A/N: Hi pals! Oh God, THE LAST EPISODE OF THE SECOND SERIES. SDLKSJKSDGH. I'm so sad that it's over! So I've been obsessively alternating between stuffing my face with chocolate and writing fanfiction, and here's one I started a while ago and went back to today. It's set after Janet gets stabbed at the end of series 1, because I wanted to think about how the team would have coped. Just a one-shot. WARNING, spoilers from Dead to Me! Not bad spoilers though. Just a bit of background. Also, just a quick plug for my two Twitter fan accounts for Gill Murray (DCIGillMurray) and Amelia Bullmore (AMBFans) - go follow if you fancy a chat :) Anyway, please please leave me reviews because it makes me ridiculously happy! Fingers crossed for a series 3! L x
DCI Gill Murray was the type of woman everyone looked up to. She was intelligent and sharp, good at her job and quick-witted. She could be strict and severe, yes, but she could also be sensitive and caring. She kept a cool head in crises and powered through problems. People could depend on her.
And yet, at this moment, she did not feel quick-witted or calm or dependable at all. In fact, she felt like an utter mess.
Gill sighed as the sodden tissue she had chucked haphazardly across the room bounced off the already overflowing bin and hit the floor, immediately grabbing another one to wipe the last tear tracks off her cheeks. All she succeeded in doing, however, was smearing what was left of her mascara across her face. She dropped the tissue, not even bothering to aim for the bin, and poured herself another glass of wine, slopping half of it over the table in front of the sofa she was lying on.
Earlier that day, one of Gill's team had been stabbed. Not just one of her team, but a woman she considered to be a close friend, someone she had known for twenty years. A woman who had been there solidly for her throughout her pregnancy with Sammy, throughout her bringing him up, throughout all her bastard of an ex-husband's messing about, and all through the divorce as well. Gill, in turn, had been there for Janet through thick and thin. She remembered how they had met. Gill had been called out to investigate the unexplained death of a baby – Janet's son, Joshua. Few people knew about him. But Gill remembered as clearly as if it had happened yesterday the sheer grief she had beheld that day, both parents utterly broken. And yet there had been something in Janet that she'd spotted – resilience, a sense of reality that helped her to recover. The kind of thing that was highly valued in a police officer.
She winced as she remembered the sight of Janet Scott lying on the floor of her hallway, gasping a plea not to have a post-mortem to Gill's young protégée, Rachel Bailey, who was holding her, covered in her blood. God, hadn't Janet already had enough shit in her life? Gill had quickly and smoothly given the order for Janet to be put in the back seat of her car, had driven her to hospital, had organised her shocked team and calmed the distraught relatives and liaised with the hospital and made damn sure that that sodding Geoff Hastings had been arrested and locked up. Not one tear was shed. Then, when she was sure everything was under control, she had somehow driven home, grabbed a box of tissues and a bottle of wine and collapsed onto her sofa, sobbing like there was no tomorrow. She had barely moved an inch since then. She felt, at that moment, like there actually was no tomorrow, for she was shaken, worried and absolutely exhausted.
What, Gill asked herself, did she usually do when something went tits up? Cry? She'd done plenty of that already. Vomit? She'd been close earlier that day, but she'd a strong stomach – a necessity in this line of work. Resign? That wouldn't help matters. Sulk? Again, not much help to anyone. Get pissed? Well on her way. Shag someone? She snorted out loud. She wished. For all her offhand comments, Gill actually hadn't had a shag in months. Which didn't really help stress levels. She glanced down at her own body, sprawled on the sofa. For a woman nearing fifty, she still had a bloody good figure. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to notice. She snorted again, taking another gulp of wine. For somebody to notice, she'd have to put herself in a position to be noticed – ie, somewhere that wasn't the office or a crime scene. Her sofa certainly wasn't that place. So that was out of the question.
The final thing: watch telly. Well, that could be done. She groped for the remote and flicked it on. A couple having sex. That wasn't going to improve her mood, she thought bitterly. Next channel – a police drama. She bloody well saw enough of that at work. Next channel – a horror film, complete with lots of blood. One more go – Antiques Roadshow. Gill groaned and turned the television off. Clearly that wasn't going to work either. What she really wanted was a fag, but she didn't have any and she was too drunk to drive to a 24 hour shop to get some. She felt tense in a way that alcohol alone couldn't alleviate.
The best plan, Gill decided, despite the fact that she just wanted to sink into this sofa until she became part of it, would be to go to bed. She knew she wasn't thinking clearly and she knew that her team needed her not to be hungover, tired and depressed tomorrow. As such, she dragged herself off the sofa and into the shower, washing off the blood, sweat and tears and with them some of the shock and pain. The hot water was relaxing and soon she found herself in her comfortable bed, succumbing, at last, to the exhaustion that the day's events had left her with.
Getting to sleep was surprisingly easy, but staying asleep was another matter. It was only two hours later that Gill awoke, tangled up in her bedsheets, Janet's pleas not to be put on a slab still ringing in her ears for, of course, she had relived the day and then some in her dreams. Despite the fact that she'd only had a couple of hours of undisturbed sleep, despite the fact that when she checked the time it was half past three in the morning, Gill felt wide awake. She knew where she wanted to be. So, she slipped out of bed, washed, dressed, put her make up on, straightened her hair, left a note for Sammy. By the time she was climbing into her car, ignoring the nagging feeling that the bottle of wine hadn't been very long ago and she probably shouldn't be driving yet (after all, she felt fine and no uniform would dare suggest otherwise), she looked every bit the Detective Chief Inspector. The bags under her eyes were covered up with make-up, her suit was fresh from the dry cleaner's, her shirt crisp and her shoes polished. Looking impeccable helped her to feel in control.
One short and uneventful drive and two very strong cups of coffee later and Gill was already at her desk, firing off emails to various people. She wanted to call the hospital and find out how Janet was doing, but thought it best to wait until it was morning proper. It was frustrating, being there in the middle of the night when nothing was happening, but she kept herself going with mundane tasks that she was normally cramming into five minute slots in between all the meetings and briefings and interviews and visits that took up her days.
At quarter past five, she was joined by some rather unexpected company. When the door opened, Gill had assumed that it would be Andy, for he often did late nights and early mornings with her and she had suspicions that he would have lost even more sleep than she had over Janet. Thus, when the knock came at her office door, she called "come in" without even glancing up from the letter she was reading.
"Have you been hereall night?" The voice carried a mixture of concern and disbelief, but it wasn't that that made Gill turn her head so sharply she almost gave herself whiplash. It was the fact that it was female; to be more precise, Rachel's.
"Rachel? Bloody hell, you're early. Trying to make up for every time you've been late all at once?" she said, with a brave attempt at humour.
Rachel smiled wanly, seeing straight through the bravado.
"I couldn't sleep. And you haven't answered my question."
Gill peered at her over the rim of her glasses, then sighed and took them off. In the aftermath of Janet's 'accident', she felt she would be doing both herself and Rachel far more good if she let the tough act go for a few minutes.
"No, I haven't. I couldn't sleep an' all." She considered Rachel for a moment. The younger woman looked like she felt; death warmed up.
"Why did you come here?" she asked curiously. She hadn't known Rachel all that long, but it was already clear to her that she definitely wasn't a morning person and, despite everything that was going on, she couldn't think why she would be here of all places. Perhaps she and Rachel were more alike than she'd realised.
"I wanted to feel like I was doing something," Rachel said, her tone slightly desperate, looking Gill straight in the eye. "I couldn't stand just lying in bed going over and over everything and just…"
"Reliving it all," Gill supplied quietly. "Well, you can go and get on with some work if you want but I can't give you anything to do at the moment, it's still stupid o'clock in the morning."
Rachel nodded, looking distracted. "Have you heard anything since last night?" she asked, half hopeful, half apprehensive.
"I'd have said as soon as you came in if I had," Gill answered, with a touch of her old impatience. "But I'll ring and ask for an update in a couple of hours. Until then there's nothing we can do."
Rachel nodded again and mumbled something about going for some fresh air. Gill watched with a trace of amusement as her DC retrieved a cigarette and a lighter from her desk before rushing out of the door. Then she sighed. She'd been tempted to ask Rachel if she *could have one, but she had supposedly given up and she didn't think Janet would approve if she knew.
Janet… Gill closed her eyes briefly and took a deep breath, willing herself not to break down again. Rachel was outside, yes, but she'd be back soon enough and the rest of the team wouldn't be far behind her. She shoved her glasses unceremoniously onto her face and turned back to her computer screen.
Sure enough, when Rachel returned, it was with Andy in tow. He barged straight into Gill's office, knocking briefly as he rushed through the door.
Gill glanced up at him and interrupted him as he'd barely opened his mouth.
"No, nothing yet and I'm not phoning them at this time. We're less likely to be told anything useful, ringing in the middle of the night. And I'm sure they'd have got in touch of their own accord if the situation had… worsened," she added, trying to convince herself as much as Andy that no news was good news.
He merely nodded tensely, turned and marched straight back out. Gill peered over at him, brow furrowed. Andy was usually so calm and logical. It was strange, she mused, the effect that love could have on people – for she wasn't a fool. It was obvious to anyone with eyes how he felt about Janet. She sighed, glancing at the clock (which informed her that it was only just quarter to 6) and then staring at the phone, as if expecting to hear something if she just looked at it for long enough. She was soon broken from her reverie when it rang, and she nearly overturned her mug of coffee scrambling to answer it.
"Gill M'ray?" she gabbled anxiously, stumbling over her own name in her haste to know who it was.
"Bloody hell, calm down ya psycho bitch, only me!"
"Oh," Gill replied, half relieved, half disappointed. "Hi Slap."
"You should have phoned me last night," came Julie's voice, a lot more softly than usual. "I came in early this morning and head about Janet Scott. How's she doing?"
Gill bit her lip. Putting on a front around Julie wasn't quite like putting on a front around anyone else.
"I don't know," she answered wearily, "last time I checked she was still in critical condition."
"Poor thing," Julie said, then, after a slight pause, "and are you alright?"
"I'm fine!" Gill said, almost crossly. After all, she didn't have anything to complain about – not considering what Janet was currently going through, God, what her family were going through.
"Mhm." Julie didn't sound like she believed her. Gill didn't blame her. "Wanna go for a drink after work today?"
"God, Slap, I want to drink until I don't know which end's up, but I've been working late a lot recently and I think I need to get home to Sammy."
"Go on then, but I'm taking you out for dinner at some point this week and that's not up for bloody negotiation."
Gill smiled slightly in spite of herself.
"I'm honoured," she said drily, looking through the slats in her blinds to see the rest of the team piling in, despite the early hour. She'd have to speak to them… She decided she'd ring the hospital now, bugger the time, and then have a word.
"Look, I'd better go, they're all here looking like nothing on earth and they'll want an update."
"You 'aven't got an update, you silly bugger."
"Well I'm gonna ring the hospital now," she snapped, not in the mood for jokes.
"Alright, calm down," Julie said, "call me later."
"Yeah," Gill said, losing concentration – she was thinking about what the hospital would tell her.
Gill put the receiver back, then picked it up again, taking a deep breath as she dialled the number for the hospital, checking it against her own handwriting on a post-it.
"Manchester Royal Infirmary?"
"Yes hello, I'm calling about Janet Scott – she was admitted yesterday afternoon – stabbed," Gill enquired, her tone brisk, her mask back in place.
"Are you a relation?"
Gill sighed, a tad impatiently.
"DCI Murray, Manchester Metropolitan Police Major Incident Team."
She reeled it off with authority and the woman at the end of the phone didn't question her.
"Of course, Detective Chief Inspector. I'll put you through."
Gill waited impatiently as she was put on hold, tapping her blood red nails (which were actually making her feel a bit nauseous, given the circumstances) on the desk, practically chewing her lip.
"Yes?" she answered immediately.
"My name is Dr Roberts." The man's voice was quite deep; calm and reassuring. "I'm afraid there haven't been any changes since last night. DC Scott is still unconscious and still in critical condition, but the fact that her condition hasn't worsened overnight can be taken as a good sign. I would say, though, that it'll be touch and go for a good few days. Please try not to get your hopes up too much, but at the same time don't write her off just yet. A stab to the spleen is a huge shock to the body and it's not surprising that she's still unconscious."
Gill took a deep breath, unsure how to feel.
"Thank you," she said, keeping her well-trained voice steady. "Please contact me if there are any changes, anything at all, however slight."
There was the sound of a pen scratching on paper at the other end.
"I've made a note," Dr Roberts replied. "Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"No," Gill answered, "thank you, there's nothing."
"I'm sorry I couldn't give you better news. Goodbye, Detective Chief Inspector. I'll keep you updated."
"Thanks," she said again, feeling like a stuck record and not sure why she kept thanking him given that he hadn't told her that Janet was going to get better. "Bye."
Gill hung up and took a shaky breath. She knew she needed to talk to the team. And then she needed to ring Sammy, poor lad hadn't seen her in at least two days. She missed him.
She stood up, brushing invisible dust off her trousers, and made her way over to the door of her office. It fell silent as soon as she stuck her head around the door.
Smiling tiredly at all the anxious faces looking up at her, Gill made her way over to Mitch's desk and perched on the edge.
"Well, I've spoken to the hospital," she began, but nobody interrupted her. They just gazed at her, tense, worried. "I'm sorry; I don't really have anything to report. The doctor said there have been no changes, but at the same time we can look on that as a good thing; she's no worse. We mustn't be too despondent. Janet wouldn't want that." Gill finished, her voice still impeccably controlled, although she wasn't sure how much longer she could keep it up.
"What about- What- When-?" Rachel was looking at her questioningly, seemingly trying to find the right way to phrase what she was trying to ask. Gill thought she knew what she was getting at – what would happen if there were changes; how would they know.
"I've asked to be notified of any progress." Gill assured her, surveying her with a trace of worry as she slumped back into her seat, the bags under her eyes seeming to take up her whole face.
"Does anyone else have any questions?"
They all shook their heads.
"Everyone know what they're doing?"
The team looked mildly surprised; it was strange, in this situation, to feel as if they were beginning a day at work. It felt more like a sort of pilgrimage – they'd all been drawn to the office, hoping for news, taking comfort from each other. They covered it quickly though, and she was grateful to them, for it made things much easier for her. There were a few murmurs of "yes, boss".
Gill turned to go back into her office, but felt a hand briefly touch her waist as Kevin intercepted her. She looked at him, a cross between curiosity and a glare.
"Can I get you anything, ma'am?" he asked quietly, his eyes wide and concerned and genuine. Gill felt an involuntary dampness in the corners of her eyes and blinked.
"No, thank you, Kevin. Get on with what you're supposed to be doing." But there wasn't any conviction in the reprimand; it was force of habit. He smiled at her, understanding. She made a mental note to talk to Julie about his progress – he had a big heart, did Kevin, and she had seen glimpses of real talent there as well. He just liked joking around, but sometimes they all needed a bit of the light relief he so often brought in the midst of a difficult case.
Gill sat back down at her desk and opened up a report on her computer, but she wasn't really reading it. She was watching her team through her blinds again. They were getting on with things quietly; Kevin was talking to Rachel – he seemed to be trying to cheer her up. The lads were subdued, but still seemed to have all of their good sense and wits about them. Despite the gravity of the situation, Gill couldn't help but smile. She might miss working for the NPIA more than anything, but it was times like this that she really appreciated her team. It was times like this that she could take a moment out of her busy schedule to just think, 'I love this job'. And it was moments like that that kept her energy and enthusiasm flowing. With that thought, she turned back to the report and found that now she could actually concentrate. There was nothing for them to do now but wait. And wait they would do, with as much patience and grace as they could muster, until they found out their friend and colleague's fate. Janet will get better, Gill told herself firmly. She will, because she has to.