Jules realises Lane is feinting too late to keep him from throwing her off but soon enough to escape being pinned in her turn. He rolls away and up and she scrambles to her feet to face him. The rest of the team have drifted in and arranged themselves around the room, bearing coffee and paperwork and, in Tom's case, running a book.
"Ok," he says, as Jules circles warily. "You've seen the form, you know the rules. I'll back Ed, hot beverage of your choice. Pete?"
"Yeah, same. She can't take him."
Lane moves in fast, reaching to grab her right shoulder. She brings her left arm up to block him and ducks under, grabs his wrist in turn but can't quite get the angle to throw him.
"No bet," Sergeant Parker says. "i have no favourites."
"It's an assessment of skill, sarge," Tom says, sounding cheerfully scandalised. "You should back the rookie, show some morale-boosting faith. Wordy?"
"Double double on Callaghan."
Lane twists free and backs off, glares briefly at Wordy. "Whose side are you on?"
Jules can see Wordy grin in the corner of her eye. "Eddie, I love you like a brother, but I wouldn't back my brother against a sure thing either."
The sarge laughs and the other two break out in hoots of derision. Jules makes her move.
They land hard on the mat and Lane bucks up immediately, but Jules has his arm in a lock and a knee in the small of his back and he can't budge her.
"Ok," he manages, his voice muffled by the mat. "Enough."
"Yes!" Wordy crows. "Nicely done, Julianna. I believe you two boys owe me a coffee. Each."
Jules stands, waits til Lane rolls over and offers him a hand. He ignores it, gets to his feet and steps forward to loom over her. Jules fights the urge to give way, stands her ground and meets his eyes.
"Wordy helped you." It's not a question.
"Yeah," she says. "So?"
"Cheat." He says it like a dare and she's almost sure she sees the corner of his mouth twitch. Ok then, she thinks. I can win this game too.
"Research, sir," she counters crisply, and quotes, "members of the team should use every available resource to gather information about the subject before engaging."
There's definitely a twitch, now, and Lane steps back out of her space. He puts his head on one side and looks at her appraisingly. "Juliana?"
"Jules," she says, through years of habit. She's been mostly Callaghan to the team so far, and she hadn't been comfortable enought with them to correct Wordy and Tom when they'd used Juliana. It's only Lane's abrupt change of attitude that surprises the nickname out of her now.
"Suits you," he says, and smiles at her, a brief bright grin that lightens his whole face. He glances at his watch and turns so he's talking to the whole team. "Five minutes, guys. We all still on for the bar?"
There's a chorus of assent and Lane turns back to face her. "Jules?"
She nods wordlessly, still confused by his sudden friendliness when he's been acting like a total ass all week. He grins again and says, over his shoulder as he heads for the locker room, "Good. Can't have a party without the guest of honour."
Wordy comes up and claps her on the shoulder and she drags her eyes away from Lane's back. "Hey, what's your coffee order? The guys are getting mine on the way in tomorrow and since we split the work I figure we should split the winnings."
"Cream, no sugar. Thanks." Jules hesitates. "Hey, Wordy. This thing tonight, is it really about me joining the team?"
He looks surprised. "Sure. You didn't know?"
"No, Tom just yelled time and place at me yesterday. I thought maybe you guys did this every week."
Wordy shakes his head. "No, this is your unofficial welcome to team one. Ed's idea, I thought he told you."
"He did. About thirty seconds ago."
Wordy snorts. "He's an ass. But, just so you know? Not as much of a one as he's been pretending to be this week."
"You mean he's actually human?" Jules winces, remembering Wordy's tone when he'd said twelve years, remembering the brother crack. "Sorry, I know he's your friend."
Wordy shrugs and nudges her gently towards the door. "Yours too, you know. Or he will be. This week was just about seeing how hard he can push you and how you react. You're our first rookie since Ed made team leader, he just wanted to be sure he made the right choice."
Jules thinks about this as they go through the hall towards the stairs. Wordy might have a point - Lane has been tough on her this week, way tougher than he'd seemed in the try-outs, but never downright rude or cruel. None of it has been personal. It's just that she's been working her butt off trying to convince him that she belongs on his team, and nothing had gotten even a hint of approval until she'd won a wrestling match and fired off a smart ass retort about research. She's not sure what that means.
"And being able to pin him convinced him I'm good enough?"
"No, doing everything he asked, plus a bit extra, and doing it without any attitude convinced him. If he hadn't already decded you were staying he wouldn't have touched the wrestling match. Even if he did think he was going to win." Wordy shakes his head gleefully and disappears into the men's locker room.
Jules gets dressed fast in what is, essentially, her private changing room, despite the sign that says WOMEN. The rest of the team, minus Wordy, are already waiting when she gets back to the briefing room and he arrives a couple minutes later, cooing a goodnight down the phone and waving away the goodnatured mockery from Roley. He's got two girls, a toddler and a three month old, Jules thinks. Pete's wife is pregnant, Roley's thinking of applying for sergeant in a year or three. She likes that she's getting to know these things about them. She likes that they're taking the time to tell her.
They're heading to a bar a couple blocks away, and halfway there the sarge drops back to walk beside Jules.
"So, Officer Callaghan, how was your first week?"
Jules hesitates, and finally settles on, "Educational, sarge."
"Still think this is for you, now you know what 'this' is?"
She says, without even thinking, "Best job I've ever had."
He's quiet for a moment and Jules glances up at him in case he's waiting for her to say more. He smiles, warm and unsurprised and oddly proud. "Good answer." She's surprised at how good it makes her feel.
When they get to the bar, the sarge pats her shoulder and wanders after the others to what is clearly the team's customary table. She starts to go after him, to ask what he's drinking, but Lane appears from nowhere and steers her towards the bar instead.
"He doesn't drink. Don't offer."
Jules looks at him, bewildered, and his face is the same kind of blank that she'd seen aimed at the subject on Wednesday. She decides not to ask. The next second, he's smiling again, and saying, "Anyway, the rookie doesn't have to buy. Make the most of it."
"Yeah." They lean side by side on the bar and wait for the barman to work his way down to them. "So, apparently I've been too hard on you this week and I'd like to apologise."
It's the least sincere apology Jules has ever heard and it's got Wordy written all over it. She's got no reason not to say so.
Lane laughs. "Yeah, I'm not sorry. Not for pushing you. And I don't think you're all that offended."
Jules had realised that herself, sometime between Wordy's explanation and leaving her locker room. "I was," she says. "But I get it. You're team leader, you need to know that when you make a tac decision I'll be able to do my part. You've got to know we can still do our parts when we're stressed and angry and this far away from hating the job."
"Exactly. And you can. But you're no good to me if you hate me for it, so - " He shifts so he's facing her and holds out his hand, expectantly. "Welcome to team one, Jules."
She shakes his hand, because she doesn't hate him and she already loves this job. "Thank you, sir."
He keeps hold of her hand, raises an eyebrow, and Jules corrects herself hesitantly. "Uh, thank you, Ed?"
He lets go and swings back round to face the bar. "Better. So, what are you drinking? And if you're hungry, they do a great cherry pie here, nearly as good as Sophie's. Even if you're not hungry."
"Beer's fine, "Jules says. "And pie?"
He greets the barman by name and orders - six beers, a soda, two slices of pie - before answering. "Sure. Pie's important, Jules. It's why we make the world safe."
He says it utterly deadpan and Jules thinks, not for the first ime, that it is going to be hard to tell when this team are messing with her and when they're being serious and she's just not getting it. It's the first time she's thought it about him, though, because up until now she'd been pretty sure he didn't have a sense of humour. It might be nice to be proven wrong.
"Right. I thought it was to protect civilians and keep the peace?"
Roley arrives behind her, leans over to grab four bottles and complain, "How come Jules gets pie?"
Ed pays, lifts the other two bottles and the soda for the boss. "Of course. Of course it is, but it's also for pie."
Jules gives up, lifts the two plates and follows Ed back towards her team. The sarge pushes out a chair for her, Tom slides an unopened beer across the table and Pete raises his bottle - to the rookie!
Jules settles into her place.
When Jules gets into work on Monday, the guys are all hanging about the corridor between the locker rooms. "What's up?"
"Nothin', why?" Tom says, too fast, and Roley whacks his arm and Wordy sighs.
"Ooookay." Jules edges past her new team mates, who have clearly gone insane. She pushes open the door to her locker room and steps through, then pauses, backtracks and lets the door swing shut.
The sign on the wall to the left of the door, the sign that says WOMEN even though Jules is the first female officer in the SRU, is gone. In its place, in the same clear plastic and black print, is a new sign that says simply JULES.
She runs a hand over it, traces the J. They got me a sign. She turns to look at them, grinning uncontrollably. "You got me a sign?"
There are suddenly four people trying to talk all at once, happy and loud and welcoming, and Jules looks past them to where Ed and the sarge are leaning against the opposite wall. The sarge is watching the whole thing like a proud parent. Ed is trying to look stern and uninterested. Jules says again, "You got me a sign", and he cracks, gives her that bright, infectious grin.