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the warmest color

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Rosa was absolutely not going to to tell anyone at the 99 that she’d dumped the douchebag. The only reason she’d brought up her personal life in the first place was to try to put off Charles; to reverse on that now that he was single again would be asking for trouble. She’d just glower into her most intimidating face, nobody would bother her, and in 8 hours she’d be free to punch and drink until she forgot she was even having feelings.

And yet within minutes of affixing her glare, Gina still wandered over and started… sniffing? Yep, she was literally sniffing around.

“Can I help you?” Rosa snapped.

“Uh, no? You smell like blue, you can’t help anything today.”

Rosa knew any explanation of what that meant would be weird and annoying, so she turned back to her desk.

Gina was now hovering right behind Rosa, smelling her neck. Suddenly, she spooned around her chair, grabbed Rosa’s pen, and scrawled something on her notepad. Before Rosa had time to react to the personal space invasion, Gina had somehow left the bullpen entirely.

She squinted at Gina’s scribbles and determined it said babylon 10 min.

Ugh, whatever. She kinda had to pee anyway.


As Rosa pulled the door open (cart of crates aside), she saw that Gina had somehow snuck a rolling chair into the space, and was facing away.

She had not, however, brought a desk to catch herself on. Thus, instead of a dramatic half-spin into a “well well well,” Rosa was greeted with a “well well -- oh no” and a ridiculous 720 spin that left Gina facing the wall again.

Rosa smiled despite herself. “Thanks, I needed a laugh. Now scram, I’m gonna use the john.”

Gina, who had managed to turn herself around, rolled herself into the path to the toilet. “Nuh uh, you’re gonna hold that in until you tell me why you smell like my eyeshadow looks.”

Rosa rolled her eyes. “I have no idea what that means. Now move or I’ll just piss on you.”

“Okay, Kinky Smurf, but I’ve got my eye on you. And my nose.” She attempted to replicate the ‘I’m watching you’ pointing gesture so popular on TV dramas, but it was totally undercut by her rolling into the crate-wall and pushing it back a few feet. This time, Rosa laughed out loud.


True to her word, Gina was watching like a hawk and sniffing like a bloodhound. Sure, the hawk’s wings were clipped and the bloodhound was better at finding treats than heroin, but still.

Rosa’s cell phone buzzed in her pocket. She wanted to ignore it, but it was turning out to be an all-paperwork day, and any distraction from her stupid spreadsheets and even stupider feelings was welcome.

Unfortunately, the text wasn’t as welcome as she thought. It was the stupidest -- her sister.

Hermanita! Steve’s facebook says he’s single? You scared him away? Such a sweetheart! :(

Rosa almost threw her phone across the room. Instead, she gritted her teeth, and replied.

Not sweet. Douchebag. Unfriend.

She saw Gina watching out of the corner of her eye, and added:

Angry face.

Then, she set the phone on her desk and watched it send. She didn’t have a Facebook -- too much personal information for any perp or colleague to find -- but she was still mad that Steve had made the split public.

She was interrupted from emotions by Captain Holt. “Detective Diaz, a moment in my office.”

Maybe she finally caught a case -- she really needed the distraction. She walked over. “What’s up, Captain?”

“You tell me, Detective.”

Rosa blinked. “The... ceiling, sir?”

Holt arched an eyebrow. “Gina told me you had something to discuss with me and you did not want to bring it up. Of course, I see now how out of character that would be for you. I will speak with her about involving me in her little schemes. Dismissed.”

Irritated by the lack of murder-shaped distractions, she decided it was time for lunch. But before she got two steps out of his office, Gina popped up from her desk and blocked the way.

“Where ya headed, Cookie Monster?”

Rosa failed to brush past her. Gina took pride in her low center of gravity -- remembering Terry’s attempt at knocking her over almost made Rosa smile, until she tried to move again. “Jesus, Gina, I’m just grabbing lunch. Leave me alone for the rest of the day and I’ll get you that coffee thing you like.”

Gina considered it. “Frappucino and a chocolate chip cookie -- I made myself crave one when I called you ‘Cookie Monster’.”

“Fine.” Rosa moved to leave but was again stopped.

“Oh, and you have to come over, tonight.” On Rosa’s incredulous look, she explained, “I need you to install locks on the windows. Like you did at my old place?”

Well, safety first. And her place was still covered in debris... “Kay. But I’m not getting you a cookie. You’re gonna make me some, from scratch, while I fix your stuff.”

Gina nodded. “Deal.” She held out her hand for a shake, then grabbed Rosa’s and pulled her in for a sniff. “Huh, I thought not getting assigned a case when you wanted one would bring you back to red, but you are a mystery, Blue-the-dog-from-Blue’s-Clues.”

Rosa pulled her arm away with a growl and stormed out of the precinct. (When she first brought Steve to Sunday dinner at her sister’s, her niece had cried, because she’d expected the guy from Blue’s Clues. The douchebag had worn a striped rugby shirt for every subsequent dinner. Total loser.)


Rosa looked up from her computer to see Gina hovering above her. “Quittin’ time, eh, Zoe Saldana’s character in Avatar whose name I can’t pronounce?”

“It’s Neigh-tear-ee! I love that movie,” Scully offered on his way out. Seeing Rosa’s glare, he walked faster.

Gina ignored him completely. “Anyway, I may be running low on blue people, so let’s hurry it up, before you punch me for calling you IBM.”

“I need to go home and get my drill and some locks. I’ll meet you there.”

“No way, I don’t trust you. You might go hide on Mars, like that Dr. Manhattan guy I read about while googling blue skin. I’ll come with you.”

Rosa stood up. “Nice try. You’re not seeing my place. I’m getting my stuff alone. You go get cookie stuff. I will meet you there.” She strode off, shoving Scully out of her way when she caught up to him.


Rosa considered hiding and not meeting Gina. Mars wasn’t an option, but her apartment, a local dive bar, and/or a commuter flight to a bar in Montreal were all much more appealing than facing a weirdo interrogation about imaginary odors.

But she was pretty sore from last night’s hitting (douchebag face, douchebag stomach, at least one hour of punching bag) and breaking stuff (three framed photos, most of her plates, and the stuffed rasta banana she’d won for him at Coney Island). Those massage chairs that Gina had accepted from Jake in lieu of a security deposit sounded like a perfect solution. Plus, cookies.


Rosa arrived at what would always be Jake’s old place, toolbox in hand. After being buzzed into the lobby, she found the apartment door unlocked. “NYPD safety tip number one -- locks don’t do shit if you you don’t use them.”

She sat down in the nearest massage chair and surveyed the place. It didn’t look that different, except for some obvious signs of Gina -- a giant photo(shop) of present-day Gina and a Bodyguard-era Whitney Houston; a plate of the promised cookies; soft area lamps instead of the bright overhead; R&B wafting gently out from hidden speakers; a bunch of tiny candles…  

Her detective brain flashed the word “seduction” at her. She ignored it, and grabbed a cookie. Clearly these were not homemade. There was a bakery over on Atlantic. Good solve.

Just as she ran out of cookie-related distractions, Gina swanned into the room. She was wearing a bright blue lycra bodysuit, and carrying a bottle of wine with two glasses.

She set the wine down and sat on the arm of Rosa’s massage chair. “Welcome to my not-at-all-humble abode. Please, have a drink. And some cookies, which I totally made from scratch using Nana’s intelligent, sensuous kitchen.”

Rosa shifted in her seat. “I don’t drink before I use power tools. Pick your favorite window and let’s do this already.”

Gina didn’t answer at first, because she was preoccupied, once again, by smelling Rosa. Rosa flared with annoyance, and Gina exclaimed, “Ah, I smell a whiff of red! There’s my girl! You’re healing already.”

Rosa stood up, crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. “Healing from what? I’m fine. You totally made up that stupid color smell thing.”

Gina stood as well, posed akimbo. “Uh, no, you are not, and I did not. I can 100% smell how other people are feeling, and you, little miss boxing chalk and man-tears, have been S-A-D all day!”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Rosa stormed over to the window. “What the fuck -- did you know there were already locks on these?”

“Oh, I remember now... Jakey put them up for Nana as soon as he joined the academy. My b!”

Rosa’s eyes flared in anger.

“Oh, Elmo, relax. You’re already here. Just have some wine, and let’s see where the night takes us. Hint: it’s true because it rhymes. Or does it rhyme because it’s true?” Rosa did not react in any way. “Remember? My Rules to Live By? Forget your ex with meaningless sex?”

Rosa snorted. “Some rule. Charles screamed every time he saw you for two weeks.”

“But he totally forgot about that old lady, which makes that win-win.”

The detective part of Rosa’s mind finally circled back to the mystery at hand. “How’d you figure it out, anyway? Did you plant a bug on me? Because surveillance is a felony, and I will arrest you.”

“Of course not, silly! Wiretapping is for people without my resources and talents.” After a beat, she added, “Also, my psychic Carlene told me that a tall dark not-stranger was going to become single this spring.”

Rosa’s eyebrow climbed higher.

“Also, also… when you left your phone on your desk, I may have accidentally-on-purpose looked at your text messages. But hey, Esteban’s loss can be our gain, if you know what I mean--”

“First of all, that is a total violation of my privacy. Second of all, do not call him Esteban, he’s white and so are you. Third of all…”

But Rosa didn’t have a third of all. Gina was standing there, hands in front of her face in a sort of defensive posture, and she looked… hot? Maybe it was the music, or the candles, or the bodysuit (her ass was a particularly pleasing shape). Maybe she was just weak from a full 24 hours of experiencing feelings. Whatever the reason, Rosa decided that third of all, this was totally gonna happen.

Rosa had gravitated towards Gina, who had not yet opened her eyes or moved her hands. She did, however, inhale deeply. “What does purple mean? Are you going to strangle me?”

“Are you into that?” Rosa smirked. She realized Gina couldn’t see her, so Rosa grabbed a hand, moved it out of her face, and directed her best smolder right at her eyes.

Luckily, Gina took the hint, and with her free hand, grabbed the lapel of Rosa’s leather jacket and pulled her in for the kiss.


Two weeks later…

Once again, Rosa moved the cart/door to Babylon and saw that Gina had somehow brought in a chair. This time, however, it was massage, not rolling, and instead of spinning dramatically, Gina was lounging provocatively.

“Took you long enough, sugarplum.”

Rosa sighed at the nickname -- it was a compromise, since Barney the dinosaur and Po the Teletubby were total turn-offs.  “Crime stops for no man.”

“Lucky for crime, we don’t need no man, am I right ladies?”

Rosa finished closing the cart, and straddled Gina on the chair. “You are a horrible influence. Five minutes of making out, then back to work.”

“Not good enough. How ‘bout fifty five?”

“Ten, and that’s it. Amy will not stop texting me with updates from the crime scene.” As if on cue, Rosa’s phone vibrated between them.

“Ugh, fine, but if your pocket rocket hits me at the right angle, I’m renegotiating--”

Rosa just rolled her eyes and kissed her, confident that Gina would smell the fond “shut up” on her breath.