A/N: Hey, there. This one-shot popped into my head when TB finished last night, just had to write it. Not sure how in-character it will be because Jo's still a relatively new character, haven't quite got in her head yet. Anyway, I gave it my best shot.
After a valiant attempt at partying I found myself back in the hospital car park just as darkness was settling. The reasoning behind it was that if Honey could disappear from her own birthday bash then I could afford to do it. Gary was leaving, I think I needed time to process that.
In a lot of ways I'd wanted to look out for Gary cause he reminded me of myself. A few years ago I was making the same mistakes as him, every new CID kid did, it was just the way we learned. But Gary was different, he was so enthusiastic, if he lost that there'd be no reason for him to be in the job, he'd have nothing to offer. So I tried being the good cop to Suzie Sim's bad one. Worked, I suppose, and I got to like him.
He was trying his best, getting kicked in the teeth for it. Who can't relate to that? The last few weeks since he made the bullying complaint about Suzie have been difficult, he was alienated and, while I understood why, it was hard to watch him slowly lose his respect for the job, and himself for that matter. Helping him made me feel like I was giving something back- someone had done it for me a few weeks into my CID life, when I was close to lashing out. The disappointment and the irritation made me who I am today but I came pretty close to packing it all in, I couldn't let Gary go the same way. He wasn't as tough as he made out. Then again, people rarely are.
It felt like big sister pride when he started getting results. I knew he could do it, he did too, but since everyone else was doubting him it made everything that little bit sweeter. Then he threw himself into this fraud case, even after I'd given up on it. Dedication, not something I'd seen from him before.
So when he organised the warehouse raid I was delighted. It was just small-scale fraud but it meant so much more than that to him. His chance to prove to the rest of CID that he wasn't a whining kid, he was someone who could do the job. I think him transferring up in the same station might have had something to do with it. He seemed torn between his two worlds- Uniform and the people he'd known for years, who trusted him in a way, and the new place where he wasn't taken seriously because they still saw him as PC Best. He couldn't win.
The way he handled finding a gun-wielding drug-dealer in that warehouse was actually quite mature. He didn't panic as such, though I reckon a blood pressure test might have shown otherwise, he tried to calm Kenton down. I'm not sure how far he was getting before Suzie came in and tried her own method of persuading but I was quite proud of him- everything he was doing and the way he was coping with the situation felt like a personal triumph. Until it all came crashing down around his ears that is.
Even before Suzie reached for that damn crowbar I knew something was going to go terribly wrong. Kenton sensed it, turned the gun to her. What Gary was thinking as he dived towards the weapon is beyond me but as he was pushed away and a shot fired I just felt helpless. I don't feel like that much these days. Kenton fled, Suzie looked worse than Gary and even as we waited for the ambulance, me trying to stem the outpouring of blood, she wouldn't say a word. It was as if what she'd put him through was finally making sense to her and, for a minute anyway, I was glad she was suffering and thinking it was her fault for pushing him to get results. In that short period of time when I was convinced he was dying I turned into a monster, I'm afraid to say.
Still a copper all the way though. Seeing Gary off in the ambulance made my stomach turn but I went back to the nick, finding Kenton was all I could do for him right then. That and try to put some sense into DC Suzie Sim. I wondered which was likely to be more difficult.
When we had confirmation that Gary might never walk again I looked to Susie, she looked like hell, to be frank. I knew what was going through her head- 'I push the bloke so far that he complains then he takes a bullet for me, why?'. Well, I knew why. Whatever Gary was- laddish, self-confident, a pain- he had a heart. He wasn't about to let something happen which he could have prevented, whatever happened to him in the process. And he knew the risks before he dived at Kenton, maybe that was what was riling Suzie the most- he'd knowingly put his life in danger for her. She couldn't deal with that.
Eventually, I told her straight, of course. She'd have to accept that Gary had saved her life, whatever it made her feel. To be honest, did it matter if her pride was dented cause the bloke she'd been piling insults on for months had saved her life? He needed to know he'd done good, he had to hear it from her, not me or anyone else.
When Tony told me Gary was leaving my first reaction was shock. Not just because it was such a quick decision, I honestly thought that, since he was going to be up and running in no time, he'd want to come back to Sun Hill and bask in the glory of being a wounded hero. He'd love the attention, the enhancing the story, I didn't think he'd pass up the opportunity. Then Tony had explained and I'd grudgingly admitted to myself it was the right thing for him to do. Families are worth more to some people than crates of friends, Gary was one of those people and I had to be happy for him. Didn't mean I wouldn't miss him though.
I've enjoyed watching him learn these last few months. The way his eyebrows creased whenever he didn't quite get something and the way he finally started trusting me on cases, accepting that I might actually know what I'm doing. Part of me knew it would be easier for him back in Manchester, not just cause he'd be back with his family but because it'd be a fresh start for him at a new station. No more of people still thinking of him as a PC, he could be DC Best and he'd be better off for it.
Yet as I went to say goodbye in the hospital with Tony, Yvonne and Smithy I did feel a bit like I was losing a good friend. Not matter how thick the man could be at times, there had always been something strangely amusing about going into work when he was around. That was about to change.
I was pleased to see Suzie slip in when she thought we'd gone. I don't know what she had to say, she might have taken my words seriously or not, but I was pretty sure she wasn't just going in there to add to his problems. I don't think DC Sim could be that spiteful. Then again, you never know...
As I look at the hospital floodlights all around, I make a decision. The corridors are almost deserted, a few nurses on duty but they knew me and let me right past. About to push open the room door, I glanced through the window. It seemed I'd been right about where Honey was slipping off to. They were both asleep on the bed, half a bottle of beer leaking form Gary's hand. I suddenly realised that's how I wanted to remember him- as someone happy, if he was awake he'd probably end up crying or something stupid like he'd wanted to earlier. No, it was better if I just slipped home. Of course, things would be different round Sun Hill but I'd moved with the times enough. Guess I was just going to have to do it all over again.