♫ We could be timeless,
We could be classic,
We could be stars,
We could be rose gold ♪
It's on the drive back to the station after visiting that stupid primary school teacher that Karin Parke realises she might have a thing for Blue Colson. Staring out of the window, humming along to an old CD as the golden hour sun illuminates her unrelentingly focused expression, Karin swears the younger detective looks like something out of a movie scene. (She then remembers she used to say the same about her ex-wife, so she cuts off that thought before it spirals and focuses her eyes on the road.)
"Didn't really have you down as the Pentatonix type." Blue quips suddenly, grabbing Karin's attention once again.
"There's a lot of things you don't know about me yet, young lady." Karin surprises herself with her own response - yet? Young lady? Christ, she's tired.
"My dad used to listen to this song."
"Your dad? Maybe I'm older than I thought." Her fucking dad.
There's a pause, and Karin can almost hear the cogs turning in her shadow's mind. Eventually, Blue replies, "Karin Parke, Detective Chief Inspector, 38-year-old divorced badass with a secret liking of ancient a-capella music-"
"Are you finished?"
"-and an unmatched hatred for flavoured coffee."
"There's just no need for it! If you're over 25 and you order a rainbow frappucino with whippy cream and extra sprinkles, you need to be put on a register!"
The car goes silent. Blue raises her eyebrows at Karin omnisciently.
"Shut up." Karin dismisses, but her smile betrays her.
The rest of the drive is fairly quiet, both women already tired from the morning's events, but they both notice the car air hanging thick with something new, something hopeful amidst the technological dystopia just outside the car. When they eventually reach the station, neither Karin nor Blue find themselves wanting to leave the car and return to reality.
After Clara Meades dies, Blue takes it hard. Her face freezes numb and unmoving; she's in shock, and there's nothing Karin can do about it except offer her spare bedroom and a shoulder to cry on. They, of course, can't sleep, so instead they end up curled up on Karin's couch watching a sitcom at 2am. For a split second the older detective wonders if they could make this a regular thing, but immediately mentally slaps herself given the current situation.
Next to her, Blue abruptly sits up, grabs the remote and mutes the TV. "What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you?"
"Fucking hell," Karin sighs, "probably my divorce. So much paperwork and angst and hassle just to decide who's been the least of a cunt and gets to keep the apartment." She wouldn't usually talk to anyone like this with anyone - let alone a colleague - but Karin decides they could both use a break from work talk for the moment.
"Yeah, it was. It's been three years, and I still hear that twangy voice in the back of my head talking about her 'Godly' personal trainer. Twat."
Oh, shit. In all the madness and chaos of the previous day, Karin forgets Blue doesn't know about her sexuality yet. It usually didn't faze Karin, if anyone found out - she'd decided at a young age there were bigger issues in the world than who she decided to shag on weekends - but Blue is different. She's always been different.
"Um, yeah. Her name was Sarah." she tenses, trying to avoid dwelling on her sexuality for longer than a second.
Blue pauses, as if in thought. "You know, I've never known a Sarah who isn't a bitch," she finally remarks, and with that the tension dissipates from the room as suddenly as it descended. At once, both women are acutely aware of the amount of space (or lack thereof) between them.
Karin laughs, relieved. "Me neither. I received her new wedding invitation the other day - 'Sarah and Jason would like to invite you...' and all that shit."
"What did you do?" Blue wonders aloud.
"Sent it back to their home address with some choice words written on the back. Safe to say neither of them will be bothering me again."
Blue laughs melodically. The easy-going conversation continues for around another hour, before it slows and Blue's head goes limp on Karin's shoulder as she falls asleep. Karin smiles softly at the younger woman, slowly manoeuvring her way off the couch without waking her. Grabbing a blanket from her armchair, she places it over her carefully and steps back to take in the view of the woman below her. As she turns away to go to her bedroom, Karin hears a quiet voice from the living room:
"Night, Blue," she replies. And Karin knows all too well it isn't wise to fall in love, least of all with a girl who's probably straight, but as her head falls onto her pillow that night, she knows she needs Blue more than she'd ever admit.
June 2nd, 2029. It's been weeks since hundreds of thousands of innocent people met their agonising fate. The youngest victim was nine, they said. Nine. Not even old enough to witness the turning of a decade. Families are grieving, witnesses in counselling, graveyards literally overflowing. Millions of people across the country, either dead or wishing they were. Karin Parke falls into the second category. On the outside, she's functioning quite well, turning up to interview after interview, giving statements to the NCA and her colleagues, phoning up her family to tell them she's okay and giving her condolences for the deaths of old family friends.
Inside her flat, all she does is cry.
Her thoughts go from one extreme to another, guilt to anger to fear to numbness and back again in a vicious cycle. The department-mandated shrink she has to see every week reckons she has stress-induced anorexia, but Karin refuses to think about it for fear of selfishness. Every moment she isn't mourning the nation she knew only last month, she's thinking about Blue, who hasn't been heard from for weeks. For all she knew, the trainee detective could be dead.
Knock, knock, knock.
A sharp rap on her door pulls Karin from her thoughts abruptly. Hurriedly, she gets up from her bed to splash her face with water and pull some decent clothes on before jogging into her hallway, confused as to who could be at the door.
Knock, knock, knock.
"I'm coming!" Karin sniffs, approaching the door slowly. As she turns the handle she's starting to regret answering it at all, until familiar blonde hair comes into view and Karin nearly bursts into tears right then and there.
Karin wonders if she's hallucinating. It's not unlikely, given her current mental state. She blinks once, twice, and sure enough, Blue Colson is still stood at her doorway in khaki-brown jeans and a baggy University of Cambridge hoodie.
"You look so normal." Karin states, dry-mouthed.
"You look like a walking corpse." Blue replies, half-joking.
"Steady," Karin teases, but her heart's not in it.
There's another moment of mutual staring before Karin shakes her head dismissively, stepping aside to allow Blue room to enter. Karin watches Blue walk straight into her living room, closing the door behind her and quickly following to make sure she doesn't lose her again. If this is a dream, she doesn't want to ever wake up.
She finds Blue sat on her sofa, holding out a protein bar and a bottle of water. "Eat," she commands, and Karin begrudgingly takes the food and sits down beside her.
"Where the fuck have you been?" Karin accuses, suddenly feeling quite angry.
Blue audibly sighs. "I've been working on something. Took some equipment from the station, managed to get the NCA off my case. Listen, if I'd known you'd got this bad-"
"Oh, spare me the sympathy, Blue. You know better than anyone what it feels like to kill a twentieth of the fucking population, but no, do continue telling me why you've been MIA for the last month from the top of your high fucking horse."
"I found Scholes." Blue all but whispers.
Karin's head snaps up. "What?"
"Tracked him down using some old contacts from digital forensics. I know everything from where he bought coloured contact lenses from to the hotel he's staying in." Blue takes a deep breath. "I wanted to come and see you before I leave."
"Before you leave?"
"I'm going after him, Karin. I have to. You said it yourself, I killed so many people-"
"You know I didn't mean it like that! Leave it the government to clean up their own mess!"
"And let them mess it up even more?"
"You can't just up and leave, Blue! That kind of thing leaves a paper trail!"
"I'll do whatever it takes! All of those people need justice!"
"And what if I need you?"
Silence. Blue meets Karin's eyes carefully, the weight of the older detective's confession settling on her shoulders.
Karin Parke, Detective Chief Inspector, 38-year-old divorced badass, undeniably beautiful, but irreparably broken.
They aren't sure who leans in first, but their lips meet in a torrent of emotions.
The kiss is passionate and needy, the result of months of mutual pining and confusion, a hasty blockade against life outside themselves. It isn't perfect by any means, it's too inconsistent and rushed, but it's loving and it's necessary and it's theirs.
You make me feel young again, Karin thinks.
You make me feel safe, Blue thinks.
They've only just shifted positions so they can get closer to each other when a jarring phone alarm sound shocks the two detectives back to reality.
Blue averts her gaze to the floor, conflicted. "It's time for me to go."
"Oh." Karin replies coldly.
"Wait for me?"
And wait she does.