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chemical fallout

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Lucy looked at her phone and felt her heart rate quicken. She had come to terms that she could die on the job her first day as a rookie; she had not come to terms with the fact that her job would not be the cause of her death that day. And now, she only had 5 minutes of said life left which she was going to spend tired and hungry in a janitor’s closet of an underground parking garage. At least she would be spending the time with someone she liked, someone she cared for: her training officer.

 

Tim was sitting on the floor, having already called all his relatives and the people he cared about between calls. His knees were pulled close to his chest and his face looked absolutely crestfallen.

 

Lucy slid down the wall and sat next to him, their arms touching as she maneuvered herself into a comfortable sitting position. She would not mind spending her last few minutes like this: quiet, solitary, and with a close friend. Well, friend that was working to be close but may have ruined that with the whole Rachel situation. Yes, Lucy had a feeling that Rachel was a little afraid of a relationship because she had initially only wanted a line in with Grey, but the break up was a little unexpected. Lucy had tried to console Tim between calls before the whole nuke thing started, but he was not very accepting of her help. Typical.

 

“So,” Lucy started, lifting her head slightly to glance at Tim, who barely registered that she had spoken, “what's your favorite color?”

 

“Seriously? You want to talk about this now?” Tim glared at her, but there was barely any anger in his look.

 

“Or we talk about nothing for the last five minutes of our lives.” Lucy retorted angrily, and Tim huffed.

 

After a moment, he spoke again. “Red.”

 

Lucy looked up, confused. “What?”

 

Tim gave her an annoyed look, but it quickly melted away when their gazes met. “You asked what my favorite color is. It's red.”

 

Lucy could not fight back the smile that wormed its way onto her face when he actually answered her question. “Mine is purple,” she paused, “and pink. But mainly purple.”

 

Tim chuckled. “Cliche.”

 

“It's not cliche!” Lucy defended, pretending she was offended. “Red is more cliche than purple.”

 

Tim opened his mouth to respond, before rolling his eyes and giving her a small nod. “True.”

 

Lucy settled back into the silence, which was much more comfortable than it was prior to their jovial conversation, and began to lean her head on her training officer's shoulder.

 

Tim glanced down at her, but he let her head remain laying there. She could feel that he was smiling, even though it was probably tiny.

 

“What's your favorite food?” Tim asked, breaking the silence once more.

 

“Are we gonna play 21 questions now?” Lucy teased, and she felt Tim's muscles shift as he no doubt glared at her.

 

“You started it.”

 

“That I did,” she laughed and Tim relaxed his head against the wall again.

 

“I like mochi, especially the ones with ice cream.”

 

“Mine is pancakes. My mom used to make the best blueberry pancakes.”

 

Lucy tilted her head back to look up at him and smirked. “I disagree. My mom makes the best blueberry pancakes. And chocolate chip pancakes.”

 

“Sure.”

 

Lucy chuckled softly. “I know she does.” She smiled to herself before asking another question. “What’s your favorite movie?”

 

“I would swear you to secrecy but since we're about to die in three and a half minutes: it's Legally Blonde.”

 

Lucy laughed so hard she fell forward, her hand coming up to her mouth to cover the stream of snickers coming from her mouth.

 

“Yeah, yeah, laugh it up,” Tim grumbled.

 

“No, no! I'm not judging you! I just– didn't expect it,” Lucy replied honestly, controlling her humor as she rested her body on the wall again and easily slid back into her previous position against him.

 

“Does it have something to do with–” Lucy began before Tim cut her off.

 

“Not everything I do has to do with Isabel,” he started, “but yes. She really liked the movie and it– it grew on me.”

 

He’s such a softie. Lucy smiled at the thought. “My favorite is Mulan.”

 

Tim snickered.

 

“Hey! Just cause it's a kids movie doesn't mean I can't like it! She's a Chinese woman who kicks ass and takes names. My mum said I used to run around the house, singing ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ every night before bed for three months,” Lucy elaborated, and Tim grinned.

 

“Of course you did.”

 

Lucy rolled her eyes. “Your turn.”

 

Tim took a moment to think. “Favorite animal?”

 

“Cat. You?”

 

“Cat. And don’t look surprised that I don’t like dogs.”

 

Lucy felt even more warmth spread through her. She was right; her last few minutes would be nice.

 

“I wasn’t going to judge. I knew you were a cat person.”

 

“Stop psychoanalyzing me, boot.”

 

As much as Lucy was enjoying this conversation, she realized she could not stop rolling her eyes. “You’re annoying,” she quipped.

 

“You're a dork,” he returned.

 

Lucy’s smile widened, but began to fade as she glanced at her phone. Their time was running out.

 

“Any other questions?” Tim asked, knowing the reason she tensed against him.

 

“What were your plans for the future?”

 

Rather than tease her for jumping into the deep end with her faux interrogation, he truthfully answered. “I wanted to settle down, for real this time. Maybe have a kid or two. I'd stop working patrol–”

 

He was interrupted by Lucy laughing in disbelief.

 

“–as much. Stop working patrol as much. I just want to– to find love again,” he finished, his tone growing more melancholic and choked up.

 

“I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked with everything–” Lucy apologized, but Tim raised his hand to stop her.

 

“I’d rather get it off my chest than have kept everything bottled inside. I don't want to die feeling like that.”

 

The weight of the entire situation felt like it was choking Lucy. She was going to die with so many regrets and unfulfilled desires.

 

Tim, sensing her increasing discomfort, placed his hand over her shoulders and ever so slightly tugged her closer to him. She curled in closer on herself and on him, trying to soak in the comfort his presence offered her.

 

“I want to be a detective, but I also wanted to settle down like you. Two kids, hopefully one girl in the mix. Maybe a dog, if they really wanted one,” she answered the question, and she felt Tim shudder, probably from realizing she would not be able to achieve even her smallest dream on the list.

 

ONE MINUTE REMAINING , the timer on Lucy's phone announced.

 

“You know, I've always wanted a cat,” she spoke into the silence.

 

“Isn't Jackson allergic?” Tim combated.

 

Lucy feigned shock. “You actually care enough to know that?”

 

“I care about all you rookies, except maybe Nolan,” Tim joked.

 

Lucy huffed out a quiet laugh. “So you care about me?” The question, which she intended to be lighthearted, held much more weight than she originally anticipated.

 

Tim, for one of the first times in those four minutes, avoided her eyes as he answered. “Yes.”

 

Lucy softly sighed, taking a deep breath as her face became much more serious. “Thank you; not just for that, but for everything. You’re a jerk sometimes, but you were the best T.O. I could ever ask for. Besides Talia, but it's a little late for that. And you're a good friend. Even if you don't want to admit that's what we've become, we are friends,” she said quickly, and Tim smiled down at her.

 

“We’re friends,” he agreed. “You're a stubborn rookie, I'll tell you that, but you are a good person and a– a good friend. No average person would record an entire audiobook for me. Thanks for showing me I'm not– I'm not always right and for– being there for me when I needed someone.” Tim reluctantly admitted, and Lucy felt herself nearly glow with happiness and warmth.

 

10 SECONDS REMAINING, the timer blared for the last time.

 

Lucy pulled herself away from her seated position to meet Tim’s eyes for the final time. She had never really noticed just how blue they were. They were not a bright, icy blue; they were more of a muted blue, like the color of the ocean just after the sun rises and the sky has not fully shifted to its bright hue.

 

She could not tell who leaned in first, nor who pressed in first, but somehow, in those last few seconds, they kissed.

 

Her eyes slid shut as she moved her hands to his jaw, to his neck, to something, to hold on to and ground herself. She felt his hands move onto her back, pulling her closer as the kiss intensified, turning into something more passionate.

 

She wanted this, needed this. It felt right .

 

She knew that, with the rules of her occupation, this was wrong. But she did not care. She did not care mostly because she was going to die in, like, 3 seconds.

 

This was right, no matter what anyone would say.

 

Lucy pressed harder into this kiss and Tim reciprocated, pulling her even closer. She continued until the need to breathe outweighed her need to keep going. With that thought, she also realized it had been way longer than 10 seconds.

 

Pulling away, she quickly glanced at her phone; the timer had ticked into the negatives. The missile had not come. They were not dead. They had kissed.

 

They had kissed, thinking they would die, and they did not, actually, die.

 

Lucy felt her face flush over.

 

“Well, this is awkward.”