azombiewrites: (Midsomer Murders)
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Title: The Collected Hurts of DS Jones
Fandom: Midsomer Murders
Genre: Hurt/Comfort.
Rating: PG
Summary: 5 times DS Jones was whumped and 1 time he wasn't.
Main Characters: DS Ben Jones, DCI John Barnaby, Sarah Barnaby and Kate Wilding.
Disclaimer: Created and based on the characters and books by Caroline Graham. A Bentley production for ITV.
Spoilers: Set during season 14.
Word Count: 2,813
Status: Each chapter can be read as a stand-alone story.

The Mandatory Stab Wound
Summary: A witness refuses to cooperate; too old or too stubborn to be helpful, DCI John Barnaby isn’t sure. But when she takes a dislike to Barnaby, things quickly turn ugly.




Sitting in a living room overflowing with colourful balls of knitting yarn, DCI John Barnaby attempted to evoke a conversational response from the elderly Mrs. Wellington. As a potential witness she wasn’t very forthcoming, more forgetful than helpful, her manner toward Barnaby aggressive. She was singular in her attitude though, DS Jones receiving the kind of attention that caused embarrassment, Jones’s body language becoming more awkward with every passing moment. Her own body language explained almost nothing to Barnaby; it gave him no insight on how to handle her, only that she fancied his sergeant, brazen enough to show her feelings.

Mrs. Wellington – bifocals too big for her face – continued to stare unflinchingly back at Barnaby, an obvious refusal to answer any more of his questions. They needed to change tactics, find a way to get her to talk. Of course, anything physical was out of the question. . . Barnaby made a quick and decisive decision. He would use her abrasive infatuation against her, allow Jones to take the lead, let him talk his way into a more productive and informative conversation. His sergeant could succeed where Barnaby was obviously failing, and failing miserably.

He watched as she made another subtle glance toward Jones; Mrs. Wellington’s gaze roaming, grazing, before finally settling, Jones crossing his legs in response, his facial expressions working overtime. When laughter threatened to expose itself, Barnaby gritted his teeth, his lips pressing together in a thin line, shutting down the laugh before it could become anything more. Mrs. Wellington turned her head – good hearing – her gaze returning to Barnaby. She narrowed her eyes, forehead creasing, her suspicion obvious.

Putting on a false front of stupidity, Barnaby smiled and said, “A cup of tea, Mrs. Wellington?”

“Are you asking or demanding, Mr. Barnaby?”

“Asking, Mrs. Wellington,” said Barnaby, spying in his peripheral a look of confusion spreading across Jones’s face but thankfully, Jones kept his mouth shut. “My sergeant looks as though he could do with one.”

Mrs. Wellington smiled, the shine gone from her yellow teeth, wrinkles spreading. “He looks as though he needs more than a cup of tea.”

“He does like to dunk a biscuit or two in his tea.”

“I wasn’t referring to a biscuit,” said Mrs. Wellington.

Jones gagged, quickly covering up his response with a long running cough. Under the scrutiny of Mrs. Wellington and Barnaby, Jones stood up and stepped away from the lounge, putting as much distance as he could between himself and the witness. A protective barrier of space, an open doorway behind him, a quick exit to the front door.

Barnaby couldn’t help himself, “What would you suggest, Mrs. Wellington?”

Not expecting such an answer, Mrs. Wellington turned back to stare at Barnaby, her mouth opening to speak, hesitating before suggesting, “A large piece of soft, moist, sponge cake with fresh cream filling. He needs more weight on his bones . . . a girl likes to get a good solid grip. . .”

Barnaby could tell Jones was thinking about doing a runner. His sergeant’s body language was tense, face blossoming with embarrassment, hands covering the most intimate part of his body. If Jones ran screaming from the room now, they wouldn’t get the answers needed to solve a violent murder.

“Tea and cake it is then,” said Barnaby, rubbing his hands together in anticipation.

Knees cracking, Mrs. Wellington stood up and adjusted her bra, pushing sagging breasts upward, shaping them into a better position. She didn’t seem to notice, or care, when they fell back toward her knees. Walking away from Barnaby, she moved closer to Jones, muttering something that caused Jones’s flesh to turn an ugly shade of green.

Jones sagged with relief when Mrs. Wellington disappeared into the kitchen. He leaned forward, palms against his thighs and took a deep breath. “I feel sick.”

“Is that any way to talk about the elderly, Jones?”

“She may look old, Sir, but she’s far from it,” said Jones, standing upright, a normal colour returning to his skin. “I think it best if I wait in the car, Sir.”

“You need to be more forceful, Jones.”

“I don’t hit women, Sir.”

Barnaby smiled and patted the area of the lounge Jones had vacated moments earlier, a silent order for Jones to return to his seat. Reluctantly, Jones moved forward, his movements slow, sitting once more beside Barnaby but he shifted forward again, onto the edge of the lounge, body ready and willing to escape.

“Why am I getting tea and cake?” said Jones.

“I want you to take the lead, Jones,” Barnaby leaned back, making himself more comfortable, surrendering leadership to his sergeant. “And be a little more forceful. Knowing Mrs. Wellington . . . she’ll like that.”

“Forceful . . . Sir?”

“The nice approach isn’t working.”

“You want me to be the bad cop?”

“Yes.”

“Why me?”

Narrowing his eyes, Barnaby turned in his seat.

“Why me . . . Sir?”

“Because she likes you, Jones,” said Barnaby, noticing the green tinge returning to Jones’s skin. He couldn’t help but feel sorry for his sergeant, deciding to make up for it later with a pint at the pub.

“She’s almost as old as my Gran.”

“And, I’m sure, if she were twenty years younger--”

“Thirty . . . three years younger, Sir,” said Jones. “At least.”

“Yes . . . of course.”

“How is being forceful with someone who . . .”

“Thinks you’re fit,” said Barnaby.

“How is being forceful going to help,” said Jones. “Shouldn’t I be nice to her?”

“You want to flirt with Mrs. Wellington, Jones?”

“What? No. I just . . .”

“Trust me, Jones. I’ve been married longer than you.”

“I’m not married, Sir.”

“Exactly,” said Barnaby. “Does that not tell you something?”

Jones shifted in his seat, adjusting his tie, features looking pale and ill.

“You look fine, Jones.”

Mrs. Wellington returned with a small tray, the three top buttons of her shirt now open. Sat on the tray were a single cup of tea and a plate overflowing with sponge cake. Barnaby raised an eyebrow at the sight, no tea and cake for him then. He glanced sideways at Jones, noticed the look of fear on his sergeant’s face and used an elbow to nudge Jones forward. It took a second, more forceful nudge, to get Jones up and moving.

“Let me help you with that, Mrs. Wellington,” said Jones, fingers trembling as he stood up and reached for the tray, gaze refusing to go where Mrs. Wellington so obviously wanted it to go.

Mrs. Wellington’s fingers crept forward, a spider hunting its prey, catching masculine fingers before they could escape. She held tight, Jones taking a few seconds too many to snatch his hands away, the tray falling and bouncing onto the coffee table. Quick reflexes from Mrs. Wellington saved both tea and cake, something she’d obviously done before; Jones not the first younger man she’d hit on.

Barnaby closed his eyes for a moment, shaking his head. Never send a boy to do a man’s job; not that Jones was still a boy, far from it in fact and old enough to know better. The man had faced dangerous criminals on many occasions, putting his life on the line to save others. However, when it came to something like this. . . Jones seemed to have something against old people, the thought of the elderly partaking in coitus. Must have walked in on his grandparent’s giving each other a good old-fashioned rogering. Poor sod.

Mrs. Wellington may have been old enough to be Jones’s grandmother but it wasn’t as though she was trying to suggest an evening of dinner, wine and sex. Then again. Barnaby swallowed; suddenly glad he wasn’t on the receiving end of her attention. It was going to take more than a pint for Jones to get over this interview; two pints in a pub full of women his own age.

“Sorry, Mrs. Wellington,” said Jones. “I didn’t . . .”

“Call me Bertha.”

“Of course, Mrs. Wellington.”

“Bertha.”

Jones smiled, “Bertha.”

Returning the smile, Bertha sat down, knees together, hands in her lap. Her eyes sparkled, her bad attitude melting.

Gotcha, thought Barnaby.

.
.
.

“It’s a simple question, Mrs. Wellington,” said Jones, his frustration beginning to show. “Did you see anyone pass by your cottage on Tuesday night?”

Tilting her head, Bertha pointed toward her bifocals and said, “Not with these, no.”

“Did you hear anything?”

“Such as?”

“A car, a bicycle, footsteps, anything that might suggest someone was passing by your house?”

“On their way to kill poor Mr. Hammond you mean?”

“Yes,” said Jones.

“No.”

“Nothing at all?”

“No.”

“Are you sure?” said Jones. “There’s only one way into Mr. Hammond’s cottage and that’s past your cottage. The killer would have passed here sometime between the hours of 7pm and 11pm. You didn’t hear anything?”

“No. Nothing.”

It had taken Jones thirty minutes to drag that small amount of information out of Bertha, as difficult as pulling teeth from someone with a dental phobia. Still, it was more than Barnaby had managed to get. Interview over and ready to get the hell out of there, Barnaby stood up. Jones noticed, standing quickly, notebook and pen already on the way to their respectful resting place.

“Thank you, Mrs. Wellington,” said Barnaby. “You’ve been a tremendous help to the investigation.”

“Really, Mr. Barnaby.”

“No, not really.”

Jones didn’t bother to hide his smile.

“You’re not a very nice man, Mr. Barnaby,” said Bertha.

“I get that a lot,” said Barnaby as he began to move toward the door. “We’ll find our own way out. Jones!”

Jones didn’t need to be told twice, quickly following Barnaby out of the room.

“I’m not surprised.” Bertha turned toward his sergeant, her angry gaze following Jones. “And what about you, Mr. Jones? Are you just as unpleasant?”

“Only when asked,” said Barnaby, stopping and turning back toward Bertha. He didn’t want anyone getting the wrong impression about Jones, especially when his sergeant was only following orders.

“I see.”

“I don’t think you do, Mrs. Wellington. This is a murder investigation.” Barnaby narrowed his eyes, suddenly getting an idea of what Bertha Wellington was really like. “This is all a game to you, isn’t it? You played with me. You wanted me to think you were old, slow, and dim witted. And I think you played with sergeant Jones. You don’t fancy him at all. You just like to embarrass people, watch their reactions. So, tell me. . . Bertha. Did you enjoy yourself?”

Mrs. Wellington stood up, hands held behind her back and said, “Cigarettes and booze makes one look so much older than they actually are, and yes, detective Barnaby, I did enjoy myself. Sergeant Jones makes for a wonderful toy. If he had followed me home, I would have kept him.”

Everything became clear as Barnaby moved back into the room, closer to Mrs. Wellington. She hadn’t heard or seen anything because there hadn’t been anything to see or hear. She had killed Hammond.

“Did Mr. Hammond follow you home?”

“No.”

Jones, quick to catch on, stepped up beside him, notebook and pen back in his hands, and said, “Did you kill Mr Hammond, Bertha?”

“Yes, I killed him. Mr. Hammond wasn’t a pleasant man,” said Bertha. “Very unlikable.”

“Why?”

“I just told you, sergeant. He was unpleasant. Not my type at all.”

“Refused your advances, did he?” said Barnaby.

“You’re not as slow as you look,” said Bertha. “Just slow to work it out.”

“Perhaps we should sit back down,” said Barnaby.

“I killed him. What more do you need to know?”

Barnaby glanced to his left, nodding to Jones, silently telling him to make the arrest, not realising that taking his eyes off Bertha Wellington wasn’t a very good idea. The only warning Barnaby received was the look of surprise spreading across Jones’s face, an expression quickly replaced by one of determination. Barnaby looked back toward Mrs. Wellington, his own surprise hard to hide.

Mrs. Wellington was charging toward Barnaby, a knitting needle in her right hand, the light glinting off the metal.

Unsure if Jones was aware of the metallic make of the knitting needle, Barnaby tried to shout a warning but it was too late. Jones didn’t stop to think, he reacted, dropping his notebook and pen and stepping in front of Barnaby, arms reaching out to stop Bertha in mid-step. That’s when things did begin to slow down, a snail pace refusing to return to a more normal speed. Barnaby reached for Jones, attempting to move him out of harm’s way. It was the wrong thing to do, his touch distracting, Jones hesitating.

Bertha screamed, the sound hollow, painful, as she stabbed the needle through the air. The metal needle went straight through Jones’s right hand, forcing a grunt of surprise out of Jones, the sound quickly turning to one of pain. Jones pulled his hand away and off the knitting needle, blood dripping from the sharpened tip. The squelching sound made Barnaby cringe in sympathy, his stomach rolling over and playing dead.

She struck a second time, failing this time in her attempt to create more damage, more pain. Jones, no longer caring about her age or gender, grabbed her wrist, twisting it until she screamed, not letting up until she dropped the knitting needle. He pulled Bertha’s arm behind her back, pushing her up against the edge of the lounge, forcing her forward, bending her over and keeping her down. With Mrs. Wellington no longer a threat, Jones shook his right hand, blood flying in all directions.

“Jones?”

His face tight with pain, Jones let go of Bertha, taking a step back.

Barnaby quickly took over, taking Jones’s cuffs from him, handcuffing Bertha’s hands behind her back. He watched, unsure of what to do when Jones pulled an unfinished scarf from a basket on the floor, wrapping it tightly around his hand.

“We need to get that taken care of,” said Barnaby, unable to tear his gaze away from Jones’s hand.

Bertha smiled, “I could kiss it better.”

Jones grimaced, muttering, “Your scarfs are ugly.”

.
.
.

Barnaby didn’t know what was worse; the amount of blood that had soaked into the scarf or the pain that had his sergeant hunched over, head between his knees, thick blanket over his shoulders, sitting in the back of an ambulance. Jones’s hand shook, his skin clammy and pale, the shock settling in. Refusing to look away, Barnaby stood outside the ambulance and watched as the medic unravelled the scarf, congealing blood pulling away from the wound. It wasn’t a remarkable injury, the entry and exit wound small, colourful bruising already developing.

“I’m going to assume you’re all caught up on your tetanus shots?” The medic turned Jones’s hand over, short chubby fingers pressing and prodding the area around the wounds. “Can you move your fingers?”

Jones sat up, his body tilting to the side when he caught sight of his hand. “What?”

“Tetanus shots and play the piano for me.”

“Yes and I don’t know how to play--”

“He wants you to move your fingers, Jones,” said Barnaby.

“Oh.” Jones moved his fingers, hesitant at first, then with more movement, his face creasing in pain.

“It looks good,” said the medic.

“You’re not wearing your glasses are you?” said Jones. “And please, don’t tell me it’s worse than it looks.”

“It looks worse than it is.”

“You’re not making me feel any better.”

“Ted.”

“What?”

“Call me Ted.”

“I don’t think I want to be on first name terms with a medic,” said Jones.

Barnaby rolled his eyes. “Does he need to go to the emergency room?”

Ted nodded. “As a precaution, he’ll need an x-ray and a doctor might want to prescribe a course of antibiotics. There’s also the shock to deal with. Once all that’s done, it’ll be home to bed.”

“There goes a planned evening in the pub,” said Barnaby.

“You don’t have to come, Sir.”

“Jones, I was planning on taking you to the pub.”

“Oh,” said Jones.

Ted shook his head, “The alcohol will do you more harm than good.”

There wasn’t much of an argument from Jones, his energy lacking, pain and shock once again hunching him over, head back between his knees.

“Cup of tea and a biscuit then,” said Barnaby.

Jones lifted his head, his expression telling Barnaby what he thought of his joke. “Undo your top three buttons and I’ll think about it . . . Sir”

Barnaby smiled. “I’ll meet you at the hospital.”

“There’s no need, Sir,” said Jones. “I’ll be fine.”

“I’m sure you will be, Jones.”

I’m sure you will be.

.
.
.




Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three


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