Strange stood there, glaring at where Morse had been, he didn’t break stance, every fibre was abuzz with the accusation Morse had flung at him. He let out the breath he hadn’t realised he’d been holding and collapsed into the nearest chair, he lifted his arm to wipe his brow only to realise he was shaking. Strange barked out a laugh, him shaking, it was ridiculous, he’d fought with dangerous and violent men, he’d seen people dead from awful wounds and though it turned his stomach to think about it, he’d never found himself shaking. He ghosted his hand over the files Morse had thrown down, picking it up gently he looked at it and tried to make sense of it.
It wasn’t that out of the ordinary for county to give no go orders, they loved trying to throw their weight around; it was all for appearance sake, Jim Strange wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box but he knew that much. Besides they were always so friendly at the meetings, everyone was friendly, regardless of rank, he could get to know people and they could get to know him beyond a three mark fail on an exam, they could see the potential. Jim sighed angrily, he didn’t really know what was happening, he was given an order, they told him how important it was, how very important it was, perhaps there was an extra nod and wink, but to him it was just an order.
But he’d known instantly it wasn’t the normal kind of order, that the Masons were involved, how’d he have known? Morse understood things, he made connections that Jim could barely keep up with even after Morse explained them.
Strange pulled down at his cheeks as he ran his hands over his face letting out yet another exasperated sigh, trying to make sense of it all in his head, this divided loyalties business, surely a copper is a copper?
You follow the law and you make sure that others do the same too, simple, and when things get a little tougher, a little more confusing you’ve got your guv’ who’ll set you straight, and you trust them, because they get it, they’re a copper too.
Leaning his head back and staring at the ceiling now Strange sprawled awkwardly in the chair, before remembering that anyone might walk in and could take offence at his slack posture. Righting himself he couldn’t help but look back towards the file on the desk, who thought pieces of paper could be so threatening? Any other time he would’ve asked Morse for advice, the first person he’d turn to, because he was smart, he understood things, he’d look at a puzzle, take the tiniest details the bare facts and weave a story, a plot that more often than not held true.
So Strange tried to do the same, his orders were not to go to the house, which may or may be Mason related, did that matter really? He gave his head a shake, regardless, County gave the orders that’s what they were. Morse wanted people, people he could trust because Thursday was in trouble, and even though he’d been denied Morse still trusted him enough to give him the only solid evidence to the accusations, because Morse thought he may not be coming back. Which meant Morse was in danger too, almost certainly if County were involved, they hated Morse, no, it was the Masons that hated Morse. But that’d only be true if Morse was right, he could really just be going to walk into a major operation and mess all their plans. It was Morse or County, or was it Morse or the Masons?
But it was Morse.
GOD DAMIT, of course it was Morse!
Strange leapt out of the chair, his realisation spurring him into action, he grabbed the files trying to decide who he could trust, where could he put the evidence without it being lost? Or should he keep it with him? Just in case?
He hurried his way down the hallway, while in his mind thoughts were falling over each other to be heard.
How could he doubt him? The man he always trusted? Envied for his intellect, but not for his stature or his moods. They were friends. Morse needed help and he came to him, because he trusted him, Morse had once told him he’d have to choose, well he’d chosen.
He was a copper.
He trusted Morse.
He only hoped it wasn’t too late.
Bright stepped out of the house quickly not quite rushing towards the sounds of struggle, the sounds of Morse being pulled away and arrested. Images of the Assistant Chief Constable and that poor woman still filled his mind fighting for space as the other half of him was plagued with concern and guilt for Fred Thursday, the barely living body of Fred Thursday. His words of comfort earlier were just as much for Morse as himself.
But Morse was being pulled away and shoved into a police car, what had the blasted boy done now? He’d only just watched two senior officers get shot and that poor woman blast her brains out, surely this new matter could wait.
He’d hardly had a chance to speak to Morse to establish exactly what had happened and why it had happened, high-ranked corruption yes, he knew that much, tales of torture and other slander against highly respected people Thursday had thought to tell him, to warn him about this. But there wasn’t enough evidence, not for the people they were up against, he thought they’d dropped the matter, let it go, turned their focussed on the here and now, who, not why. He should have known better, DI Thursday was not known for turning a letting go and Morse, his tales of fancy were presented with greater care and respect of late, but they were still just that, tales of fancy, not enough solid evidence, conjecture and hearsay did nothing for convictions. The boy sought out connections when there were none to be found and searched for the why when the how had already been established. It frustrated him, his insolence, his lack of experience, but Thursday was right, he was smart, he was hard-working and he was quick thinking.
But above all Morse was his officer.
His responsibility – it was up to him to decide what he did next, not these buffoons with no respect for procedure, he should have been informed of what they intended to do, not drag the man off his crime scene, Morse was both a witness and an officer.
Lifting his glasses Bright wiped his eyes gently before turning round and looking for the constable that brought him to the scene.
“Yes sir!” the big man answered startled.
Slow, but trustworthy Bright thought to himself not unkindly. “I have to attend to County police and discuss their conduct, you DO NOT let any of their men into this house do you hear me?”
“Yes sir, no County police sir”
“Under any circumstances” Bright added.
“I understand sir” Strange hesitated “may I ask, where’s Morse, sir?”
“That is what I’m going to speak to County about, I’ll leave you to it constable” said Bright dismissing Strange, leaving the man confused and inexplicably sad, he knew in his gut that something was wrong.
As Bright drove off in the car toward County police he muttered to himself, he didn’t know why Morse was being dragged away, or who had authorised it, but he did know one thing for sure, they damn well hadn’t followed procedure “I’ll soon fix that” he muttered with a stab of determination. He may not like the boy or approve wholly of Thursday’s leniency, but when it came to Morse, when it came to anything damn it, Bright knew himself to always do things properly.