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Controlled Love, Part 25: Firing

Title: Firing
Series: Controlled Love, Part 25. Start the series here.
Fandom: A Bit of Fry & Laurie
Pairing: Tony/Control
Rating: PG
Summary: Tony gets fired. *sigh*
Disclaimer: No ownership claimed, just oodles of love for these characters.
Note: I didn't want to rewrite what Stephen and Hugh had created. Instead, I've provided some backstory and inner dialog to the scene. The text in bold is taken directly from the script. No copyright infringement is intended.

Firing

"I understand from Valerie that you wanted reasonably strongly to see me."

Valerie looked somewhat upset when she stopped by Tony's office. He wondered if there was anything wrong.

"Hello, Valerie. You look somewhat upset this morning. Is there anything wrong?"

"Yes, Tony. One of my best friends, another secretary here in our building, has just been let go."

"May I say, Valerie, how very sorry I am to hear that news and ask if there is any way I can help."

"No, Tony, that's very nice of you. But it doesn't seem that there's anything anyone can do."

"Hmmm." Tony tidied some papers on his desk; Valerie didn't make any movement to leave. He paused from his straightening and looked at her again. "Was there another reason you came to my office this morning, Valerie, or was it just to share that news with me?"

"Control wants to see you. He asked me to let you know."

"That's most kind of you to tell me, Valerie. Does he, do you think, want to see me now, or can it wait until later when I take him his morning coffee?"

"I think now, Tony, would be best. He said rather strongly that he wants to see you."

"Well, then, I mustn't keep him waiting. Thank you, again, Valerie. And please tell your friend how very sorry I am for her losing her position."

"I will, Tony. Thank you."

Valerie walked to the door and was just about to leave when Tony called her name. "Oh, Valerie?"

"Yes, Tony?"

"I was wondering if you would be kind enough to pop out and buy us some new political maps of Europe. Ours seem to be rather out of date."

"Have you ever been in the position, I wonder, where you've had to tell someone you like quite a lot that you've got to fire them from their job?"

Control had been in many difficult positions in his life. He'd had to ask people to redo reports that hadn't been completed correctly; he'd had to deal with his wife leaving him and his unrequited feelings for Tony. Even worse, he'd been forced to interrogate uncooperative prisoners.

Worst of all, he'd once been forced to shoot an enemy agent who refused to surrender. Control had been relieved to find out that the injury had only been a flesh wound, although a severe one. The man, one Heinrich von Stolz, who hailed from East Germany and had a great-uncle who had served as one of Hitler's oberleutnanten during World War II, later became a very effective double agent. Functioning under the code name of Glow-worm, he had been an integral part of their information-gathering network until he'd been shot and killed while attempting to cross over into the West.

There was no denying; Control was no stranger to dealing with difficult situations. But, in many ways, what he had to do today would be the hardest thing he'd ever had to do in all his years of running the Secret Service, perhaps in his entire life.

Would it be the kind of thing that would go better with a good cup of coffee, Control?

Control looks so sad, thought Tony. It's only ten o'clock, but perhaps he could use a coffee earlier than usual today. I know how relieved he looks whenever his morning coffee arrives… like he's seeing an old friend he's been missing and is happy to see again. Tony could understand that; he felt just that way whenever he saw Control, even if it had only been a few minutes since they'd last been together.

"It's also meant that our masters in Whitehall have started wondering whether they need quite so many people involved with spying."

Control was most vexed by the time his telephone call with The Minister had ended.

"Yes, Minister, I do understand. Yes, perestroika has certainly been a factor in changing how the political winds in Europe have been blowing."

He didn't like the sound of where this was going.

"Of course, Minister, I recognise that we are very fortunate that the Russians simply ring us up and tell us most of their secrets."

Control felt more and more uncomfortable as the conversation continued.

"I agree, sir, that perhaps we don't need to spend as much money on finding out the secrets ourselves. But is it really necessary to shut down the entire East German and related satellites desk? Certainly it would be worthwhile to have at least one man here at HQ to oversee to our interests in the region?"

Control had the distinct impression his suggestion had fallen on deaf ears. He decided to try a slightly different approach.

"Yes, Minister, very astute political thinking. But if I may say respectfully, sir, I believe it is perhaps a bit radical. I would appreciate if you would reconsider."

Control could tell that he wasn't getting through to The Minister. Apparently the decision had already been made and was unchangeable.

"Certainly, Minister, I understand. I shall take care of it. What's that, sir… by noon today?" Control sighed softly. "Of course, yes. Thank you, sir. I will report back when everything has been resolved."

Control returned the handset to it cradle. This was a blow, both to the Service and to him personally. And The Minister expected it to be handled before noon; it was already half nine. "Boh!" Control bitterly exclaimed, as near a curse as he'd ever uttered in his life.

"Mmm. I certainly don't envy you, Control, having to pass on a bit of news like the one you've just passed on to me."

At first, Tony honestly couldn't think of anything to say. He was being fired. He was being let go from the Secret Service. He was being removed from the best job he'd ever had. He was being separated from his best friend.

Then he realized how hard this was for Control. He knew Control appreciated their daily conversations and his morning coffee. He knew that Control thought of him as a valuable co-worker and perhaps even as a close acquaintance. After all, he was the only one Control had confided in about his wife's situation. Tony hated being in the position of having to leave, but he would have felt just as bad—worse, probably—if he'd been in Control's place having to pass on such news. Control was very brave.

He hoped Control would let him bring one last cup of nice coffee.

"I really am very sorry."

Control wanted to say that he was sorry he had to fire Tony. He wanted to say that he was sorry he never told Tony how he felt. He wanted to say that he was sorry he'd spied on Tony that night at the embassy. He wanted to say that he was sorry he hadn't gotten coffee for Tony more often. He wanted to apologise for all the other times he thought he'd neglected Tony or not been as good a friend to him as he should have been.

The apology couldn't have been more filled with meaning or more heartfelt. He was truly sorry.

"I'll be somewhere else."

Where else was there to be but here? Tony couldn't begin to imagine being anywhere else. But at some point, he would have to figure it out. He'd have to come to terms with a new normal, whatever it would be. He would give everything he owned if he could keep the old normal instead.

They shake hands.

They'd reached a point where nothing else could be done. They each had an almost overwhelming urge to hug the other, but a handshake would have to suffice.

"Well, goodbye, Control."

"Goodbye, Murchison."

Tony awkwardly made his way to the door and left. He needed to clean out his office, not that he had that much in the way of personal items. There was only one thing—one person, really—he wanted to take with him. But Control was head of the Service, and the Nation needed him here.

"Valerie? Could you bring me a cup of coffee? How do I like it? I like it the way Tony Murchison used to make it."

Control sat down again and blew his nose. He desperately needed a coffee. After his conversation with Valerie, he hung up the phone, already missing Tony more than he imagined possible.

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Comments

( 20 thoughts — Share a thought )
jabber_moose
Mar. 14th, 2007 12:23 pm (UTC)
Heartwrenching! *borrows Control's handkerchief*

I loved being able to see the perspective of what led to Tony's firing. the poor boys! Tony and his unassuming nature.

Well *looks on the bright side* the conflict of a employer-employee relationship is out of the way. *smiles helpfully*

'He was being separated from his best friend'

*merps*
msliz4857
Mar. 14th, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)
This was one of my favorite chapters to write, thinking about what led to the firing. I'm glad you like it, too!

Yes, this is what Control needed to move ahead. Happy days are on the horizon! W00t!
zekkass
Mar. 14th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
*sniff*

Why do I always cry when I see that sketch? You've gotten the emotions perfectly..
msliz4857
Mar. 14th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
*hands over tissue*

*blush* Aw, thank you, love! I'm so glad it rang true for you!
skyblue_reverie
Mar. 14th, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, god. Please, PLEASE bring on the happy soon. I need it! *sniffles into handkerchief, utters forlorn "Boh."*

p.s. nice Friedikins reference
msliz4857
Mar. 14th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
Hee! I loved being able to pull Friedikins in. I've got a few other treats to place in the rest of the chapters, so keep watching for them! :D

The happy is on the way... I promise!

Total, complete, icon!love. *huggles Jeeves*
derien
Mar. 14th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
You know, oddly enough, I have never seen the firing sketch. Tony is really the sweetest thing, isn't he?
msliz4857
Mar. 14th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)
Tony is pure love, no doubt.

Never seen it? Oh, it's so touching. Control at the end just makes me wibble. *wibble*
jadedgothchild
Mar. 14th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
Oh Liz... *sniffle* It just keeps being sad! I love waking up to find this every morning, days are always better when started with boffle.

<333
msliz4857
Mar. 14th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
*hands you a hankie*

Boffle makes every day better, you are so right!

The happy starts soon... honest! :) You know... words, touches, and so on. Yay!
clairefry
Mar. 14th, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)
*sobs* No really, this did make me cry! The poor poor boys. Still the hightlight of my day, despite it being rather on the depressing side :-P
msliz4857
Mar. 14th, 2007 09:37 pm (UTC)
Awwww! *hugs you* I shed a tear or two writing it, I'll confess.

Happy is just around the corner. Huzzah!
clairefry
Mar. 15th, 2007 01:12 am (UTC)
Huzzah! I'm counting down the minutes until our boys are together! *hugs back* *pulls T&C into hug* Oh I think I can see this going the same way as it did the other night! Heh heh heh!
msliz4857
Mar. 15th, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
heh...I don't mind one little bit, my dear. Not one little bit.

*runs for both still and video cameras, grabs a bottle of wine on the way back*
clairefry
Mar. 15th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
Oooh wine and our boys getting er up close and personal - sounds like my dream night in! *sigh*

That pic made me die! I have one like it on my wall! heh!
msliz4857
Mar. 15th, 2007 01:29 am (UTC)
I like to picture him having that adorable look on his face just before he leans in to give Hugh a deep lingering kiss... like "Hugh, you little love petal, of course I'm going to kiss you now. How could you think otherwise?"

*sigh*
clairefry
Mar. 15th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC)
Oh absolutely, absolutely. I can almost hear Stephen calling Hugh his little love petal... *imagines them* *sigh*

This isn't good at half past one in the morning ;-)

But they're so addictive, I fear I have no chance!
msliz4857
Mar. 15th, 2007 01:41 am (UTC)
Hah! I know the feeling, my dear. All too well! But a little obsession is good for the soul, right? Please? *crosses fingers*
clairefry
Mar. 15th, 2007 01:48 am (UTC)
Of course it is my dear, of course it is! Well that's what I've been telling myself since I was about ten or eleven! Hasn't done me any harm what, what!!! (er!)

Anyway, they're so easy to obsess over, they're just so so so lovely!
msliz4857
Mar. 15th, 2007 02:34 am (UTC)
*sigh* Yes they truly are! :)
( 20 thoughts — Share a thought )