It had started as a joke, this commenting on how tiny Gill was whenever she was stood next to you, whenever you were in a setting where you thought it was appropriate. So mostly at the pub, when she'd steal drags off your cigarette and you'd grin down at her, this tiny formidable woman that you loved so much you thought your heart would jump out of your chest just to present itself to her.
"Alright tiny Godzilla?" you're smirking as you say it, waiting for her to roll her eyes at you and steal the end of your cigarette.
She does, but she's smiling and you can tell she kind of likes it, or that it at least makes her laugh. "I'm not even that short," she mutters and you're laughing, amused that she still fights it, however half-heartedly.
"You are pretty short though," you reply, getting close enough to compare heights, to point out that she has to angle her head up to look you in the eyes.
"I can still strike fear into the hearts of men, and so forth."
"It's not like I took the Godzilla out, just added the tiny," you're grinning and she's shaking her head at you, as if she can't believe she puts up with this idiot. You can't believe she puts up with you either, most of the time.
Later you've moved onto the part of the evening where everyone is on the verge on the drunk, and somehow that means you've ended up sat in a booth with Janet and Gill, Gill tucked up on the bench with you, warm against your side. They're talking but it's a distant murmur, and you're probably smiling into your drink, not even paying attention, just thinking about how glad you are to be here with them, Gill cuddled up to your side. You wonder whether that means she just trusts you or if it means something else, and you smile at the thought, the idea that she could be interested in you practically splitting your face in half.
"Rach you look like a lovestruck fool, do you have a new victim?" Janet questions and you shake your head in response, laughing at the thought.
"I wouldn't say they'd appreciate being called a victim," you mutter, and you thought it was too quiet for them to hear but the two of them seized upon it, and soon you were being besieged by one hundred and one questions on who this person could be, and you just laughed and shook your head through it, not rising to any of the jibes they threw your way or their weak attempts to get a rise out of you.
"Rachel, there's nothing enjoyable about giving us one clue and not following it up, commit to your clue-giving," Gill's pretty drunk, you knew that as soon as she collapsed onto the seat next to you, none of her usual poise.
"I can't give you two extra clues! You're detectives!"
Janet laughs, leaning forwards. "We're not going to tell anyone, it can just be between us and this bottle of wine."
"It's not someone that I can tell you guys about. There, that's an extra clue."
"Why all the secrecy Sherlock, we probably don't even know them."
"It doesn't matter, you can't know," you laugh and then finish your glass of wine, topping it up with the bottle of wine Janet had indicated. Getting drunk and spilling your secrets would be better than doing it sober, you supposed.
You're back outside with Gill, Gill who's been sticking to you today for some reason you don't understand, but you're not going to argue because it's more than you could have hoped for, really, her shivering next to you as she steals your cigarette, hyper aware of her fingers touching yours, her face closer than you'd anticipated.
"Come on Sherlock, who is it?" she tries again, grinning at you, and you have to laugh, not surprised to see that she’s as tenacious in this as she is about anything else.
“I’m serious, I’m not saying anything else about it.”
“You know I’ll make you spill eventually, I am a detective,” and she attempts to draw herself up to her full height which just makes you laugh, and she glares at you for a long second, trying to do her boss stare while listing off to one side.
“Yes very impressive, tiny Godzilla,” you’re still grinning even as she huffs at you in disgust for the nickname, though it was not anywhere near as impressive as it would have been at, say, work.
“Who even started that I think it should be abolished.”
“What should I change to? That Godzilla that always steals my cigarettes?”
“I don’t always steal them, I quit, remember?”
“Yes, and look how well that’s going for you,” you’re both still grinning at each other when Janet appears to drag you back in, muttering something about how you must be freezing and someone was talking about karaoke.
Gill’s sung a few songs, Janet’s sung a few songs, you’ve stayed out of it because you hate karaoke, and everything feels warm and familiar, and you’re happy right now, with Gill cheering on Janet next to you, the wine warming you from the inside out and Gill warming your arm, grinning like there’s nothing to worry about and you don’t have to be in the office at 9am tomorrow morning. Soon enough everyone’s being bundled into taxis and somehow you and Gill are sharing, and she’s still holding onto your arm, she’s still solid and warm next to you, although you belatedly notice that she’s shivering, so you wrap your arm around her, and you distantly remember her giving her address to the driver, and you wonder as she snuggles into your side whether this means what you hope it means.
Shes pulling you out of the taxi with her and you’re following her into her house, her house that you realise is empty, with Sammy gone off with Orla and no one else here, and you wonder what that must be like, until you’re automatically taking off your coat and she’s leading you into the kitchen to get more wine, her coat and blazer discarded somewhere with yours, and you’re filled with want, the kind you were getting used to, that seeing her look less than 100% your boss made you feel.
“Is it Janet?” she asks out of the blue, leaning against her kitchen counter, heels discarded, looking even smaller without the extra height and the extra presence that her suit jacket gave her, toes curling against the cold of the linoleum. Your brain stutters back into gear finally and you stop staring at her, shaking your head and grinning, laughing at the idea, that she could think you were interested in Janet when you were stood in her kitchen and she looked like that, you thought she knew. You thought that she was going to confront you, had been looking for a more personal atmosphere for it. You’re crossing the room before you can stop yourself, hands slipping around her waist, surprised that she doesn't know, surprised that she looks confused.
"How could you not know?" You're smiling though, because she hasn't pushed you away, hasn't done anything but put her hands on your upper arms. You're struck by the surrealist quality of this whole situation, stood here in her kitchen in your socks, towering over her as always, she's looking up at you in surprise, soft and pliant and warm in your arms, her cheeks pink from more than the wine.
"Know what?" she manages, but you're aware that she's looking at your lips, that she looks like she wants to arch up in your grip.
"Oh come on Boss, you're a detective, remember?" You're grinning, you know you must look like you won the lottery, and you might as well have, if you're honest, because this, this is what you've been looking for. You have the perfect job and the perfect team and now you have your favourite person in the world in your arms, and she's looking at you like she wants to melt into you but she still isn't sure, isn't sure whether that's a good idea. You take pity on her, pulling her even closer and kissing her, hard enough to bruise, and it isn't the best kiss but it is the first one with her, the best person, the best woman, the best boss, the best detective you've ever met but that didn't manage to work out you've been in love with her for years.
"Oh," she murmured, soft and quiet against your mouth, and you don't know whether to laugh or to roll your eyes, so you do a combination of both, and she stops you by wrapping her arms around your neck, pulling you down so she can kiss you again.