Humphrey had tasked Jack with tidying up Room 606, whilst he went off to the relevant departments to gather the paperwork, ready to sign off on the case. The room felt smaller when Jack entered, and it felt strange to be in here without Humphrey at his side. He had to get used to this, Jack thought. Now that the case was over, he wouldn't be working with Humphrey again. It was a bittersweet feeling because although he had loved being able to spend time with Humphrey at work again, it meant that today was the first day of their relationship.
Jack took out the flat-pack box from under his arm and assembled it on the table. He began arranging the files back in their relevant folders and made sure everything was labelled and filed chronologically, dumping them into the bottom of the box when he knew it was done. Then, he walked over to the whiteboard and took down the pictures of May and Harry West, and rubbed off all of the words on the board until there was nothing left. From his rucksack, he took out the screenshots and photographs and put them into the box too, as well as the USB stick on it with all of the audio files from Harry's interview… the one that had turned into his confession…
On some level, it felt wrong that everything about the Baby T case had been reduced to one box. So much had happened during their time on the case, professionally and personally too, and above all else, a little boy had lost his life, his body perhaps never to be recovered unless Harry disclosed where at the trial. He couldn't promise May West a proper funeral for her son, which was one of the many things Jack felt dissatisfied about even though they were closing the case.
When the room was clear, Jack picked up the box and tucked it under his arm, taking one last long look at Room 606. In a lot of ways, it had been Jack and Humphrey's haven, their safe place where their love had grown over the course of the case. It had been safe for Jack to fail here, on his first case back at the Met, where Humphrey had caught him every time and righted him.
And for Humphrey, he had discovered so much about himself in this room. There was still a part of Jack that felt guilty for disrupting what he assumed had once been a happy relationship between Humphrey and Martha, even if on some level he knew he had done them both a favour. It was selfish of Jack to want Humphrey, but Humphrey returning his affections was entirely out of his control. He had to remember that, and be thankful for it, also.
Jack turned off the light, content with how he'd left things, and walked out of Room 606 for probably the last time.
He headed along the corridor and onto the sixth floor, where the incessant ring of the telephones and bantering chatter filled his sense. As he walked towards his desk, Jack saw Humphrey sitting at his computer, typing away, his head above the others thanks to his height. Jack plonked the box down on his computer chair and stood over Humphrey whilst he finished his sentence.
"How did it go?" Humphrey asked, turning in his chair, and looking up at him.
"It's all gone," Jack shrugged. "It's like we were never even there."
Humphrey looked sad for a moment and then stood up from his chair to stretch. "But we know we were there," he replied. "That's what's most important."
Jack desperately wanted to tickle Humphrey's tummy, on the skin that was exposed whilst he stretched but thought better of it. He looked around the office nervously to see if anyone was watching them. Humphrey caught his eye.
"Jack," he breathed, looking at him. "Just kiss me, will you?"
"Shh!" Jack said, looking around again. "People will hear us."
"I don't care," Humphrey told him, inching closer, looking at him lovingly.
"We have to think about our jobs," Jack told him.
"The case is over," Humphrey shrugged. "All we have to do is sign the paperwork and hand it in and that's it."
"But what if Gerry sees us?"
Humphrey scoffed. "Let me worry about Gerry," he said, reaching behind him for the paperwork. "Sign the paperwork and kiss me, Jack Mooney, for the love of God," he laughed, handing it out to Jack.
Jack smiled and picked his pen up from his desk, taking the file and signing his name at the bottom with a flourish of his pen. "There," he said, handing it back to Humphrey. "Happy now?"
"Not yet," Humphrey said cheekily, raising his eyebrows.
Jack blushed for a moment, knowing this moment would change everything and even though they had officially signed off on the case, Gerry still wouldn't be pleased. Nonetheless, he couldn't ignore the rush of excitement he felt every time he kissed Humphrey and leaned into him, kissing him ardently, firmly, with purpose, waiting for the gasps and whispers to happen as they locked lips… but nothing happened.
Jack and Humphrey broke their kiss but lingered for a moment, waiting as if Gerry would summon them into his office at any moment. As they stepped back and looked around, they realised no one had noticed them at all. Everyone carried on typing and chatting, generally going about their day. It was if they were both invisible.
"I'll go and hand this into Gerry," said Humphrey, shuffling past Jack, giving his bum a squeeze as he did so.
"Behave yourself," Jack told him, watching him go.
"Noodles in Chinatown are on me tonight," Humphrey called over his shoulder.
Jack rolled his eyes and smirked as Humphrey pushed open the glass door to Gerry's office and put the paperwork down on his desk with a defining thud.
When work was done, Humphrey and Jack walked once more from New Scotland Yard towards Chinatown, walking through Trafalgar Square, stopping to take selfies in front of the fountains. Humphrey held up his phone, poised for a photo, his arm around Jack who nuzzled into his embrace and snapped away.
"That's a nice one," said Humphrey, showing Jack.
"Yeah, I like that one," he replied.
"I'll send it to Siobhan," said Humphrey, typing away. "She can join us for dinner if she wants to when she's finished work."
Jack smiled, wrapping his arms around Humphrey's slight middle whilst he texted.
"Can I put it on Facebook?" Humphrey asked, after a pause.
Jack looked up at him. "Do you want to put it on Facebook?"
"I do if you do."
Jack smiled. "I do," he said, nuzzling Humphrey's chest. "But let me call the Caribbean first. I know that everyone will want the full context," he laughed, thinking about how Ruby would actually have a stroke if she didn't know all the details immediately.
"Okay," grinned Humphrey. "Does this mean we can be in a relationship on Facebook too?"
"Yes," Jack smiled, withdrawing from Humphrey, and holding out his hand to be held. "We can be in a relationship on Facebook and in real life too."
"I should probably call Martha first," said Humphrey, gravely, taking Jack's hand and walking along. "She should hear it from me, not find out on Facebook."
"She'll understand," Jack said, giving Humphrey's hand a squeeze. "Even if she doesn't right now, she will eventually."
"I know," nodded Humphrey, pulling Jack under his arm and kissing him on the top of his head. "I've got something to tell you by the way," he muttered against Jack's head.
"What?" asked Jack, looking up at him.
"I spoke to Gerry when I handed him the paperwork," said Humphrey, looking smug. "I told him how well you'd done on this case and how I was really impressed with you. I wasn't lying though," he added when Jack widened his eyes. "It's the truth. I said it was like you'd never been away, and I told him how I think you should join Brianna on the eighth floor."
"Are you serious?" asked Jack with a shaky laugh. "Have you gone mad?"
"Nope," laughed Humphrey, pulling Jack in tighter. "He said he appreciated the feedback and for your next assignment he's going to transfer you up there."
"And this wasn't at all a selfish move on your part?" Jack scoffed, a smile playing across his lips.
"It was slightly selfish," Humphrey grinned. "I'll admit. Because it means that if we're not working on the same floor, we don't have to worry about our relationship."
"So, I can do this?" Jack asked, curving his hand around the back of Humphrey's head, and pulling him into a passionate kiss whilst they walked.
"You can do it anywhere you like," Humphrey told him.
"How about in the stationery cupboard?"
"Mmm, I like the sound of that," Humphrey retorted, his voice sensual and breathy. "And the canteen."
"The canteen?" laughed Jack.
"And back in Room 606," said Humphrey.
Jack regarded Humphrey for a moment and smiled at him, remembering what he felt when he packed up that room. "Definitely Room 606," he told him.
Later that night, when Jack returned home, his belly full of noodles and red wine, Siobhan was sitting on the sofa reading. She was curled up on her end of the sofa, hunched over, almost in a ball, reading the latest crime novel from the Tesco's chart. He hovered over her. She evidently hadn't heard him come in.
"Hi, love," he said.
"Hi, Dad," she replied, not looking up from her book.
Jack smiled at her as she read deeply. "Did you get Humphrey's text?"
Siobhan snapped out of her book haze and smiled up at him. "I loved it," she said, widening her eyes to adjust them. "You both look so happy."
Jack grinned and sat down next to Siobhan on the sofa. "We signed off on the case today."
"You solved it?"
Jack nodded. "We did. I don't feel entirely satisfied though, because there's a lot I don't understand, but I'm trying to celebrate nonetheless."
"Will you miss working with Humphrey?" Siobhan asked.
"I think Humphrey and I will be seeing quite enough of each other," he smirked.
Siobhan adjusted herself on the sofa and inched nearer to Jack. "Dad, I know you've just got in but there's something I want to talk to you about," she said, putting down her book on the coffee table.
"What is it?" he asked, feeling slightly concerned in a way that only a Dad could on hearing his daughter say that sentence.
"Me and Hannah, you know, from school, were thinking about… moving into a place together. She was going to ask her friend Lia from uni to come and join us as well. I've met her a few times and she seems really nice," Siobhan explained. "She showed me a three-bedroomed flat in Walthamstow on Right Move, but I said I wanted to talk to you about it first. You're not upset, are you?"
Jack smiled. "Of course not. I knew I couldn't keep you forever," he said, with a knowing nod. "You don't need my blessing, love."
"But will you be okay without me?" she asked.
Jack pulled her into a tight hug, amazed at the job that he and Kathleen had done, raising such a sensible, thoughtful, kind kid. He held onto her extra tightly as he thought about Tommy West, thinking about May lying in the hospital bed knowing she'll never see her son again. "I'll be fine, baby girl," he told her, kissing her head. "Just promise me you'll call."
"Of course, I will, Dad," she replied.
Siobhan pulled back and Jack tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. "Maybe when I'm gone Humphrey could move in?" she half-asked.
Jack shrugged. "Maybe," he agreed, thinking of how he would float the idea to him when he came round for dinner tomorrow. "But you don't have to worry about me, love," he told her. "I know you will regardless because I worry about you too even though you tell me not to. But I really am doing okay, you know that right?"
Siobhan nodded. "I'll let Hannah know I'd like to have a viewing," she said, grabbing her phone that was next to the book and beginning to text.
"Have you eaten?" Jack asked, getting up.
"No," said Siobhan, putting her phone to sleep with a click. "I didn't really feel hungry."
"How about I make you some of Mooney's famous meatballs?" Jack asked, with his hands on his hips.
Siobhan's face spread into a wide grin. "That would be perfect," she replied, grabbing her book again.
Jack made his way into the kitchen, filling up the kettle and flicking it on the make a cup of tea whilst he worked. He smiled to himself as he got out the pots and pans from the cupboard, thinking about how for once he was excited for the future, ready to take on whatever life threw at him.
In his back pocket, his phone buzzed. Jack took it out and swiped up, showing a text from Humphrey. Jack opened it. It was a picture of a packet of jam donuts taken in an empty shopping trolley. Humphrey had obviously gone to the Tesco Express next to Tottenham Hale for some snacks. It was accompanied by a message.
Thinking of you xxx
Jack smiled and typed back.
Save one for me xxx