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Conundrum

Posted on 2007.11.14 at 13:32
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
Tags: , , , , ,
This is for lozenger8

Words: 912
pairing/characters: Sam, Oswald. gen.
Disclaimer: the usual
Rating: white (oh,maybe green, there's dead stuff in it)

Notes: rather swiftly written, so apologies for any lack of polish. Just hope it helps to brighten your day slightly.



Sam, unusually, had requested to sit in on the post-mortem. Normally, Oswald would have politely turned down such a request – he preferred to work alone, and in his experience the presence of unskilled police officers tended to lead to fatuous observations and a level of black humour that he was, frankly, less than comfortable with.

But DI Tyler was a different case, in a way Oswald couldn’t define. For one thing, he seemed to have a level of knowledge that surpassed not only that of his peers, but on some points that of Oswald himself. And Oswald, who prided himself on being extremely good at his job, found that intriguing.

So Oswald worked on in peace, and Sam sat motionless nearby, sometimes watching intently, at other times lost in thoughts that Oswald couldn’t begin to imagine.

So completely focussed was the pathologist on the task at hand that he almost jumped when the officer finally broke the silence.

“Don’t you find it – frustrating?”

“Hmm?” Oswald’s attention remained concentrated on the intricate bit of slicing he was struggling to complete.

A pause. Oswald glanced over at Sam, eyebrows raised in polite enquiry. Sam shook his head, frowning.

“You know. All this. Trying to work in medieval conditions, with dodgy equipment and…”

Oswald smiled slightly. “I’ll have you know, this facility is state of the art.”

“Unappreciated by the people you’re trying to help, theories ignored, arguments instead of respect. Using every skill you know to sort out the evidence, and then getting told by people with no training that they know better than you.” There was a note of desperation in Sam’s voice that indicated a subtext Oswald could only guess at.

Oswald returned his attention to the corpse laid out in front of him, allowing Sam’s words to wander through his mind, considering his response. When he spoke, he did so without looking up, addressed his words towards the body on the table.

“You know, Inspector, I can say with complete honesty that I’ve never found it frustrating. Challenging, maybe, but who doesn’t want to be challenged? Mostly, it brings me peace.”

He gestured forward with the scalpel. “People like this unfortunate girl have been subjected to great injustice. If I can help to set that right, then I consider it a duty to do so. My satisfaction comes from that, not from the reactions of others. Like – ah! Look, Inspector.”

His voice took on an infectiously excited tone, and Sam, jolted out of his own musings, hurried over to find the source of this enthusiasm.

“Now then. This young lady, pulled out of the canal. No blood, no obvious marks, one might reasonably assume she had drowned, but there was no water in her lungs. Leading one to surmise…?”

Sam responded dutifully. “…that she was dumped in the canal after her death.”

He earned a beam. “Quite so. Which begs the further question…?”

This was beginning to feel a bit like school. “…what was the cause of death?”

“Exactly! Do you see, Inspector? A puzzle. And an essential one to solve, if there is to be any chance of catching her killer, if indeed there was a killer. And I am in the unique position of being able to solve this puzzle. See here.”

He lifted out part of a lung, holding it up as a gruesome, dripping trophy.

“There’s significant damage here, inflicted by some sort of long sharp instrument penetrating from the side. Can you see?”

Sam peered at the offering for a couple of seconds, finally nodding. “Oh yeah. I see it.”

“I would hazard a guess at a knitting needle. Or possibly a skewer. Something thin, certainly, but long enough to penetrate a considerable way into the lung, causing catastrophic failure. In which case…”

He lifted the victim’s left arm. “Yes, there we are. A tiny puncture hole, right in the pit of the arm. Masked initially by hair growth. Very little blood, which is interesting. And a clean entry, so it’s unlikely there was any struggle. The victim must have been taken completely unawares. And in a position where access to this spot would have been easily accomplished.”

Sam was fascinated, examining the physical evidence closely, then straightening up to meet Oswald’s cheerfully expectant gaze.

“She was asleep?”

“Excellent, Inspector. That would be my best guess. If I were you, I’d concentrate my investigation on the domestic front. The chances are high that your killer is close to home on this one.”

The new knowledge brought about a startling change in Inspector Tyler. The morose figure that had been slumped on the bench just a few short minutes ago had vanished, replaced by an animated, alert officer clearly itching to get out and apply this insight to the other facts of the case.

Sam headed for the door, pausing at the last minute, turning to face the watching Oswald so that their gazes linked for a long comfortable moment of mutual understanding.

“Thank you,” Sam said, strangely solemn. “Seriously. You’ve no idea how much help you’ve been.”

Oswald nodded. “Not to worry. Drop in again sometime. It was nice to have the company.”

As Sam disappeared from sight through the swinging door, Oswald stood for a moment staring after him. Odd, that one. More to him than immediately apparent. A puzzle.

Shaking his head slightly at the whimsical direction of his own thoughts, he settled down on the bench to contemplate more practical matters. Lunch time.


Comments:


duckyone
duckyone at 2007-11-14 13:53 (UTC) (Link)
You did that, at the drop of a hat?

You are brilliant. That should have been a scene in the actual series. The dialogue was wonderful to read and I love your Oswald.

Thank you!
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-14 14:05 (UTC) (Link)
Hee! Ridiculous, isn't it? The gods must have had a field day when they were handing out my talents. "You will - be able, without any prompting, to take on the tone and thoughts of a stuffy middle-aged 1970s pathologist. You will not - have any concept of how to access a spark plug, or what to do with it when you get to it."

Ah well. One does what one can. (Sorry, still channelling Oswald!)

Edited at 2007-11-14 14:06 (UTC)
Loz
lozenger8 at 2007-11-15 07:05 (UTC) (Link)
LMFAO

I REALLY LOVE YOU.
Loz
lozenger8 at 2007-11-15 07:04 (UTC) (Link)
You are seriously fabulous in every way and I adore you like crazy. That was perfect. Thank you!!! And I am so sorry I wasn't on to say that as soon as you posted.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-15 11:18 (UTC) (Link)
No worries! Hope it was cheering to come back to. Although, having just seen again, on your post, that delicious post-coital pic of John and Phil, I can't imagine you needed a great deal more cheering up!
Loz
lozenger8 at 2007-11-15 11:25 (UTC) (Link)
It was wonderfully cheering to come back to.

Oh my God, please don't call it that. My mind has bad thoughts I generally try to avoid.
space_oddity_75
space_oddity_75 at 2007-11-15 12:17 (UTC) (Link)
Goodness gracious, this fic is seriously made of awesome! How can you write so well on the spur of the moment? *is in awe*
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-15 19:25 (UTC) (Link)
*curtseys* Thankies! :D

I dunno, I'm a spur of the moment kind of person. Something to do with not having time to think about it, I guess. Give me a deadline, I'll miss it pretty much every time!
Hambel
hambelandjemima at 2007-11-15 22:54 (UTC) (Link)
Bloody brilliant.

I'm in awe of your talent. Your Sam and Oswald are spot-on (as opposed to hands-on in their last outing together!).

Thing is, I nearly missed it. And I don't like missing out on LoM, so can I friend you please, in case you do this again? (Because you're bound to :D)

And, oh.... I've been checking out your links. The Hatstand is now firmly bookmarked and I'm working my way through the fics there. So thanks for that :D
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-15 23:52 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! :D

Of course, friend away - I'll friend back, as long as that's OK with you. (I don't often post LoM here and not link to a comm, it's just because this one was for Loz and I knew she'd find it, but friend me anyway pleeease!)

The Hatstand is fab, isn't it? It's been a complete lifeline for me, particularly because of the additional resources - transcripts of all 57 eps, for example. Seriously impressive. Glad I could point a fellow fan in that direction).
Hambel
hambelandjemima at 2007-11-16 12:29 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, have done it now. And yes, please friend me back. We can't have a one-way friendship, can we? ;)

rainer
rainer76 at 2007-11-23 07:32 (UTC) (Link)
This is actually the first time I've read one of your stories and now I'm frantically hunting down the rest of them.

I adored your Oswald.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-23 10:25 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you - I'm delighted you liked it.

(I sort of owed it to Oswald to write this, I did do another Oswald!fic, but it was - well - Oswald wasn't quite like this!)
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