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Lunch Break

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The pill is small, white, round and smells faintly dusty. Rosa glares at it as though she can make it vanish by sheer force of will, but it remains there, tiny and pale against the gun calluses on her palm.

Ugh. That sounded poetic. She fucking hates poetry. (Nobody but her has to know that she kind of digs the poems Marcus reads to her. Not that anyone would believe Marcus if he told them, and he wouldn't have time to convince them because she would fucking destroy him. Which would be kind of a shame, because she likes having Marcus around, maybe more than she'd like to admit.)

Well, it's not going anywhere, and she knows if she's gone from her desk too long, somebody will notice she's missing and get suspicious. Not that anyone would dare ask where she's been, but Rosa's not really in the mood to scare anyone shitless right now, and besides, her shrink says she's meant to be working on her anger, whatever the fuck that means. She ducks into the women's bathroom, which seems deserted, and turns on a faucet, scooping up a little water in her right hand so she can -

" - Diaz?"

She doesn't jump, because only pussies get startled when someone sneaks up behind them. (Who is she, Boyle?) What she does do is drop her pill, which hits the countertop, skitters off, and rolls across the floor, landing right by an excruciatingly well-polished black wingtip peeking out from under perfectly pressed slacks.


"'Scuse me," she says gruffly, trying to get to the pill, but Santiago has already bent over and retrieved it and is now examining it, a perplexed look on her face. Rosa briefly considers making a grab for it, but she knows Santiago is quicker than she looks - and besides, there's no way she could pull it off silently. As everyone learned at the last precinct Hallowe'en party, Santiago's a screamer.

There's an awkward silence while Santiago stares at her slack-jawed, trying to figure out what to say, and Rosa imagines a million fates for everyone involved in this mess, starting with the stupid fucking shrink who prescribed her these stupid fucking pills. The water is still running, and the trickle of it hitting the porcelain is suddenly way too loud for this tiny bathroom. Rosa wrenches the faucet down, shutting the water off abruptly, and the bathroom is plunged into an echoing silence, which is somehow worse.

Santiago finally speaks up. "Are you doing drugs at work?" she asks, sound half-reproving and half-awed. She's still holding the little white pill. It's leaving a faint tracing of dust on her fingertips.

Rosa reaches out and snatches it back from Santiago's surprisingly unresisting grasp. "Are you insane?" she snaps. "Do you think I'm insane? How could you think that of me?" She looks down at the hand grasping the little tablet. It's shaking uncontrollably, and that only makes her madder at this whole situation. Fucking pills and fucking Santiago and fucking shrinks and fucking -

" - Okay, so it's not drugs." Santiago takes a step back, perhaps sensing that Rosa is about to slap her fucking shit, and raises both hands in a gesture of peace. "Just something that...looks like drugs?"

There's still a little white dust on Santiago's index fingertip, which is just the most absurd and stupid thing. Rosa doesn't even know what to do any more. She leans back against the wall and closes her eyes. Maybe when she opens them, Santiago will be gone.

"So what is it, if it's not drugs?" she hears Santiago ask. No luck. There's a shuffling sound against the tiles and a rustling of cloth, then a hesitant pressure on Rosa's shoulder. Rosa groans and opens her eyes to the sight of a very concerned (also, she notes with a twinge of gratification, slightly terrified) Santiago, and she realises there's probably no getting out of this one.

"You really wanna know?" she says gruffly, trying to sound disaffected and nonchalant.

"If you want to tell me, sure," Santiago replies, the picture of buttoned-up sincerity.

"I don't," Rosa tells her, but it's half-hearted at best and Santiago seems to know it, because she gives Rosa a small smile and then leans against the wall next to her, as though this is something they do - as though they're friends or something.

Which, okay, maybe they are, but does Santiago have to get all gross about it? Ugh. At least Jake understands that friendship means buying each other liquor and never talking about your feelings if there's any chance one of you will remember the conversation the next day.

But Santiago is still looking at her expectantly, so Rosa rolls her eyes and figures she might as well come clean. "It's an anti-depressant," she says, staring determinedly at the door of the bathroom stall across from her so she doesn't have to look at Santiago's face. "I've been on them for a couple of months. Stupid shrink said I should take them, and if you tell anyone about this, I will kill you and make it look like an accident and I'm not joking, got it?"

"Sure, you got it," Santiago says, and Rosa thinks she probably means it because she has that wide-eyed "I will do anything you ask of me" look she usually only wears around Captain Holt. There's a long silence punctuated only by the gurgling of pipes in the wall behind them. Then:

"So, are they helping?"

Rosa grunts non-committally. "I dunno yet," she says. "Shrink says they take a while to kick in. I think it's a load of bullshit, but it makes Marcus happy, so whatever."

Santiago smiles gently. "You must be pretty into Marcus if you're willing to go to a shrink to make him happy," she says. "I mean, no offense, but you're not exactly the talk-about-your-feelings type - "

" - I'm not," Rosa snaps, starting up from against the wall.

"Sure," Santiago agrees. Rosa glares at her suspiciously, but leans back again, somewhat mollified.

"Whatever," she says, shrugging. The pill is now leaving a chalky residue against her palm. With a mutter of disgust, Rosa pops it into her mouth, turns the tap on, scoops up a handful of water, and washes it down. It leaves a faintly bitter aftertaste on her tongue, and she grimaces.

"Mine taste gross too," Santiago offers as she watches Rosa scrub the white stuff off her hand. "I know you're not meant to, but - " she looks around furtively, as though someone else might walk in on her sharing her forbidden knowledge - "I sometimes take mine with juice instead of water at breakfast. Helps with the bitter taste." She has the giddy look of a rule-breaker on her face.

Rosa rolls her eyes. "You're a real rebel without a cause," she says, drying her hands on a paper towel. She scrunches it and pelts it at the trashcan with so much force it bounces off, rolling across the floor and landing at her feet. With a growl, she bends to pick it back up. "Look, I don't want to talk about this, all right? I should've just let you believe I was doing drugs."

"But what if I'd told the Captain about it?"

Rosa huffs out a laugh. "You wouldn't have dared," she says.

Santiago puffs herself up defiantly. "I would have!" she protests.

Rosa raises an eyebrow at her.

"Well, I would've bugged you about it, at least," she amends. "I would've been a real pain until you came clean."

"You're already a real pain," Rosa retorts, but she half-smiles and tosses the scrunched-up paper towel into the trash can much more gently, and this time it stays in.

"Seriously, though - " Santiago grabs Rosa's arm as she goes to leave. "I won't tell anyone if you don't want me to."

Rosa shrugs the hand off her arm, but she stops at the door. "Thanks," she says shortly. "I won't tell anyone about whatever shit you're taking, either."

"Xanax," Santiago offers with a wan smile. "My doctor says I'm too tightly-wound, can you believe it?"

"No shit," Rosa says drily. She hesitates. "Is it helping?" she asks.

Santiago shrugs. "I think it does sometimes," she replies. "That and the therapy. It's tougher some days than others, you know?"

"Yeah. I know." Rosa grabs the door handle and pulls, and the sounds of the precinct flood into the bathroom. Impulsively (later, lying in bed next to a gently snoring Marcus, she'll attribute this to the drugs), she turns back. "I'm not good at this feelings shit, but if you ever - " she works her jaw futilely, trying to find the words.

"I get it," Santiago says. She gestures for Rosa to walk ahead of her, and they return to their desks together in companionable silence.

"Oooh," Jake calls suggestively as they take their seats, "you two were gone for quite a while, eh? Having a little hopefully-caught-on-tape fun over your lunch break?"

"Bite me," Rosa says, just as Santiago cries out, "Peralta, that's gross!"

Jake and Boyle start chanting obscene rhymes, causing the Sergeant to rise out of his chair, growling menacingly. Rosa rolls her eyes. Santiago sees her and half-smiles.

Well, maybe Marcus wasn't completely wrong about the shrink.