Rachel hates Mondays. She doesn't have a reason for it, she just does. Her hatred doesn't have anything to do with going to work after a weekend, she loves her job too much to complain about waking up at six AM. It definitely doesn't have anything to do with her drinking anymore, and it's not like she's been hungover on every Monday for the last ten years. Sure, there has been times when she has spent her whole day in the toilet because she was throwing up every five minutes, and those moments days are not the brightest moments of her life. Rachel's gotten wiser over the years and she has stopped drinking on Sundays. Well, not completely. But she never drinks too much on Sundays.
It might be because she's so damn tired all the time. When they work on a difficult case, Gill never lets them go home before eight PM, because there's always something to discuss, always something new coming up, always the need of collecting ideas from the team. On those days Rachel never gets to sleep before midnight, because when the others leave at eight, Rachel leaves at ten. She gets about six hours of sleep before she needs to wake up and go to work again. It's partly her fault, she could sleep a few hours more than she does, but she wants to be the last out and the first in-type of detective. She can't beat Gill, though, if the DCI spent any more time at the offices she'd practically live in there.
It's a Monday again and Rachel looks like shit. She's got dark circles under her eyes and her face is pale.
"Good God, you look like shit!" Janet's voice is a bit worried, but she masks it well. Instead of sounding like a worried co-worker she sounds like... well, a worried mother of two.
"Why thank you, it isn't like I haven't noticed it myself," Rachel quips and turns to look herself in the mirror. She looks like a zombie. No, actually, it's worse, she looks like a dead zombie. She's glad there's no one else than Janet in the toilet. It's already bad enough to look like that in front of Janet, and they're friends. At least now she has some time to make herself to look a bit more alive.
"Are you hungover?" Janet asks. There's no blame in her voice, no hints of disappointment. Rachel still hears the disappointment, she always hears it even if there isn't any.
"No, I'm not. For once," the younger detective jokes, adding some powder on her face. It doesn't make the tiredness or the bags under her eyes go away, but it makes her look tired instead of hungover. Tired is better than hungover.
"So tired then?"
"Yeah, I guess. Maybe I don't sleep enough."
"It would be a wonder if you did sleep enough, knowing how much you work. When did you leave on Friday, at ten?" Janet inquires and smiles at her. The smile isn't motherly, it's just friendly. Rachel kind of likes when someone is worried about her. It makes her feel cared.
"Umm... yeah. Might've been later, don't remember." Rachel looks away when she speaks, because she knows Janet will know she's lying if she looks at her. In fact, Rachel left work at eleven on Friday
"Are you trying to compete with Gill on overtime hours or something? How long are your days, 13, 14 hours? It's like you both are trying to kill yourself before retirement."
"I'm not competing with anyone and I'm not trying to kill myself before retirement, thank you very much. 'M not sure about Godzilla, though. She's closer to retirement than I am."
"Who's retiring?" Janet and Rachel both startle a bit when they hear a new voice in the bathroom. They relax quickly when they notice it's Gill. Or Janet does. Rachel's never relaxed when Gill's around.
"Umm, no one," Rachel says quickly. She's pretty sure Gill wouldn't appreciate Rachel talking about her retirement, because it's not like Gill's planning to retire any time soon.
"We were just talking about how Rachel here looks like a zombie because she works too much and sleeps too little," Janet states and glances at Rachel with a smug look on her face. Of course Janet knows that the last thing Rachel wants is Gill questioning her.
"So, that's the reason why Sherlock has been looking dead lately," Gill says. The look in her face is unrecognizable. It might be a tiny smile or a sign of amusement. It's hard to say. Rachel's supposed to be good at reading people, she's built her career on it, but she never knows what Gill's thinking. Just now Gill might be thinking of sacking her because of her bad sleeping habits.
Rachel doesn't know why she's thinking these things. She knows Gill won't fire her just because she's tired. She hopes Gill won't fire when she fucks up again. Rachel hopes she won't fuck up ever again. But that's what she has been hoping for the last five years, and the hoping hasn't done much.
"She's been doing overtime for the last, what, two months? She's going to die of exhaustion before she retires, you know, if she keeps on doing that." Janet is actually scolding Gill on Rachel's work hours. Rachel needs to pinch herself because things like this just doesn't happen to her. Or to anyone, seeing that no one scolds Gill Murray. Ever.
"I'm not the one who keeps her here, it's not like I've chained her into her chair."
Yes you have, in a way, Rachel thinks but shuts her mouth. She keeps herself from saying anything because she's afraid that whatever she might say will ruin everything. She's not sure what she would say and why it would ruin anything, but she knows it's wiser to shut up.
"Okay, yes, I know, but-" Janet starts, but Rachel decides to be brave and stops her before she gets any further.
"Janet, please. It's not Gill's problem. It's my problem. I can work out my sleeping schedule all by myself."
"No, actually, it is my problem if you look like you're going to die within the next five minutes," Gill interrupts them both with a spark in her eyes. "So, spill the truth, Sherlock, why aren't you sleeping? No, why are you working instead of sleeping?"
Rachel wants to sigh loudly and tell them both to piss off. After that she'd really want to leave the toilet, get a cup of strong coffee and then concentrate on the interrogation strategy instead of her sleeping problems. Which aren't problems. But she can't exactly do that, can she? Gill and Janet are both higher in the ranks than she is, and the last thing she wants to do is annoy either one of them, even if they both deserve a bit of annoyance thrown at them.
"It's nothing, really. I work a lot, not too much. I love my job. I can sleep when I'm dead. I hate Mondays. Can I now go to do the work I'm being paid for?" If Gill or Janet notice the silent anger in Rachel's voice, they don't say anything about it.
"Yes, go, do well," Janet says and smiles again. This time it's a we-will-talk-about-this-later-smile. Gill doesn't say anything, but she isn't objecting either. Rachel leaves the room as quickly as possible. She's not sure what just happened, but she's sure she'll hear about it again.
"Why did we have a talk about Rachel's overtime?" Gill asks Janet as soon as the door closes behind Rachel.
"Because she's exhausted and she's not going to stop until someone makes her stop."
"And we have to be the ones?"
"Um, no, you have to be the someone."
"Because you're the only one she looks up to. I'm a friend, she won't listen to me," Janet explains and studies Gill's reaction to this. The DCI's expression doesn't really change.
"But I can't really tell to her to stop working, can I? I mean, I do even longer days than she does."
"That's the reason she's working so late, really, because you do too. She wants to be you, so she does everything you do and more."
"Wants to be me?" Gill's expression changes at this point. Now she looks a bit confused.
"Yeah, you. You're successful, you're a DCI, you're an authority. You're basically her wet dream about her future. Wait, no, that sounded so wrong. Let's just say that she feels like she needs to be at your level to succeed in her life."
"I'll talk to her."
Rachel doesn't know what happened in the toilet after she left, and she really hopes she never finds out. She can imagine all kinds of scenarios, and none of them leave her happy. She imagines Janet telling Gill about her crush on her. It's impossible, though, no one than Rachel herself knows about the crush. It's only Rachel, alone with her stupid little crush on her DCI. It's frustrating, really. Seeing Gill every day on those damn skirt suits doesn't help at all. Rachel doesn't know when it started being serious. Maybe after Janet got stabbed, maybe earlier. At first she thought it was just her normal thing for female authorities. When Rachel was younger, she used to have crushes on all her female teachers. But after a while, she started to realise that her thing for Gill was something more. She got butterflies every time Gill walked past her. She was practically shaking every time she needed to go to talk to her.
Then she realised it was easier to focus on the work, not on the crush. And she worked. Apparently a bit too much, since she is starting to look like a zombie. It seems like working too much and eating and sleeping too little doesn't really work out for long. She can't really explain the reason of her overworking to anyone, let alone to Gill. It's not like she's going to go to her and say hey, I work too much because I love you and it's easier to drown myself in the paperwork than to think about it, but don't worry, I'll try not to die.
"Hey, Rach?" Janet taps her shoulder twice. "You okay?"
"Yeah. Why are you asking?"
"You looked like you were miles away."
"Did I?" Rachel mumbles. "But yeah, I am fine."
"Let me guess - just tired?"
"Oh, sod off," Rachel laughs. Janet joins in and for a moment they just laugh. It's a nice thing to have, a friend. Rachel isn't very good with any sort of relationships, so she tries to savour these moments of happiness. She can never be sure when she fucks up again and it's all gone.
It's half past nine and Rachel is still sitting in front of her desk. They're investigating a murder of a 12-year-old girl, and all Rachel can feel is anger. She is angry because this girl, Lily, never got a chance to live her life, never got the chance to love or hate. Rachel is angry because she feels she can't do anything to help the girl. She stares at the file and tries to put the pieces together, tries to realise something that will help them catch the bastard who strangled a child. But she can't. She tries and tries, but nothing comes to her.
"Didn't you promise to Janet that you'd be gone by eight?" Rachel turns around quickly to see the source of the voice. It's Gill, of course it's Gill. Who else could it be? All the others are at home with their children or their significant other. Rachel doesn't have anything to go home for. Gill has Sammy, but it's not like he needs to be told to brush his teeth and go to sleep by nine.
"Um, no. Well, yes, but I-"
"... like to be here more than at home? It would certainly explain your increased desire to work."
"Yeah, I guess. It's not like I'd do anything else at home than watch soaps, so I thought I can as well be here and do something important."
"That makes sense. But don't overdo it, okay? You're no use for me if you're acting like a zombie."
"Yeah, sure," Rachel's voice is a bit low. Really, how can Gill talk about using people and not expect any sort of reaction from that?
"Are you really sure? Because if I know you, and I like to think I do, Rachel Bailey is not the best person to make decisions about Rachel Bailey's well-being."
Rachel is quiet for a moment. She knows Gill's being reasonable and well, she's right. Rachel's decisions about her personal life have never been very good.
"It's just that the only thing I'm good at is this," Rachel gestures to the papers on her desk. "The papers never tell me to fuck off even if I don't realise something immediately. You might, though."
"Yes, I might. But that's because I know you can do better."
Rachel doesn't know what to say. Gill is standing next to her, not too close but close enough for her to get breathing problems. The look on Gill's face is soft. It's a different look from the one she gives to her when she's done something good. Rachel's traitorous brain wants her to think it as a loving look. The rational part of her tells her that she's just seeing what she wants to see.
"I think I might head home. And sleep," Rachel says after a moment of silence. The silence that ought to be awkward but it isn't, because Rachel's looking at the papers again and doesn't notice how Gill is looking at her.
"Yes, you do that. I don't want to see you back here before nine, understood?"
"No buts. If you really want to say something, say, but then you're not coming back until ten." Gill's voice is commanding, and Rachel doesn't really want to say anything anymore. She expected much worse than nine o'clock, to be honest.
"Okay. But you should sleep too."
"I know. But you're the one who's rocking the zombie style, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I guess I am," Rachel laughs and smiles. "Night, boss."
At home, just before falling asleep, Rachel thinks that maybe Mondays aren't that bad after all.