Disclaimers: Xena and Gabrielle belong to MCA and Universal Pictures. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story contains fairly graphic violence. It also contains a consensual relationship between two women. If this is not legal where you are, or you are not of age, then read another story.

The characters contained in this story are mine, and mine alone. Do not copy or distribute this story without my consent. Characters within this story bearing resemblance to persons dead or alive are unintended.

Also, this story is filled with hurt and the accompanying comfort. Please don’t be alarmed. And if you are alarmed…then why in the world would you be reading an Uber Xena story?

Another disclaimer I liked: although many of the locations mentioned in this story are real and many of the characters are based on amalgamations of people I have met, I have taken artist license in describing them.

Thank you to my beta author Buxxer.

Thanks also to my beta readers Mercury and Garnet.



It was February 11th when Cindy told Toni that they had decreased the dosage of medicine that they were giving Megan because the swelling had gone down sufficiently enough that they wanted her to come out of the coma. They had expected her to awaken all day, but she hadn’t, they told her as she came in that day.

"Hey cutie," Toni encouraged, "open your eyes for me. I really want to see those pretty green eyes of yours, okay?" Toni repeated this request for more than fifteen minutes before she saw Megan’s eyelids flutter. The lights were low in the room so that she wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Finally, after several attempts, her eyes opened and fixed on the most beautiful sight she had seen in forever.

"To…Toni…" she tried, her throat dry from disuse.

"Ssshhh, don’t try to talk. Let me get you some ice chips okay?" Toni didn’t move until she saw Megan nod yes. She never left her bedside and Megan’s wide eyes followed her every movement. Slowly she fed Megan the ice chips until she couldn’t take anymore.

"Toni…you’re here?"

"Of course I am…where else would I be?"

"I…I thought…" her voice cracked again. Toni shushed her and fed her more ice chips. "Don’t you have…a…trial?"

"Yes. I’ve been going, every day like a good little girl," Toni smiled. Megan smiled as well. "But I get to come see you every night, after hours…and I wouldn’t trade it for anything." Megan’s eyes focused slightly beyond her onto Frank Tate.

"Frank?" He magazine had been forgotten in his lap long ago and he bolted out of his chair to her side when she said his name.

"I’m here Megan."

"Thank…thank you…for bringing Toni here."

"No problem. Anything to help you get better…and she has," he said, unconsciously smiling at Toni. It had become obvious to him in just over three weeks what the two women meant to each other. "Look…um…we have to be going soon, we have that meeting in a half hour. I’m going to let you guys spend this time together, okay?" Toni blanched at the mention of it. Tate had informed her of the session he had had with Pat O’Reilly and that Megan’s parents had found out their little secret. They now insisted on meeting her face to face. She wasn’t looking forward to it.

"Yeah…thanks," Megan smiled. Tate smiled at her and then left them alone in the room for the first time in over three weeks.


"Ssshhh, don’t…don’t talk. I know it must hurt a bit."

"What…. What happened?" Megan couldn’t help but ask.

Toni was reluctant to tell Megan the story, but knew that she would keep asking until her throat was raw. "There was one more attempt on my life…as we got out of the van the first day to go into the courtroom. Do you remember?" Megan shook her head no.

"You were shot…several people were shot. But the assassin was stopped. And now I’m testifying, but it’s going to take a while."

Several doctors and nurses entered then, and were surprised that their patient had waited until then to awaken. They had expected her to come around several hours earlier. They began a new round of tests, blood pressure and otherwise. Toni was shuffled aside and her hour was up. As she was being told that she had to go by Tate, she finally pushed her way back to Megan’s side. She leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on her lover’s lips. "I’ll be back tomorrow night. Will you be okay until then?"

"Yeah…no…no…don’t go…please…" Megan pleaded, tears in her eyes. The doctors and nurses respectfully stood aside for a few moments.

"Please don’t cry…God Megan…you know I can’t stand to see you cry. I can’t stay…I want to…" Toni pleaded looking to Frank Tate.

"A few more minutes and then we have to go to that meeting…okay?" Frank said. Toni nodded gratefully.

It was going to be a long night Toni decided. "Okay…okay…I won’t go. Frank says I can stay for a little while longer. Okay?"

"Yes…yes…I want you to stay…" Megan yawned widely. She looked at the doctors wondering if they had given her something to put her back to sleep.

After several more minutes, the doctors were satisfied with the tests they had run and had gone off to seek their results. Toni was sitting at Megan’s bedside holding her hand again.

Megan took a survey of herself and found that they were keeping the scalp on her right side shaved. She then noted that her hair was still long in the middle and on the left side of her head. "I must look terrible?" she asked.

"You look beautiful," Toni assured her.

"You’re just saying that. My hair is all fucked up." At that moment the nurse Cindy walked in.

"Hi there," she said to Megan.

"Megan, this is Cindy," Toni explained. "She’s been helping to take care of you. You’re going to like her, I guarantee it." Toni beamed at the affable nurse.

"Well, I must say that it’s great to see you awake. You have quite the fan club. You’re a very popular person around here. We have to beat the visitors off with a stick," she smiled at her, now awake, patient.

"My…hair?" Megan asked.

"We have to keep the wound area shaved and clean," Cindy told her.

"But…it must look…really stupid…just that one spot…shaved. It’s going to take years for it to grow back," she trailed off.

"Do you want a new hair style?" Cindy asked, her eyes twinkling.

"Yeah…I guess. I don’t want it to look as bad as I imagine it looks right now."

"Well…I could…um…even it up for you…"

"Even it up?" Megan asked, confused.

"Yeah…make it all one length."

"But you would have to pretty much shave off the rest of my…Oh my god…that’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?"
"Um…yeah," Cindy told her honestly.

Megan considered the idea with Toni looking on. "What do you think?" she asked Toni.

"I…I…love your hair…but it does look really funny right now…" was Toni’s lame response.

"Do it!" Megan told the nurse.

"Do what?" she asked astonished.

"Make it all one length."

"Do you want me to shave it, or just make it really short?" the nurse asked her.

Megan looked at Toni again who shrugged. "You’re on your own with this one love."

"Uh…short, I guess," Megan decided.

A half-hour later Megan’s hair was really short. Megan asked for a mirror and Nurse Cindy provided one. She looked at herself and cringed at what she saw. Her eye was still bruised, but it looked like a bruise long faded. Her ear, which stood out in stark relief, looked extremely red and the stitches, she thought made her look like some kind of Frankenstein monster. Toni had grabbed a large lock of Megan’s hair and had wrapped it in sticky hospital tape and put it in her pocket. She knew that Megan’s hair would grow back, but that it would be a while.

A few minutes later Frank reappeared. "Is it time already?" Toni asked.

"Yeah," Frank nodded. By the look on his face, he wasn’t looking forward to this meeting any more than Toni was.

Toni turned back to Megan. "I have to go now…"

"No!" Megan nearly shouted. "Please…don’t…" Tears filled her eyes quickly and began streaming down her face. She scrubbed at them with her right hand even though it made the IV pull, her left hand was safely tucked between Toni’s and she didn’t want to let go.

"Megan…ssshhh…don’t cry, please?" she begged. Her heart was breaking into a thousand tiny pieces seeing her lover like this. "I’ll be back soon, I promise. You just have to be brave for me until I return, okay?"

Megan sobbed again, trying to control her raging emotions. She felt like a child. She was sick and scared and she didn’t want to be alone. And of all the people she could think of, it was Toni she wanted by her side. "I’ll try," she agreed.

"Good girl. I love you," Toni informed her as she placed a gentle kiss on Megan’s lips.

"I love you too, Toni," Megan told her, squeezing her hand as hard as she could.



Toni joined Frank outside Megan’s room. "I really don’t want to do this," she told him.

"I know, but look at it this way…they’re scared. And they want to be assured that your visits with Megan aren’t going to bring any harm to her. You just need to put their minds at ease. Okay?"

"Okay," Toni agreed trying to calm her quaking nerves. She knew that Megan’s father had a low opinion of her, but not any lower than the opinion she had of herself. As they made their way to the hospital cafeteria and their meeting with the O’Reillys, Toni tried to call up some event that would have led her to a different direction in life. But she knew that she could spend a lifetime playing the "if only" game and she that she would have stepped onto the path that became her life eventually.

She felt like a nervous kid picking up his prom date and having to endure the scrutiny of the disapproving father. She knew that in Patrick O’Reilly’s eyes she would never be good enough for his daughter even if she didn’t come burdened with a past that would frighten even the heartiest of men.

As the elevator doors opened and they began their journey toward the cafeteria, Toni felt like a condemned prisoner taking her final walk. She desperately hoped that the meeting would go well and that Pat O’Reilly wouldn’t try to block her visits as he suggested to Tate that he might. She knew that Megan wouldn’t allow it and she didn’t want to be a barrier between her lover and her family. By coming into Megan’s life she had already caused them a great deal of pain and she wanted that to end, for Megan’s sake if no one else’s.

When they entered the room, Pat and Margaret stood up from the table they had been seated at. Toni noted that there were already a half dozen or more plain clothed Marshals in the room and four more escorted them. However, she and Tate were the only ones dressed in Marshal jackets. She approached the table as Tate hung back. "Mr. and Mrs. O’Reilly…I’m Toni." She considered offering her hand but hesitated. That gesture was one used with the "pleased to meet you" greetings and she could tell this wasn’t the case. Pat and Margaret sat back down and Toni sat down at the table opposite them. She clasped her hands together on the table in front of her so they wouldn’t see them shaking.

Several tense moments passed before Toni decided she should speak. "I’m not sure what Frank Tate told you but it was my…um…my doing that allowed me to see Megan, not theirs."

"You blackmailed the Justice Department," Pat said.

"Yes sir, I did."

"Why is that exactly? What did you hope to gain?"

"I…I needed to know that Megan was all right. I love her," she said plainly looking Megan’s father in the eye.

"You say that word as though you have any concept of it’s meaning," he sneered.

"Pat!" Margaret chastised her husband.

"No ma’am, he’s right. I didn’t have any idea what that word meant…until I met Megan. Knowing who and what I was, she became my friend. She taught me what love means and it’s a lesson I won’t ever forget." They sat in awkward silence for a couple of minutes before Pat spoke again.

"What makes you think that the threat to your life is over?" he asked.

"I don’t sir. I don’t think it ever will be, which is why I’m going to be placed in the Witness Security Program. But for now, I’m surrounded by nearly a dozen US Marshals and so is Megan. I’ve been told that metal detectors have been placed at every entrance and anyone entering the building is monitored. No one is allowed on Megan’s floor without a security pass, even the doctors."

"Tate told me that he tried to pull her off the case several times…is that true?"

"Yes sir. I tried as well to get her to relinquish the case," she told him.


"Because she was deeply hurt knowing that her family thought she was dead and I didn’t want to see her go through that."

"But she didn’t," Margaret said.

"No ma’am she refused. And if our positions had been reversed…I wouldn’t have left her either."

Their meager conversation ground to a halt again. They contemplated each other warily.

"Why did you decide to turn against them?" Pat asked.

"Several reasons. My family and my friends were being killed, drug sales were becoming their top priority and it simply wasn’t the life I had envisioned for myself."

"What had you envisioned for yourself?" Margaret asked quietly.

"When I went to college I had dreams of becoming a writer," she said wistfully.

"A journalist?" Margaret asked.

"No, a fiction writer…a novelist," she added blushing slightly.

"Oh, then the stories I found on this are yours?" Margaret asked, picking Megan’s laptop up from the chair beside her.

Toni blushed furiously at this revelation. She had forgotten that she had typed several of her stories into Megan’s laptop computer. But she was more embarrassed that Margaret had obviously read them. And if she opened up Megan’s laptop, she would surely have seen the picture of them in the cave because Megan insisted on using that picture as her background. "Yes ma’am, they are," she admitted when she finally found her voice.

Pat sat and watched the interaction between the former mobster and his wife. ‘Help me God, I’m losing this battle,’ he pleaded in his mind. He had agreed to meet Toni and had wanted to have his hatred of her reinforced in his mind. But what he found instead was a young woman who was beautiful, polite and frankly honest. And if the pictures on the laptop weren’t evidence enough, she absolutely glowed when she spoke Megan’s name. He had questioned the doctors and nurses again about Toni’s visits and they confirmed what Tate had told him. Nancy had even told him that in her 12 years as an ICU nurse, she had never seen any patient react as well as Megan did when Toni was in the room with her. She told him that even though she was comatose, Megan was able to react to Toni’s questions by squeezing her hand. She had witnessed this several times over the past four weeks.

Finally Pat stood up. "We should probably go visit with Megan for a while," he said to his wife.

"Yes, you’re right," she said. As she stood up, she extended her hand to Toni. "It was nice to meet you Toni." Toni stood and grasped her hand warmly.

"It was a pleasure to meet you Mrs. O’Reilly," Toni grinned. When she released Margaret’s hand she looked at Pat unsure of his reaction. Almost reluctantly he extended his hand. He didn’t say a word, but Toni could feel his grudging acceptance at his current circumstance. She shook his hand warmly as well.

"Um…Mr. O’Reilly?"


"I…I hope you won’t…object to my visiting Megan…" she trailed off. She knew that he wouldn’t be able to object now that Megan could speak for herself, but she hoped that he wouldn’t, for Megan’s sake.

"I’ll have to think on it," he told her.

"Fair enough," she agreed.




Megan had drifted off to sleep, and when she awoke, she found her mother and father by her bedside. She blinked open heavy eyelids, which delighted them no end. She was bombarded with questions and bright smiles from both her parents. "Are you feeling okay? Are they taking good care of you?"

She answered them as best she could. She felt okay considering and she assured them that she was in good hands.

"What happened to your hair?" her mother asked. She indicated that she needed something to ease her dry throat and her mother provided her with the ever-present ice chips. She explained that she had asked the nurse to cut her hair so that it would grow out even.

They talked for almost a half-hour before her father excused himself. He intended to call the family and tell them that she was awake and talking.

"Where’s Toni?" she asked her mother.

She watched as her mother hesitated before answering. "I think…Frank Tate took her back to…" she wasn’t sure where they would be.

"Oh," Megan replied sadly. She turned her head away from her mother as tears filled her eyes.

"Sweetie, are you okay? Do you want me to get the nurse?"

"No…I’m fine," she told her mother bravely. She quickly wiped the tears from her eyes. Toni had asked her to be strong so she was determined to do so.

"Megan, honey, do want to talk about it? Do you want to tell me about Toni?"

Megan nodded her head yes and bit down on her lip, trying to stifle the flood of tears. "I love her Mom. She…she completes me. I need her and I know that she needs me too. Do you understand?"

"Yes…believe it or not…I do. I feel the same way about your father."

"I…I don’t know if it took me a moment or a month, but I fell in love with her." Margaret wiped the tears from her daughter’s eyes. "She’s beautiful, Mom."

"I know," he mother admitted.

"You…you’ve seen her?" Megan asked.

"Your father and I met her less than an hour ago. Frank insisted."

"Is…is Daddy mad at me?" Megan asked, her voice sounding like it did when she was little and in trouble.

"No honey, what made you think that?"

"I heard him yelling," she admitted.

"When?" her mother asked her.

"I don’t know…today…last wee k…I don’t know. But he was really mad and I tried to tell him it was okay, but he couldn’t hear me," she sobbed.

"Ssshhh, honey. He was upset, but he’s okay now. He’ll be back in a few minutes, he just went to call your brothers and tell them that you were awake."

"How…how long was I asleep?" Megan asked her mother.

"For three weeks," Margaret told her honestly.

Megan gasped. "What…what date is it?" she asked, trying to do calculations in her head.

"February 13th, why?"

"Oh…I thought I’d missed it…thank God…"

"What did you miss honey?"

"Toni’s birthday is tomorrow."

"Valentine’s Day?" her mother asked.

"Yeah," Megan said. Her brain began to spin. She realized that she wasn’t going to be leaving the hospital any time soon and so she couldn’t find Toni anything for her birthday. But maybe she could talk her Mom into helping her. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do, but knowing that she hadn’t actually missed the event left her heart swelling with anticipation. "Mom…I need your help with something."

"Anything honey," her mother assured her.



An hour later Megan was sitting with her father. Her mother had excused herself to run some errands. Megan could tell that her father was uncomfortable and she wondered why. "Dad, are you okay?"

"Yeah, fine honey," he answered as he swayed back and forth on the balls of his feet.

"Um…Mom told me that you met Toni," Megan remarked as a way to start the conversation that she knew they needed to have.

"Yeah…earlier today," he said. When he didn’t speak again, Megan did.

"Well…you want to talk about it?" she asked softly. She knew that this was a sore spot for her father but wasn’t sure why. According to her mother, they both now knew her sexual orientation and that fact didn’t seem to phase them as much as who she had chosen to fall in love with.

"Not much to say, I guess," he replied lamely.

Megan was a little angry at his nonchalance. She could deal with his anger, but his indifference threw her. "Is it because she is a woman or because she is who she is?" Megan shot out.

"Megan, honey," he began as he finally settled at her bedside. "I’ll always love you, no matter what. But…but this woman…she’s testifying against a major crime family. She’ll always be on the run from her past. What kind of future can you hope to find with her?"

His words made a lot of sense, but sense wasn’t what was driving her feelings. "Daddy…If I can’t have a future with her…then I don’t have a future," she told him.

"Honey, that’s nonsense. You have a bright future ahead of you. I know it will hurt for a while, but you can go on…"

"No! What hurts Daddy is not being with her right now!"

"Megan…I understand. Believe me I do. But have you thought about this seriously? After they place her in the Witness Program, how do you plan to be with her?"

"I’m going with her," she told her father with more conviction than she felt at the moment. Here she was telling him to his face that Toni meant more to her than her own family. And his reaction was the same as if she had just slapped him.

"What?" he asked quietly, shocked at the revelation.

Megan suddenly felt ashamed. She hadn’t meant to tell him this way but it had come out of her mouth so fast she was helpless to stop it. "Daddy, I’m sorry…I didn’t mean for it to sound that way. We…we haven’t actually worked out the details…we thought we would have time and then…" she faltered. Never in her 28 years had she ever seen her father cry. His eyes were now full of unshed tears as she watched him try to focus on what she was telling him.

"I’m going to go now Megan," he said softly, his voice distant.

"Daddy, please…please don’t go…" she cried as she watched him exit her room.

Her mother came in a few minutes later, visibly shaken. "Mom…I didn’t mean…" Margaret stopped her daughter with a gentle touch to her lips.

"I know. I’m just going to take him home now. He needs some time. We’ll be back tomorrow, okay sweetie?"

"Yeah. Mom…I love you and Daddy…please tell him for me," she begged.

"We love you too honey, don’t ever forget that," her mother assured her before she left.

"I won’t Mom."



An hour later, a team of doctors was once again gathered around her bedside. Frustrated because she didn’t know what was going on, combined with the fact that they were whispering half the time, she finally grabbed one doctor by the hand. "You don’t have to whisper, I’m awake," she told him. He looked at her quizzically. Several of them came around to the right side of the bed and began an examination of her wound. The doctor said something but she couldn’t quite make it out. He turned her head to the right.

"Can you hear me?" he asked.

"Yeah, when you don’t whisper," she told him. He turned her head away and asked her something again. He turned her face back to him.

"Did you just hear what I asked you?"

"No," Megan admitted, suddenly worried. She grabbed his hand before he could move away. "What is it? What’s wrong?"

"I believe you have suffered a significant hearing loss in your right ear, but we won’t know without a couple of tests. I’m ordering them right now. Okay?"

"Am I…am I going to be okay?" she asked, her voice full of worry.

"You are going to be fine, but we won’t know about the hearing until we have tests back from the ENT and the neurologist. They’ll be in here shortly. Do you want me to get the nurse?"

"No…no…I’m fine," she lied. The doctors exited after making several notes on her chart. She needed to be alone. Her head began to pound because of the stress and probably because of her injury as well, but she didn’t want them to give her a sedative. She wanted her mind clear so she could think.

Not long after, the two other doctors showed up as promised. The neurologist performed more than a dozen tests on her to test her motor skills amongst other things. Then the ENT looked into her ears. He placed a few drops of some liquid in her left ear, but when he placed the same drops into her right ear, she instantly heard a hissing and gurgling that was followed quickly by an amazing amount of pain. When she cried out, the doctor apologized and quickly drained the liquid from her ear. The pain became a dull throb. He gently placed a pair of earphones over her head and asked her to indicate when she heard a sound. He started with her left ear. Then her right ear. When she finally heard the sound he made a note on her chart and removed the earphones.

"What? What is it? Will it get better?" she asked him.

"My tests indicate that you have suffered a 75% hearing loss in your right ear. I’m sorry, but it is very possible that you will not recover all of your hearing, if any. Again, I’m very sorry," he told her abjectly.

"Oh," was all she could muster in her stunned state. Moments later the nurse brought in her dinner tray. It was only her second meal since she had awakened and it consisted of oatmeal, applesauce and Jell-O. It wouldn’t have mattered what they had given her to eat; she didn’t taste it anyway.

Left alone to her thoughts, Megan tried not to cry. She missed Toni desperately and wanted to talk to her. She hated the thought of her father being angry or disappointed with her and she hadn’t meant to blurt out her plans so tactlessly. And she reasoned that with such a profound hearing loss, even in one ear, that her days as a US Marshal working in the field were at an end. She and Toni had never discussed their plans and she knew that it was her fault. She hadn’t told Toni about being reassigned. She had kept this knowledge to herself since she realized it in Key West. She hadn’t given Toni the opportunity to share her worries and her doubts. And what did it matter if she couldn’t be a Marshal anymore, after all, hadn’t she just told her father that where Toni went she did too? To be truthful, she had never even given a thought to quitting her career, a job she loved beyond measure, to be with Toni. It had never really occurred to her that she would have to give it up. She reasoned that she must have had some idealistic notion that she and Toni would be allowed to continue as they had been. She knew then that she had allowed her feelings for Toni to override her basic good judgement and she wondered how she ever got Toni back to DC for the trial.

Megan realized that Toni had some very important decisions to make as well. She had to choose a place to live and a persona to become. She just assumed that Toni would want to settle down somewhere and write, but since she had never given Toni the chance to voice her opinion on the subject, she had no idea where they stood. She had never given a second thought to how she would fit into Toni’s new life. What would she do? What could she become? What kind of career could she maintain if she could maintain one at all? For all she knew they would be constantly on the run from one threat or another. And what of her family? It had been so hard to play the charade of being dead in their eyes, but now that they knew otherwise, could she really become truly dead to them? Could she live the remainder of her life with no contact from her parents or her sister and brothers? The pounding in her head became acutely intense and she finally rang the nurse. Nancy entered when she buzzed.

"Hey there, are you okay?" she asked concerned by the tears flowing copiously down Megan’s face.

"No…I…my head really hurts. Can you give me something?"

"Sure. Do you want me to give you a sedative as well, to help you sleep?"

"No…please…just something for the pain."

"I’ll be back in a minute, okay?"

"Yeah," Megan agreed wearily. A few minutes later Nancy returned. She had a vial and a needle and watched as her patient flinched.

"Hey…it’s okay. I’m going to inject this into your IV. It’ll work faster than a pill, okay?"

"Okay," Megan replied, happy that the needle wasn’t meant for her directly.

Nancy stayed with her until she was sure the medication was taking affect. She saw her patient visibly relax. "Do you want me to help you adjust the bed down so you can sleep?"

"No…please. I feel as though I’ve been in this bed for a year. When do you think they will let me get up…you know, stretch a little?"

"Probably tomorrow. Do you want me to turn on the TV?" Nancy suggested.

"Sure, I guess," Megan told her. Anything to take her mind off of her turbulent thoughts would help. Nancy turned on the TV and gave Megan the remote. Nancy left after making sure she was comfortable. She turned the TV down so that she could barely hear it and wondered if it wasn’t blasting nonetheless.

Within minutes, although mostly free from pain, her mind was ablaze again with thoughts. Again, she tried not to cry with the frustration she was feeling, but she couldn’t stop the tears. She wasn’t sure how much time had passed when she heard a gentle knock at her door. She used her blanket to wipe her eyes and bid the visitor to come in. She realized that she had never heard a doctor or nurse knock before and found it unusual. She had just enough time to process this thought when Toni poked her head through the door. Unable to help herself, she burst into tears again.



Toni was at her side in a moment. She quickly put the rail down on Megan’s left side and sat down. Megan collapsed into her arms. Toni tried not to tangle herself in the myriad of tubes and wires still attached to her lover as she held her tightly. "Ssshhh, it’s okay Megan, I have you. It’s okay. It’s okay," she crooned over and over until she finally felt Megan relax in her arms. It was selfish, she knew, but it felt so good to be holding Megan again, that she wasn’t concerned at first as to why. When the hitching in Megan’s chest finally ceased to tiny intermittent sobs she continued to stroke her back. "Hey, what’s wrong sweetie?"

"I…I just needed you. I missed you…" Megan trailed off, her voice heavy with emotion.

"I missed you too," Toni assured her. "Please…don’t cry…you know what that does to me," Toni begged her own eyes filling with tears.

"I’m sorry…I needed to hold you," Megan sighed, her smile finally evident in her voice as she tried to wrap her arms around Toni. Her IV lines and heart monitors impeding her progress. "Wait," she told Toni as she pulled away briefly. She was amazed at how much her body ached at the release of contact. She pulled the pulse monitor away from her finger and undid the blood pressure cuff. Her only barrier now was her IV line which she knew not to mess with. She looked deep into Toni’s eyes when she was done and saw the same anticipation that she now felt. A need so bone deep that she couldn’t resist it. She pulled Toni’s face gently toward her own and placed a feather light kiss on her lips. Another huge sigh followed as she rested against Toni’s chest so that she could hear her lover’s heartbeat.

"I’ve been wanting to hold you for nearly a month now. I’m so glad you want me to," Toni said with a relieved sigh of her own. She still wasn’t sure what was going on in Megan’s mind, but she knew instinctively that they needed this physical contact.

"If they had let you hold me, I would have been fine weeks ago," Megan offered.

"Me too," Toni replied. From the first moment that the shooting happened, Toni had wrapped Megan in her arms and had shielded her body from further harm all the while, taking her rage out on their attacker. She wouldn’t have let her go for a moment if they hadn’t physically pulled her off of Megan. She knew that she had to let go in order for Megan to get the medical attention that she needed but she did so rather reluctantly. The kiss that Megan had given had left her lips tingling. She wanted another and another but knew that what Megan needed now was what she was giving. They sat that way for at least ten minutes before she heard Megan groan. "What? Are you okay?" Toni asked alarmed.

"Yeah…I just…I’m really stiff. I need to sit back, but I don’t want to," Megan admitted.

"But you need to," Toni told her as she settled her back against the pillows. "Here, I’ll massage your muscles…"

"You’ve been doing that, haven’t you?" as Toni massaged her arms.

"Yeah, how did you know?"

"I knew it every time you walked into the room. I tried to tell you. I wanted to, but I couldn’t."

"Actually you did. You smiled a lot for me. And you squeezed my hand when I asked you to. We talked a lot that way."

"We did, didn’t we?" Megan asked with a smile.

"Yes. At least…I hoped you knew that I was there."

"I did."

"Good," Toni stated as she began massaging Megan’s legs. She started at her thigh and made her way down each leg, including a nice foot massage. She began to work on Megan’s other leg.

Unfortunately for Megan, she was now fully awake and Toni’s hands had an effect on her that she wasn’t anticipating. "Toni…Toni…please…stop…" she whispered when Toni got down to her calf. It was one of most sensitive parts of her body.

"I’m sorry," Toni said as she whisked her hands away quickly. "Was I hurting you? I didn’t mean to…"

"No…no…" Megan giggled. "You weren’t hurting me," Megan said, her voice husky.

"Oh…Oh!" Toni gasped, surprised at Megan’s reaction to her touch. Toni blushed furiously. The last thing on her mind was trying to excite her partner. Now that Megan had placed the thought in her mind, she found herself aroused as well. "I…wasn’t…did you have to do that to me?" Toni pleaded.

"I’m sorry," Megan was laughing now. Toni joined her moments later. She sat down next to Megan’s bedside and gently took her hand. "Now what do we do?" Megan teased.

"Nothing here!" Toni said, trying to play down the passion that they felt for each other. "Hey…can I hold you again?"

"I thought you’d never ask," Megan replied as she leaned into Toni once again.

Nancy came in then. She stopped when she saw that her patient was okay. "Sorry…we…uh…didn’t have any readings for several minutes. I was just making sure everything was all right. Um…buzz me if you need anything," she stumbled over her words as she made a quick departure.

Toni and Megan laughed. They held each other for a few minutes before Megan spoke.

"I…we need to talk," she sighed, not wanting to have this conversation.

"Okay," Toni conceded unsure of where the conversation was going to go.

"I…tried to tell my parents about you today…but it seems you beat me to the punch."

"Um…yeah…they wanted to know that…I mean…they wanted to meet me," she finished lamely.

"They wanted to check you out, admit it."

"Yeah, I suppose so."

"How did it go?" Megan asked, curious as to her lover’s reactions to her parents. She had already had her parent’s reaction. It ran the gambit from grudging acceptance (on her father’s part) to reluctant acceptance (on her mother’s part). She wondered what Toni had thought of her parents and had wanted to be present when they had met, but circumstances had intervened.

"I guess it went okay. I…I don’t think your Dad likes me too much, but your Mom was really nice."

"Oh. Well I…I think I upset my Dad today," Megan said, tears filling her eyes once again.

"Why? What happened? It wasn’t because of me was it?" Toni asked, even though she knew the answer.

"I told him that…that…I want to be with you," Megan sobbed. "He was really hurt. He thinks that I chose you over my family…but…I guess I did…didn’t I?"

"Hey…hey…ssshhh…c’mon now," Toni soothed. She knew better. If Megan chose her…then she would be choosing her over her family. She couldn’t have it both ways, could she?

"Tell me…tell me…you want me. Tell me you need me…please?"

"Of course I want you and need you…but you have to decide for yourself if this is what you want. It won’t be easy. And we’ve really never talked about the future. For all I know…you want different things than I do."

"Right now I just want you."

"But Megan…that’s for right now…what about later?" Toni asked, hoping she would hear the answer she longed for.

"I want you later too! I want everything that is you! I can’t imagine a future without you. I told my Dad that today and it made me sad. But I knew it was the truth or I wouldn’t have said it. What are we going to do Toni? I can’t be a Marshal anymore with my hearing loss…and I don’t know what you want to do."

"Whoa, wait a minute…what hearing loss?"

"I…just found out tonight…I’ve lost 75% hearing in my right ear. I’m sure that would cut short my career as a field Marshal. And I don’t even know what you want to do once they put you in the program. I’m not sure how I’ll fit into your life."

Toni was taken aback for a moment. She hadn’t really thought about how her new life would effect Megan either. She hadn’t really thought about it. She had always figured that they would have time to discuss their options, but then the shooting had taken a great deal of time away from them. As for how Megan would fit into her life? She hadn’t considered one without Megan since they had admitted their love for each other. Beyond that, she hadn’t been thinking at all.

"Megan, I…want you in my life…always. I really hadn’t thought about what we would do when this was all over. I just know that no matter what I have to do…it will include you."

"Have you thought about where you want to go? What you want to do with the rest of your life?"

"I haven’t given it much thought these last few weeks. Beyond testifying and making sure that you were okay…I haven’t thought about anything else."

"Oh," Megan replied. She had hoped that Toni had a plan. She knew that she was in no condition to try to plan the next week of her life, much less the rest of it.

Toni didn’t want to ask this question but she knew she had to. "Megan…can you do this? I mean…can you give up your career…your life…your family…for me?"

"Yes!" Megan blurted the answer out, letting her heart speak for her head. She hoped there might be a way for her to still be with her family in some capacity, but she knew that losing the one person that she knew completed her heart and her soul would be her undoing. After having lived with the feeling that she was for once in her life, completely whole, could she really go back to being half a person?

"Do you know what you are saying? What if you can’t see your parents or your sister or brothers again? I don’t want you to start to resent me for what I’ve taken from you, when all that I can truly give to you is me."

"Toni…I’ve been waiting for you all my life. I truly believed that I was incapable of feeling so deeply about another, that I let my career be my life. Yes I loved it. But I love you more."

"Megan…I’m not talking about you just giving up your career…but your family too. Can you do that? If you have to?"

"You forget Toni…I’ve already done it once. It hurt…but knowing you were there for me helped to see me through it."

Toni nodded at the wisdom of her words as a light knock sounded at the door. Frank Tate poked his head in. "It’s time," he informed them.

"No!" Megan exclaimed. "You can’t go now. We…we’ve got to talk…I don’t want you to go!"

"Megan!" Toni shook her lightly trying to bring her out of her panic. "Look at me! Look at me!" she insisted until Megan did so. "I don’t want to leave you either. I want to hold you in my arms throughout the night, but we can’t. I have to go. Okay?" she asked her tone much softer. "I’ll be back tomorrow night. And Megan, whatever you decide…I’ll always love you…don’t forget that okay?"

"Don’t talk like that!" Megan demanded. "I love you and I don’t care what it takes…I want to be with you!"

"Okay. Okay," Toni replied, not knowing what tomorrow might bring.

Megan pulled Toni in for a kiss that was at once hungry and needy. Toni needed the affirmation of their love as well and let herself get lost in their passion. They didn’t stop until Toni heard the gentle knock at the door once more. She gently pulled herself away. "Don’t go," Megan pleaded.

"Tomorrow, love…tomorrow. I love you."

"Me too," Megan assured her with a final, gentle kiss.


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