Please take a minute to review your thoughts on the story so far when you are done. Feedback is always deeply appreciated and, let's not kid ourselves (Gail Peck wouldn't), highly motivating!

It isn't until she finally makes it back to the station that Gail finds a minute to herself. She goes straight to her desk, yanks back her chair, sinks into its stained seat and flicks open her case notes.

There is a hush in the office. Sure, there are the usual milling crowds, people shuffling paper, making coffee and walking back and forth between desks, but they aren't saying much. Usually it's impossible to think in here with all the banter and the jibes and jokes that make the necessary evil of paperwork tolerable. Not today. And Gail recognises the sound in this silence. It's expectation. Expectation of the worse: horrifying news like another cop shot or even just the hearing vaguely alarming news that it is their turn to go on patrol. The only way for all these tough cops to not let on they are scared of the rest of the day is to put their heads down and keep quiet and wait it out. Gail knows this because she feels the same.

She picks up her pen. It hovers over her paper, never touching the page. It doesn't matter. She has absolutely no plan to write a word. All the write-ups can wait until tomorrow. She knows that if there is ever any day this year - in this career - that she will get away with falling behind on case notes, this will be the one.

The pen isn't for writing with, anyway. The pen is her shield. Most people around here know not to talk to her when she is being bureaucratic, lest she unleash the snark. Protected by her inky defence, she can now take a moment to just stare into that comfy middle distance between her face and the page and process everything that has happened since she made the questionable decision to wake up this morning.

Gail just needs a minute. In fact, she needs a lot of goddam minutes. She has just spent the last hour waiting with a terrified little girl for her mother to arrive at the hospital only to return to the station to the news Chloe was still in surgery in a different hospital. And now she needs a minute to let the muscle-seizing, throat-grabbing fear of that walk down a hallway with Oliver that had, luckily, only ended in sick old man and his granddaughter - instead of an armed attacker - dissipate. Being violently ambushed had not been on her agenda for this day- or any day for that matter. And now, Gail Peck is going to need that minute if she is going to be able cope whatever else life chooses to throw at Division 15 today.

It has been…. a day.

She cannot think of any apt way to describe what has basically been a shit storm of a shift.

And that is saying something. Between the self-hate of being a dirty cheat, the soul-destroying break-ups, with having to deal with the guilt-feelings of treacherous best friends - not to mention the hot mess hospital stays, there have been some monumentally shitty days for Gail Peck of late.

But a day like this?

A day that started with a hangover and quickly moved to a work mate you almost-maybe-kind-of-liked-enough-to-call-a-friend being nearly killed by a random, cop-hating revenge-junky with a hunting rifle? A day that continued with being shot at by the very same guy? A day that saw her performing random acts of lesbianism in the interview room? A day that involved Oliver maybe cottoning-on to said potential newfound lesbianism and trying to play dad by not-so surreptitiously counselling her? A day that has so very nearly brought you nearly undone from feeling the tiny birdlike beating of a terrified little girl's heart against your chest -a girl you could never fully comfort because she has just done the most frightening/brave thing she had ever done in her short life and her only reward might be a dead granddad? A day that last saw your maybe-new girlfriend asking you to call her at the end of the shift just to tell her you weren't dead -right before you have to go out there again?

Gail sighs into her case notes. There are no adjectives to describe this kind of day. And it isn't even over yet.

She looks up and does a quick sweep of the room, careful not to make eye contact with anyone. Oliver doesn't seem to have re-appeared. Relieved, she peers back down at the empty page. She will be safe in her office-cocoon for a while longer.

She thinks about Oliver's stupid speech in the car during what may or may not have been his thinly-veiled Daddy-daughter coming-out talk, all about taking chances for love, expecting the unexpected and making changes. All that gross psycho-babble self-help pap Oliver says when he is trying to talk himself into doing something stupid - like date a witch.

She shakes her head slightly, as if to shake away the growing mortification she'd felt during that spiel - feelings that are trying to make a return visit now. Maybe he really was just talking about him and Celery. She hopes so. It is hard to tell with Oliver. He's so glibly all-seeing.

She taps her pen on her empty coffee cup and tells herself it doesn't matter. Even if her was referring to her, Gail Peck has absolutely no plans to make any major life changes. Just like she told that therapist, she has no intentions of switching teams. Sure, she kissed Holly. But that doesn't make her a lesbian. That makes her someone who is into Holly.

There will be no coming out speech from Gail Peck. No way.

Anyway, why should there be? It is the twenty billionth century and everyone is making out with everyone, aren't they? Her friends can hardly raise their eyebrows. The crazy-ass choices they make in their heterosexual relationships beg way more judgement than any life choice change Gail could make.

No, it doesn't freak Gail out that Holly is a girl - although she does have many questions - largely following up on the wardrobe-sharing line of questioning and some other, uh, more mechanical issues of a potential hook-up. It does, however, scare her that her friends would know she was that into someone. She prefers people to see her as being doggedly intent on making other people go as far away as possible.

If anything scares her about being with Holly, it isn't the lesbian label. What really scares her is that Holly is the first person Gail has met in a long time who not only seems to get her, but instantly seemed to figure out how to deactivate the defensive shield Gail keeps in place for these very purposes.

This was the first thing she had noticed about her new friend. Unlike so many people around her, Holly had just blithely ignored Gail's bitch shtick. From the minute they had met Holly seemed to have absolutely no qualms about calling Gail on her crap, or laughing at her caustic attempts to alienate her. It surprised Gail that instead of being offended, or shying from Gail's jibes like so many people, Holly just seemed to shrug and laugh and then throw Gail's particularly acerbic brand of sarcasm right back at her. And, annoyingly, she delivered it in a far more charming, charismatically superior way than Gail could ever muster.

And Gail certainly didn't expect to like it.

Gail wasn't sure at first how she felt being matched - bettered even - at her own game, but eventually she couldn't help kind of admire the way Holly kept the upper hand by playing Gail's the same, but playing it nicer. Anything mildly cutting or sarcastic comment was defused by the warmth of the smile that accompanied it. And while she teased Gail back, the wry crinkle in the corner of her eyes seemed to say, 'I get you, and I am not afraid of the crap you throw in the way to stop people from being your friend'. It was hard to deny the inveigling charm of a woman who offered such warmth to someone who didn't really deserve to be treated so well sometimes.

And Gail knew that a similar message was being sent when Holly kissed her in the cloakroom at the wedding. Dealt out smack bang in the middle of one of Gail's trademark catty attacks, that quick kiss was like a telegram. Gail may not be as geek-smart as Holly, but she read situations well enough to know that the kiss had been her new friend's crazy-ass version of aversion therapy. Gail knew that this kiss wasn't intended say 'I am hot for you and want to make lesbian babies with you'. Sure, there was a was a note in it expressing that Holly thought she was attractive and may or may not be up for something lest it might arise- but in a completely relaxed not-so-much-that-I-won't-turn-around-and-dump-you- for-the-nearest-dance-floor way.

No, Holly wasn't hitting on her. Not then, anyway. She was teasing her. And she was telling Gail she was sticking around no matter what Gail said or did. Gail knew the real message contained in that kiss was, 'Don't bother being a bitch. It won't work. I know exactly how to thwart your knee jerk mean girl reactions, and I know how to do it in the quickest, most disarmingly charming way possible.'

In kissing her, Holly passed a test that no one - friend or boyfriend - had in a long time, the test of being able to call Gail on her bullshit defensive act. It was annoying, but incredibly appealing. Lying in bed after the wedding, feeling the dull creeping thud of champagne at her temples, she recalled the affectionate but wryly patronising way Holly had called her insane and then just jumped up and left her there, mouth open, to process what had just passed between them. However annoying, Gail knew she wanted more of that treatment. She just didn't know if she wanted more Holly in general, or more Holly kissing in specific.

It would have been helpful if she had any idea what was going on in Holly's head, but she hadn't. And she wasn't about to ask. That would make a thing that might not be a thing into a thing, and Gail didn't want to be the one to do that. Until this afternoon, aside from that teasing kiss in the cloakroom, Holly had not given one single other sign she might be into Gail in any way beyond friendship. It frustrated Gail because she can always tell when guys like her. Guys are easy and kind of obvious. That is why Gail likes them. But Holly, Holly is not. But then, that is why Gail likes her. And although she wasn't sure where that cloakroom kiss had left her, it did leave her curious about possibilities it may or may not have presented.

"Peck. I heard you took fire. You okay?"

Gail doesn't even look up. She can tell from the crawly, deferential tone it's not someone who she needs to use manners with.

"Go. Away."

She listens for the defeated shuffle of retreating well-polished rookie boots and sighs. Conversation thwarted. Mission complete. She returns to her thoughts.

Then there was last night at the bar: Gail's very own personal date-watching, trivia-failing nightmare. Last night it had seemed pretty certain Holly wasn't interested in her romantically. When her friend had walked away from her to meet her date, Gail had tried to play it cool. But later, as she sat and watched Holly and her annoyingly attractive date, Gail was helpless to the slow-forming tapestry of conflicting thoughts arranging themselves unhelpfully in her brain. Not only were their conflicting messages unhelpful, they were making her feel crazy. Double whiskey drinking, straw-stabbing,arm-wrestling Chris in the car on the way home just to get the rage out of her system crazy.

Watching Holly and the girl, she chewed on her straw and forced herself to examine the slightly murderous feelings she was beginning to harbour for this annoyingly attractive woman -a woman Holly was talking and laughing with in a frustratingly genuine way. Why did she have to have feelings about this at all?

Not even pretending to make shots at the answers to Dov's ego-assuaging second round of trivia, Gail busied herself by holding up each possible explanation for these feelings of rage by one up, examining them in that curious but kind of menacing way cats play with dead things.

Was she only feeling this rage because she was being her usual narcissistic self, and was jealous that Holly was hanging out with someone else? Was it just that Gail had been getting all the Holly-time lately, and a girlfriend would be a threat to all that undivided attention?

Or was she angry because Holly was into someone else and Gail had pretty much planning on Holly being into her -if and when Gail decided she might be into Holly?

What would happen in Holly fell in love with this beautiful bitch - there, she said it - sitting next to her? Would Gail be free from ever making her mind up, or would she continue to feel like this -a petulant, possessive child?

Maybe, just maybe, she wasn't distressed by this situation at all. Maybe this was just Gail's everyday non-specified source rage. Maybe it was just taking the late shift tonight? Nope, not even Gail could fool herself with that one. These feelings had started with Holly and her date and she knew it.

By the time the two women had left the bar together and Gail had finally dragged her sorry, intoxicated backside to bed, she had less idea of the source of her feelings of crazy than she had been before she embarked on those hard-drinking hours of deliberation. That was one thing Gail Peck was no good at, she noted wearily as she lay back against her pillow, figuring out this feelings business. She was, however, good at thinking about herself in the third person, she noted.

And when she woke up in the morning to the tentative overtures of her hangover, she was still not precisely sure what those feelings were about. She did, however, have a resolute sense that whatever she might feel for Holly might not matter now, anyway.

But that was this morning. Now was this afternoon. And this afternoon Gail knows differently because she now knows three very, very important things that she didn't know about Holly this morning.

One: Holly gave a serious shit whether she lived or died -enough to make a stupid, transparent excuse for coming to 15 to see if she was okay when she heard about the shootings

Two: Holly was not interested in that girl.

Three: Holly was interested in her.

And Holly was interested enough to trade in her usual cool, unflappable exterior for a naïve stuttering girl act of which Gail would never have imagined her capable. While it surprised her, it was this disarming nervousness in Holly that gave Gail the kind of permission she hadn't given herself for a long time -permission to openly want someone.

The moment Gail knew she was safe to have feelings for Holly was exactly the moment she let herself have feelings for her. But before she let Holly know about them, she wanted that self-assured, beautiful, charmingly cocky woman back in the place of this incoherent teenager.

She watched Holly ramble and realised it was her turn to perform their special brand of aversion therapy.

Before she could second-guess herself she reached in and wrapped her fingers around the woman's face, breaking off her rant with a kiss. Gail felt Holly lean into her, returning the kiss harder. She lingered in it for a brief moment and then pulled back, weakened from the intense rush of feelings racing round her body. Yes, they had definitely been Holly-kissing specific feelings she'd been having. She inhaled sharply and looked up at Holly.

"I'm sorry, you just had to stop talking," she said, maintaining her cool.

"I won't say another word," muttered Holly, wide-eyed, a deer in headlights.

Clearly, her work wasn't done. Gail pressed her hands more firmly against Holly's face and looked at back up at her. Suddenly, Holly's nervousness wasn't bad. It was kind of beautiful. And it was for her. Holly wanted her. Gail kissed her again.

This time it was Holly who pulled back. She smiled wryly at Gail, brushed a hand across her cheek and said casually, "message me at the end of the shift, will you? Just so I know you're not dead."

Gail smiled. Holly was back.

Then Gail had just nodded and made a rapid exit. She knew she had to get out of there before the perfectly constructed limbo they'd made in this room became too comforting for her to be able go back and face the rest of this shift.

It was jarring, though, to walk out of that room, still reeling, to be faced with the everydayness of Oliver and his uniform and his phone and his orders and all that daylight.

Gail puts down her pen, and looks around the office. Where is Oliver? There is till no sign of him and it is getting late. If they have to go out on patrol again, she wants to get it over and done with. And she wants to be able to message Holly.

She reaches into her pocket and pulls out her phone, giving in to the urge. She opens her messages and types.

Still got a few hours to go, but so far so good being shot-to-death-wise.

The response comes quickly.

Good. Hurry up and stay un-dead until the end. I want to stop watching Next Top Model repeats and go to bed knowing you're alive.

Gail smiles and then quickly bites her lip to stem it before it turns into a grin. Just in case anyone is watching.

This is my first fic.

Please take a minute to review your thoughts on the story so far when you are done. Feedback is always deeply appreciated and, let's not kid ourselves (Gail Peck wouldn't), highly motivating!