’t bad enough having all of Sun Hill and half the Met knowing.

“I don’t hate you,” he says, although at that moment it isn’t true. He knows it is irrational; they’d both been victims of Delaney after all. “I just don’t want Jack to lose his career... and if you really cared about him, you wouldn’t either.”

And something he said must have gone in, because Rachel’s barrister doesn’t ask Jack about their affair and Jack’s career is saved. Rachel gets let off with a suspended sentence and Mickey can see how relieved Jack is.

He can’t feel the relief himself, not even for Jack keeping his job, because he knows that in a month or so he’ll be back here again, giving evidence against Delaney this time. He’s been in the witness box dozens of times in his career, but this time it will be different.

This time it will be Mickey on trial.