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PR Nightmare

Chapter Text

Previously on Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda - JudoAly re-wrote the end of season 2 to keep Ripley from dying - because that storyline had so many plot holes. If you haven't reread it, go back and do so. But I'll still briefly recap.

Vic and Ripley get married in the hospital after she almost dies from an unnoticed appendicitis with Travis and Jennifer at the bedside so they can't be separated if the department finds out. They keep it on the DL anyway since their dating is technically still secret and they don't want the fire department involved for as long as possible. At the coffee plant fire, they get into a huge fight because Pruitt drugs Ripley to keep him from entering to save Captain Conlin - Pruitt had figured out they were married on his own. Ripley still goes down with his aortic stenosis, revealing the secret to Andy and Ben (Sullivan still figured it out on the sneeze) but survives unlike Pruitt who dies of hydrofluoric acid poisoning. The rest of the team figures out that they are dating at the Captain's funeral. The battalion chiefs step in and refuse to let Station 19 go to the wildfire, instead they work the fog from Grey's Anatomy. The department threatens to crucify Pruitt posthumerously unless Vic and Ripley make their wedding a huge event with the department's help. They agree, but Andy overhears - she runs to Sullivan who rejects her advances, having been warned off by Ripley.

Season 2 ending - Dean just started dating Nikki. Travis is still single, ready to move on. Ripley wears his(Travis's) wedding ring on a necklace because it was the only ring available during the wedding to Vic. Jack and Maya are still dating. Ben has been accepted into Medic One since he never went to the wildfire and amputated someone's hand. Sullivan and Ripley are becoming friends again. Andy is struggling with her grief and that Sullivan told her they need to keep things professional. Vic and Ripley are about to find out what PR wants out of them for the wedding and the personal and professional price of keeping the secret of Captain Herrera's last fire buried.

While it seems strange that the entire season is based around a wedding, that is exactly what Grey's Anatomy does all the time. They average like 1.5 weddings a season +/-1.5 pregnancies. Since supposedly, Krista Vernoff is pulling Grey's and Station 19 together, there will be regular guest appearances by Grey's characters.

Oh, and there will be alot of sex. All explicit will be M/F, there will be M/M and F/F discussed. Almost all will be Vicley but you'll have to wait to see who else hooks up.

August (ie one month since Summer Preview and two months since Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda ended.)

Captain Sullivan addressed his team. "Thank you for coming to this important meeting. We need to coordinate this event with precision, organization, and attention to detail. This will be a delicate process and it will ask all of us to perform at the limits of their abilities. I have the organized 17 point plan that we need to review. It covers all possible scenarios and clearly delineates everyone's separate, unique, and integral role." He handed out a thick bundle of papers each member of the team at the conference table.

"You can see each of your roles are outlined. Additional contingencies are provided in the index at the conclusion. The assistant chiefs, the five battalion chiefs, HR, PR, and the mayor's office already approved each portion of this plan. I believe if we work together and focus on the goals we can achieve these goals with exemplary skill."

Dean raised his hand. "Is all wedding planning like this?"

Maya laughed. "Why aren't the bride and groom here again?"

He chose to ignore her question. "Please turn to page two. Here's an outline of the events that will be participating in and the assignments."

Herrera read off the outline. "Public proposal. Engagement photos. Introduction to the mayor. Dress shopping and tux fitting. Cake tasting. Engagement party. Bachelor party. Bachelorette party.  Wedding shower. Rehearsal dinner. Afternoon reception. Wedding. Evening reception." She grimaced, "Isn't this a bit excessive? Is FD's PR paying for this?"

"The Seattle FD has determined that this is the best way to deal with existence of the marriage between Chief Ripley and Victoria Ripley. The official story is that they delayed their nuptials due to the death of Captain Herrera and instead eloped."

Sullivan continued,"They've decided to ignore all other timeline events. This will fit the story just fine. They need to present this as a couple in love rather bring to light everything that occurred." He gave Andy a significant look. She understood that this is being done in many ways for her father's legacy. The department would never speak what led to her father's death.

"The reason the bride and the groom are not here that's because they have agreed to do as commanded in all aspects related this wedding as long as it does not interfere with their duties in other ways."

Gibson said, "We have to do all the work and they just show up?"

Sullivan stifled a short laugh. "Oh, they're not getting off easily. They're actually right now attending a Me-Too movement educational seminar followed by a sexual harassment training seminar."

Jack started laughing. "For real?"

Sullivan fixed a stare at him. "I'm thinking about sending you and Bishop to it too."

Montgomery laughed. "Boy am I lucky when I married Michael that they didn't have any of this."

Ben shrugged. "It's awkward being married to the chief. I remember back at Grey Sloan when Grey was married to the chief, Cristina was married to the chief, and now I married to the chief. I still sometimes have to do first man duties."

"First man duties?" Dean inquired.

"Yeah, you know, like first lady but the lady is the chief."

"That does make Vic the first lady of the fire department, doesn't it?" Dean mused

Sullivan cleared his throat. "Yes. HR also brought that up. She is going to have elocution lessons."

"Elo-what?" Jack asked

"Elocution lessons." Maya explained. "They have most of the Olympians do a couple of those sessions just like prep you for the camera."

"They expect Vic to agree to that?" Travis asked.

"She already has. They will be done at the station during her shifts between calls with her PR liaison."

"Is that wise? I was never so happy to stop giving that Medal of Valor interview when we got paged to that fire." Andy remembered.

"They feel it's important to observe her on the job to tailor their methods." Sullivan stated, not sharing any part of his opinion.

"I'm sure it provides some photo opportunities as well," Bishop observed.

"I have a question." Kat, the new rookie asked.

"Yes what is it?"

"What are we supposed to call her now? Is she 'Hughes' or is she 'Ripley?'"

"Hughes." Dean answered. "See page 8. It says right there."

"Really?" Jack asked. "Doesn't she get to pick?"

"No." Sullivan responded. "At this point especially since they haven't been through their ceremony, she's remaining Hughes. Besides, its important to keep her call sign stable for now. Any other questions? Good. Please review your wedding manual in depth. The PR rep will be here in a few days to keep us updated on any changes and additions."

"I hope Vic and the chief are having more fun than this." Dean commented.

Sullivan chose to say nothing. He wistfully thought back to Montana where he had an all male team with no chiefs marrying his firefighters, none of his lieutenants dating each other, no PR department interference, no single mourning lieutenants hitting on him. Simpler times.

Chapter Text

Meanwhile at Seattle FD HQ where no one was having any fun . . .

"How long do you think this video can go on, Lucas?" Vic whispered.

He spoke without moving his lips. "Probably only 30 more minutes."

They had been watching an hour of the scenes of Harry Weinstein behavior performed by extremely poorly filmed actors. They were role playing appropriate and inappropriate conversations between executive and subordinates.

"Why only 30 more minutes?"

"Because that's when the 2-hour sexual harassment training starts."

"Two more hours of this?" Onscreen an old creepy-looking white man was trying to convince a young Asian woman to come to his penthouse for a job interview. Vic asked saucily. "Does it count if I convinced you to come to my place? I don't remember offering you a promotion."

"Please sit quietly and don't say anything."

"It doesn't have any suggestions on what you're supposed to do if you fall for the guy who left you to die inside a burning building."

"Eggy, if you can just hold it together for another two and a half hours. I will make this up to you."

"Fine. Better be good though. Very good." She reached under the conference table and ran her hand up his leg.

Lucas made a strangled sound, "Stop."

"Fine." She indicated the other people suffering through the video. "Why are all those Grey Sloan people here?"

"Annual sexual harassment training. I don't know if it works for them, but they keep coming back every year."

"Are they going to be hanging out a lot around us in the fire station, too?"

"Maybe, there's some type of new management over at Grey Sloan."

His phone vibrated on the table as the video ended. He and Vic exited the conference room. "Yes, Chief Ripley - Hey, Sully." Ripley answered the phone as they entered his office. Vic went ahead and closed and locked the door. She also flipped the blinds down. "They gave you a 17-page plan? Oh, 17 point plan and a 50 page plan?" He sat down at his desk. He had a relatively spacious office with a large oak desk. Instead of sitting on the couch or the comfy visitor chairs, Vic walked over and stood next to him.

"Do I want to know what was in it?" Vic pushed his chair back. She crouched on the floor in front of him and ducked underneath his desk. She pulled the chair back a little bit and started opening his pants.

Ripley tried to suppress any reaction. It only encouraged her because she calmly exposed his cock and begin to work it with both hands. He looked down, and she had a naughty smile that demonstrated absolutely no regret.

"Yes, I'm fine." Ripley tried to keep his voice modulated at an appropriate pitch. Definitely was not being given a hand job by his subordinate's oh so very clever hands right now.

"Yes, we finished Me-Too training. Yes, sexual harassment training is next." He rested his head against the back of his chair. Her hands were amazing; she knew exactly how much pressure to use. Every once in a while she'd put her mouth on his balls which shot more tingles up and across his body.

"Yes, the training is great. I'm definitely learning a lot." The last word came up slightly odd because Vic leaned forward and started deep throating him instead.

He tried to follow Sullivan's next set of words, but Luke really didn't hear any of it. He decided it was probably a good time to end the phone call. "Yes. Right. I will be calling you back after the sexual harassment training." He wasn't sure how many times he'd said 'yes' to Sullivan in the past conversation.

After hanging up, he tried to set the phone down on the desk. It bounced off the decoder ring and sparkly pink bracelet near his mouse before landing on the floor. He paid no attention to that because Vic was moving faster and harder - he was getting so close. That minx of his wife knew exactly what she was doing even if it was giving him a combination of a handjob and blowjob right before a sexual harassment training while under his desk.

He dropped his eyes to her face again and knew he was nearing all he could handle. She was looking back at him while she sucked him off with this combination mischievous naughtiness. He grabbed her shoulders, thrust forward, and came hard into her mouth.

This time she didn't swallow. She pushed him back grab a tissue and spat into it.

That wasn't like her. She shrugged; her bad-girl grin got bigger. "I imagine that's what an underling would do with a mouthful of her boss's cum." She threw the tissue in the trash. "I'm sure CSI won't stop by."

Not sorry. Not learning much of this training. "Yeah," he said feeling his heartbeat to slow back down. He hoped his cardiac meds were up to this type of situation. Dr. Pierce had cleared him for all activity at his three month check since Altman was still on maternity leave. Maybe he should have been more explicit about what activities he engaged in with Vic.

"Every single time we were together, I gave my full and enthusiastic consent. Maybe as my boss you failed your ethical obligation to me, but I was definitely a fully consenting participating adult every single time I asked you to put your cock inside of me. Every single time you made me come." It was becoming clear to him that Vic was actually quite aroused at this discussion.

"I don't remember that part of the video series."

"Unlike the people who did these videos, I actually went to some law websites and checked out actual information on what we did. The more they talk at me, the more I keep thinking of all the ways that I'm going to violate each and everything they're telling me. And I'm going to make you like it, too. Or are you going to report me for sexual harassment right now? I didn't ask for your consent."

"My consent was implied as your husband who made no move to stop you. If you had shown up say 8 months ago to do that. . . "

"You'd have still let me do it. You might have debated whether or not you can bang me on the desk." Vic was panting slightly and he couldn't help but let his eyes be drawn to her breasts, still buttoned up in her uniform top. Other parts of his anatomy started reloading as he was well programmed at this point to respond to his warm and willing woman.

"I'm debating it right now." He checked his watch and considered his turned-on wife who was contemplating his open trousers. "But we don't have time. I bet they're probably wondering what happened to us."

"As long as I get something tonight." Vic gave a fake pout.

"Oh, you will. I promise." He blocked her hands from being helpful while he closed his pants.

The next two hours were spent learning about ways not to sexually harass anyone. Ripley was thankful it was watching another video and not being asked to role play 'good and bad talk.' He could imagine how well Vic would have taken that or if she'd have started unabashedly sexually harassing him. He'd like to think his restraint was strong enough to not take her up on the desk offer mid sexual harassment training, but when she wanted him - she often got him. He could see her practically counting down the minutes till it was over.

The weirdest part was when the residency director - Dr. Weber- stood up and reminded the interns not to sleep with attendings. Also as a precaution, Dr. Weber also reminded them that prostitution in Washington was illegal and not to frequent at massage parlors if you are a major NFL owner or a doctor at Seattle Grace . . . Seattle Grace Mercy West . . . . Grey Sloan Memorial hospital. (it took the director three tries to get the correct name)

After it was finally over, he did take Vic back home and fulfill his promise several times. The 50 page plan could wait.

Chapter Text

August 2019 (ie a few weeks after Season Premiere)

"My braids look okay? Not too neat? Not too messy?" Vic checked her hair in the window on her way to the barn.

"They look fine. Why are you so worried?" Travis asked.

"Because that special manners teacher/PR person starts today, and she's bringing a photographer. It's the first day of actual PR stuff except our jogging assignment."

"Jogging - I still don't get why you need to do that."

"It's buried in my 50 page assignment packet somewhere, I'm sure. At least it's more fun to run with him than it was with Maya." Vic's face fell, and she whispered to her best friend. "Also I think that this might be public proposal day."

"Why would you think that?" He looked around for eavesdroppers.

"Because Luke told me. He said to pretend to be surprised."

"You look fine. He'll probably come over for lunch or something and your manners lady can take photos then."

"It's time for lineup," Jack popped his head around the corner, "Are you ready, Hughes?"

Vic adjusted the ring on her neck. "As much as I'll ever be."

"Station 19 lineup." Sullivan bellowed.

The team came running and saw that Sullivan was not alone. There was a neatly dressed overly made-up late 20ish blonde woman with her hair in a tight bun. Her kitten heels and sensible suit were not sensible for a fire station.

"This is Frances Smith. Welcome to Station 19. She and her team," he indicated a photographer standing behind Ms. Smith. "Will be with us for the next couple days. Seeing how things work. Helping out with the little bit of PR."

"These are my lieutenants, Bishop, Gibson, and Herrera. That is Dr. Ben Warren on temporary assignment for Medic One training for six months. Here's firefighters Miller, Montgomery, rookie Noonan, Hughes. I believe you going to spend the next couple days assigned to Hughes, correct?"

"I am assigned to be here when she's working and, on her off days, I will be with Chief Ripley or doing other coordination. It's great to meet everyone.I looking forward to working with you, Ms.Hughes."

Vic supressed a crazy face and then forced a smile on. "I can't wait - to show you around the station and what we do here."

"I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to get to know each other," Francis smiled back in a battle of whose smile would crack first.

"All right, chores. Warren, you're an aid car with Bishop. Hughes, you, Miller, and Gibson are on engine. Everyone else on ladder with me. Dismissed."

Francis and her photographer followed Vic. She was supposed to be doing engine maintenance on the ladder and then the engine. She pulled out a wrench and opened up the side compartment of the ladder truck to readjust various winches and bolts.

"Okay, so you can ask me anything you want." Vic tried.

"Great. I kind of wanted to know about your morning beauty routine."

"My morning beauty routine?"

"Yes, you know what products you use, how you start."

Dean strode by shaking with laughter as he went to restock the oxygen tanks.

"Yeah, my beauty routine... I wash my face in the morning with soap and use deodorant. You know this is kind of like a guy space. With a lot of dudes here. Makeup isn't really like the thing you wear at firehouse much." Did Francis know that people go to work without makeup?

"How about hair care?" Francis was not going to be dissuaded.

"I keep mine pretty braided like this at work so it doesn't catch fire." Francis did not appear to like that answer. "I mean, you see, my hair is much bigger than this but we can't have that at work." Should she explain black hair care to this lady who didn't ask about oil from the start? "The guys don't have facial hair either; mustaches are okay. Chief's an exception cuz he rarely goes into fires."

"So what do you think Chief Ripley thinks about your hair? Does he like it?"

"I think the chief is happy that my hair adheres Seattle Fire department regulations for neatness." And his hands were heavenly when he oiled it.

Francis seemed to be taking a really deep breath. "Okay, maybe we should cover skin and nail care instead. You have amazing skin, and you must take great care of it."

"Um, yeah, that's right," Vic said. Those hands were currently covered in a lot of grease which was stuck under her nails. "We use a lot of orange grease off pumice mixture. In fact, I need some now." she tried to retreat but Francis followed her over to the washing station where she did use the orange-flavored grease off pumice mixture.

"Do you say you're more of a natural products girl? Do you do alot of exfoliating facials?"

Maya came by to help her out. "Oh no, Hughes's skin is amazing because of the ash."

Vic did not like the smirk Maya was wearing. Sometimes people got to stir the shit, and she knew it because she often had that look."This is Maya Bishop, ex Olympic runner gold medalist. Maybe you've heard of her?"

"I knew I recognized your name somewhere. The four of you ladies seem remarkably attractive for being firefighters." Francis's smile didn't even falter. "It's such a pleasure to meet you." She returned to the topic. "So what is it about ash?"

"Yes, tell her about the ash," Bishop said.

"I'm not really sure what you're talkin about Bishop. Aren't you supposed to be in the aid car?" Vic hinted.

"Oh, we don't have any calls right now. Don't be shy, Vic." Maya gave a megawatt grin at Francis. "You see it's the ash from the fires -from the the dead bodies of pets since they are lower priority on rescues. When they vaporize and fall from the sky,' it's amazing for skin care."

Francis did turn ashen in horror at that discussion. "Maya is just joking," Vic said. Thank G-d she hadn't said human bodies.

Just in the klaxon went off. "Engine, ladder, aid car 19 - structure fire in progress." A flurry of motion occured in the station.

"Finally," Vic ran to the barn where her turnouts were waiting by engine 19. Francis and the photographer followed her. "What you doing?"

"We're supposed to come with you." Photographer guy started taking pictures of her suiting up.

"You're going to come with me to a live scene?"

"Yes," Francis gave a winning smile. "I'm sure we'll have lots of time to catch up in the . . . " she looked at the fire truck.

"In the cab." Vic clarified, "I guess I'll be sitting in the back with you too."

Gibson ran by and tossed extra turnouts to the two of them. "We've got extra helmets in the cab. Don't get too close. Everybody in?"

They went out with siren's on and Miller driving with Gibson next to him. Vic sat in the back with her observers. She had to shoe them how to clip their helmets.

The radio crackled; it was Herrera. "We going to 417 Bloomfield. Sounds like there's a pet store on fire. Aid car's going to be on animal duty. Engine's going to hit the fire while ladder truck removes any civilians. And team, remember humans first and then we can go back in for the animals once the building is secured and cleared. Please. You'd rather have a Crispie Kitty then a human death."

"That was dark, Herrera," Ben said into the radio from the aid care.

They sat there in silence. Finally Francis said, "You mentioned the chief. It's so great that you two are making it official in a wedding ceremony. What would your perfect date be like?"

"Yes, Vic tell her what your perfect date would be like." Jack was as bad as Maya. Had they been conspiring against her?

"Like a first date? Or like date that I have now as a person in a committed permanent relationship?"

"How about if he asked you out to dinner today?"

"Will I get fired for leaving my 24-hour shift? We usually go for post-shift breakfast. To a diner. Eat stale bagels together."

"He probably drags her by the hair back to their house." Gibson was actually even less help than Maya.

"Gibson, shut up." Vic yelled.

The truthfully he was quite right. Between him working the day shift and her working 24-hour shifts, the perfect date was the one where they got to spend some time alone together. She may or may not have tied him up to the bed in said date. That was probably not really for Francis to hear though.

"Okay, for my perfect date. . . We would go to a restaurant and spend two or three hours catching up our day together. It would be nice that I didn't have to cook or eat food cooked at the station. I probably talk a lot more than he does. He's like a really good listener. And I think I make him laugh and smile especially if you spent all day doing really depressing paperwork."

"Oh, that's so sweet." Dean said.

"Have you two actually ever gone on a date out to dinner?" Jack asked. "The barbaque at your place doesn't count."

"No. Most of the time we can barely get to the diner." There was alot they had never done together despite dating for 10 months and being married for 5. The first 5 months of dating was confined almost exclusively to her apartment, then she'd had the appendicitis and was on light duty. 2 weeks after being on full duties, he had his heart surgery which put him on light duties for 8 weeks. Only for the past month had he been able to do everything. Between all those emergenies, going to a bar, going out to dinner, heck, even being seen together in public was low on the totem pole of things to do.

"We're here. Everybody out." Jack called out.

The scene was a little bit chaotic because it was a small strip mall pet shop with fire and smoke pouring out of the front. Animal control was cordoning off an area to set up cages on the outside. Aid car started setting up there to assist. As Gibson got out, he ordered Vic and Miller to charge the hoses.

She was followed by her little entourage. "Look you need to stay in the buffer zone- stand over here. I'm going to have to go in and try to put out the fire. I can't have you getting in the way so please stay here." Photographer guy was snapping photos, and Francis was texting on her phone. They did not have time for this shit.

"Hughes and Miller," Gibson yelled. "Man the hose; we're doing interior attack now. Let's go into the A side." Captain Sullivan directed his team to be prepared to follow in after the engine team knocked a path.

Masks on, Vic and Dean entered together, spraying everything with water. The fire must have originated in the back floor of the shop. It appeared to be a fire on some magazines that someone had been smoking nearby. Fortunately, it was essentially one large room with a lot of cages of animals that she could hear cawing, barking, and meowing frantically. Behind her the ladder team ran in and spanned out looking for civilians and venting the ceiling. She focused on dousing the flames. She took the left; Dean took the right, and Gibson remained the second set of eyes on the ceiling. Within about 3 minutes the fire was out. It was less exciting than she did anticipated.

Sullivan called out, "Ceiling's clear, no lateral spread through the roof. Alright put those hoses back. All clear civilians. Let's start to get these animals out."

Vic obediently helped return the hoses to the truck. She was directed to head back in and start animal collection. Gibson handed her a set of like 8 kittens in a basket to carry outside.

She stopped short when she went to the animal control section by aid car. Because there was Lucas in his dress uniform, and he was holding a black box in his hand.

"Hell no." Vic whispered to herself.

Bishop passed by her, stole  said,Vic's helmet, and said, "Do not set down the kittens. Make it look good."

Travis came up and pushed her gently forward "Come on, go for it."

She plastered a smile on her face and through gritted teeth said, "Well, it's not hearts and rainbows."

Francis and the photographer were already in place.

Lucas looked slightly embarrassed, but then he steeled himself and gave his best equally excited smile.

He walked up to her, "Hi."


"Here goes," he said under his breath and then continued in his chief's voice. He got on one knee. "Victoria Hughes, I love you, and nothing would make me happier than having you as my wife. Will you marry me?" He opened up the black box. There was a large ostentatious diamond ring in a white gold setting.

Vic knew she had very poor poker face particularly when her team was standing nearby with barely suppressed mirth. She instead thought of their (slightly hazy) hospital proposal and remembered look in his eyes. She put herself back there and was able to bring up a genuine smile. His eyes warmed, and she looked past that ridiculous ring.

"Yes, I will." Vic pronounced. Ripley checked around and found no way for her to get off her gloves to get the ring on -let alone avoid eight kittens. Instead he put it back in his pocket. He stood, leaned forward, and gave her a kiss.

As usual the world faded away. They'd never actually shared a kiss while she was in her turnouts. Turnouts on the floor, yes. However this moment was interrupted by eight angry kittens and a triumphant voice yelling, "Perfect." Lucas released her.

Frances was utterly delighted and Vic thought she might actually have died of happiness on the spot. "Exactly what we needed for the paper and the Seattle FD wedding website."

Ripley seemed a bit contrite as he bundled Francis and the photographer into the chief's SUV and announced they were heading back to headquarters.

Vic stayed with the rest of the team through the overhaul. Animal control trucked the rest of the animals away. Travis offered Vic the option of taking a kitten with her and she was like 'nope.'

The team teased her about her proposal when they sat down for a very late lunch. And then her phone rang. It was Lucas.

She got up from the table to exit through the glass door because her team was watching her intently. "That was the public proposal?" Vic tried to keep her voice hushed. Never could tell who was a good lurker. "I thought you were coming here for it."

"Yes. That was not how I planned it. I was supposed to come to the station during dinner and propose to you you quietly surrounded by the team at 19."

"How did you end up at that fire?"

"Your PR rep thought that it would be a great opportunity firefighters rescuing pets and stuff. She texted Fitzpatrick at HQ who thought the same."

"It's a good thing I love you because I don't do kittens."

He chuckled into the phone. "You're cute with the kittens."

"Is that my ring? It's kind of-"

"Extremely large and loud?" He answered.

"I was going to say 'not firefighter material.' Can't really wear that for work. Unless you want to use the rock to cut through some windows or something."

"Well technically it's a prop ring."

"You fake proposed to me with a fake ring?"

"No. It's a real ring. It's on loan from Jared's Jewelers. PR decided it would look fabulous on camera, I guess, and the jeweler got free advertising." Ripley sounded apologetic.

"I guess that's better. Do you still have the other ring somewhere?"

"Of course, but I'm saving that for the actual wedding. PR is going to let you keep my other ring on the chain. I was able to convince Fitzpatrick that it wasn't worth chancing you lose a finger at work."

"At least that one counts." She played with his officer's ring on her necklace. Their more expensive chains had yet to turn their necks green. "I got to get back to the team. They're probably listening at the door right now."

No one said much about the proposal after that. She wondered if Lucas had been asked about his perfect date by Francis. After a quick text message to Luke, she was headed to bed.

Chapter Text

She was less than excited when she opened her bunk room door the following morning and found her kitten proposal was the front page of the lifestyle section of the print and online version of the Seattle Times. The team had printed out copies of the proposal photo and taped them all over her door frame.They took it even further because they decorated them with hearts and rainbows.

When she came out, Travis started reading. "Victoria Hughes, 28, accepted a heartfelt proposal yesterday from Seattle's very own fire chief Lucas Ripley, 43. The couple who both work for Seattle FD, legally joined a couple months ago. They selflessly delayed their nuptials due to recent tragedies that occurred at Seattle FD after two firefighters died on duty. Firefighter Hughes had moments before rescued numerous animals including this set of kittens from a blaze at local pet shop Fins, Feathers & Fur."

Gibson took the paper from him. "Hmmm - here it says that the chief's hobbies include boxing, eating stale bagels, going for long walks on the beach, stealing SUVs and romantically sneaking around."

Travis grabbed the paper back. "Hughes likes cycling and long romantic meals with her husband future husband. She praises his kindness and sensitivity."

"I'm going to kill you. All of you."

"Okay enough fun, guys. Line up time." Sullivan called them.

If that wasn't painful enough, her teammates had covered her turnouts and boots with flowers, stuffed kittens, and more hearts and rainbows. Even freaking Sullivan had trouble keeping a straight face.

"Hughes, you need to work on your turnouts - that is not regulation."

She swallowed her response and waited the remaining 30 minutes of her shift before getting the hell out of the station. She left the stupid flowers.

After shift, without Vic, the team mutually agreed to go out for coffee and snacks at the nearest Starbucks. They took over three tables in the corner.

"So this is really happening? PR has entered the station." Jack said. He put his chair pretty close to Maya. Kat was charged with carrying everyone's coffees.

"It didn't seem real before when I saw it on 50 pages of paper," Dean said. "It was on alot of paper, but I guess they going to make the two of them do everything. Those kittens."

"I thought it was cute," Kat said.

"Rookie, speak only when spoken to," Dean advised. "We also need skim milk. And sugar. And cocoa." Off Kat went.

"Maya, when I propose to you," Jack teased. "It will not be with kittens."

She wasn't comfortable with that statement. "Gibson, if you actually want to get married to me - you better wait until I propose to you."

Andy cut in, "Do not bring the ring to work."

"According to Vic, the original plan was to have him propose at work." Travis commented.

"Guess it was improvised on the fly for them," Dean said.

Travis scrolled through his phone. "I think I'm kind of jealous - they are getting so much love on Twitter, Instagram, and the Seattle Times. They're on the front page of the Seattle FD page and there's a link to their wedding blog."

"You wanted to be an Instagram celebrity?" Ben asked.

"No. It's that they were so quiet about it for so long - now it's like they're living out loud - really loud." he scrolled around. "Francis works fast, or she had all this prepped ahead of time."

"Are there any other major wedding duties for anyone coming up?" Andy asked.

Sullivan checked his phone. "It looks like the next event is engagement photos which won't be at the station. After that it's going to be wine tasting with the mayor. I have Hughes on an upcoming short shift for that in a couple weeks."

Maya reviewed her calendar. "We have to go wedding dress shopping right after that and then there's the engagement party a few weeks later. I wonder if they realize that there's the Hometown Heroes 5K on the same day."

Travis shrugged. "I don't think there's anything coming up that we need to do as a team right now. I do feel a little odd having meetings like this without them."

"Since it's more informal FD business, I'd rather try to keep these things separated," Sullivan said. "We'll invite them as needed. I needed to make sure all of you felt that having the PR rep here wasn't too intrusive."

"It wasn't a big deal to us," Jack said. "Vic might not agree."

"She doesn't get a choice." Sullivan's tone communicated finality. "Good work, team. That's all I needed to hear." Ben and Sullivan grabbed their coffees and sugars from the newly returned Kat and departed.

Andy's phone unexpectedly beeped. She looked down. Message from Ryan. Need 2 talk 2U. She made sure no one was paying much attention to her and deleted the text. "Hey Maya, want to go to Gold Bar to do some climbing."

Maya extricated herself from Jack quickly,  "Absolutely. Anybody else want a morning workout?" Kat silently raised her hand and Maya nodded at her.

"Why don't we meet up for dinner or something. Pizza good?" Jack asked, and she gave him a thumbs up before leaving.

Travis went through his phone. Grant, stir fry guy, snaggletooth dude, Travis contemplated his options. He was really ready to get out there now that it was almost three years, but . . . probably wasn't a good idea to contact any of his exes. He wasn't lying when he admitted he was a smidgen jealous of Vic's love. At the same time, she definitely found something real. And he wanted real too.

He decided to go to his local bike shop. His odds of meeting somebody was better with group of spandex clad bikers than hanging out a Starbucks. He wondered what Vic was going to do post proposal. Hide from the paparazzi?

When she got home, Vic did some weight lifting and punched Lucas's bag in the basement gym a couple times. She straightened up the two guest rooms and sat on the living room couch wondering what show to watch on the wide screen TV situated on the opposite wall. Since Lucas wasn't due to be home until 5, she debated if she wanted to do anything else. She decided to avoid the internet as the idea of seeing kitten proposal memes was frightening. Eventually she went back to bed.

She woke up around one by Lucas. That was strange; he usually wasn't home during lunch time on a regular weekday. Even stranger, he was wearing white T-shirt and his boxer briefs. Vic had fallen asleep in a tank top and some panties so she was about the same level of naked. She checked the clock a couple times to make sure she hadn't slept all the way until the evening, but it was still one in the afternoon.

"Everything okay? It's still daytime, right?" she rechecked the clock again.

He laughed and said, "Follow me." They walked into kitchen where there was a bottle of champagne sitting on the kitchen island.

He said, "I know yesterday was not what you had imagined. I'm here because the department spokesperson, PR, and the mayor's representative took me off call. They gave me the afternoon off and handed me this. They were so happy at how people responded to the proposal. I've never had anything like this happen to me. I'm not sure I'm excited to have PR order me around but-"

"You came home to drink it with me?" There might be a bright side to the humiliation after all.

"Well, I was thinking of having some conversations over the champagne."

She eyed him carefully; this was new. It wasn't a secret to either of them that she tended to be the instigator of most of their kinky activities. But if her handsome fire chief was in the kitchen half undressed and suggesting some afternoon delight; it sounded good to her.

"All right, if we're going to have a conversation now, what do you think we should talk about?"

He popped the cork showering the two of them with the spray of champagne. He measured to generous glasses and handed her one. "To kitten proposals." Then he took his glass and promptly dumped it on her chest.

She said, "That was cold and sticky. Still better than flour." She dumped her glass on him too.

"Now we're both wet. We should probably take this stuff off." By mutual accord they both stripped right there in the kitchen.

He put his hands on her shoulders and carefully pressed his mouth against her collarbone. He started licking up each errant drop the champagne. He worked lower on her breasts, carefully avoiding her nipples. He licked both sides, the undersides of each breast, down her navel, including her appendicitis scar and her belly button.

"My turn." She ran her smaller tongue across both of his male nipples. She made sure to kiss the scar on the right side of his chest. She played her way past his sternum and across the six pack. She ran her fingers through the golden brown curls at his groin. "I think we need more to drink." She grinned.

He wordlessly handed her the bottle. She measured at another generous glass, set it down and then poured the remainder of the bottle on both of them. Good thing they were playing this in the kitchen rather than the bedroom, which must have been his intention. In fact behind them, she noticed that Lucas had very helpfully laid out an extra comforter. What an excellent planner of spontaneous sex.

This was fun and sexy. They had plenty of time to do it since there was no time for getting calls or anything else. He kissed her leisurely, running his sticky hands over top of her arms. She returned it eagerly with her skin starting to adhere to him.

He took the glass, set it next to the comforter, and drew her down to him. They lay down on the bedding facing each other side by side, their legs tangled together. He resumed his slow exploration of her chest but this time she coughed and said "I think you missed some spots." He obliged by taking one nipple in his mouth, lavishing it with his tongue. He started to pull at the tip of the other one. Vic's hips shifted restlessly. "I need-" she started.

He said "Not yet. I'm thirsty." He moved on to the other side. This time he let his fingers wander lower, first over her clit and then inside of her.

She wiggled against him - feeling overly stimulated and sticky. The need between her legs was getting harder to ignore, and she brushed her leg against him and found him ready. "Now?" she questioned.

"I really like the champagne." He said moving downward on her body. He reached her lower curls, nuzzled them and opened his lips against them. She tried to raise her hips against his mouth, but he pushed her back down. "Not yet," he repeated.

Instead he grabbed the nearby glass. He poured little bit into her channel and then placed his mouth against her. It's both cold and wet at the same time, but he was actually drinking out of her. She could feel the naughty suction of his mouth drawing the wetness out of her as his lips warmed her skin, pleasuring her. He kept taking his time, little sips of her skin between her inner lips. Tasting her. Rubbing his beard against her clit. That made her beg little bit harder as he continued to savor the way he was making her desperate.

"I want. Luke. .." She sounded rather plaintive to her own ears.

"To keep drinking this." He lifted her legs onto his shoulders all the while vigorously sucking on her most sensitive place. She felt him delicately slide one finger inside of her and then two and then three. With his beard scraping her thighs, he finally placed his mouth on her clit suddenly . She careened over the edge, screaming, her juices mixing with the champagne. He didn't even let her down and patiently finished drinking her up.

He gave her lazy smile. She lay back very satisfied and pulled her knees off of his shoulders and nudged him back down into the comforter. "Turnabout is fair play." She slowly and deliberately started her own exploration of his collarbone - working her way past his scar, his nipples, his ribs, his abs. She skipped his shaft and headed down his legs to his light coating of dark blonde hair. She ran one hand idly around his balls and felt his erection jump at her hand.

She picked up the cup of champagne and took a sip to make her mouth cold. "I guess I can drink directly from the bottle now." Lowering her mouth, she slipped her cool lips down over the head of his cock where he's slightly gummy from the champagne and pre-cum. She only did it for a second because she instead took each of his balls one at a time in her mouth, but she kept her left hand on his cock. Now it was his turn to make gasping noises while trying not to fight her.

"So what do you want?" she asked.

"Anything" he answered.

"Then I think I'll-" she paused and brought her mouth down on his cock. She only went down on him long enough to make him groan even louder.

"I think someone needs to pay for the kitten proposal. So I think I'll have my wicked way with you like this." Vic picked a new position, climbing his lap facing his feet. She began to ride him in reverse cowgirl position. They've generally gone with missionary, doggy style, or regular cowgirl. The message in this one was clear. She was going to be having her way with him without him being able to see her face.

He bent his knees slightly to balance them better and watched her lower herself back down on him. Her ass looked fantastic each time she glided downward, sheathing him in her heat. Maybe Vic was a little bit annoyed with him but her revenge, using him to find her own bliss, was fantastic. The idea that he was her prop to work herself on only heightened his arousal. It was hot and wet and gooey and she was taking from him what she needed. Her drenched pussy clenched his shaft with each descent, and he had to focus to keep from losing it.

She was taking her leisurely time. Then one of his hands reached front of her and began to play with her clit. Suddenly she wasn't so leisurely anymore because she spasmed hard, convulsing around his cock. Lucas didn't wait for her to come off that orgasm;  he thrust his hips upward a few times and came apart as her pussy milked him with its last squeeze.

He slid out of her and dragged her willing form in his arms. He fiddled with her nipples which he had so recently been enjoying. "That make up for it?"

"It's a good start," she purred and rubbed her breasts against his hands. "Nice touch with the champagne. But I think it'll be even more fun clean it off in the shower."

"All the best ideas," In a feat of strength that still startled her, he managed to stand up and sweep her off her feet. He  carried all the way to the shower where he showed her what a good idea that was.

Chapter Text

August-Labor Day weekend


Things have been ridiculously busy that week. Vic was working one of the long 3 days in one week - on Sunday, off Monday/Tuesday, on Wednesday off Thursday/Friday, on Saturday. Add in people trying to get in their Labor Day weekend BBQ, it was absolutely exhausting.

She been on engine every day and attended many car accidents. They also had to put out all sorts of little BBQ fires from people who didn't know how to build a campfire in their backyard or got way too excited with kerosene. Since it was two weekends with holiday, the number of little fires was unending. Usually they could red-line those little fires with the water supply on the engine. They also had to respond to a couple near drownings which was mostly Warren and Maya on the aid car.

She's been so exhausted post calls that she pretty much slept all day and night. She woke enough for Lucas to do their regular run; otherwise she was still pretty damn exhausted. Despite having time with such an attractive guy, she skipped dinner to go back to bed. He, she was fairly certain, would go downstairs and punch the heck out of his heavy bag since her dreams often had a weird beat in the background.

The couple of the days where she would have had energy, Lucas either worked late and then he got called in. While all his battalion chiefs told him that he would be doing significantly less calls, he still was the face of the fire department. As the department had put out to record number of small campfire fires, he had to be on the evening news discussing fire safety on Tuesday night before Labor Day.

Thursday night there was a highly-publicized gas leak at a major city institution so he had to be on the news for the second night in a week. On his actual call day on Friday, a tractor trailer crashed into an overpass which led to a multi-car pile-up which also required him to go in to the office but not physically on the scene.

The honest highlight of her contact with Lucas this week was when her phone beeped with a text from him. It said A2 and then 10, 13, 26. She dutifully picked up her own decoder ring in her locker, turned it so that A lined up with 2 and quickly translated the message 'ILY.'

She messaged him back 10, 13, 26A and 17,10,1,1,2. (ILY2 Pizza) As in 'ordering pizza for dinner.' Torrid newlyweds this week.

Princess PR, also known as Francis, didn't appear to come in on the weekends. When she came in on Wednesday, she rode all day with Vic in the engine. Fortunately every time they went to a car accident, Francis was commanded by Sullivan and her lieutenants to stay in the cab. It was difficult to be exposed on the street and they didn't want her to make a mistake and get run over. That was always an ongoing problem -people wondered why firetrucks always go to car accidents. First of all, aid cars don't carry the jaws of life and most of the equipment to break into a car but the engine and ladder truck did. Second, unfortunately, people tended to zip by accidents and the bulk of the fire trucks made it more difficult for cars to crash into the aid car or the other victims.

Vic actually got to run the jaws of life this time which is cool to be able to easily cut through different cars. Frances and her photographer have been a bit disappointed that they couldn't capture pictures. Sullivan did agree to allow Vic to demonstrate using the jaws of life in the barn on some scrap metal. Unfortunately that meant that Vic also had the job of cleaning up the scrap metal afterwards. Francis appeared delighted as usual.

On Saturday which proved to be yet another grueling day, Francis sent an email reminding Vic that she had engagement photos on Sunday afternoon. A white dress had been couriered to the station with a notice that she was supposed to bring her turnouts, boots, helmet, and axe to the city park. Francis did allow her to do her own hair at least.

Honestly, Vic wasn't sure how she felt about Francis. The woman seemed nice enough even if she did have the single-minded focus on getting the right shot or constantly protesting the lack to the social information about herself and Lucas. That always made Vic hesitate. In the past Vic would have been much more free with that information but now she had to think about how would this look when it appeared on the blog or the website. How would he feel if something overly personal slipped through?

She tried to avoid discussing much about her actual relationship with Lucas.  She did allow Francis to have her list of favorite bars in Seattle. Then she wondered if she was too free with that information -  would people think the first lady of the fire department was a drunk?

While she should have talked to Luke about how much of their life together PR could view, but it didn't seem like something that was important enough to spend their very limited time together on. That post call Sunday morning he had to make an appearance at someone's Labor Day retirement lunch and was long gone before she arrived home.

Vic arrived in the city park at the appointed time around 6 at night. Her technical husband arrived in the chief SUV. Ripley came out wearing his regular uniform and carrying his turnouts. There was a large tent set up next to that area and Francis beckoned Vic inside. He did a double take when he saw her in a dress. It was this light flowy white dress with a modest appearing front and low back. The front was lined to hide the fact there was no way to wear a bra with it. Her chain contrasted well with the white.

Francis was waiting and said, "We are going to be doing your makeup and then we're going to do a couple of different poses. First you guys are going to be having a picnic together. You don't actually get to eat the food but pretend you're eating food."

"Because Chief Ripley has picnics in his uniform all the time?"

"Because Seattle FD is running all of this and they want to make sure their brand is clearly visible throughout the photos."

"Why do we have the turnouts?"

"We're going to do some poses with those on."

"You didn't have me bring my trousers."

"You don't need them because you're putting the turnout coat over the dress."

"But he's going to put on his full turnouts?" Ripley wisely said nothing during this entire discussion.

"He'll just going to put the coat over his uniform. Our audience really isn't concerned about technically correct."

"Can I have a moment with my chief before you start all this?" Tension was building in Vic.

Francis, the photographer, and the makeup artist equally wisely made themselves scarce.

"Are you really okay with all of this?" she asked.

"They asked a bit more of you than they do me. If you need to refuse, you can. I'm only doing this for the department."

She sighed. "I feel less like a firefighter every time I do one of these things."

"You're not." He came closer, tugged her toward him and gave her a small kiss on her cheek. "I like the dress. Besides I liked getting you out of your turnouts before."

"Oh. Good. In that case then you should be prepared, I'm going to be as professional as I was after the chainsaws."

He was still for a second. He examined in her dress with renewed interest. They hadn't had time to kiss all week, let alone . . . "Keeping it professional?"

"Absolutely, professional." She answered in a sultry voice.

"Deal." He surprised her by pulling her against him and grabbing her ass. A shiver went through them both as he was already half hard. It always reminded her that he loved it when she started pushing his boundaries and his buttons. And after a week of nothing, his control was probably rocky . . .

"Are you two okay? Can we start now?" Francis interrupted them from outside. He released her.

"Okay, we're ready." Vic confirmed. The makeup artist sat Vic on long bench next to the makeup table. Francis fussed with Lucas's hair before taking them outside to a tablecloth with various food and an unopened bottle of wine on it.

"One last thing," Francis opened a box from her pocket and gave it to Vic. It was the giant ring. Vic wordlessly put it on.

When Ripley saw there was wine, he immediately nixed that. He stated clearly that he would not be in photos that had him in uniform with wine. Francis removed it without any comment. They were given some sandwiches and watermelon to pose nearby - but not touch. They got their photos taken holding hands, not holding hands, facing the camera, looking at each other. There were a couple shots with their arms around each other but it was too posed - Vic wasn't even tempted to push the limits.

Neither of them looked particularly natural, she suspected because this was not how they acted normally.

"Okay," Francis said. "Feel like these might be missing some of the spark that we're looking for. I want you to go and put your turnouts and boots on over what you wearing. No helmets though. Don't button to turnouts either. "

They got up and moved toward the tent. Francisco called after them, "Don't kiss her until our photos are finished. We'd have to reapply her makeup."

And thus they were standing in the park with unbuttoned turnouts. People slowly were walking by and taking in the spectacle. Some grandparents with kids, a pregnant woman out for a walk, teenagers on skateboards.

"Okay," Francis said. "I want you to stand looking at each other and put both of her hands in yours, chief. Make me believe you're about to sweep her off her feet."

Ripley obeyed. He's stiffly held her hands in his.

"How about a little bit less like you're about to get a dental cleaning." Francis called out again. "All right hold her closer. Put your arm around her inside the turnouts."

That required them getting significantly closer. As commanded he reached his far hand into her turnouts. That hand squeezed her butt before settling at her waist.

Vic flashed him her most brilliant glorious smile, temporarily stunning him with the idea that this exquisite creature was his. The slowly setting sun reflected off her skin, giving her an almost ethereal glow that practically hypnotized him with her magnificence. He beamed at her, his joy transparent.

Of course Francis broke in, "That's better. Vic reach out and grab his turnout like you are pulling him onto you."

She did so this time she pressed her hips against his. Not to be outdone, he drew her closer and put his other arm inside the turnout which covered her chest, this time tweaking her nipples under the coat. His eyes suddenly turned from worshipful to full supernova.

"Ok, guys, can you look a little bit less, intense. . . Chief, if you could kneel in front of her."

Lucas pulled his hand out of her turnouts but traced his hand down her thigh as he knelt. He was not doing a good job on dialing down the sexual intensity. He just kept staring at her. And a new aspect of Lucas occurred to Vic. She found him in his uniform intensely attractive. Did a dress do the same for him? Was this mix of feminine and firefighting really doing it for him?

"Okay good job. Way to stare at her really well." Francis said. "Again, kind of intense. Can you try to smile?"

He shook his head for a second and then managed to get some type of smile.

"Okay, so why don't we do a photo of a kiss. So if you two could-"

Whatever she was going to say was completely halted because his arm shot out and grabbed Vic by the turnouts. He proceeded to give her an impressive burning kiss for the camera. He was practically vibrating with sexual need.

After a couple minutes, Francis coughed several times,"Okay. I think we have enough of that pose."

Lucas reluctantly released her. Vic had no idea what had come over him. His pupils were completely ebony, only a tiny ring of blue remained.

"Umm Francis," Vic said, "I think I could use a moment with my significant other. If you let us be in the tent for a couple minutes, I think that I can get him refocused."

They went back into the tent and closed the flap behind them. Vic started to turn around but she was immediately propelled onto the bench. Their turnouts were off, and he was kissing her fiercely. He dragged the top of her dress down with one hand while the other rolled up her skirt and immediately started sliding his in his fingers inside of her, past her lacy white underwear. She only had a couple seconds to gasp because next his mouth came down on her breast. Desperately trying to keep quiet, she mewed as he expertly fingered her while pleasuring her tits.

The combination of his single-minded focus and his magical mouth and fingers swiftly brought her to the brink. Within minutes he had her cooing and shaking until he drove her the edge. She tried to be quiet but .. .

Vic never seen him act like this at all. When the power of speech returned, "What happened?" Mr. Control had brought her to orgasm practically in public with her PR team listening in. Neither of them had even taken their boots off.

His voice was definitely gruff as he whispered into her neck. "A dress. And you weren't wearing a bra."

She realized that when that the tenor of the game changed completely when he felt the lack of barrier on her chest. Come to think of it, he d never seen her in a dress. At work they were in uniform. At home it was usually gym clothes or (often) naked. Not only was she a jeans girl; she never wore the cursed pink dress again. Who knew this combo of hard and soft pushed all this buttons?

"Oh. Well, what will you do when I go commando?"

"Heart attack," he playfully snarled.

"Caveman impulse over?"  She asked, "I need to adjust myself. I don't think this is a pose we can put on the FD website."

"No," He let her up. She hauled her top back up and tried to smooth her skirt back down. He applied some hand sanitizer from the makeup table - face showing zero regret.

"You two, can you help us here?" Francis sounded odd.

They ran outside and saw Francis, the make up artist, and the photographer had a new visitor. The pregnant woman who had been outside was crying and shaking.

"My water broke. My stupid husband isn't here with the car and my water broke."

"Call 911." Ripley commanded Francis.

"Help me!" Vic yelled at the other two. "Grab the tablecloth -  get in the tent." She and Ripley worked as one; they linked wrists and created a seat to carry the woman into the tent.

"What's you name?"

"Noel," the woman said tightly between pants.

"Hi, I'm Vic. This is Luke. We're Seattle firefighters. We're gonna take you in here and check you out while we wait to the aid car. How far along are you?"

"38 weeks - aaoooohh," Noel screamed. "My doctor told us that we should take a walk to see if the contractions got closer together. My husband forgot the hospital bag and drove back to get it."

"Okay, Noel. Let's set you on the ground so you can lie flat. The chairs are too small and the bench is too narrow. " The photographer hastily laid down the table cloth as a makeshift delivery surface. The makeup artist was useless as she was a shade of green and was the second most likely person to pass out in the tent.

"Hand sanitizer?" Ripley pulled it off the make up table.

"Bend you knees and let me check. What number kiddo is this?" Vic got on the ground.

"Three. Grandma has the other two - aaaahhh!"

"Got it," Vic checked between her legs, "Luke, get the jump bag now. Crowning. . . "

Ripley was gone in a flash.  Vic started issuing orders at Francis and the photographer. "One of you needs to stand outside and flag over the aid car when they arrive." She tossed the ring to Francis. "Hold this."

"Are you two real firefighters? This wasn't a role play?"

"No, it's the fire chief and his fiancee," Francis volunteered.

"Ohh, the kitten proposal. Aaahhh. That was so cute." Mid labor the women actually had time to comment on that?

Ripley and Vic gloved up, "I catch, you assist?" He nodded. She knelt down in time to guide the head out. She delivered the head and the shoulders without difficulty and reached out a hand. "Hemostats," Two pairs of kelly forceps appeared in her hand and she passed the baby back behind her, trading for a pair of trauma shears. She didn't even turn to look back because she trusted he still remembered what to do. She clamped two spots and cut the cord between them. The baby started to scream. She carefully delivered the placenta which emerged with a bloody splash. Most of it hit her boots and the bottom of her dress.

"Starting external uterine massage," she began to massage Noel's abdomen and she could see the bleeding slowly stop. Only then did she check on the baby. It was ridiculously adorable see Lucas with a baby wrapped in his uniform jacket. His white uniform shirt was only slightly blood stained.

The baby was already cooing. Lucas used a dangling sleeve of his jacket to wipe off the baby's face. He announced, "It's a boy."

Noel tittered weakly. "A boy. My husband's going to sad he missed it."

"Oh don't worry I taped it!" The photographer declared behind them. They heard the wailing siren of an approaching aid car.

"Let me hand this bundle back to Mom. Sounds like help is arriving." Ripley went to give up the baby. The boy had a red smushy face and little dark black curls.

"If you don't mind, can our photographer take a photo of the two of them with your son?" Francis asked hopefully.

"It's okay if you don't want to," Vic interjected quickly.

"Of course you can. The two of you delivered my baby." First kittens, now a baby?

Vic tried really hard not to clench her teeth until they snapped. She walked over and took a second to check the infant's the pulse and color.

Then she saw Lucas's expression as he changed his focus from the baby to her face. There was a deep type of yearning and part of her heart skipped a beat -  he was imagining this day their own children. She carefully touched the babies tiny gooey head. She whispered, "Later"

The camera clicked.

The makeup lady ushered in the firefighters and immediately left.

"Charlotte Dearborne, Station 12, please update me on the situation." The short Asian lieutenant startled. "Oh, hello Chief."

"I defer to Hughes on this one."

"38 week gestational age male infant delivered approximately 5 minutes ago. Spontaneous delivering placenta with maternal bleeding appearing well in control. APGARS 8 and 9 off for color." Vic reported.

"We can take it from here if you're two want to clean up." Dearborne indicated the ruins of Vic's dress.

"We'll get our stuff packed into the Jeep and SUV after you clear out. Do you happen to have some extra clothes for her?" Ripley was only slightly bloody.

"Sorry, we brought the aid car. Unless you want a hospital gown."

"I'll pass. Give me the trauma shears." She wiped off the blood off the shears on her hem and cut the dress off approximately mid-thigh. She used the 2 feet of formerly white fabric to clean off her boots.

Station 12 lifted mom onto the gurney, placed the baby on her chest and rolled them on their way. Francis called out after them,  "We'll get your information later so we can send you your photos."

"And sign a photo consent," the photographer added.

"Francis, is there anything else I need to do tonight?" Vic wearily asked.

"Well," Francis saw the remains of Vic's dress. "I think we've done enough for today."

"Good because I'm awesome, and I just delivered a baby like a baller."

"You are," Ripley agreed and gave her a kiss on her forehead. "Time to go home."

Click went the camera again.

Chapter Text

Travis invited the entire shift over to his house to watch the evening news. Everyone except the Ripleys and Sullivan showed up. Since they were all post shift, it was unspoken rule that dates (Dean) and hook ups (Travis) weren't invited. Even if Labor Day was tomorrow.

"Oh, I can't wait," Dean drummed on the table. "Probie, keep squeezing the rice." Kat complied, continuing to build her grip strength by fisting her hands in a big bowl of rice.

"Sshhh, it's coming on." Andy quieted them.

"Did she shush you?" Jack threw some popcorn at Dean. He tried to catch some pieces in his mouth.

"Dramatic footage today captured - the emergency delivery of an infant in the city park."

The screen flipped to the mom, "And now a great LABOR DAY human interest story - Image taking a walk before your trip to the hospital and your water breaks and your all alone."

"Noel Watkins water broke and didn't even have her cell phone on her. Her husband forgot their delivery bag at home and had left her for what he thought would be a few minutes to get it. HE GOT CAUGHT IN LABOR DAY TRAFFIC." Ominous music played.

"I thought I was going to die there in the park." Cut to the mom.

"She probably wouldn't have," Maya quipped.


"Fortunately help was closer than she knew. Recently engaged firefighter couple Victoria Hughes and Fire Chief Lucas Ripley were getting their engagement photos taken."

It switched to Francis which included her name during her interview, "They were amazing. They dropped everything and helped the poor woman. True heroes."

"While they waited for more help to arrive, the couple sprang into action. We have a video of the exciting delivery right here as an exclusive."

A 'viewer discretion advised' warning popped up and it changed to a very professionally filmed video of Vic delivering a baby with the chief stripping off his uniform jacket to use as an impromptu blanket. The network had placed a black box over certain sections of the mother's anatomy.

The video paused the chief's face as he wrapped the baby. The image made him look rugged, handsome, and baby-crazy.

"Damn," Travis almost knocked over his drink. "If I had ovaries, I'd jump him. Or if he swung my way."

"I want to jump him now," Maya said and Jack rolled his eyes.

Now it was on Charlotte Dearborne, "Our response time was about 4 minutes from dispatch to arrival, but that delivery was very precipitous and the chief and Hughes did a great amazing job with minimal equipment."

"Mom and baby are doing well." They displayed a picture of the mom and baby. It changed over to an incredibly tender photo of Vic and Ripley holding the baby together.

"See, who wouldn't want to hit that," Dean agreed with Travis.

"As you may remember, a few weeks ago, Chief Ripley proposed to Firefighter Victoria Hughes at former site of Fins, Feathers, and Fur." The photo of the kitten proposal appeared. "Hughes had put out the fire and rescued this set of kittens from the blaze."

"It was a tiny fire," Dean protested.

"He proposed with a 2 karat VVS2 round diamond stone set with two 1/2 karat accent stones in an 18K white gold hand engraved band from Jared's Jewelers." Now a close up of the ring. "It retails for about $17,000."

More photos of Vic and Ripley in his uniform and her in a white dress crossed the screen. "The happy couple met at the Seattle civic center support group for fire fighters that meets every Wednesday night. They got to talking and things blossomed over the next year. They legally joined but delayed their ceremony due to the loss of Victoria's father figure and Chief Ripley's dear friend Captain Pruitt Herrera." There was a picture of Captain Herrera.

Maya surreptitiously checked for Andy's reaction. "Interesting." Andy murmured.

"Now things are going full bore for the couple. Their ceremony is tentatively set for February and you can catch them all around town including the Astro Diner on 18th street and Joe's Bar by Grey Sloan Memorial." Photos of both establishments appeared. "Their next event for them publicly will be the Hometown Heros 5K/ also known as the Run for Love that will be on Saturday October 20th. Entries are $30 and it will be the pre-party before the Hughes and Ripley engagement party. It's promised to be a great event and all proceeds go to a fund for injured firefighters. Check out the Seattle FD website for the registration link." The web address flashed on the screen.

The picture changed one last time to a photo of Vic and Ripley beaming at each other in their turnouts. However they had captured that moment, the two of them appeared to be merging essences or something that you do when the violins start playing. "We can't wait to hear more from this lovely couple."

"I wonder whose pissed more right now, the chief or Vic." Travis ventured. "I'm leaning toward Vic because this is his 3rd time on the news in a week."

Victoria was pissed. Ripley checked his text messages while he sat on the couch after watching the news. She'd tolerated the news getting their first meeting wrong but Vic had stomped out the french doors to their bedroom when they started advertising the ring. He muted the TV for a few seconds to hear her colorful reaction. He was glad she didn't see Captain Herrera's photo or pictures of the diner. They did show a very intimate looking photo of the two of them from the engagement photo shoot. He was personally more embarrassed by how emotional he seemed holding that baby and then with Vic.

He was not the only one who felt that way.

Aww, I can't wait to be an aunt. That was from Jennifer. How she got Seattle news from out in Portland Oregon, he had no idea.

Others were less generous.

DONT SCRW W/ME RIP. IS SHE PREGNANT? NEED2NO. Sullivan had messaged him in all CAPS.

No. He sent back.


FU. he responded.

Your F-ing her is the bigger problem. Those pictures make you look like the one who'll be pregnant.

Thanks for making me feel better Sully.


He pocketed his phone and went to the bedroom. Vic was in bed, frustration evident on her face.

"What are you thinking," he blurted out.

"I'm thinking that PR can invade my privacy whenever they want. I'm thinking that I'm being pimped out by the fire department to sell jewelry. I'm thinking that it's a good thing you're around cuz I wouldn't be doing this if you weren't here. I'm thinking that I'm super annoyed because I agreed to this so I can't say no."

"None of that is wrong."

"At least I'm not alone thinking about it." She said. As was Vic's way, she carefully compartmentalize her emotions and internally flipped the switch. "So what are we doing tonight?"

"Your pick."

"My pick?" She had much wider smile. "I get to pick whatever I want? I can order my fire chief to do whatever I want? I did the deliver the baby."

"You are awesome," he said sincerely.

"Fine." She sat up a little bit higher. "Strip."

"Strip?" he asked.

"Yep," she said. "Since I was the hero of the day, I could use some unadulterated devoted affection from my hubby. Besides, you spent some time doing that today during engagement photos . . ."

"Giving you unadulterated devoted affection?"

"Something like that. Strip slowly and if you're really good I might give you a $20."

"Have you been watching Magic Mike again?"

"No. But since we're on the topic. . ." She took our her phone, turning it on to Cowboy by Kid Rock. "Take it off."

Since it definitely was putting her in better mood, Lucas started raising his shirt over his head. Remembering her instructions to go slowly, he rolled it up over his abs and walked closer to her with a little effort to sway to the music. He swung it around a few times before tossing it behind him on the floor.

He started untying his lounge pants when Vic stopped him."You could work on a bit more of your rhythm." She stood up and took his hands off the ties. "Like this."

Now he was having trouble focusing because she dropped her bathrobe; she was wearing nothing but a scrap of lace as her bottoms. His throat dried up at the sight of her beautiful naked breasts. She pressed her chest against his and hooked her hands on his waistband. Those hands playfully guided his hips with hers to the music.

It took him a couple tries to find the beat but when he did, he understood really what girls were looking for at clubs. The thing she was doing, the way she moved, it was like sex with your clothes on. Or in this case, most have your clothes off. Never stopping the rocking of her hips, she hiked his pants down with his underwear. Even when he stepped out of his clothes, her hips resumed their position against Luke's hard-on. His eyes closed briefly with the friction of the lace against him.

Was she really going to torture him? Very possibly yes. And she turned to press her scantily clad ass against his sensitive underside. On their own volition, his hands came up to grasp her chest, playing with her nipples which only encouraged her to grind harder on him.

She was breathless when she pushed him down onto the nearby armchair. She slid off her underwear and sat on top of the chair spreading her legs across both arms. Placing her hands on his shoulders for balance, her position brought her puckered nipples to his eye level. Technically mouth level.  "Now make me come. If you do, I'll let you put your whole prick inside me." Vic was definitely the dirtier talker of the couple.

Immediately Ripley started suckling at her pointed buds, pinching the other side between his thumb and forefinger. This was the way she liked it as he had brought her off in the tent. She sat herself in such a way that his erect penis bobbed against her hot, moist slit. She mewed and he lifted his hips up just enough pass the head between her nether lips.

They sighed together, him with desperation on needing to be deeper and her with the stretch of being barely entered. It was sensual torture for him but for her the teasing was so very delicious.

He pulled back from her and caught her eyes. His eyes are so dark; his face so taut. "Vic, I-." He managed to pull out and lever up again, higher this time, and Vic cried out, her nails biting into his shoulders.

That was a short orgasm. It hardly took the edge of what she wanted now. "Bed," she ordered.

Three seconds later she was on her back and her very very horny fire chief was plowing into her. She loved him giving it to her with such force. In fact she was been begging for him to go harder. He set her legs over his shoulders, bending her almost in half and making her cunt even tighter around his stiff cock. That was enough because she screamed and came apart.

He kept moving as her eyes refocused. "More," she demanded again. He was barely hanging on, but he had said she got to make the calls tonight. He desperately wanted make her come again for the fourth time since the engagement photos; he was not arguing. "Speak," she moaned.

So now she wanted him to talk too? He could barely put two thoughts together other than how good it felt to be inside of her.

"Tell me if like having me. How it feels. What you want." She was raspy and gasping.

She was really going to test his control this badly. He kept up the rapid pace and spoke with difficulty. "Want you all the time. See you. Feel you. Taste you." He maneuvered a hand between them to flick her clit. He used his thumb circle it right above he was entering her. "Can't stop myself. Not then. Not now. Not ever." The way he felt when he was in her, sampling her quivering core . . .

"Lucas," she called. "Don't stop. Please more - don't stop - I-" She scream loudly and she crested again. This time Luke finally let go himself. He collapsed against her, truly spent. They lay there for a little bit on top of the bedspread, his body covering hers.

"Feeling better?" he asked, pushing up on his elbows to take in her face.

"Way better," she agreed. "I feel like the stripper I hired's dancing skills needed some work but his other skills. . ."

"His other skills?"

"He did have a really nice body. Don't know if his tongue is talented yet. Could be a cunning linguist yet."

"Oh, you think you're funny now?"

"I know I'm funny, and likeable. You said so yourself."

"I did, didn't I?" He pulled out of her and used the washcloths on the nightstand to wipe them up before he started moving down her body.

"Yes. It's a good thing I apologized to you at support group after the tongue lashing you gave me outside skyscraper." Her eyes followed his progress with growing interest.

"That's nothing compared to the tongue lashing your about to have," He nibbled up her thighs and set his mouth against her entrance. Even though he fingered her today and brought her off by fucking her a few times, he was going to make sure he was going to get her off by eating her out now. If she was going to get stuck doing crappy PR stuff, it was the least he could do to make sure he made it worth it every single time he could. And there's nothing more divine pleasuring his gorgeous wife.

She was a little swollen and very very sensitive, but he went ahead and opened her slit with his fingers to start the promised tongue lashing. She was still drenched with their combined juices. He didn't mind tasting himself because the sounds she made when he was licking her slick hole and her were clit absolutely worth it. Vic's fingers were in his hair, tugging him in rhythm with the strokes of his tongue. Carefully avoiding her clit a couple seconds, his lips played with her channel instead. He went back and ran his tongue over that overly stimulated nub of nerves, drenching her channel when she spasmed again.

From the five-ten minutes he worked on her, his member was already back to full stiffness. Reloading hadn't been part of his plan, but Vic gave him her come hither face and clambered on top of him. It didn't take her riding him long before he found his release. She didn't come for the sixth time, probably because of the previous five but she had driven him over the edge by clenching her vaginal muscles around him repeatedly. When they went back to their snuggling, she laughed.

"What?" he said.

"I think I'm enjoying, 'I'll make it up to you' sex. It's not makeup sex, angry sex, or breakup sex. It's mostly 'how many orgasms can I give you until you're in a post orgasm coma' sex.

"You want me to keep trying for the coma?" he asked.

"Well, you're the one who has to work tomorrow." He wrapped his arms around her and they started doze off. His last thought was wondering how often PR would make him need to 'make it up to her.'

Francis loved the new aspects of her job. Usually she was trapped doing the same boring PR on all sorts of fire safety events. Sometimes she'd get spread the news of daring rescues and sometimes try to quiet tragedies like months ago when those two captains died.

She had never been offered the opportunity to do this before, and honestly it rocked. She had a beautiful almost celebrity couple that was universally loved. They were super photogenic. Even when they were trying not to be photogenic - if you caught them at the right moment you fell in love with them again. It was very clear they were head over heels. She didn't get to spend a lot of time with them together. But anytime they talked about each other it was damn saccharine.

Her job had expanded into all sorts of arenas she typically did not enter. She had Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and the whole separate wedding blog. Somebody in IS was making GIFs and memes of them - which she approved before being shared.  She was going to do full profiles on every member of the wedding party to provided filler between wedding  events. The rest of the PR department loved it because it was free advertising. Grey Sloan and SFD were going to come out of this smelling like roses.

There were some speed bumps here and there. After the labor incident, a new photo policy had appeared on her desk. She was allowed to take pictures of Vic and her team before they entered the fires or aid car scenes. She was not to take any pictures of scenes involving actual victims. The moment a civilian was visible, she would have to get a photo consent prior to taking a picture. That pretty much shoved her photographer out of the mix from now on. It was easier for her to use very expensive phone to get those candids they needed. The photographer would be back for formal events. The chief (she assumed it was from him) certainly did have a point. She had not really believed Fitzpatrick was going to give the entire video to the news. Francis had hoped for some of the cute pictures of Ripley holding the baby for the blog.

And it was freaking cute.

Sure neither of half of the happy couple was particularly thrilled to have her around. She preferred the shifts with Vic more than with Ripley because he actually did spend most of the time at his desk in his office. She was often not invited to many of the City council meetings or was not allowed to attend his meetings with his captains. He had 34 stations to visit and he had two days a week where he'd visit 3-4 stations a day for captain's meetings. Usually he went alone except the day Frankel met him at 19 - Francis had been shadowing Vic that day. Chief Ripley was clearly a quiet introverted guy who was extremely competent and focused. Which was also extremely boring to watch.

Vic, on the other hand, was lightning in the bottle or maybe a firecracker when alone. Together, whatever chemistry they had was mindbogglingly intense and couldn't be bought. The two of them had no idea but every time she looked at the engagement photos of them, she felt like she needed cold shower. She knew she had bent the rules a little when she let Vic take the chief to the tent to . . . relieve his stress. Tents were not sound proof and it was a little awkward hearing them, but they had been on the verge of losing it during photos.

The engagement photos were not supposed to be firefighter porn. There was certainly a market for that, but it was unlikely she would be getting approval for that from the aforementioned fire chief.

In fact, she, the mayor's representative, and Fitzpatrick has been called in the chief's office three days after the engagement photo shoot - he'd waited until the holiday was over. Francis had supplied the engagement photos, but Fitzpatrick was the one that orchestrated everything else including the wording to the news. He was furious over the photo of him and something about Captain Herrera. He accused them of invading his and Vic's privacy, callous use of the dead, and embarrassing Seattle FD. He wanted out now.

Fitzpatrick put a stop to that immediately., "With all due respect sir. I don't think you understand what's going on here. The photo of you two holding the baby was viewed two hundred thousand times since Labor Day Sunday. You made the local news on all three stations. Do you know how many hits to Seattle FD gets per month usually?"


"20,000. In the last 3 days we had 200,000 hits - ten times that amount."

"Let me read you some of the tweets," The mayor's assistant Hightower said. "'OMG they are so adorable. Did you see how he looks at her? When are they getting married? We have the best fire department. They need to have a baby yesterday!'"

"We can't buy this publicity. If we keep this up we're probably looking at 15-20 million dollars in PR relationships for Seattle," Francis added supportively. She needed to justify her paycheck.


"Yeah, we're footing the bill for wedding because we have only so many times that we can go to donors for firefighters. This is opening up entirely new streams of donations and revenue from people who didn't care about the department before you two."

"This sounds like really poor state of affairs that I'm selling myself and her."

"You saving Herrera and you're doing something for the department. That means it's free publicity for Jared's jewelers. All the members of the wedding party are going to come from Station 19 or Grey Sloan - it's going to be a great community relations. The Catholic church is donating its site as a wedding venue. Everything from Vic's top ten wedding dress choices are going to be open for public vote.

"Bridesmaids dresses. Your first dance song. Honeymoon. All of this stuff it's going to be voted on publicity." Francis offered.

"Please explain how this is going to benefit the department. How is this going to help people learn about Seattle FD and preventing fires and accidents? Which one of the actual purposes of a fire department."

"Oh, that's mostly going to be Victoria's doing. Francis being on site lets her witness Vic at work and share everything through twitter, Instagram, and the blog. Vic's going to constantly be having to explain to Francis what she's doing and seeing, people are going to learn about station through Francis."

"So they learn about the engines, the ladder trucks, the aid car, the station, and the shifts. I'll do profiles of all members of the wedding party-except your sister who is not an employee of SFD or Grey Sloan." Francis tried to temper down her enthusiasm slightly but couldn't resist. "Do you realize how ethnically diverse the station 19 firefighters are?"

"It's almost like it's a perfect design." Hightower's grin bordered on predatory.

"If someone killed you right now; we could probably get people to go fund your resurrection. They'd never give up until you are back." Fitzpatrick added gleefully.

Francis nodded, "But it would be worth it. Sorry sir."

"I don't have much of a choice in this, do I?" He shook himself. "Fine. Francis, do you promise to always present the department in the best possible light? No matter how bad things look. Or what you see."

"You're paying me to do that."

"I hope you can handle being hazed a little bit."

Fitzpatrick laughed a little too heartily. "If they thought they were going to scare her off with a little pet ashes, they had another thing coming. PR was deadly serious business for her." Francis blinked. She hadn't told Fitzpatrick about the hazing. It was a tiny detail in her rough notes - which meant Fitzpatrick was reading them.

"So about the Hometown heroes 5K in six weeks." Francis uncertainly started.

"Yes." Chief Ripley said. "Usually mid October."

"Precisely Chief. And you're generally the coordinator correct sir?" Fitzpatrick asked.

"Yes," he responded somewhat guardedly. "Since it's a firefighter 5K, I and generally in charge of overseeing the operation. Usually 5,000 people."

"Yeah we are going to updating that for you this year. It's going to be 25,000 people this year." Hightower said confidently.

"Twenty five thousand people?" That was news to him.

"You haven't been paying attention to the PR campaign much, have you?" Fitzpatrick was slightly accusatory.

"Not alot beyond when I appear on the news with my dead captain." He glared at Francis and then Fitzpatrick.

"I am sorry about that, all future PR events will exclude mentions of Captain Herrera." Fitzpatrick smoothly took responsibility for that. Francis hoped the chief didn't take her for her word.

"I hope you mean that because you won't like the consequences if it happens again," his voice was a low rumble. Francis instinctively stepped back.

"Don't make me change my mind," Fitzpatrick said pleasantly.

She placed her hand on Francis's back and pushed her forward again,"So this year it's the Hometown Hero 5K/Run for Love. Like they said on the news, it's being advertised as joining the chief and Hughes for the pre-party before the private engagement party. And a lot more people signed up."

Francis took out a flyer from her messenger bag. It displayed the two photos of the kitten proposal and the baby delivery. The picture of the participation medal appeared to be a firefighting axe over a heart.

"Yes, so you are coordinating it but you're also running it. Remember how we told you and Victoria that you guys needed to run often." Fitzpatrick reminded him.

"It wasn't to solely to improve my level of physical fitness?" He said drily.

"You'll still technically be coordinating it. You're the official starter and all of that but your two deputy chiefs are going to be doing most of your work."

"You pulled me off of an event that I generally coordinate? Is it that a violation?" Ripley challenged. Their deal had been for the PR campaign not to interfere with his duties as fire chief.

"No," Fitzpatrick said. "The event is five times as large as last time so you would have delegated the work anyway. You are coordinating and serving as the maître d and face of the fire department."

"Have you told Vic about this?"

"Not yet, we think you probably want to." Francis spoke up. She knew Vic had been furious over the news story and Ripley had better chances of not being murdered by her.

"Station 19 is also going to be running the race. We're asking Maya Bishop to sort of headline that. The whole wedding party including the doctors from Grey Sloan are also going to be participating." Fitzpatrick said.

Francis coughed into her fist. "Except."

"Okay, fine," Fitzpatrick said, "Chief Bailey has refused to participate beyond Medic One coordination with her husband.

"Can I not do it? Can't I just do my usual starting gun and finish line?"

"Oh no, sir. We're actually going to have sports commentators for this. You'll be running in the Masters division. City wide local schools are doing fundraisers to guess what you and Vic's times are going to be."

"You being serious about this."

"Like a heart attack." Fitzpatrick had the nerve to look absolutely ecstatic. "We expect this to be a much bigger than in the future with all this publicity. It is also Sweetest Day Weekend which is like Valentine's Day in the Midwest. Might as well introduce this new hallmark holiday now. We're going to have some ministers and the mayor available for people who want to get married, provided they have a marriage license. We'll also have a booth from the courts to allow for people to apply for marriage licenses. There should be some interesting proposals and weddings. Great photo ops."

"Isn't this expensive?"

"Oh no. We've gotten twenty times the number of donors than usual this year. It's going to easily offset by the cost of five times the number of participants. Actually, we've raised an additional 10 million dollars for the Seattle Fire department injury fund with this event alone. We're getting eight times the regular donations for Seattle FD with all the good will which has added 20 million into our budget." Hightower might have matched Fitzpatrick's glee.

"I'm not getting married every year for this."

"I can't wait until you have kids, Ripley." Fitzpatrick pushed one inch too far.

His fist hit the his desk, bouncing his computer monitor. "If or when we have children - they will not be participating in this PR. And it's 'Chief Ripley.'"

Fitzpatrick clenched her jaw and became less friendly "No? Then don't screw this up. People love pregnancy stories almost as much as they love wedding stories. FYI, your wedding date is Friday February 14th."

Ripley forced a gracious smile on his face. "Sweetest Day to Valentine's Day. How perfect." He tilted his head toward the door. "Thank you for coming and updating me on the situation." Honestly, he wanted to toss them out of his office, but that would be bad form.

After they were gone, he did a couple deep breathing exercises his cardiac rehab physical therapist had recommended for blood pressure. When he felt more calm, he took the pink bracelet and decoder ring out if his desk drawer and wondered if telling Vic in a coded message would soften the blow. And how many 'make it up to you' orgasms he'd give her.

Chapter Text

End of September


It was yet another perfect day to be on aid car. It was also the day of the meeting with the mayor. The event was some type of wine tasting being held at a powerful donor's home. Vic been given a half shift on aid car with expectation that she would be going to the evening event. Her hair and makeup team was supposed to arrive and prep her early in the day before the event. Francis was also supposed to be appearing somewhere. Vic could not wait like you can't wait to get your tooth pulled.

Worse, her turnouts had disappeared with her axe and everything. She had three new sets of factory issued turnouts, trousers, helmet, boots and a new axe.

Maya and Andy were full of jokes. "Are they going to do your hair and makeup like a Barbie doll?"

"I like firefighting Barbie," Andy commented.

"Can you give me beauty tips firefighting Barbie? Anything we should know about your secrets?" Maya was gleeful.

"I hope they can teach me how to walk to correctly. My giant giant head might fall off. I hope they teach me how to talk correctly."

Vic's annoyance started to show through. "Ladies, when I go home I get to fuck the fire chief. Hey you got anything better?"

A throat cleared from behind her in the locker room. Francis, an uptight looking hairdresser, and a trendy dressed brunette had arrived in time to hear those beautiful words come out of Vic's mouth.

Since disappearing into the locker was not an option, Vic tried to put on your brightest smile and said, "Okay sorry about that. Ladies, welcome back to Station 19."

"Yes, we heard." The hairdresser didn't smile back. "I'm Janice, your hair stylist, and that's your fashion consultant Penina." Vic tried not to view them doubtfully. Penina was carrying some type of yellow dress. Janice look like she only lived for things that were straight and small and starved. It wasn't reassuring that they were both short, pale, and impeccably poised.

Janice opened up a book and pointed to a straightened hair style. "Tonight is the mayor's wine tasting, and we would like you to wear this hairstyle. It is both sleek and sophisticated."

Vic hesitated. There was no way her hair was actually going to be straightened enough to look like that.

"This is your dress." Penina held up a mustard yellow dress which was short, very short and nothing Vic would have ever selected for herself.

"What's Ripley supposed to be wearing during this?" Vic asked.

"He'll be wearing his dress blues."

"Why aren't I wearing my dress blues then?" she asked.

"It was decided it would be appropriate for you to wear a dress. Could you try this on now?" Janice said.

"I have to do lineup first. I'm on aid car today." she glanced at all three of them. "Which of you are coming with me for the ride along?"

Frances plastered on her regular smile. "I guess that would be me today."

"Lineup!" she heard Sullivan yell. "Hughes, get out here.  Less fashion, more firefighting!"

The three firefighter women headed out to the barn for lineup because Kat was already there. They were followed by the latest additions to Vic's entourage.

There were couple snickers which Sullivan silenced with a glance. "Can you ladies try to be on time?"

Unexpectedly Francis said, "I'm sorry. I needed information about her dress uniform. Everyone was kind enough to be so helpful." Sullivan didn't have a response for that - Francis rarely interacted directly with Sullivan. He had been clear with his attitude that he tolerated PR in his station but wanted as little to do with her as possible.

Vic felt slightly bad about hazing that might have done to her in the past shifts. He reviewed their assignments. Vic was back on aid car with Ben, again. The captain dismissed everyone to do chores - except Vic who was sent back to locker room to try on the outfits.

Travis, Maya, and Andy were doing their window washing conveniently near the locker room. She let them in to see her in the yellow dress. It looked awful - like she had jaundice which is pretty difficult with such an even skin tone. The dress was also far too short. It was almost as if they believed she was Maya's height and not five foot nine. They'd also given her some overly strappy dangerously high heels which only made the dress look shorter.

Travis's face said it all. He was coughing and choking trying to hold it in. "It's so yellow. Like a sunflower that is really tall."

"Maybe she should try the orange one," Maya suggested.

It turned out to be even worse - it was a ruffled of monstrosity gave her more than a passing resemblance to a fluorescent mop head or an overgrown mum. She could only imagine how much this would clash with the dress blues uniform. Then the hairdresser started trying to use a fine-tooth comb on her hair. She stopped when she snapped the teeth off her comb in Vic's hair, and Vic ground her teeth in frustration.

"I need some water." She stomped her way up to the Beanery in those crazy shoes trying not to swear with Travis on her heels. It would be bad if Francis saw her in another swearing moment.

Ben was at the Beanery reading some of his thick Medic One manuals. When Vic arrived, he opened his mouth and then smartly closed it. "Can I borrow some of these books new guy? I need to read something, anything."

"Be my guest," Warren said, having the sense not to refuse the pile of ruffles. "Mostly paramedic and surgical manuals. I got Advanced Paramedic 1, 2, 3 and 4." He passed the first two to Vic and cleared his throat. "Interesting dress choice."

"I know. Oh, I know."

Travis countered,"Vic, it's not that bad."

"Really you don't think it's that bad? Like my hair? Like my dress? You think Lucas would like my dress?"

Francis laughed, having come up to the Beanery without the rest of the fashion squad. "I think he'd like your dress no matter what but I think he'd like it better off. And maybe on the floor."

"Probably not at the mayor's shindig." Vic glared at Francis who retreated back downstairs."What am I going to do?"

Ben diplomatically said, "You're probably not the person they're used to dressing. If you change back into uniform, you'll feel more like yourself. Unless you like being a pile of flower petals."

"I really hope somebody has an emergency." Vic clambered back to the locker room where Francis was with Penina and Janice. Vic tried not to take the dress and throw it on the floor. Maya and Andy watched silently.

"I need to be back in uniform." Vic said quietly. "I need to put my hair back in regulation."

Francis approached her with the caution of capturing a wild animal. "Are you sure? We need-"

"I am going back to my job as a firefighter. I don't think you guys are certain of how I need to get my hair done." Vic put on her uniform and swiftly rebraided her hair. She was currently not feeling generous to her teammates either - she addressed Andy and Maya. "Not a word or at tomorrow's dress fitting you'll be sorry. Jennifer is not going to be there so I don't have to be nice."

Maya and Andy decided it was time to make themselves scarce. Vic addressed Francis, "I am on aid car today." she reminded her quite deliberately. "Only one extra passenger. I suggest you wear some more comfortable shoes." She threw some sneakers at Francis's open toed sandals.

Then came the overhead page. "Aid car 19 emergency. Civilian with hand injury from power tools."

"Oh thank G-d," Vic whispered, set the books in her locker, and ran to the barn. "Come on, Francis. Let's go. Somebody's hurt themselves."

"What do you think they did?" Vic wondered from behind the wheel. "They said power tools - people tend to stab themselves with those."

"Let's review the protocols," Ben said as he texted something on his phone.

"Everything is all about bleeding control. Control bleeding, and you hydrate. Stabilize in order to get to a nearest hospital facility."

"Excellent," Warren agreed.

The aid car parked at a house where someone was clearly doing yard work. An older man had his left hand cut caught between a circular saw and a heavy wood log from a fallen tree. His wife was nearby crying into a cell phone.

"Surveying the scene for hazards," Vic said. She touched the wood and found it as too heavy for her to shift. The circular saw was embedded deeply in the wood and partway through his hand. This is why circular saws are used on tables, not trees. His fourth and fifth fingers were caught like he'd tried to cut left-handed and shifted mid slice. "Need more equipment to move the tree. Your name, sir?"

"Jeremy Pucino," the man's face was tight with pain.

"Ok, let's control bleeding," Warren said. Vic immediately got out some tourniquets and tied off the man's arm, first at the brachial artery in the upper arm and then at the radiual and ulnar arteries near the wrist. Warren was examining the injury closely and indicated midway through the hand, "I'm concerned these bones are broken all the way through."

These blades were designed to go deeper and downward. "We're going to need to have an engine come and bring us some stronger equipment than we have in the aid car."

"I'll call it in," Vic said. "We have some bolt cutters that we can use to at least break some of the teeth. I'll get the fluids."

She ran to the aid car, made the call, and pulled out the bolt cutters and IV tubing for bags of normal saline. She and Warren worked quickly to start an IV in his uninjured right arm. "Jeremy, keep talking to us so we know how conscious you are," Warren told him.

"I love my house. I just wasn't paying attention." The patient started look a little faint. They rechecked and saw a significant amount of blood dipping from the hand embeded in the circular saw.

Warren said, "We've got to cut those teeth, or we've got to take his hand."

"We are not taking his hand. That is not the protocol," Vic reminded him. "If we can get trim away some of the teeth and the tree, we'll be able to pull him out."

"Let's use the bolt cutters." Warren carefully gripped and tried to snap off sections of the saw blade. He did manage to snap a couple of it's teeth, but the bleeding only worsened. "I think we have to amputate." Jeremy looked at Warren like he was crazy. "It's the only way we can get your hand out so you don't bleed to death right now."

"19 can't be that far out," Vic protested. "If you think you're going to need to amputate, we have to get permission from Medical Control." Vic yelled into her radio,"Engine 19, how close are you?"

"Five minutes out," she heard Sullivan respond.

"I don't think he has 5 minutes. Look at him." Jeremy was becoming paler and less conscious in front of them.

"Then let's call Medical Central Control. Dispatch, get me Medical Central Control right now!" Vic keyed for dispatch.

"This is Medical Central Control." A cool voice answered.

"Hello, yes. This is firefighter Hughes and Medic One trainee Dr. Warren. We're in a situation where we need to get permission to consider amputation." Ben relayed the situation with a bunch of medical speak.

The Medic One physician adviser considered it. "Is there any way to do a partial amputation and keep most of the hand."

Warren hesitated. "It is possible that we remove some of the fingers closest to the blade. They look too mangled to save anyway."

"You have permission to move two digits of his hand."

"All right, Vic, we're going to have to work together on this." Warren started issuing more orders, "I need a larger scalpel, more saline, and a lot of packing."

She sprinted back to the rig grab the supplies, including two pairs of safety glasses, and came back. "Got it all."

"All right Vic," They put on their glasses, "I need you to grip right here with the bolt cutters and bend inward the teeth."

Vic tightened the bolt cutters which pulled away some of the teeth and shot up some blood as it bent away from the wood. Ben carefully use the scalpel to saw through the side of the hand, removing the last two fingers and metatarsals. "Now pull!" he yelled. Vic pulled backwards on the Jeremy's arm and it slipped free. That sprayed blood all over both Ben and Vic. The wife dodged, but Francis was standing a little bit too close and got blood all over her shoes.

"All right pressure and packing," Warren commanded.

"Right on it sir." Vic automatically responded. She played placed a chucks on the ground underneath his arm and began to rapidly wrap and pack the hand.

The patient was already unconscious. That was when Engine 19 pulled up.

Sullivan, Andy, Dean, and Maya got out. "Holy hell what just happened here." Captain Sullivan was not pleased.

"Jeremy Pucino, in field partial amputation," Ben reported. Sullivan looked like he was going to blow a fuse.

"We got permission from Medical Central Command first." Vic stated. "We need more hands and pressors."

"Bishop, can you grab the dopamine and quick clot from the aid car?" Sullivan requested, significantly calmer.

"Also grab ice," Vic said. "A lot of the ice. And Dean get the chain saw." Sullivan observed her curiously. "We're going to get the rest of the fingers and take him back to the hospital on ice. That's the protocol."

"True," Warren said. "I didn't think they were viable. Bishop, grab some epi too. We can pour it on his wound for quick vasoconstriction."

"Hughes is right," Sullivan confirmed. "Now we stabilize him and get him to the hospital."

Maya came back with the pressors and the quikclot. "Alright, Bishop, let's give him hang the dopamine and dump the epi and quikclot over his hand."

With the team here now, they were able to control the bleeding more quickly. Andy and Dean cut through the wood and managed to retrieve the remaining pieces of fingers and flesh. Vic got a plastic bag to put them in and then dropped them in the cooler on ice.

They loaded Jeremy into the ambulance and took off for Grey Sloan Memorial. "Hold the cooler," Vic handed it to Francis. "I've got to be in the back keeping him stable.

Francis took it wordlessly. Vic strapped herself in the back with the patient and kept an eye his monitors. Warren drove with the sirens on and they managed to get to Grey Slone within about seven minutes. The two of them quickly and efficiently handed off the patient. However Vic had to go back in and get the fingers from Francis. "Okay Francis, hand me the cooler." She nervelessly handed the cooler to Vic without blinking. "Alright , thank you." Vic said.

Dr. Hunt had greeted them a second time. He nodded at Vic and Warren,"I hope you to clean up by the time you get back to your station."

"Don't worry we'll do that," Warren agreed. "Can you check with my wife and make sure she's checked her text messages? I sent her one about an hour ago."

"No problem," Hunt confirmed.

They loaded back in the aid car, and Francis opted to sit in the back, still silent. Vic had a chance to look at Warren at this point and realized that they had definitely gotten splashed with a lot of blood. Their uniforms had much better days.

She guffawed a little. "I bet I look pretty gross."

"You do. I don't think I look much better."

"You don't." Vic took a breath. "I know that I seem distracted by all of this wedding hoopla happening, but I am still on the job. Got to stick to the protocols."

Warren was silent for a couple seconds. Different feelings including resentment and some acceptance cross this features. "I know," he conceded,"It - it's just that sometimes I can see what I need to do so clearly. I just want to do it."

"It may feel that way, but these protocols exist of a reason. Someone died which is why there are protocols."

"You sound like my wife."

"She's a smart woman." They parked inside the barn and got out.

"Wow," Travis sad. "Were you in a horror movie?"

Francis got out quietly and looked at her bloody shoes. Vic felt a little bad - but come on, that was why she'd been given other shoes. Francis appeared both relieved and so grossed out that she didn't even ask Vic any more questions about her hobbies or favorite hairstyle. Vic also noticed that her wardrobe department had mysteriously disappeared as she hopped in the shower and put on a new clean uniform.

She went back upstairs the Beanery and ghost Francis followed her. "I'm going to study." She sat down and started reading Advanced Paramedic Volume 1 for an hour. What else could she do - She had no idea what she was going to wear for the events today. She don't want to embarrass herself or Lucas for that matter.

Lucas had told her about her new starring role in the 5k - she didn't kill him - and she wondered if she should run or something to get her energy out. Then again, she probably wasn't supposed to get grimy again. Since she was restless, she left Francis in the Beanery and walked by Sullivan's office. The door was closed, and he was in deep conversation with Ben. She knew she couldn't even take a chance to eavesdrop. Sullivan saw her, and she fled quickly. Shortly afterward everyone else including Ben headed out to a structure fire. Vic stayed behind because Kat had been moved from ladder with Travis to aid car overnight.

She heard someone come in and yell out, "Victoria Hughes?"

A woman was waiting for her and Francis in the barn. "Hi I'm LaToya Vincent. Dr. Bailey recommended I come down here to help you with your hair and makeup tonight."

LaToya actually brought oil appropriate for black hair-hers was as curly as Vic's own. Vic was feeling more confident as they headed into the locker room and then she saw a new dress. There was a note on it from Maya - it said 'Andy and I got this delivered courtesy of Doctor Bailey. Enjoy.'

It was a beautiful midnight blue figure-hugging gown - low cut V neck that covered her shoulders and her back but dropped low to reveal some cleavage. When she tried it on, the dress flowed all the way to the floor. It streamlined her height, lengthened her legs and made her look very hot.

Then she took the dress off and let Latoya get to work. They made small talk about Vic's hair care regimen. Vic decided not to say anything about body ash or blood. Latoya oiled her hair, actually embracing her curls. She made them bigger and more defined.

She skipped painting Vic's nails, making sure they were trimmed and neat. She carefully covered Vic's lips with some berry and then helped her get back into the dress.

Vic viewed herself critically in the mirror and realized a couple things. One -  there was no way a bra would work with this dress since its front was a V which stopped right between her breasts. It worked because it had a thicker band of fabric that kept her nipples from showing. Second, even though it flared at the hem, it was tight and any thong would stick out. So there was only one thing to do. Commando.

Francis was much more in her element as she took various photos of Vic getting ready. She handed that gargantuan ring monstrosity to Vic. "Am I supposed to take this off?" She pointed at her Seattle FD ring necklace displayed prominently between her breasts.

"Would you take it off if I told you to?" Francis ask quietly.

"No." Vic made sure her response was quite definite.

"Then I won't ask. It definitely draws the eye to -

"This dress makes my boobs look huge," Vic filled in for her.

"I was going to say it made you look voluptuous in a good way."

"Since I'm not in real life, I guess that's better than nothing."

"Couple more details. Shoes." Frances gave her a sparkly gold heels and a matching clutch. "Cell phone and lipstick."

"Where should I put my keys? I can't even fit them in my non bra. Am I going in the aid car? Is he picking me up in the SUV."

Francis stiffled a laugh. "You're going with a driver. In a limo."

"I didn't know department had one of those. I could be taking my patients to the hospital in it next shift?"

"Actually it's on loan to us from Grey Sloan Memorial. Dr. Bailey apparently called it in for you. We were going to use the chief's car. The black ones we use are unmarked."

Vic heard the rigs all pull back in. She checked her phone for the time. "I guess I don't even get to wear a watch, huh?"

Showing a more humor than she had all day, Francis said. "There's a lot of things you're not wearing right now. Put on your shoes."

The ladies-Kat, Andy, and Maya - arrived all covered with soot. "Oh don't touch her." Francis commanded, "I got the blood cleaned off of her. Let's not have this."

"Vic, you look hot - damn hot." Maya exclaimed.

Andy took it all in,"I can't believe it's you. I mean it looks like you with a lot more-"

"Boobs I know."

Kat now getting it said, "Wow." She offered no explanation on how she got to be such a mess while in the aid car.

Francis said, "Chief Ripley should be arriving shortly. Why don't you go wait in the barn to make sure that we get there on time. You're scheduled to get picked up at 7:30. The party starts at 8 and goes on till whenever."

"Fine, let's go." Part of Vic felt ridiculous walking through the barn wearing a floor-length shiny blue satin dress. On the other hand, she absolutely knew that this was probably the best she was going to look at any time.

Of course her team greeted her with wolf whistles. "Looking fine," Miller exclaimed.

Travis pretended to wipe a tear, "My Vic -  she's all growed up."

Ben was giving himself a pat on the back. "I knew that Miranda could make it happen."

"Well, thanks not newest guy. . . It was a  big help."

"Anytime. Next time we can use the power tools to cut off his arm."

"You do remember the next person I'm going to talk to his chief right?"

"Medic One isn't under his jurisdiction," he reminded her.

"You look nice, cute- Hughes," Sullivan started. "We are still using 'Hughes' as per page 8, right?"

"Yes, sir. Page 8."

"The manual is strict."

"Here's the limo," Francis announced.

The two of them went outside and sure enough a black limo pulled up. The driver parked and opened the side door to let Lucas out. He looked so very fine to Vic in his dark navy uniform with all the insignia bars. He had trimmed his beard down a little bit, cleaning it up. The Navy combo made his gorgeous blue eyes pop. Vic took a few seconds to stare at him.

She didn't have to move because he was standing completely still. His mouth dropped slightly open. His eyes were running over her body and a deep ravenous expression swept across his face.  Then he pushed it back down and gave her his best impassive chief face. Everything except his eyes which grew dark and focused on hers.

Francis watched the two of them and had a triumphant smile. Chief Ripley put his hand in Vic's and looked at the ring before giving her a quick kiss on the knuckles.

The photographer that have been apparently sitting in the limo behind him got out and snapped photos.

"Off to the ball you two," Travis called out from behind Francis.

Never breaking eye contact, the chief pulled her into the limo. By sitting near him, she felt the bolt of electricity running across her. She knew things about what she was and wasn't wearing that he did not. He had another thing coming if he thought it was going to be a boring night.

"Wow." Lucas said, and they were unfortunately joined by the photographer before any more touching or other shenanigans could occur.

Back outside Travis stood with Francis. "You did good."

"I don't think that very much of that was me. All that work we put in and the second he looks at her, she gives him that smile and it like I worked for nothing."

"You think they're going to have a good time tonight? Quite nice looking couple."

Francis allowed herself to beam. "I think I get that dress back in pieces. 20 dollars?"

Chapter Text

It was crazy. They pulled up to this insanely large fresh Prince of Bel-Air-esque Mansion. This place was huge; it had a gazillion bedrooms with all these little weird hallways off its own ballroom. Their photographer was  behind them, taking photos as they went down Seattle's version of a red carpet. There were big local names here - two weathermen, one weatherwoman, some Seattle Seahawk and Seattle Mariners players, the fire commissioner, the assistant chiefs, a Starbucks upper level, the mayor and her wife. It wasn't about meeting the mayor (other than shaking her hand once) but mostly rubbing elbows with everyone in regional politics. Victoria had to shake hands with every businessman and be congratulated on her engagement. There was so much cooing and looking at 'her ring.' She wondered if she actually had achieved status of arm candy.

Lucas, of course, took all of this in stride as he had a ready smile and handshake for everyone. He introduced her as his lovely fiancee Victoria Hughes.  That would have been fine except for all the people who wanted to tell them what a beautiful couple they were - then they asked what it was like to rescue kittens or when they were having a baby too. That could have gone better.

It turned out the wine tasting was more of a suggestion as participating in flights of wine occurred on the other side of the ballroom. Instead, Vic and Ripley stuck in the opposite side and after about two hours of this, Vic had consumed 5 flutes of champagne and one bread-stick - really wishing for vodka, but this was a fancy affair. She was wondering how much longer she had to stay here. Lucas appeared to know an endless number of these people and was on his third beer.

A waiter walked by and Vic grabbed another flute of champagne and a shot of whisky to pass to her husband. After downing it, she asked quietly, "How much longer do we have to stay?" She hadn't eaten much and was bordering on the edge of tipsy and drunk. And horny.

"Probably have to be here for another hour." He tossed the shot back in one swallow.

"How do you know another hour? We've already been here for two."

"Because I've been at a bunch of these events before and know when to go home." He whispered back.

She leaned her head lovingly on his shoulder which instantly made him a little bit suspicious. "Fine. I want you to know something. There isn't anything under this dress. And you look pretty fine right now." She purposely pressed her breasts against his uniform coat.

Those blue eyes blazed. He gave her another once-over and focused on his ring proudly displayed by the low cut neckline of her dress. She subtly reached behind her and set his hand on her waist. She led it down her hip to her butt so he could confirm the lack of barriers underneath.

His pupils dilated, and he hissed at her "Really?"

"It left lines. Want to go somewhere else for a couple minutes?" She gave him her best pout.

He grabbed two shots off a passing tray, downed them, and set the glasses down on a nearby table with a clunk. He fixed his most charming smile on his face, speaking to the nearest city counselor. "If you excuse us for a moment. I have some quick FD business need to check on." He pulled out his phone and made a show of examining it.

Vic found herself whisked down a side hallway away from the party. Since the house was massive, entire sections were practically deserted. Lucas had his arm on hers and started testing doors. He finally opened one that revealed a huge bathroom with a hot tub and powder room section, everything, the works. Sparing a quick glance behind them, he pulled Vic into the bathroom and quietly locked the door.

Without further ado, he reached out and crushed her to his body. Kissing her wildly, he pushed her backward to the appropriately named fainting couch. "The dress was already killing me. Now this?" He bit out between actually biting her neck and scraping his beard across it.

"Now you can't keep your hands to yourself?" Vic gasped, stretching out her neck to give him better access. His hands were all over her.

"No." He peeled the dress down her shoulders. Her breasts popped out, each dusky nipple pebbled and proud. He ducked his head and immediately being sucking on her; she arched against his mouth. Lucas wasted no time shoving her skirt up, inserting his fingers into her sodden channel. Vic purred against him as he moved his mouth and his hand in tandem.

"So you like the dress?" She said breathlessly, spreading her thighs wider to give him more access. Her fingers wove through his hair and guided him to other breast. He was going to leave marks and it felt so damn good. She loved it when he got a little rough after she pushed him past his limits tolerating being teased. And honestly he was just so damn hot in his dress blues, getting ready to have his way with her. With what he was doing with his mouth and fingers, she was surprised she hadn't combusted. Didn't make that an outside chance.

He picked her up, removing his hands briefly and  carefully set her on the powder room counter. In quick movements,he undid his pants and shoved everything down. She pulled him closer by the lapels of his uniform. He had both hands on her ass as he buried himself to the hilt in her heat. She just leaned back and enjoyed being possessed. Unleashed, untamed chief fucking was always amazing. His mouth was all over her chest marking her, sucking her, biting her. There was always something so fantastic about when he did this - the primal joy of being used for his pleasure.

"Please, more," she begged because she could feel her body starting to tighten around him. "More." At this point, she knew she would let him do whatever he wanted for as long as he wanted and as rough as he wanted. That thought sent her over the edge and she came screaming.

"Vic," he yelled and spent himself inside her a couple seconds after. He rested head on her chest panting . It was like the calm after a storm. Just felt so good to be touching each other.

And then she started cackling at the hilarity of their situation. Her dress was crumpled down to her waist and up to her waist. She and the fire chief have had semi-drunken sex in a random bathroom at a party in their-semi honor. He hadn't even taken off most of his uniform before he'd pounded her good and hard.

She fumbled around and found a couple towels on the counter helping clean herself up when he withdrew. He started helping replace her dress back where it belonged. The straps made it back around her shoulders and she smoothed down the front. She was trying to wrangle some of her hair back in place when she asked him "How do I look?"

He gave her a very satisfied male grin and turned her towards the mirror.

"Crap," she said. He had easily straightened his hair and looked in no way like he just had inappropriate sex. She on the other hand - her makeup was all smeared, her lips were bruised, her hair was askew, and her dress had a few more wrinkles than before. The crowning glory, however, was the numerous bite marks on her neck and breasts. The neckline was not doing her any favors. Nor was the vaguely exfoliated skin of her chest from beard-burn. Truthfully, she looked like she had been thoroughly and well screwed. Probably several times.

She used a little water to wipe off her smeared makeup and found her discarded clutch to reapply that lipstick. There were some hair implements that she used to try to restrain some of her wild hair. It helped but there was nothing she could do about all of those marks on her chest.

"So next up in this plan, Chief?" She asked.

He took off is outer jacket and placed it over her shoulders unbuttoned. "That's not inconspicuous at all?" her voice shook because it seemed so amusing.

"You're cold and you starting feel like you're getting ill. Because we're leaving." Ripley explained with a gleam in his eye.

"What happened to waiting another hour?"

"What happened was I can't wait to do that again. I can't stand to have another guy look at your chest again either. Besides, if I have another drink, I probably won't be able to keep my hands off of you in public. So I might as well go do that at home."

"I see. I'm coming down with the case of sex-fluenza. I guess the only thing for that is a hot bovine injection. I guess I need to go home for treatment." she gave an unconvincing cough.

They kissed again and headed out the door. With impressive smoothness for someone trying not to weave, Luke said his goodbyes and hustled her out the door. Fitzpatrick and the mayor's spokesperson who was nursing a gin and tonic, gave them a little side eye as Luke explained that Vic was starting to feel under the weather. His fiancee may be coming down with fever and needed to get home.

The Grey Sloan limo was waiting for them outside. The driver, Jim, had thoughtfully left them an open bottle of white wine which they proceeded to down in its entirety ten minutes into the thirty minute drive. The driver, obviously an experienced employee of Grey Sloan, had simply raised the privacy screen when Vic got on her knees in front of Lucas.

By the time he dropped them off, Ripley's jacket was off because he might have been patiently laving her tits while he fingered her to orgasm moments prior. She was carrying his belt, his shirt was all unbuttoned and he might have acquired a couple of hickeys of his own near his waist band before he'd come in her mouth twenty minutes earlier. They staggered through the door and haphazardly discarded the rest of his clothes. That giant fake ring got hung on the key hook. Her dress joined his uniform on the floor. They managed to land on the couch before Vic mounted his hard dick.

"Behave Vic," she giggled, shaking her finger at him as she rode him without friction. "Be a good listener. What are your favorite hobbies?"

"Hobbies?" He asked thrusting up against her.

She cooed. "Yes." Her voice came out more thickly. "Victoria Ripley's favorite hobbies include drinking, fucking her husband, having him eat her out, giving him blow jobs, fucking him again. Also enjoys tying him up and wearing his uniform while she does those things." She clenched her vaginal muscles around him and lowered her hand down to finger her own clit. "What are your hobbies hubby?"

"Victoria." His words came out clipped since he was trying stave off his orgasm.

"Yes," she asked and leaned forward to bite him on the chest right near his chain.

"No," he said struggling to continue speaking. "You're my hobby. . . you're it. The thing I do for fun."

"I guess we could try cycling. I can always work on riding with something between my legs. You are already good at fingering . . . your guitar." She ground herself down on him faster. His hands were helping direct her hips at the angle she needed and then she convulsed. He sat up and grabbed her shoulders. He flipped them so he was on top, pulled back almost all the way out and rammed himself all the way back in four more times before he came with a growl against her neck.

"So what are we doing tomorrow?" He asked, idly rubbing her back.

It was hard for Vic to think for a couple seconds. "Dress fittings, in the morning. Maya, Andy, Francis - Travis might be coming."

"What time?" he asked twirling his fingers through her thoroughly messed up hair.

"Well it's a Saturday so I'm thinking it was noon maybe." Even though he'd fucked her only seconds before, she was ready again. "Something you want to do next?"

"A few of your favorite things." His voice was almost unrecognizable with lust. "Like eating out your naughty pussy." He started plucking at her pointed nipples again, which only made her even wetter, again.

"Aww, Lucas, didn't know you were a dirty talk---" Vic's realization that drunk Luke was much more talkative during sex was stopped by his immediate fulfillment of his words. He went down on her with all his considerable skill at coaxing orgasms out of her.

Once he did finished that favorite thing, they did the other ones too. Many times, over and over again.

Chapter Text

"How late do you think she's going to be?" Andy asked Maya, Travis, and Francis. They were waiting at La Belle Elaine's bridal shop. It was 12:15 and Vic had still not arrived. The purpose of the event was to try on bridesmaids dresses and at least narrow down Vic's wedding dress options to four or five (or ten) choices that the department could approve. However the bride had not shown up yet.

Fortunately this being a large high-end bridal shop, they had snacks and wine for people who were waiting. All in all, a good thing. Hilariously, it was near the end a strip mall that had two organic bakeries, a durable medical equipment supplier, two liquor stores, and three organic fertilizer/gardening stores, an organic cleaning supply store, a dollar store, a clothing store and a bank.

"How late was that party supposed to be?" Travis asked

Frances flipped open her phone calendar. "Well, the agenda said around 8pm to unknown. My messages from the photographer said that they left around 10:30. She was wearing his jacket. Since she's going to be here, we're going to also fit her so for more dresses for formal occasions so we can avoid the incident we had yesterday."

"You mean when you guys hired that terrible hairdresser and didn't get Vic style before trying to put her in something?" Maya reminded her.

"That could have gone better," Francis admitted. She spoke to Travis, "Are you going to owe me twenty bucks?"

"I think you're going to owe me twenty. How do you think she's going to look when we see her?"

"Show us the pictures of the event before I try to guess." Maya requested. Francis showed them a couple from the phone. Vic, drinking wine in her blue dress. Ripley watching her drink wine in her blue dress.

"Wait, stop there." Travis pointed to the first photo taken when Ripley picked her up. "She must have gotten the good stuff last night. See his face when he saw her?"

Maya examined the picture too. "He does look like he needs some."

"Jack look at you that way?" Andy teased. It was amazing how far she'd come in tolerating Maya's and Jack's relationship.

Travis flipped through the pictures again, "I see Vic drinking a bunch of champagne. It looks like he has several drinks himself."

Andy held up ten bucks, "I think she's going to come hungover and have three hickeys."

"I'll put my ten to that and say that she's going to barely be able to walk and six hickeys."

"Ladies," Travis protested. "I'm sure he was a perfect gentleman; he didn't touch her at all." Everyone cracked up. "Alright fine.  Both of them hungover, and he has the hickeys. Francis, are you in?"

Francis thought for a minute. "I already bet on the dress issue."

"What dress issue?" Maya wanted to know.

"We've got a thing going on whether or not Vic's new dress would be shredded."

"Okay. How about -" Francis reconsidered. "How about neither of them are hungover, even though they got it on in a broom closet, and they arrive staring into each other's eyes like no one else exists."

No one had a snappy come back for that.

"Have you spent any time with them together?" Travis asked.

"Not much.  Umm, the engagement photos were intense . . ." Francis said. "I keep having to interview them about each other. And when they talk about each other-" She paused for a couple seconds trying to come up with an appropriate word. "It's sweet enough to give you diabetes."

"They say that stuff about each other?" Andy was surprised.

"Only when they think I'm not paying attention."

At 12:30 a red Jeep pulled up. Ripley was driving in a pair of sunglasses; he got out with Vic who was also wearing sunglasses and carrying a bag. Both of them walked unsteadily to the door.

"Hey guys, sorry I'm a little bit late," Vic said. "It was a long event."

"I've heard," Francis said drily. "Chief Ripley, before you leave, we need to get your measurements for the tux."

She motioned over to some of the attendants. They helped him remove his jeans jacket and started measuring him. Fortunately he was wearing jeans and a white T-shirt for easy measurements.

That didn't stop a few twitters from Vic's friends. His forearms had several visible bite marks and 2 clear hickeys on his neck alone.

"Done?" he asked and put his jacket back on.

"That was perfect," Francis said.

"Have fun with Sully. I'll call when you can pick me up." Vic told him while he staggered slightly toward the door.

Travis addressed Francis, "Did you actually need his measurements?"

Francis shook her head, "No. The department keeps them on record for his dress uniforms. His measurements haven't changed for the past 15 years truthfully." She led them into the wardrobe room for viewing and the dressing room section.

"You are sneaky. Ok, so Vic gave him some hickeys." Maya pointed out.

Vic knew her team. "Whats the next part of the bet?"

"High wager is that you have six hickeys and can't walk."

"So juvenile," And Vic removed her jacket.

Total silence. Vic looked very used. She was wearing a tank top and she didn't just have one hickey. She didn't just have six hickeys; she had so many. She turned around to look at the wardrobe room mirror, and they saw there were more down her back.

"If you can excuse us for a second?" Maya said and her team hustled her into the dressing room. "Holy crap- Vic, what happened to you? You have like bruises and bites everywhere. Actual everywhere."

"What do you want me to say? I had drunken marathon sex with the fire chief."

"And you're okay with this?" Travis questioned.

"I'm kind of surprised. I've never seen him drunk before. Usually one of us was on call or working a 24. We were always worried about running into someone we knew at a bar which could have given the game away."

"Did he do all this at the party?" Andy asked pointing to a mark on her neck.

"Only a few at the party, more in the limo, and alot at home."

"Drunk chief is like this?" Andy was intrigued.

"I know. He was very enthusiastic and ... inventive." Vic laughed. "You should see his abs. . . And many other parts. Travis, can you leave right now? I kind of need the girls to help me out of this."

Travis left as Maya steadied Vic to keep her from tripping while taking her jeans off.

Vic stripped down to a matching silky white bra and bikini cut underwear. They could see the many bruises and bites all over her. "Not a word."

"You have a bite mark on your ass." Maya said.

"Hmm, weird. Honestly, I might still be a little bit drunk which is why he drove. I did not know he could hold his liquor that well after being dry for 8 weeks. And if I hadn't had to be here, I would still be drinking and going for round - I don't know  - 9 or 10. " She carefully took off her sunglasses. "The light hurts."

"I bet it does. So you guys kept going?" Andy asked.

"If you knew what was under the uniform, you'd have kept going too."

"All right this was more than I ever needed to know, " Andy declared.

"Just because Tanner is gone and you're not getting any," Maya pointed out.

"Maya, how many hickeys do you have right now?" Vic asked.

"None!" Maya stammered. "None at all. Because Jack is a perfect gentleman. I do have one question. Are you able to walk today or did you dislocate your hips?"

"For that I'm going to need you two try on Pepto-Bismol pink."

Francis knocked on the door and came in for Vic's measurements. She did not blink an eye at the many many marks across Vic's skin. "Okay, I got a couple basic dresses and styles for you to try on. You have A-line, princess cut, mermaid, short, ruffled."

"I think I need to wear something with a little bit more coverage than yesterday's dress. By the way, here." She handed the bag to Francis. It was the dress, all crumpled up.

"Is it in one piece?"

"Yes I think so. I had to return it. Ring's in there too."

"I'll take the ring, but the dress is actually yours. You might need to wear it again for future events. PR department wants to build you a wardrobe for image purposes."

"I need a wardrobe of dresses?" She could see Andy and Maya's faces in background behind Francis. This was insane. She was one giant drunk hickey, all sensitive and sore from last night, and they were talking about making sure she had a nice public image.

"Yes, the first lady in the fire department. If you're doing something with the department, we've got to make it look-"

"Are you making him get a separate wardrobe?" Vic interrupted.

"As a matter of fact, yes. He cannot wear a sweater or his uniform to every single event. He needs suits and outfits to coordinate with yours. Guy clothes, however, are much easier to fit. I don't have to worry about whether or not he's displaying too much or too little skin. Won't have to worry about whether or not makeup says too young to old."

"Too ethnic or not?" Vic challenged.

"She won't be back. We hired Latoya for all future hair and makeup."

"Fine. What's my dress budget? Six hundred dollars, two thousand dollars?"

"You get two dresses, one for the ceremony and one for the reception. He's getting married in his dress blues and then reception in the tux."

"So the budget?"

"There is none. I think I would like five dress options for the wedding and five dress options for the reception. The PR department will look them over, narrow it down a couple more, then they'll let people vote on their favorite dress." She added,  "Technically you would have veto power on that."

"So I can get whatever dress I want for whatever price I want? I can pick a $20,000 dress and you'll be fine with that. I can get two $20,000 dresses?"

"The department would probably be happy you did that because it showed some restraint. The dresses here go up to $70,000."

When they left Vic, Travis and Andy both handed Maya their tens for having the closest bid. Francis came out to get some dresses with the bridal assistant. She passed Maya a ten and Travis a twenty.

Sullivan finished texting and looked at Ripley over his cup of coffee,  "I got to tell you - you look rough."

"Thanks, Sully. I needed to hear that."

"Tell me she doesn't look like that today."

"She might look worse." He admitted.

"All of that at the wine tasting with the mayor?"

"Most of it didn't happen at the wine tasting."

"She obviously had a fire chief tasting." Sullivan teased.

Ripley almost spit out his coffee. "It's probably better if we don't talk about it."

"I see," Sullivan said. "How are things going with all this?"

"It could be worse. I'll be working, and suddenly PR will show up with a new plan for things that I could do make this more exciting."

"Hughes - still Hughes, right- she's being a trooper. She is tailed all day long by Francis. None of my lieutenants are making it particularly easy on her either."

"How so?"

"When Francis requested her beauty routine, apparently one of my lieutenants may have told her they use the ashes of burned up pets."

"Yeah, I heard. Let's not talk about that either."

"I avoid the PR when I can but Hughes gets a little bit hot under the collar sometimes for this. But I don't blame her."

"She did volunteer to do this." Ripley was surprised how sympathetic Sullivan was on the whole situation.

"You think you would have been cool if the positions were reversed? If they gave you the job of proposing while carrying a bunch of kittens to your boss?"

Ripley started laughing, "It does sound pretty ridiculous."

"What PR event is she doing now?"

"She's wedding dress shopping. I'm not allowed to be anywhere near that."

"Instead we eating bagels at this diner?"

"This diner is special. Actually we're here because we're doing another PR point."

"Oh, I know. So go ahead and ask."

"Do I need to get down in one knee, Sully?" Sullivan shook his head. "Good because the hangover is killing me. Okay, Robert Sullivan, would you be my best man? Again. For the third time?"

"When you put it that way, I don't know how I can say no." Sullivan took a sip of coffee philosophically.

"Fabulous. Jen is going to be part of the bridespeople again too."

"I believe they called 'bridesmaids.'"

"Since Montgomery is going to be her Man of Honor, I don't think I get to call them bridesmaids."

"Do you have more people that are going to be groomsmen? It can't be only me."

"Not at this point."

"Don't worry, we've got it covered. PR already handled that. I texted them when you arrived."

The door opened and in walked, Ben Warren, Jack Gibson, Dean Miller all accompanied by Owen Hunt, Andrew DeLuca and Levi Schmitt.

"These are your groomsmen."

Everyone sat down at the tables.

"Welcome, wedding party," Ben announced.

Owen said, "You seem rather chipper about this."

"When PR came to me, I thought it was a fabulous idea to join the Grey Sloan family with the Station 19 family. This way you'll get 7 groomsmen." Ben explained, "I dropped off my wife and some of her lady doc's so they'll be the bride's people."

"You see the PR department believes that we reach the perfect balance of diversity and inclusivity. In fact it's almost a formula." Sullivan stated.

"We are that," Ripley observed wearily.

"The bridal party will include African American, Hispanic, straight, gay, bisexual and good balance of male to female ratio. That's definitely why we needed the women by the way."

"Even better, Dr. Hunt here was there when you were brought in your heart surgery. So was Dr. Schmidt and he was at Vic's appendicitis. Dr. Pierce, Dr. Grey, and my wife have all participated in some way in your care - so it's a family affair." Ben counted off. 

"Is there anyone else you needed to include?" Ripley asked.

"I couldn't figure out how to get Alex Karev in here. You didn't interact with him at any point so made it harder."

"And I guarantee this will make the bachelor and bachelorette parties much more exciting." Dean volunteered.

"What about that new rookie, Noonan?  We forgot about her?" Ripley wondered.

"No, PR informed us she's going to a bridesmaid to get more gender balance." Ben confirmed.

"So sir. Are we going to have tux sleeves that will be able to show these guns off  -Mr. T style." Dean flexed.

Ripely hung his head and the discussion went on for a while without him. Even Vic was having a better time.

Vic was not having a better time because every time she came out to the wardrobe room with a dress, she to deal with the drunken laughter of her two best female firefighter friends, her best male friend, and now the addition of three more doctors. The doctors were not drunk - yet.

Most of the comments result revolved around which dress would hide the hickeys and which dress would look best if she got pregnant between now and the wedding. She'd tried on a few different formal, semi formal and causal dresses and too many damn white wedding dresses. Frances said they had intended on taking photos of her in each one but that they thought it was better if she did not do so today.

Probably because she was sporting three hickeys on her boobs, a few on her neck, several bite marks on her arms, couple more on the inside of her thighs. No one could tell her nipples have been sucked on to the point of tenderness and inside of her thighs -  well, it wasn't far off that she could barely walk.

She successfully narrowed her selections down to about 10 dresses. Clarification, Francis had successfully narrowed it down. None of them cost greater than $10,000 because Vic could not make herself imagine spending such a large amount of money on something she would wear one time, especially since she was already married.

She really hoped one it was more extravagant lacy ones was not selected. The first five dresses for the ceremony were all much longer and heavier. The second dress was made for her to be able to dance and move around during the reception.

Like the one she had on now was kind of hard to walk in. Bizarrely it was also low cut in the front like her boobs are going to fall out at any point. That is why she had banished all of her friends into the wardrobe room to avoid seeing some awful dresses. If it was okay, she'd have to come out and stand on the little raised platform for them to look at it. It was bad enough with Francis there in the dressing room and the assistant who had to record every single dress she tried on. The freaking friends of hers were enjoying themselves with the Grey's peeps drinking wine in the outer room.

The assistant kept popping wad of gum in her mouth while she perused a whole look book of possible dresses Francis wanted her to try on. She'd hop up, retrieve one in Vic's size while Francis examined a catalog of La Belle's engagement and wedding plan options. She flipped to a different section, "Wow, you can do themed engagements and weddings here?"

"You have no idea," Lexie, the assistant said. "People ask for some pretty freaky stuff. We have a whole locked room of costumes and props across from dress fitting."

Vic spread arms,"Does this look like wings to you? Like boobs and wings? I don't think I can let anyone see me in this." There was alot of lace on the sleeves.

Francis used her most dry tone, "Let me see if there's boobs and wings as an option for themed wedding first."

Assistant Lexie started to laugh at Francis's bit of snark - but then that laugh became a gag and a choke on that piece of gum. Her hands went to her throat and she began to turn red and then the shade of purple.

"Oh crap, she's choking!" Vic yelled. She tried to run forward but tripped over the dress and she crashed into the assistant, knocking on the ground. "Ah crap. Travis, Maya, Andy, come in!!!"

At this point Vic was on the ground with the choking assistant, trying to get her in position for Heimlich maneuver from the ground.

The door to the dressing room burst open even though it had been locked. Travis had apparently kicked in the lock and Maya and Andy were there to pull the assistant up. They quickly used the Heimlich maneuver with Travis helping Vic.

He turned red. "Umm, Vic. That dress looks boobs and wings."

Vic quickly crossed her arms over her chest because her boobs had in fact escaped the low neckline. Her hickey covered, Ripley -beard-burned boobs that he had been so very attentive to last night with her enthusiastic encouragement.

The doctors from Grey Sloan led by Meredith Grey peeked through the doorway, "Everything okay in here? Anybody need a trach?"

"I think I need another drink," Vic said.

"You okay?" Andy asked the assistant, Lexie.

"Oh yeah," She was already back chewing her gum. "You guys are heroes."

Maya said helpfully, "I guess we'll go back out. Excellent work, Vic."

Vic threw her the bird. When everyone had left, she saw Francis examining what was left of the lock. Vic declared, "That's it. No dress is being worn by me that cannot pass the Heimlich maneuver test. If I can't run up to someone and do the Heimlich without either tripping on the giant dress or my boobs falling out - ain't no freaking way I'm wearing it."

"Got it," Assistant Lexie said. "Heimlich maneuver test dresses - got it." She let Vic see the photos of the other finalist dresses which all fortunately met that criteria.

"We're done here right? We can do bridesmaid dresses some other day?" Vic said. The hangover had finally started to ease with the post Heimlich adrenaline drop. Francis didn't protest so she put on her regular clothes. Vic chose to ignore her peanut gallery and walked to the other side of the store to buy a few select items from the honeymoon section.

Francis wisely didn't comment on that, "I guess you can call your ride home."

"Oh no, no, no," Meredith Grey, the doctor who had performed Vic's appendectomy, "As a member of the wedding party, we need to merge these two teams."

Francis asked seriously, "What do you mean?"

"If we're going to be in this together, we have to actually hang out together. Now you're going to have a pre bachelorette party at my house. Day drinking time."

"It's 3 in the afternoon," Francis pointed out.

"All the better. Never delay drinking you can do today right now." Meredith said.

Maya started to lose it in a fit of laughter. "I like the way you think, Grey."

Pierce who only had one glass of champagne said, "What about the kids, Meredith?"

"No problem. Auntie Amelia has already taken them. I'm sure they're over at Link's house."

Andy wondered, "How are we going to get there? Driving drunk is a crime."

Dr. Bailey spoke up, "I've already hired rides. Actually for both us and the guys."

"The guys are coming too?" Andy asked.

"Oh no. They're going to my house. You think I'd let them hang out with these terrible influences like Grey?"

Sure enough one of those small shuttle buses had pulled up. "All right everybody in. Drink up quick. You too, Francis." Grey commanded, "Looks like your hair could come down a little bit."

They all piled in onto the bus. Everybody finished their glass of champagne. Grey looked at Travis and said, "You don't have to come with us if you don't want to. We can get you Uber to the guys if you want."

"And miss this? Why don't I be the bartender and make sure none of you ladies end with alcohol poisoning."

Chapter Text

It wasn't completely clear on how they ended up deciding to play 'Never have I ever' at the Grey house.

The bride was put at the head of the table and was originally placed in charge of leading the game. On one side, she had Maya, Andy, and Francis. On the other side, she had Bailey, Meredith, and Maggie. They made the decision not to invite Kat because she was more of a guest star anyway. Probably not the way for her to get to know her superiors by watching them get this freaking drunk. Jennifer was out because it would be awkward, and she lived in Oregon.

Travis set down some type of red drink in front of Vic. He whispered into her ear, "Don't worry, it's a splash of vodka and mostly Pedialyte. I don't think you wanted to face another day of being blind drunk." She squeezed his arm gratefully.

The other ladies had margaritas made with some expensive tequila. Grey explained she only kept at the best at her house.

"Okay, never have I ever . . . Been to a fancy restaurant with my boyfriend." Vic said.

"Does it count if it's a girlfriend?" Maya clarified. "I mean, not right now, but before."

Everyone drank except Vic, including Francis.

"You're saying Jack hasn't taken you out?" Andy asked.

"No. Right now it's mostly houseboat or apartment type things. He's kinda a homebody, but it looks like I'm going to be doing stuff now. Wedding stuff."

"I haven't actually gone out like that with my boyfriend but we did have dinner on the roof for Valentine's day and set fire to someone else's party once. I went a bunch of dates with other people before him and sometimes with my husband." Grey said.

"Your husband?" Maya was confused.

"He's dead. It's been awhile. Long story." Meredith waved a hand.

Pierce also had drank. "I'm single right now guys. I had an awkward fancy dinner with my ex and his and my parents. Which are two people, not four."

That jogged Vic's memory about the lost hiker in the fog, "Dr. Avery - did they ever find him?"

Maggie was like, "It's not important. Nobody cares; we broke up." She took an extra shot of tequila shot anyway.

Travis got up and refilled everyone's glasses.

It next went to Andy. "Never have I ever taken it up the butt."

Maya immediately drank and said, "How haven't I taken it?"

Travis said, "I think I need three shots for this."

Bailey quietly took a drink, and Meredith cracked up, "Wow, what do you know - Ben!?"

Maya said, "Never have I ever had a threesome with two guys."

Only Travis drank on that one.

It was Maggie's turn. "Never have I ever been involved in a love triangle."

Everyone except Vic and Travis drank.

"Bailey, who?" Maggie asked.

"Ben and nurse Eli. Are you sure that you and Kepner and Avery thing doesn't count? Or you and Grey and DeLuca? Or you and Riggs."

Meredith had that covered. "Those were all post breakups so none of that really counts. Riggs was kind of a fling and since he never dated Maggie, it wasn't much of a love triangle. There was a weak one with me, Riggs, and Megan. But as REAL triangles go - remember I was involved in a love triangle with Derek who was currently married to Addison but I didn't know. Addison had slept with Mark, his best friend, which I also didn't know at the time. Addison and Mark and Derek all broke up and then Mark got involved with my sister. Who was also sometimes dating Alex and Jackson. Also I was in a love triangle with Derek and Finn the vet before he cheated with me on Addison."

"Maggie, you dated Alex?" Andy asked since she knew Meredith the best.

"No, no, no, that was my other half sister who is also dead." Meredith said. "But we ruled out a triangle with Maggie because she used to date DeLuca who is my current boyfriend."

"Oh yeah, I thought he was in jail. I thought you were fired." Vic remembered.

"Yeah, none of that ever sticks. Don't worry about how it got resolved. No one else will." Meredith shrugged and shot Bailey a look. "What about you two?"

Maya answered that one. "Well, Andy was dating Jack but was also kind of cheating on him with Ryan."

Andy put in, "We were on a break. He tried to propose; I said 'no.' Or at least 'no answer' and therefore thought we were on a break after my dad almost died and I slept with Ryan. Technically 24 hours had passed at the time. Or twelve. Or something." Andy took another drink for good measure.

"So now I started dating Jack in April so I guess that put Andy and I in a love triangle. She was also kind of seeing Ryan who was also seeing Jenna. Then there's the whole Sullivan thing." Maya checked for Andy's response.

Her best friend turned pink. "What Sullivan thing? Nothing is happening. Nothing has happened. He's my Captain. I'm his lieutenant."

Vic took a drink from her cup, "Yes, it would be inappropriate to date someone of a higher rank than you."

"You guys live really confusing lives," Travis said. "Francis want to share?"

"Never have I ever been married."

Bailey drank, Meredith drank, and Vic drank.

"Wait a second. I thought you were getting married." Meredith protested to Vic.

"Doesn't your boyfriend tell you anything?" Travis exclaimed. "He was there. Don't you read the paper or Twitter?"

"Consider it a 'vow renewal' marriage. Sometimes the hobbies are so good you got to do a vow renewal once."

Maya howled. "Those hickeys say you did it more than twice."

Andy's phone buzzed in her pocket -got another message from Ryan. She'd been deleting them when he sent her one every week and she'd decided to avoid discussing them with Maya.

Call me.


Drunk decision-making was not her strong suit. Ended up with Ryan twice. Those probably hadn't been great decisions. Sometimes you needed someone to be a comfy blanket. Probably not the best advertisement for a relationship.

Who else could she text now? "Hey Maya, smile." She took a selfie of herself and Maya.

"Send it to Jack. Invite him over!" Maya thought it was a great idea.

Andy's sent the picture with the message to Jack and, for kicks, Sullivan too. They were probably drinking like a fish anyway at Bailey's house.

"What did you do?" Bailey accused.

"Nothing other than texted the guys to stop by." Maya was all grins.

"Those damn fools are at my house." Bailey said. "They better come over here. I don't want to have an early evening orgy at my place."

"You can have one at mine," Meredith volunteered helpfully. "Text them all."

Maggie looked at her phone. "Who am I supposed to text - my ex boyfriend?"

"No," Travis explained. "You're supposed to drunk dial someone else for you actually would consider sleeping with."

"I'm more of a planning type," Maggie said.

"Then pick some random person in your phone if you really need to send a text." Meredith suggested. "Know any firefighters?"

Back at Casa de Bailey-Warren. The dude bridal/pre-bachelor party was basically guys drinking beer, watching and discussing TV sports.

The main gist of the discussion between the men of Station 19 versus the men of Grey Sloan about the merits of Seattle Seahawks versus Seattle Mariners - as which team had a better chance of winning it all next year. The general consensus was that the Seahawks were promising and the Mariners would live in the cellar again. Levi himself was somewhat confused about whether or not they were talking about baseball or football or soccer or basketball.

Sullivan passed Ripley another beer. "You do like beer."

"Always have."

"Is beer what led to all of those?" Hunt pointed to the bite marks on Ripley's wrists, and forearms, and neck.

"I can't answer that. No comment."

Jack shook his head. "You think the girls aren't getting it out of her right now?"

"If you think your ladies were trouble, you should see ours." DeLuca opened a beer.

"They're at Meredith's house. Oh boy." Ben laughed.

"What's so bad about Meredith's house?" Dean asked.

DeLuca explained. "I've only heard rumors. But pretty much everyone in the hospital has lived there one time or another, and it's quite famous for its drunken parties. I also heard about a game of charades gone bad."

"Charades can go bad?" Dean hadn't expected to hear that.

"With enough alcohol and my ex girlfriend's cheating boyfriend, I guess."

"Who was your ex girlfriend again? I thought you were dating Grey." Dean was trying to keep track.

"Yeah, but I used to date Pierce.  It was a long time ago. It's better not to think about that."

"I get that," Sullivan nodded.

"So for beer - more hops or less hops?" Jack offered Levi a beer. "Which beer would you prefer?"

"Do you have anything that is not beer? My mom is not a beer fan."

"Your mom?" Jack asked. "Did you use 'my mom' in a sentence?"

"Look, I still live with her. I know I'm a third-year resident or something. I just broke up with my boyfriend. I'll be okay."

"You really do get around, Dr. Schmitt," Dean commented.

"You got any ping pong balls around here?" Jack inquired to Ben. "No? I guess we'll have to use quarters. Let's divide into teams. Smoke versus Fire?" Jack offered.

"Rip and I are going to sit this one out. I'll referee. He'll reconsider his poor lifestyle choices from last night. It'll help keep the teams even. Especially since Warren here can play for either team."

Jack, Dean, and Ben formed Team Fire and Deluca, Levi, and Hunt formed Team Smoke. Ripley sat quietly nursing his beer watching them. He hadn't really expected that he'd have like a group of guys again after he'd become the chief. It was hard to remember that he used to be part of a team like this.

Ripley thought about how Vic had changed his life's story. He was starting realize how much his life was enlarged by having her in it. She brought laughter and fun in what had been increasingly solitary. It had brought him back his best friend. Even if some of these guys were his subordinates, it good to have people again. He hadn't realized how many he's slowly lost as he climbed the top of the ladder.

Speaking of Vic, last night had been memorable - though hopefully not to memorable to the rest of the people at the party - at most of those events the attendees were thoroughly sloshed by the two hour mark. He wondered if she really understood exactly how much he craved her. In fact he stopped drinking now because he looked forward to getting back with her to make some more clear memories with a couple less bruises. He hesitated to even think about what she look like this morning when they woke up. She didn't seem to mind though. If he was exceptionally lucky, she already come up with a plan to make him pay. He debated calling her on his phone.

Fire beat Smoke for the first round, Smoke won the second, and Fire took the third. While they were reloading the cups of beer, Sullivan came by to check Ripley's mostly untouched glass. "You sly dog. Can't even get through your own party." Sullivan joked about the phone in Ripley's hand.

"And who messaged you?" Ripley noticed Sullivan's phone was out too.

"Oh, it's the lieutenants." He could swear his friend was blushing slightly.

"Gibson texted you to help him cheat at quarters?"

"No. I think I'm getting drunk dialed by my lieutenants."

"I'm under the impression that Bishop would be drunk dialing Gibson. So that leaves. . ."

"Nothing is going on. Honestly. I can't talk about it right now."

This was one that Ripley decided to let go. He was not eager to revisit their argument over Herrera.

A bunch of the phones went off at the same time. Almost all of the guys pulled out their phone including Miller. Only Hunt and Levi didn't get a message.

It seemed that the ladies send out one text. "Come on over."

Ben laughed. "Sorry, guys got to go. Miranda is calling."

Dean waved his phone."They're all calling."

"Wait, who texted you?" Gibson wanted to know.

Miller flushed a little bit. "Pierce. She saved my number for a year."

Levi looked at his phone which had no messages. "Well, she and Jackson Avery didn't make it so. . ."

"I'm kind of seeing somebody right now," Dean frowned. "I guess sometimes timing is crap even if you only three blocks away."

"When my wife calls, I go running," Ben said. "Always." He looked at Ripley significantly.

"Wise advice," agreed Ripley. "I wouldn't be divorced two times if I'd known it the first and second time."

"It's all right. Miranda has been divorced once. So I have a stepson."

"I had no idea," Ripley admitted.

Ben shrugged. "We'd better get going. They do not like to be kept waiting."

Shortly the pre bachelorette party was joined by the pre bachelor party.

Everyone immediately went to their respective partners and introductions were made. Andy was possibly the drunkest because she greeted every new arrival with a big hug, including Sullivan and Ripley.

Meredith was definitely more than a bit tipsy too. "I'm Meredith Grey, and this is my boyfriend, Andrew DeLuca. This Dr. Maggie Pierce. My half sister. Who used to date Avery, who's now single.

She looked significantly at Maggie who said, "Hi, Maggie Pierce. I cut people's hearts open."

"But not the chief's, that was Altman," Ben clarified. "But she did do Travis's surgery."

Chief Ripley reached out and shook Chief Bailey's hand. "I didn't get to thank you. I heard that you did some arrangements for yesterday's event. Excellent work for Vic's hair and makeup. We had a great time."

"Oh, I heard" Bailey said. "Don't think I didn't hear and see how much of a great time you two had."

Ben put his arm around her shoulders and his nose on her neck. "Miranda. He's my boss's boss's boss boss boss boss boss boss."

"Medic One isn't his. Now you're not exactly a firefighter anymore," she wagged his finger at him.

"I love you, and you can always tell me when I'm wrong." Ben immediately started kissing her which did quiet down Bailey.

Travis stuck out his hand and introduced himself to Dr. Schmitt. "I remember you from before at the hospital. Right, Schmitt?"

"Yeah, I'm Levi Schmitt." They shook their hands held a little bit longer than they were supposed to.

"Travis Montgomery," he said. "Good to see you when I'm not banging on the door to the OR."

"It was a busy day that day," Levi agreed. "Not that I'm not always busy, but you understand." Levi said quickly,  "I think I'm going to go have a margarita or Cosmo or something because I've heard Grey always has the best.

"Let me help you with that. I was serving as bartender today as the ladies got thrashed. Follow me."

He walked past Maya and Jack who were  making out. Andy and Sullivan were now standing awkwardly with Dean and Maggie. Hunt was showing Francis baby pictures on his phone. The Ripleys were sort of snuggled up staring at each other. He expected some cheesy music to come over. Maybe something by Ed Sheeran.

"Hey, I did you guys a solid and ordered you an Uber. Vic's Jeep is still at the bridal shop. We can figure all this out tomorrow." He handed Vic her bag. "Don't think I didn't see what you bought." She gave him the 'drop it' eyes.

"Don't think about it." She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'll see you at shift in two days."

"See you then; have fun you two. But a little bit less cannibal movie fun and more of a rom-com fun if you could." His phone pinged. "There's your Uber now."

As they climbed into the Uber, Lucas idly started stroking her shoulder and her hair.They stayed in the backseat quietly nestled together. He kept looking over her and occasionally tracing visible hickeys on her neck.

"Sorry about that," he whispered.

"Really, it's okay. I think I'd have told you if I wanted you to stop."

"I distinctly remember you telling me not to stop. But maybe I should have."

"I think the marks on your chest beg to differ." Vic said. "You have to understand that at this point there's almost no deal breakers. I asked for something and you gave it to me."

"You don't have deal-breakers at all?" He asked.

"I mean I guess there could be some deal-breakers. Like if I find out that you're stealing all my dirty underwear and storing it in your desk."

"Clean underwear is okay?"

"We'd have to discuss that. I don't mind you ripping off my underwear and stuff."

"Ok, buy Vic new underwear. Got it."

"I guess maybe if the next time you help me with my hair you start saying things like 'it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.'"

"Creepy Silence of the Lambs references during hair care - out." He agreed and wrapped a finger around one of her curls.

"Do you have any deal breakers?

"Not really. I'm willing to do whatever makes you happy. So I'm game for almost anything."

"So I can steal your dirty underwear and buy that strap-on at the sex shop?"

Lucas was slightly terrified but then steeled himself. "I'll let you try anything once."


"Deal breaker." He gave her his best 'are you kidding' face.

"Me too. I'm a jealous person especially when it comes to my own fire chief."

"Anything you would like to do right now instead?" He kissed her lips gently and Vic nipped the corner of his mouth back.

She was only now starting to understand that in some way she didn't even know Luke. They had never been drunk together until yesterday. They never gone out on like a real date date. The first 6 months were holed up in her apartment falling in love in their own bubble. Then they both took turns almost dying. Inside 'their place,' she knew everything about him. In the outside world, she really didn't know how he would respond to any of those things. Like the engagement pictures. She had no idea that he would find dresses so stimulating.

Even a sex had a different dimension now. It wasn't like he hadn't really wanted to completely open up but now he was more comfortable  to be more aggressive or at least assertive with her. She didn't mind because last night was definitely new and enjoyable. Probably with a few more bruises than they'd intended, but on the other hand she certainly used him quite well.

Uber dropped them off at their house.

"What did Travis see you put in the bag?" he asked.

"Nothing alcoholic I promise. I was worried my hangover would never go away."

"I haven't had a hang over like this since I was a lieutenant. After that I was divorced and getting my masters." She glanced at him questioningly. "You probably haven't thought about this but as you advance, they encourage you to get further degrees. I have a masters of fire science that I got it during the pre battalion chief year when I was assigned to operations."

"I have my associates." She admitted.

"I know. It's in your file. Which I read way before this."

"What's in my file now ?"she asked.

"I don't know. I'm not allowed to read anymore. I stopped reading it probably around Thanksgiving."

"Has it been that long?"

"We are getting close to my 44th birthday. Soon it will be Thanksgiving again. When did we say our 1 year anniversary date is?"

"Our 1 year anniversary date of what? The first time you came home with me? The first time you said I love you? The date of my almost dying and getting married? The day your heart almost stopped? The date of our future fake wedding which would therefore be in the future not past."

"Anniversary of the first time we met?"

"The strip mall fire?" Vic remembered.

"I'd forgotten about that. At the time you were another firefighter on the scene."

"I had my hands full back then. You weren't on the radar that week. I almost died in an ethanol fire and had trouble facing fire for awhile."

"I know that wasn't in your file."

"The team helped me get over it. I really got past it during the skyscraper."

"That explains so much now." His voice was full of newfound knowledge.


"The first time we spoke. . . I was trying to break up your team. And the second time we spoke . . ."

"When you left me to die with the rest of Station 19?" His face lost its good humor. "Sucks to be the chief sometimes. Besides, that brought me to support group, and you." She kissed his cheek.

"That can be the anniversary of the day I knew I was in trouble," he admitted.

"Really? I was worried I came off as crazy and awkward."

"Only if by 'crazy and awkward,' you meant that if you gave me the slightest encouragement that night, I'd have gone home with you."

"I could have had you on support group night? I waited a whole extra week?! For that revelation, I'm opening the bag."

"What's in the bag?"

"Edible massage oil."

"Oh yeah?"

"Oh definitely. I see a little bit bruised. I could use a really good massage." She licked her lips suggestively.

"What flavor?" he asked.

"I went for citrus. I figured I couldn't let the fire chief smell too girly. You already mostly smell like a coconut as it is." She was referring to her hair.

"I like how you smell," he said.

"Well hubby, I guess it's time we have to get naked and put on some towels."

She decided that Lucas was going to go first. She put on his station 88 bathrobe and had him lay on the bed with the towel over his rear. Even after being together for about a year, she always marveled at lean and taut he was. Or the fact that even at almost 44 years old, he had a body that 21 year olds would kill for.

Vic started by putting the oil on his shoulders below his chain. She really could appreciate how built his shoulders were as she worked down his back, soothing each bite mark between his freckles. Leaving the towel where it was, she skipped down to his legs and added more oil where his hair got thicker all the way down to his ankles. Then she started climbing back up his legs to sneak hands underneath the towel. He growled when she fondled his balls from behind.

"Flip over," she said innocently. He complied and she laid the towel back over his waist right away to keep from admiring his reaction.

This time she straddled him right below his crotch, partially opening her bathrobe. He tried to sit up but she just shoved him back down. Vic's ministrations started with his hands and followed the muscles up to his firm shoulders. She traced the bruises across his triceps, biceps and deltoids. Her hands skated across his light dusting of chest hair and his man nipples then back down his ribs and across the six pack. Based on the number of bites across his abs, she must have found them very exciting last night. When she got near his groin, she could see how aroused he had become under the towel. She skated past that, wiggling the towel against his shaft and watched him grit his teeth.

She turned back around and went back to the front of his legs. Behind her his straining erection poked her, letting her know in no uncertain terms that he was definitely fully erect. His hands came up and rested on the back of her bathrobe. He sighed, trying not to stop her.

Scooting herself lower and facing him again, she sat on his upper thighs and removed the towel. He was way more than ready at this point, standing up out of his golden brown curls. She pretended not to notice, instead caressed the bites up his thighs and rubbed oil onto his balls. His expression was getting frantic so she took her time, purposely not touching him the way he wanted it.

He held onto the sheets tightly, trying not to pounce on her. She shrugged out of the bathrobe, revealing that white silky bra and panty set that she's worn for dress fitting.

After teasing him enough, Vic finally rested both of her hands on his member and cooed, "This looks like it needs some attention. A lot of attention." She added extra oil on her hands to mix with the weeping tip. He groaned as her hands moved faster -  up and down. She got one hand on his balls and he immediately came, shooting across her belly.

Vic swiped her hand across her belly before giving him back the towel. She carefully rubbed her thumb across her lips. "Tastes like oranges." He sighed; his eyes focused on her mouth.

Lucas moved, and Vic found herself face down on the bed. "My turn," his voice was low and gravely. First he released her hair from her messy bun. Then he unstrapped her bra from behind. She raised her arms let him remove it before laying back down on the towel. With extremely gentle figures, he started working her shoulders. Gently tracing each every mark he'd left on her back, he loving massaged each one. His hands did feel amazing, long and strong. Every once in a while he'd soothe a tight muscle which made her hum. Carefully passing by her side breast, his fingers hooked both sides of her briefs, pulling them off.

He guided her to turn onto her back and positioned himself between her legs. She could see that he was already stirring. He put his admiring eyes to her upturned tips, beyond all the bite marks, they were rosy, red, and hard - almost throbbing.

The thinking part of his brain knew he had to take his time, as much as the caveman part wanted to possess her. He held back slightly acknowledging her arms and legs before starting to worship her chest with his hands. Using the massage oil, he played with her tender nipples. Lightly tugging on them, he rolled them in between his fingertips. Her sharp intake of breath was music to his ears.

With all of her running, everything about her had become more compact and slim. It was like feminine but strong. Her abs were approaching the definition of his.

He placed his hands lower, using his thumbs to spread open her seam. She moaned as he delicately probed her nether lips. Adding more oil on both his hands, he carefully inserted one finger into her saturated passage. His other hand used to oil her clit.

Now that she's given herself to his hands, Vic was feeling fantastic. He was focused on her mews and gasps, encouraging him to move his fingers faster. Surprising her, he bent forward and took Vic's nipple into his mouth, his beard prickling her skin. He was fully aware that he could get her to come by applying this amount of sensual pressure. Her nipples tasted of oranges and lemons which he greedily sampled as she bucked against his hand.

He pulled back and pressed his mouth against her core. He slowly lapped up her increasing wetness. She raised her hips against his mouth and her hands wreaked havoc in his hair. He kept moving against her, avoiding her clit with his mouth. Then he licked it twice with his tongue and watched her come apart.

Lucas didn't even wait for her to come back down before delving into her. The oil made it indecently easy to slide in and so slippery. She got her hands around his hips, urging him in deeper. He said, "Fuck, Vic."

"Fuck, yes, Lucas," Vic moaned as he rode her harder.

He put his hands under her butt and tilted her hips a little bit higher, changing their angle. Lucas balanced on his knees, watching her writhe breathlessly. He needed her to come again a second time. Their skin is just so slick. She arched back, offering her nipples to him. He popped one of those back in his mouth, tormenting the sensitive peak with his teeth and tongue. She was shaking and practically begging. He could have lost it right there but didn't want to finish until she came again. He wanted to wring every inch of pleasure out of her. Enjoy her being enjoyed.

Lucas unhooked her legs from his waist and used his arms to spread them wider. Then he tested her flexibility by pushing her legs almost against her chest. That tightened her channel and let his cock put extra pressure on her g-spot. She climaxed a second time and since he been barely holding on, he thrust as hard as he could into her warm and willing body and let go.

"Damn," Vic said. "Maybe we need to get drunk together more often if I get that last night and now this."

"No." Ripley was definitive.

"Why not? It was . . . an adventure." She squeezed his ass and shifted her hips, making him groan a little as he softened inside her.

"Because the next time you do that, I'll probably get us arrested for public indecency." He growled against her mouth with a kiss. "Keep your panties on at the next PR event."

"Says the guy who - while sober - pinned me on the bench during our engagement photos." He was silent. "Really, nothing to say?"

"Fine, wear a bra too."

"You are terrible." That led to more kissing and eventually some sleeping.

Chapter Text

"Why am I doing this boring stuff? I thought you were handling all the wedding boring stuff." Vic whined while watching Francis lay out alot of different sample invitation books on the Beanery table after lunch.

"I usually am," Francis said. "I even have the boring table assignments. You do have to at least make an effort to pick out your wedding invitations." Francis appeared considerably more comfortable now - she switched from skirts and heels to cargo pants, a Seattle FD polo, and Skechers. She even stopped wearing the bun and adopted ponytail similar style to Andy and Maya's. Her makeup had a significant change as well in the sense she wore far less.

"Why? You're picking the place, the time, the day, the officiant."

"It's not that bad," Travis said. He opened up one of the numerous sample books. "Would you say Ripley and you wanted a casual wedding or a formal wedding?"

"I don't know," Vic said. "It's not my wedding. It's the department's wedding."

"So what do you think we're going from here, Francis? What is the current wedding plan?" Travis asked.

"It's going to be semi-formal afternoon reception, church wedding, then evening reception." Francis absently twirled a pen in her fingers. She could have been almost mistaken for a member of the station or at least the support staff.

"And the groomsmen are all wearing tuxes right?"

"Dress uniforms for the wedding and then tuxes for the reception. That's correct."

"Okay, so formal invitations it is. Are we doing the tearaway card or are we going to do the second envelope with the piece of tissue paper for the RSVP card?" Travis was taking ownership of Vic's wedding invitations for her.

"Second envelope." Francis confirmed.

"So not an evite?" Maya said as she and Andy showed up with Kat.

"No, no one is receiving an evite to the Chief and Vic's wedding." Francis accompanied that statement with a little sarcasm. Ever since playing "Never have I ever,' she and the team's relationship was now significantly more friendly.

"What are we doing today?" Jack came by, turned a chair backwards and sat down next to Maya.

"Wedding invitations."

"Really," he looked at them with interest. "People do this stuff for weddings?"

"And engagement parties and baby showers and bridal showers." Francis seperated the sample books into catagories.

"Do we have to pick one out for the engagement party? The party is in two days." Vic said worriedly.

"Your engagement party is already handled so you don't need to pick out one of those." Francis reassured her. "We've still got the bridal shower and the wedding invitations."

"I can do the bridal shower," Maya volunteered.

"You want to do them?" Francis asked.

"Of course, why wouldn't we? We're her bridesmaids. Besides Vic's going to get presents - who doesn't want presents?"

"Yeah," Andy agreed. "Maya and I can organize the bridal shower, too. It is listed as one of the duties in the job description of the wedding manual."

Dean walked by. "I can't believe we still have a wedding manual. Rookie!" he barked at Kat.

Kat immediately popped up and stood at attention," Yes, sir."

"Did you forget to change the laundry and fold all of the uniforms?"

"I did not, sir," she said. "They're in the dryer."

"Good. I'm watching you. You're going to run drills again in 30 minutes. This time you're going to use the tire."

"I am going to go check my gear now. And then I'll check to the laundry again." Kat retreated pretty quickly.

Dean sat down in her chair. "It's all good for her."

Maya nodded. "Builds character."

"So much character," Andy said with fake sageness.

"All right," Maya started opening the bridal shower invitation options. "It's going to be so much fun."

"Why do you think that?" Andy said.

"Am I your only friend?" she said. "Bridal showers are like the bomb. Go there, eat a bunch of food, get drunk, and you make fun of the bride."

"That's what you do?" asked Vic nervously. "That sounds like the bachelorette party."

"Well, when you do it with your friends and co-workers - yes. I've heard if you do it with relatives; it's a bit more tame."

"How do you even know this stuff?" Jack asked. "You know - wedding stuff."

"Unlike Andy here, I didn't grow up with a fire station full of dudes." Maya explained. "All of the Olympic runners had coaches and support staff - people got married all the time. It's been a couple years, but the rules don't change that much."

Francis pointed at one of the invitations. "Please avoid any ones that are both combined bridal and baby shower."

"Where are we having the bridal shower?" Maya asked.

"We could have it at a restaurant, the fire station, headquarters, Grey Sloan. Where ever it is, we'll have to transport the gifts from there to the Ripley house." Francis said.

"Who do you invite to the bridal shower exactly?" Vic needed some more clarification before selecting a site.

"Only friends. We are not inviting the mayor or Fitzpatrick or Hightower. We'll open the registry to the public so people who want to buy stuff for you guys can donate money toward you honeymoon or wedding, but only friends will get an invitation to the shower."

"And maybe include hospital acquaintances," Andy suggested. "Otherwise it's going to be the members of the wedding party."

"Acquaintances from the hospital too?" Francis inquired to Vic. "Where do you want to have it?"

Vic considered the question for a minute. "I'm going to bend a rule and have it at his place. I mean, our place. It should be big enough for our friends and hospital acquaintances. Then I don't have to let the department come visit more to drop off gifts." She looked at Francis. "But I do not want the address listed on the invitations. If they RSVP, we can text them the address on the day of."

"The gifts are being delivered to Grey Sloan and Dr. Catherine Avery was going to arrange their transportation. Sending them to the house avoids an extra stop over and does sound like a good solution."

"If any one can set that up, it would be Dr. Avery," Ben agreed, coming by from the kitchen.

"I can work with that." Maya said. "I'll going do the invitations and set up the registry. Andy'll help me organize the food."

Francis thought and then agreed. "I'll bring the bridal games and props for stuff like that. And the prizes."

"Is Ripley coming to this?" Jack asked.

"Traditionally the groom does not come. Possibly he can stop by at the end to thank the guests."

"Who wants to hang out with a big group of drunk ladies at your place, Vic? No wonder the guys don't come," Dean said.

"Well, Jack added, "We can be good members of the wedding party. Why don't we have an anti-bridal shower at the houseboat?Keg,  drinks, and text message invitations."

"On the day of." Dean agreed.

Andy pulled up a list of gifts for the registry on her phone. "You guys need every day china? Formal china? Tea service?"

"Not really," Vic said.

"How about bedding? New towels? Matching aprons? Throw pillows?"

"The two of us are grown ups. He already owned a lot of stuff when I moved in. My old table is in the basement because he had a full dining room."

"So you're saying you don't need new sterling silver serving spoon set. Or eight different glass bowls of different sizes. You don't need a KitchenAid blender?"

"I don't need anything," Vic exclaimed. "You've been to my house - you think we need anything? Maya, you can go ahead and register me for stuff to your heart's content."

"They'll let me use the laser gun at Bed, Bath & Beyond, assuming it's not bankrupt by then," Maya said.

"I trust your taste."

"I do know the meaning of negative space unlike you, Andy." Maya made a face at her best friend.

"Bookshelves aren't supposed to be empty," Andy said. "That's where books belong."

Francis cut in. "Okay, please try to pick a different color than the white formal invitations for the shower invitations. It'll be easier to keep track of when they get mailed back to the station."

"The invites are getting mailed here?"

"Yeah," Francis said. "The department gets so much mail, Grey Sloan is getting the gifts, and we can't use the return address for the Ripley's house so Station 19 it is."

"Is there anything you think Ripley wants?" Maya asked.

"Condoms? Or the opposite - the pitter patter of little feet?" Dean joked.

"Already on depo thanks. Stops all your cycles." She shot a glare at Andy and Maya.

They blushed. "Sorry," Andy murmured.

"What?" Francis asked.

"Oh it was nothing," Vic said. "Other than when I had appendicitis about nine months ago, my friends thought I might be pregnant and told my Captain - who told his boss the fire chief - who was my secret boyfriend at the time. It was not awkward at all."

"So 'no' on the condoms and the little feet. Got it. Do not make jokes about that." Dean self admonished. Kat came up the stairs in half her gear quietly trying to hide from Dean.

"As I love you all, but if and when he and I decide to have kids, it's not really anybody's business. I would certainly inform the captain when the time was right. I'm not dumb. I already had to tell him in person I wasn't pregnant when the engagement photos came out."

Jack took that opportunity to break the tension by adding different tension. "Maya, I'm happy to help you pick out these bridal shower invitations. It's never too soon to start practicing."

Maya pulled away the sample book from him as if he'd bitten her. Vic frantically gestured to Francis and then kicked her under the Beanery table.

"Would you say any of you have a special skill? I'm going to do a little like quiz thing on the wedding blog." Francis said quickly.

"I restore antiques." Dean said.

"I think running qualifies as my special skill," Maya idly, turning away from Jack and looking at the sample book.

"I grew up in foster care so I can hotwire car and pick a lock. Though now I mostly kick the doors in." Jack pretended to kick Maya's chair.

"I read smoke." Andy said as everyone rolled their eyes. "It's a thing."

Kat said, "I can type super fast. I was in an office job before this." She put her hands over her mouth having revealed her presence to Dean.

Ben said. "I can perform a lap coly in under 30 minutes."

"Stop bragging new guy," Vic said. "My special skill? Other than my sparkling personality."

"You probably need to keep this one g-rated," Jack said.

"I can hold my breath you really really really long." Vic said after some thought.

"That is true," Ben said, "You still smoke me."

"And all of us," Andy said. "I don't know how you do it."

"Does the chief have a special skill?"

Vic answered slowly, "He can play the guitar. But he doesn't do that in public so you should probably shouldn't print that. So go with boxing."

"Sullivan make smoothies," Andy said. "He is also terrible at roller skating."

"Do you know that from personal experience?" Maya asked.

Andy flushed, "No. When we trapped in the aid car, he told me that was what he and Clare did on their first date."

Dean stood up, "Enough hobbies. Newbie, drills are a waiting." Kat fled again and Dean said over his shoulder, "Don't tell the chief how hard I work her."

"We don't talk about work that much. I mean I kind of know in a sense of what he's doing and where he is. But I don't know exactly what he's doing. I know which day is an office day and which day is a station visiting day. He doesn't tell me about what he hears from other stations or this one. I might know a couple more names of who he sees or spoke to than I would have otherwise."

"And you don't tell him about us?" Maya had curiosity on this.

"I mean I'll tell him the funny stuff - when you guys shoved all those kittens and flowers in my boots. But am I like 'oh man Gibson made the dumbest call today. Why is he even a lieutenant?' No."

"Hey, I'm insulted by that."

"I don't tell him that stuff. And even if I want to, I got to think about, you know who I'm talking to and when. I don't call the coach to complain. The fire chief is much more likely to know who's the best cook - Travis - than who annoyed me in the this call - you Maya - for too many questions." Vic winked.

"Isn't that weird?" Andy asked.

"It's not that weird," Ben said. "When I worked at Grey Sloan and Miranda was the chief, I told her about some patients I saw but I wouldn't ask her to do stuff for me. She wouldn't tell me about her problems and or not in a big way."

"But how can you just not say that stuff?" Andy didn't quite get it - but she had a tendency to spill so easily.

"Church and state separation, my friend. I assume my doctor friends who are married to non doctors don't tell them about each patient they see. I don't actually have any non doctor friends who are not dating doctors,though. I mean, I guess Kempner but she kind of moved away."

"I guess it works." Andy said a little doubtfully.

"I don't want you guys to think that I'm ever spying on us for the chief. Honestly, the little stuff that goes on in our station, it's too small for him. If I were married to Frankel, it would be different."

"I think it's more my tree than yours," Maya said. She didn't see Jack's grimace behind her.

With that subject closed, everyone went back to picking out invitations.

One of Sullivan's least favorite aspects of his job was schedule making. It was constant. He had four shifts of firefighters but lately there have been more demands than usual.

First he had Warren. Medic One was a one year intensive surgical paramedic training course. It didn't matter if you were previously surgeon, anesthesiologist, or paramedic. Trainees attended the same rigorous classes in field procedures and spent a lot of time in aid car. When Warren was at Station 19, he had to spend all of his time on aid car. Since he also needed Medic One training on his off days, Sullivan sometimes cheated and made it a day shift in aid car and gave him weekends off when possible.

Then he had Hughes -or Ripley. (Just because it said 'Victoria Hughes' on page 8, legally it was Victoria Ripley. Pick one!) In addition to working her own shifts, she also was constantly being forced to fill out overtime forms each time she got pulled into a PR activity. The chief was on a base salary but his firefighters had fulfill a number of shifts and then got paid for overtime. She wasn't getting paid out of the station 19 budget, PR was doing it. That still meant though that he had to watch out when PR were events with showing up because Ripley was not going to tolerate if she didn't get her mandated time off.

Then he had the newbie. He didn't really like putting Noonan in the aid car with Warren because Warren had like to shortcut protocol. She'd been matched with Dean for mentoring her, it would have been inappropriate to place with any of his three lieutenants on a shift. Warren was out for the obvious reasons, Hughes (Ripley?) had too much PR stuff. Montgomery was too easy going so Miller had volunteered. Miller did lean little bit towards hazing and Sullivan had to rein him in sometimes. If it hadn't been for all of the PR stuff, he'd have totally put Hughes-Ripley (whatever) with Noonan. Though at this point, Noonan was so intimidated by Ripley-Hughes she could barely talk anyway.

That led him to his stupid 3 A shift lieutenants. None of the other shifts had nearly this many problems. Maybe it's because they didn't have any women. On the other hand, the women might have been the reason the A shift had the lowest response times despite the most calls and busiest hours and the highest victim rescue rate. He couldn't argue with those numbers.

He did his best to ignore the Gibson-Bishop issue. He found the dating situation so bothersome. It was so much less complex back in Montana. But all of his A shift lieutenants were excellent, maybe he should have considered splitting up the group - sending some people to other shifts or other stations.

That led him to Herrera. Ever since her father died, she had become significantly more closed off to him. She used to talk all the time constantly about herself. Eager to please and endlessly chatty. He could barely form a sentence about his personal life; he learned way more than he ever needed to about Herrera.

Now she didn't have much to say. When she had offered for him, he probably come down pretty hard. He had to. He couldn't fix his loneliness by adding it to her loneliness. Maybe he have had a dark streak in his chest where his heart should have been. Fifteen years is a pretty long time. Once he moved back here, it opened some of the wounds and some days he felt like it was bigger or smaller. Montgomery had a much more recent loss, and he didn't seem to have any of these issues. Or at least he kept his issues to himself and was still friendly to everyone he knew. No one debated if Montgomery was the embodiment of a storm cloud.

Seeing Luke and with Hughes-Ripley, (Ripley-Hughes? screw it) his wife ultimately hurt and helped him. Luke had been divorced twice and living some type of semi solitary existence until her. It's good thing the Battalion Chief Frankel had curbed his regular visits. Otherwise, he'd have had to look at his friend's lovey-dovey smiles around her all the time.

Maybe he was a little envious. At their age to fall head over heels, maybe it was a little bit ridiculous. Luke did seem so happy. And Sullivan was happy to have his friendship back. It kept him from becoming a complete hermit. That and apparently having the most social firefighting station in the entire city. That PR stuff was only making it even more so.

He needed to start on his own schedule. He usually took his overnight shift with A shift. Occasion he do it on a different shift. He was going to have to make it back over to Grey Sloan for his regular physical therapy and his appointments with ortho and neurosurgery.

Schedule making was obnoxious. The next best step would be to write down requirements and pawn it off on Herrera. She was the type that would think it was a compliment to her organizational skills. Technically it was. She could create the days and he'd do the additional assignments of chores.

Besides, in two days everyone on the team was running the 5k. Even him. He had to hand out their race performance T-shirts today. He'd offered A shift the choice of white shirts with fire axes or red shirts with kittens. Those liuetenants on his team had picked kittens for the men and fire axes for the women. He could still hear Herrera's giggles when she explained at line up who'd be wearing the the kittens. His team had all had the nerve to give him the side eye.

At least no one was pregnant yet. Damn kitten shirt.

Sometimes you needed to call someone to whine. He couldn't complain about this to his liueteantas since this was their fault anyway. Maybe he should whine up the chain to his best friend.

Luke in the basement punching the heavy bag. Jab, cross, jab, cross, hook, uppercut, uppercut, jab, cross, hook, uppercut. He really was finding his rhythm. He never had Vic practice with him because he was little bit worried if he misjudged he would hit her. It wasn't a bad gig if you were Sullivan size, but he'd been boxing now for about 20 years.

Sometimes Vic would come down here and watch his workout usually if she were lifting weights. However, better than 50% of the time, they ended up getting naked and using her dining room table as the convenient flat surface. They hadn't used her kayak for that at least.

Since Vic was working, he'd done his morning run with Haskell. They shortened it because they were supposed to be tapering. He liked Haskell. He'd only been promoted in the past 12 months and was nearing 40 himself. He and his schoolteacher wife had two little kids. Haskell was full of advice on marriage and patiently fielded some of Ripley's insecurities about which hair products to buy Vic when hers ran out.

His cell phone started ringing. He had to let it ring a few times while he used his teeth to untie his gloves. Another useful thing that Vic sometimes did though admittedly she also used to teeth for other things.

"Hello?" He was slightly out of breath.

Sullivan's voice answered him. "Rip?"

"Yeah, it's me."

"Sorry, you just sound out of breath and you were slow answering the phone," Sullivan said and Ripley could almost hear him grinning over the airwaves. "You sounded the same during my call at sexual harassment training and since she's here . . ."

Obviously that meant he had not done a good job being sneaky that time - or the other time. . . "I was boxing, Sully. It took me a while to get my gloves off."

"Do you still have the heavy bag downstairs?" Sullivan asked.

"Yeah," Ripley said. "Hitting the bag downstairs."

"But don't beat that too hard," Sullivan said.

Ripley rolled his eyes all the way back,"Sully, why did you call? I assume its not just to make masturbation jokes."

"No," Sullivan said. "Did you get your shirt for 5K?"

"I think so," he hazarded a guess. "Vic said she filled out my race packet."

"What color shirt did you get?"

"White. I saw it upstairs," Ripley said.

"I hate my lieutenants," Sullivan complained quickly.

"They didn't design the shirts."

"True," Sullivan confirmed. "You see white shirts are fire axes; red shirts have kittens."

"So I guess you team's wearing the red shirts."

"No, only the guys. The ladies are wearing the white shirts. I told the lieutenants to order the shirts so they did."

Ripley started to chuckle. "Sounds like they did, even for Miller."

"Yes, even Miller will be wearing a red kitten shirt."

"At least they're willing to let you in on the group now. It only took a year."

"I don't want to wear the kitten shirt."

"You sound like an elementary schooler."

"Did you actually look at the shirts, Rip?" Sullivan asked.

"No, not yet."

"Well, when I say kitten shirt, I mean 'kitten proposal shirt. You two are on all of the shirts with a bunch of hearts on it."

Luke had set down the phone because he started cracking up so badly. "Sorry, Sully," he said. "I'm just having a hard time seeing you wearing a shirt with my face on it."

"They are going to be fifteen thousand people wearing a shirt with your face on it."

"I'm sure you lieutenants knew that before they ordered it. Vic may not know since she hasn't said anything."

"I bet she knows," he said. "The white one is the same as they use every year with a different date. The red one is a special limited edition kitchen proposal shirt as advertised on the website apparently. If you register, it's on the front page."

Ripley tried to stifle more laughter. "Are you taking a shift tonight?"

"No," Sullivan said. "I stayed late to work on schedules. I was about to head home."

"You can stop by for a beer if you want," Ripley invited. "I could use a sparring partner. Bring the shirt and we can discuss working on your embrace and enjoy technique."

"Why not?" Sullivan said. "See you in an hour."

Ripley hung up his phone. Time to find another pair of boxing gloves and sparring mitts.

Chapter Text

October 19, 2019

They're seriously were 25,000 people there to do the Hometown Heroes/Run for Love 5K. Francis had recruited multiple more PR minders for this because she managed - in red kitten shirt -  to get free from the news crews to drag Ripley and Vic to the front of the starting line. They stood with Hannah Fitzpatrick who was wearing one of the kittens shirt options.

(Ripley's comment to Vic on that subject was 'You would look cute with a kitten, but Sully really is a sourpuss.' Vic, "Har har har.")

"Welcome to the Hometown Heroes 5K, Run for Love, and Happy Sweetest Day." Fitzpatrick announced. "The happy couple is about to start the race. Let's take a minute to recognize the students of Parkwood elementary who raised the most money for injured firefighters. The second graders think that the fire chief is going to run a 5K in 25 minutes. The third graders think that Victoria is going to run her in 24 minutes. KinderCare preK3 raise the most money in the preschool group and they think that both runners will run it in less than 1 million minutes."

Ripley smiled graciously and took the microphone, "I appreciate everybody the efforts onto raise money for our injured firefighter fund. I'm going to do my best to run my best possible race. Remember don't smoke and don't play with matches. As firefighters, we are very grateful with some of our youngest firefighters helping us out. Thank you very much."

"All right if everyone can get into their places, Chief Ripley is going to sound the starting horn." Fitzpatrick handed him the horn.

While they moved to the front, there were numerous photos being taken with lots of people pulling out their phones for selfies. Vicley got behind the starting line, Lucas blew the horn, and the race was on.

To pretty much no one's surprise, Maya Bishop was definitely one of the frontrunners. Vic lost track of Ripley pretty much immediately and was surprised at how easy it felt to run. She was not a fan of running but apparently running 45 minutes a day three to five times a week for three months changes your speed alot.

On his part Riply thought he was setting a relatively swift pace. Most of his motivation to run had been to chase Vic. He hadn't run the 5K since he became chief 4 years ago. He guessed that the second graders gave him a higher number because he was considered by them to be pretty old. He and Vic fell into the group of semi serious runners vs the recreational runners who were ahead of the 10k walkers in the back. Station 19 were in the runners while the Grey's group decided to take the whole event at a walk.

They were actually two divisions of runners - firefighters and everyone else. It was a point of pride for stations to have the most runners with the combined best times. Station 23 had never won any of those awards. Station 12 was the resident 5K champions. Usually a good two to three hundred firefighters participated, but this year he was surprised to find 500 firefighters had signed up. Some of the firefighters were even doing the bottle challenge - running in gear carrying their oxygen. Haskell and Nelson had both agreed to to run too. Ripley had avoided saying anything to Nelson who is was over 60. If he wanted to run, Ripley couldn't tell him not to. Nelson was still passing his physical every year.

Near the finish, he finally did manage to find Vic. She was probably only 20 yards ahead of him and she turned her head, winking at him. He picked up his pace so he could be next to her. He was feeling the strain a bit, but she did not appear to be feeling the same. In fact she seemed to think it was a big enough joke to lean over and give him a kiss on the ear with a "Catch me if you can." He had no idea where she's been hiding that kick after they had done all their runs together, but she seriously took off. Since he couldn't resist her any time she teased him, he gave chase.

Lucas suspected that she was going a little bit easy on him because she seem to slow down to the finish line and pull him closer for a kiss as they crossed together.

He checked the time that came out to 23:30. He looked up and saw their kiss have been captured on the Jumbotron with a bunch of little explosions of hearts.  Of course Francis rented the kiss-cam. Other couples kissing at the finish line flashed over the top. A couple minutes later, Jack appeared, his girlfriend having finished far in advance of him. Maya showed up to give him a kiss which ended up on the kiss-cam as well.

Lucas said ruefully, "I think I need to go to the command tent. I am running the event."

"Oh that was clever," Vic agreed. "Since I'm not running the event, I'm going to cheer people on."

Ripley had Stations 6-7 from Havner's at the finish line. (With only 34 stations including headquarters, the numbers skipped around a bit. His own old 88 had been renamed number 8. The battalions were actually 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) His deputy and assistant chiefs were working the event with his other three battalion chiefs. All the upper levels -and Firefighter Hughes- were supposed to meet in the command tent afterwards because Ripley and Vic were in charge of handing out medals. Everyone except Frankel had opted for a white shirt, he swore she picked red to be contrary.

Andy, Travis, and Sullivan finished; only Sullivan was annoyed with the shirt choice. Dean took the whole event at a slow jog harassing Rookie Kat. Her time was particularly slow since she was running the 5K as the bottle challenge. He must have convinced (ordered) her that it was good training. Technically it was, but his girlfriend Nikki did not look very pleased at the sidelines.

Vic started rooting for random people at the finish line, especially if they wore white shirts. She saw some other firefighters cross wearing their gear for the bottle challenge. Fortunately it was only about 60 degrees today which was good because otherwise they have been dealing with a whole lot of heat exhaustion.

Around the 35-minute mark, her attention was pulled to another firefighter who did not appear to be  doing well. Battalion Chief Nelson staggered across the finish line. He was breathing hard, and his color was pale rather than healthy red.

"Sir, are you okay?"

"I'm fine," He barked, instinctively rubbing the left side of his chest.

"Are you having chest pain, sir?" Vic asked.

"No, I am not. I'm not having left arm pain either." He was taking deep breaths between each word. Vic had her doubts about his honesty at that statement. But he brushed her off. "Where's the command tent?"

Vic pointed, and he walked unsteadily in that direction.

She went to the nearest triage tent which was being manned by Chief Bailey and Ben Warren and some of the doctors from Grey Sloan. She went directly to Warren, who was in his kitten proposal shirt. "Warren, I need some nitro and some oxygen right now."

Dr. Bailey handed her a jump bag and told Warren to grab the oxygen. "Someone having a heart attack?"

"I think someone's trying to deny they are having a heart attack. Can you come with me?"

"You go, Ben," Bailey nodded. "I'll keep the fainters alive over here." She indicated the rows of people drinking juice and laying on cots.

"Where are we headed?" Warren followed her out the door; she started to jog a little faster.

"Command tent." Vic said.

"Is it the chief?" Warren sounded quite worried.

"It's a chief, not the chief."

When they arrived her chief was in close conversation with four battalion chiefs looking at a map in writing down manpower statistics. Chief Nelson however was sitting off to the side breathing rapidly and sweating.

Ripley noticed her arrival and saw that she instantly headed away from him and toward Nelson. His face immediately changed to one of concern, and he broke off his conversation.


"It's okay, sir. I've got this." Vic answered. She pulled out the stethoscope from the jump bag and started listening to his heart and taking his pulse. "He's tachycardic 170 with poor perfusion."

Warren put the oxygen mask on Nelson. "Sir, are you having chest pain? Left arm pain? Difficulty catching your breath?"

Nelson nodded reluctantly. They pulled out the sublingual nitroglycerin and immediately used it. Within seconds his color improved and he was breathing more easily.

"You've earned yourself a trip to Grey Sloan." Warren activated his radio. "I need an aid car here at the command tent. Caucasian male in his -" he looked askance at Nelson

"Early 60s," Ripley stated from behind.

"Early 60s having chest pain. Have already administered nitro and oxygen. Awaiting transport."

"Oxygen, nitro, and transport," Vic recited the protocol.

"Conveniently we have an aid car right here." Warren's receiver crackled to tell them that aid car 6 was on its way.

"I can go with him," Ripley volunteered.

"Oh, no you don't," Leslie Frankel said. "I will go with him. You are in charge of this event. Haskell can take my place since he beat you here."

"Leslie, I can do this" Ripley said.

"If I let you leave, Fitzpatrick's going to find me and make me announce the winners. All you, chief. Besides if the engagement party gets cancelled, heads will roll," she followed the gurney out of the tent with Vic and Warren.

Always choosing the best moment, the tent flap opened and Francis arrived. "The event is winding down. We only got about a thousand more people to cross the finish line." She coughed into her hand a couple times. "We also have some requests."

"What kind of request?" Ripley asked attempting to keep from showing how his patience was being tested.

"So Fitzpatrick and Hightower have the mayor officiating some weddings . . . and some of the participants wood like to have a photo op with the fire chief and his fiancee."

"One of my battalion chiefs getting loaded into an aid car right now. I have a battalion chief with him so we're suddenly short-handed."

"It would be time for you to announce the winners anyway. We're rapidly tallying those results so you have to come anyway." Francis said regretfully. "Fitzpatrick sent me."

"Fine. I'll grab Vic when she finishes loading the aid car."

Vicley got their photos taken without about 50 different couples that opted to tie the knot. Apparently your likelihood of marrying increased if both members of the couple wore the kitten proposal shirt. They pretty much stuck out of the photos as the only white shirts in the group. Red shirts did outnumber white shirts by about 3:1 and most of the participating firefighters opted for the red shirt as did the members of Grey Sloan.

So the eventual outcome of the Hometown Heroes 5K/Run for Love was Bishop won the women's section.  Parkland Elementary schools donated an extra $200 to the wounded firefighter fund since both of their winners beat their planned times. Kat won the women's bottle challenge as the only participant in it. Station 19 finished 2nd-place in the overall standings. They also came in first place for the women's division since all four of their women participated. Station 23 once again came in dead last of all of the stations. Station 12 celebrated for the 10th year in a row with the top overall time. Charlotte Dearborne might not have been near the time that the Maya and Vic ran, but the men of 12 really came through. Rumor was that the entire group had been forced to run wind sprints in dead heat as part of their training with Dearborne holding a whip. Dearborne ran a tough station. (It was also rumored that the firefighter that had started the bar fight last year was her favorite victim and made him run sprints daily until he collapsed for a month after the incident.)

As engagement parties went, Francis had outdone herself. She had rented a private room for the bridal party and invited the assistant, deputy and battalions chiefs and their significant others. Half of them declined because they were tired after the 5K and Frankel had stayed at the hospital with Nelson. Fitzpatrick and Hightower reportedly celebrating with the mayor instead - their presence was not missed.

It was a rare occasion with no one in uniform (or kitten proposal t-shirt), no one on call. Significant others were brought,in the sense that there was a very limited number of significant others not associated with the fire department or the hospital. (Jen wasn't coming to the engagement party. She said that she saw how much PR she'd have to do with Ripley and she really didn't want to be a main feature. Also she was not going to wear the T-shirt with his face on it.)

Kat was taking drink orders. Dean had explained to her that it was what rookies did. Obviously this was in addition to the laundry, drills, and extra cleaning she was also doing - after the bottle run. At the station, the rest of the team scaled down Dean's demands - as Andy and Maya had done for Vic - but the only thing they could do tonight was order the same drink to keep her job simple. Except Dean who kept changing his drink order.

Vic and Ripley sat in the middle a U-shaped table. Most people were seated directly next to their dates. Station 19 was seated toward one end with Nikki, Dean, and Kat rounding out the end. Except Kat never really got to sit down.

Francis was the master of ceremonies as usual - leading the event and having different members of the department offering up the congratulations to the happy couple. Vic had been allowed to pick out her own dress - of her limited number of preselections. In this case it was a one shoulder form-fitting silver dress. As a concession to Lucas, she was wearing a bra and underwear because he really didn't want to distracted for the rest of the evening. As if her her hand on his leg every time they sat down wasn't distracting enough. Or when she'd steal food off his plate.

Eventually it was time for the bride and the groom to address the party. Francis had given both of them somewhat prepared remarks. She actually gave Vic a choice of three different options because Vic could be more of a loose cannon than Ripley.

Lucas went first. "I wanted to thank everyone for coming to help celebrate our engagement. I know it's not everyday that the fire chief and another member of Seattle FD gets engaged. I did want to speak that I know how hard everyone is working -  doing their regular duties and extras like this. The support of the department has really meant a lot to both Victoria and I. The wedding date is set for Valentine's Day and we're hoping that everyone will be able to come. I'm sure Francis will be sending 'save the date cards' in case anyone can't remember the date."

Out of the corner of Vic's eye, she saw Kat go back to Dean's seat with another drink. He motioned her forward and started to say something quietly into her ear. Whatever he was saying had been lost because his date Nikki finally stood up. "That's it. I've had enough."

"Nikki?" he asked.

"If think you're going to keep hitting on your rookie in front of me, think again."

"Nikki, I don't date where I work. It's bad business." He had the grace to look embarrassed as he realized how far his voice is carried. And remembered which company he was in.

"Enjoy the rest of your night." She actually threw her napkin down and stomped out. There was an awkward silence. Because that's the only type of silences that occurred here. The brass were all turning red.

This was the moment of Vic decided it would be good time for her to start her speech. She stood up and said, "He's right. Most of the time it's probably a bad idea, but sometimes it works out great. You find this perfect guy who gets your job because he happens to work with you. Sure, it would have been easier if we were someone else but since we're not, I going to be happy for who I am and who he is. I can honestly say I go into this without any regrets."

"I wanted to thank Captain Sullivan at Station 19; he's been tolerating a lot of this. We should all take a moment to recognize Captain Herrera -  he was my Captain when I was a rookie. He was unwaveringly supportive of my decisions - good or bad. I like to think if he were here today, he tell us to follow our hearts." Interestingly, Andy wasn't looking at her - she looking at Sullivan. "I would like to also share a little Captain Herrara wisdom. He'd probably also say that you should be careful and pace your alcohol consumption because hungover firefighter is a bad firefighter. Thank you for coming." She drained her glass and the assembly did as well.

Francis quietly sighed in relief. That could have gone for the off the rails between the outburst of Dean's girlfriend and Vic's temptation to go off script.

The brass en masse took their leave after the speeches. The PR department did not quite have the same amount of stranglehold on them. A live band came out and started paying some easily danceable music. Ripley extended his hand to Vic and they took the floor. (As per wedding point six, dancing at the engagement party was part of their assignment.)

Bailey led the doctors of Grey Sloan over to the Station 19 table to commiserate Dean on the sudden departure of his date. Ben shook his head. "Sorry man."

Dean shrugged. "I guess if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. I did kind of like her."

Jack slapped him on the shoulder. "There are other fish out there. If she couldn't handle how close the team is then it wouldn't have lasted anyway."

Taking a deep breath, Dean decided to make the best of things. "Dr. Pierce. Would you do me the honor of dancing with me? Not as a pressure thing even if I did just get dumped."

Pierce thought for a couple seconds and said, "I'm not a good dancer.

He extended a hand. "It's not a marriage proposal - one dance. We don't even have to dance much - mostly sway."

"I think I can do that." He let her out on the floor and they started dancing.

Meredith had another margarita. "Did that happen at any engagement parties we've been to?"

Bailey said, "I believe it was mostly wedding showers. Never gave anyone enough time off to have engagement parties."

"None of us have been married so you don't have any advice on this." Andy pointed out.

"I'm not sure I had one." Meredith mused.

"Do you think we'll ever have an engagement party like this?" Jack asked Maya.

"Engagement party?" She asked. "Like this thing you do before you get married?"

"Oh yeah," Jack answered. "I mean, what do you think I meant?"

"We've only been dating about 7 months."

"Do you think it's too soon to think about this?"

Maya wasn't comfortable. "I think it's a little bit early to talk about permanent stuff - marriage. Don't most people move in together and stuff first?"

"My last set of foster parents got married after 6 months."

"That's great for them. I think I'm going to go get another drink. Not one brought by Kat; I'd hate for you to think I'm hitting on her too."

Travis was making small talk with Levi. He was generally not Travis's type, maybe a little bit more nerdy than he'd preferred in the past. On hand there's nothing wrong with trying a new flavor to see how it tasted.

Andy and Sullivan were quietly talking by the table. "That was beautiful. I'm so glad they remembered my dad. Was your engagement party anything like this?"

"No one broke up during my engagement party. I think it was Claire and both sets of parents. We were young and poor back then."

"I've never heard you talk about your parents."

"Yeah they live over in Oregon. Got two sisters there. Some nieces and nephews but you know I've been closed off."

"I noticed. I mean as your friend, I notice you talk about Claire more than you're used to."

"I'm starting to think I can really get past it. It seems like such a long time ago sometimes."

"I wonder if I'll ever do any of this."

"What is this?" Now she was thinking about opening up?

"Find the right guy. Get married. Jack was going to-"

"He was going to what?" Sullivan asked with more interest.

"2 years ago we were dating, he was getting ready to propose but I wasn't ready." She said diplomatically.

"What was wrong?"

"I had my dad here. I wanted to make lieutenant and stay with the team. I thought this would be my life but now there's no Dad. I love my team and they're my family but I guess I was wrong - it isn't really enough."

"I've been the job. Years of being the job. When I see him with her -" he indicated his best friend dancing cheek to cheek with Vic, all absurdly happy. "Makes you believe you can have both."

"Maybe you can, too.

Their gazes caught and Andy felt herself being drawn into his dark eyes. He almost placed his hand on hers. Their fingers brushed briefly before Andy pulled her hand away. "Sorry, I-" she shot up so fast that her chair almost toppled over. "I think I see Maya, er, Bishop at the bar. My best friend. As opposed to you, my captain friend."

Oblivious to all the drama around then, Ripley and Vic were dancing close enough to be one person. Even swaying to the music, their breathing synchronized and there was little more amazing than the steady tattoo of their heart beats. This was their first slow dance together, ever. And it was heavenly.

As the music ended, he pressed a gentle kiss onto her upturned lips. "Worth it?"

"Worth anything." She kissed the bottom of his jaw. "I love you, Lucas Ripley."

"I love you, Victoria Ripley."

"Let's make a deal. Fifteen minutes of photos and then let's let's blow this taco stand."

And that's what they did. Francis immediately called over the wedding party to pose for a couple photos with the photographer. She sent everyone else away and got ten minutes of Vicley photos.

Francis didn't had to coax Vic and Luke to stare at each other lovingly.

After they left, the party continued for a little while longer. Travis and Levi appeared to be in deep discussion. Maya decided to go back to her apartment with Andy rather than back to the houseboat. Dean surprised Maggie by kissing her once on the hand before he and Jack left.(and he deleted Nikki's number from his phone) Maggie headed home with Meredith and DeLuca. Hunt hung out with Sullivan sharing trauma stories from the field until around 10.

When Vic and Lucas got home, they took their time and made love in bed. There were plenty of times where they could tear each other's clothes off, but this time they took it slow. Each piece of clothing that was careful removed led to each inch of skin being lovingly kissed, worshipped and adored. They had all the time in the world to enjoy themselves.

They both sighed as he sank into her warmth. His face floated above hers, gazing into her eyes as he moved slowly, prolonging each stroke and sensation. He swallowed her moans as he delved deeper and slowly increased his depth and pace. Luke watched her the entire time as the first wave of her orgasm over took her. She pulled him closer as he emptied himself deep inside her.

Before she fell asleep, Lucas asked her something she had not expected. "Did you mean it? About no regrets, or did Francis write that for you?"

"What? No. Francis wrote something longer about the true meaning of love. The 'no regets' thing was all me."

"Oh." He was silent for a while.

That made her sit up in bed. "Are you saying you have regrets? About this? About marrying me?"

"I didn't . . . not really before. . . but now, if you have them-"

"Lucas Ripley, no more talking. I don't have any regrets on this. Other than that if I'd hit on you a little harder at support group, I'd have an extra week with you." She faced him, her brown eyes meeting his blue ones. "My heart is too full to have any regrets."

He visibly relaxed and gave her a gentle kiss on the neck, his arms surrounding her. "No regrets either."

"I love you, hubby." She yawned.

"I love you too, Eggy." And they dropped off to sleep.