Disclaimers, et al found at the beginning of part 1.

Emotion

"Wow, that hit the spot!"

Leaning back in the chair, the dark headed woman took a deep breath and nodded in definite agreement.  "MmmHmm."  She let her head fall back and rolled it against her shoulders.  Her dark hair was still damp from the fast shower she had taken when she arrived home when Kris insisted that she'd set the table and unpack the take out Chinese food.

Tilting her head to the side, Kris let her eyes roam the angled profile across from her.  A tiny smile touched her lips holding more than a hint of tenderness.  "Long day?"

Sam thought about that for a few moments, not wishing to bring up her worry that she had about Kris' father.  Blue eyes tracked to green as she brought her head back up.  Her lips twitched in a reflection of the welcome she saw in the face opposite and a twinkle appeared in her eyes, "Not as soon as I saw my door greeter."

Kris grinned, her nose wrinkling slightly.  "That was nice.  But don't change the subject."  The blonde was well versed in Sam's methods and wasn't going to let her change the subject.  Speaking of which..."Hey, what's this about not telling me you were hurt?"

Sam blinked. "Hurt?"

"Your arm?"

The detective had to think about that and then realized what Kris must be talking about.  "Oh!  Was just a scratch."

"Uh huh.  And that's why you had to have it seen to at the hospital?"

"It was a way to get to see you."

Kris laughed.  "Sam, you're impossible!"

"So I've been told."  The detective responded with a shrug.

"So, why didn't you tell me?"

"Really, it was a scratch.  She held up the arm of her t-shirt and showed Kris the healing wound.  "See?"

"That doesn't look like a scratch to me!"  Kris winced.

"Naa, it's fine.  I was just worried about you or I would've put some Band-Aids on it when I got home."

Rolling her eyes, Kris refused to get angry but she was exasperated.  She knew it wouldn't do any good to mention that it would have taken either a very big or a whole bunch of normal Band-Aids to fix that.  "What am I going to do with you?"

The dark haired woman winced internally, Kris appeared to be fairly annoyed and Sam was confused as to why.  'It didn't even really hurt.'  She watched as the blonde began to pack the leftover Chinese food back in the containers and then hastily jumped up.  "I'll get that."

"I've got it."  Kris wasn't quite sure where the irrational anger was coming from but she wasn't too far gone to realize that she was likely blowing this out of proportion.  It was just that she wanted to know both the good and the bad.  She recognized that if they were going to make a go of a relationship then Sam had to stop hiding, at least some of the time.  'Patience, Kris.'

"You unpacked, it's only fair."

She flashed an annoyed glance at Sam when she reached across to assist with the table clearing.  "You've been working all day.  I'll do it."

Frowning, Sam felt completely out of her depth.  She swallowed and felt herself not sure of what to do to.  "I'm sorry?"

Kris put the box of food down on the table and turned to regard her friend.  Her mind turned over the problem she was having and she took a step towards Sam at her questioning comment.  "For what?"

"For not telling you?"

Kris' gaze dropped to the floor for a few moments, before returning to Sam.  It was hard to stay exasperated when Sam had that particular look of confusion on her face.  "Remember when I hurt my leg sliding into second base a few months ago?"

Sam nodded.

"Why did you offer to drive me home?"

"Because you were hurt."

"And the offer of driving me to the hospital.  Why?"

"Because you were hurt."

Kris transformed the twitch threatening to touch her lips by holding her bottom lip between her teeth.  It really was very hard to be annoyed with this woman.  "Hmm.  And wanting me to stay here with you in case I needed something?"

Sam shook her head, trying to understand where the blonde was going.  "You were hurt, Kris.  I didn't want you hurt yourself more when I could help."  The light bulb would have blinded her if it had been outside her mind.

Kris let the twitch take over her lips into a tiny smile when Sam grimaced.

"Dense, huh?"

Kris walked to Sam and pressed into the other woman's body, her arms circling her waist.  She smiled as she felt arms instantly surrounding her.  "No, just a little slow."  She looked up and grinned to take the sting away.

Sam nodded in agreement.  "I'm sorry.  I'm just used to doing things on my own.  I didn't seem like it was important."

Tucking her head back against Sam's chest, Kris released a sigh and then inhaled the scent she identified with the tall woman in pleasure.  "You're important to me.  Everything about you is."

Sam certainly understood that.  Sometimes it seemed as if she was hypersensitive to Kris.  She stroked the pale hair as she thought about that.  It seemed everything that happened to the blonde was critically important to her.  How insensitive to realize it might be a two way street.  She sighed and kissed the top of Kris' head.  "I am sorry."

Kris tightened her arms and then released her friend with a pat on the hip and looked up.  "Remember that, okay?"

"Deal."  Sam smiled.  "Now, I'll clean this up and you go rest?"

"How about we clean this up and then we both go rest?"

Sam chuckled wryly.  "Okay, I know when I'm beaten."

"Ooh, let me write that down!"  Laughing, Kris circled the table and began cleaning up.

In short order, they had the table cleaned off and dishes in the dishwasher.  They both settled on the couch in unspoken agreement to relax with each other.

"Anything specific?"  Kris picked up the remote and turned on the TV.

Rounding the couch with drinks in hand, Sam put them on the coffee table and then sat down next to the blonde.  "Hmm, not sure what's on.  I don't watch TV much."

"Well, I can press buttons with the best of 'em." Kris grinned.  "Let's see."  She pushed the buttons and ran through several channels before seeing faces that looked familiar.  "Hey, I like this one.  Do you watch it?"

Sam looked at the screen; a blonde woman in fatigues was speaking with a shorter dark haired woman, who appeared to be a doctor.   The doctor began to tell the other woman about her daughter and then it got a little confusing.  "Is this their daughter?  Are they a couple?"

Kris grinned.  "No, but I've always thought they could be."

The blonde on the screen smiled and Sam blinked.  "Wow, great smile."

Instantly, Kris' attention centered on the blonde and she frowned.  "She is pretty."

"Yes, she is."  Sam's gaze slid to her very own blonde and she saw Kris' intent gaze.  'Hmm.' She slid her arm around Kris' shoulders and pulled her carefully closer.  "Luckily, though, I have my own blonde who has an even better smile and is gorgeous to boot."

Allowing herself to be pulled closer, Kris snuggled up against Sam, pleased that her ribs were behaving themselves.  She put one arm around Sam's waist and smiled as she inhaled the distinctive scent of the other woman.  "Yeah?"

"Oh yeah."  'I might work this out yet.'

Happily, Kris tilted her head back and pressed a quick kiss on Sam's chin.  "You know, I hadn't thought of that before."

"What's that?"

"Well, those two are sort of the opposite of us, aren't they?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, look at them.  She's tall and blonde and the doctor is ... slightly smaller in stature and dark."

"Huh.  You're right.  I like our way better."  Sam kept the remark she was going to make about Kris' stature to herself.

"Me too but at least the blonde is brilliant there too."

Grinning, Sam looked down at Kris and a green eyeball swiveled to look back.  "Brilliant, beautiful and blonde.  What more could I ask for?"

"Not a thing."

"Too right.  Uh, Kris, what is that thing on his forehead?"

Eventually, the closing credits came across the screen and Kris looked up at her friend.  "So, did you like it?"

"Yeah, actually, I did and I think those two should definitely be together.  The archaeologist guy is sort of annoying, though."

"Yeah, he can be."  The last time she'd sat on the couch and watched TV at Sam's ran through her mind, Cat had kept her company and they'd watched a movie together.  Both waiting for the detective to come home, although she very much doubted Cat would ever let that be known.  'Like cat, like human.'  Kris grinned slightly and stretched a little, pleased that her body seemed to be cooperating more with her and then stopped.  "Hey, Sam ... have you seen Cat in the last couple of days?"

"Um, no I haven't.  Why?"

"Because I haven't either.  Is that normal?"

"Is there a normal where Demon Spawn's concerned?"

Lightly smacking Sam's stomach, and almost losing her train of thought as her hand bounced off interesting muscle definition, she continued.  "He was here that first night but I haven't seen him at all today or yesterday.  Doesn't he come here to eat?"

"Well, I'm always putting out food so I hope so."

"Do you see him every day?"

"I guess, yeah.  Most days anyway." Sam shifted slightly to accommodate Kris' movement.  "I wonder where he is.  Why don't I go check?"  She said and then caught herself, "After all, I don't want all the neighborhood cats eating the stuff I put out."

Kris hid a smile.  "It's okay, you're comfy and so am I.  He's probably out trying to con someone else out of food."

Sam's mouth lifted into a quirky grin.  "I'm sure he's fine anyway.  Who would mess with the Demon Spawn?"  Still, she made a mental note to check before she went to bed and then wondered what on earth she was thinking.  As if the damned cat couldn't take care of himself.

"Mmm, probably.  I hope he's all right."  It was comfortable and safe where Kris was, a very nice feeling indeed.  She turned her head and nuzzled Sam's neck and then smiled to herself as Sam tilted her head to the side just a little with a tiny purr of enjoyment.

The tall woman's neck muscles jumped slightly but settled down once they got used to Kris' light, warm breath.  Sam resisted the urge to close her eyes in contentment, fearing another night spent on the couch.  This was so very pleasant, comfortable and so very ... right.

Kris also realized the danger but still let her eyes close as she felt the briefest of touch of what was almost certainly a kiss on the top of her head.  "So, how did today go?"

Sam's lips twitched up at the dreamy look on Kris' face and she wondered how long it would take before the blonde fell asleep. "There was an awful lot of stuff to process.  I have a little work to do here this weekend on it.  Looks like it's staying ours for the moment, though."

"That's great.  Was my Father pleased?"

Not wishing to bring up the worry she had about Kris' father, Sam answered quickly and then darted in another direction.  "He's concerned about what we found out but I think he's glad of a lead finally.  Speaking of which, sorry I was a bit later than I thought."

"I told you, it's fine.  I'm just glad you called and woke me up or I might not sleep at all tonight."

"Mmm.  Any headaches?"

"A little one earlier, that's why I laid down."

"Did you do too much today?"

"No, Mom.  Just got a little tired."

Sam looked down at her plate, "Sorry, I promised I wouldn't nag."

Kris smiled, "It's fine.  I just feel a whole bunch better, honest."

"Honest?"  Sam's blue eyes twinkled a little.  Kris did indeed look better; her face seemed a little less drawn and had a better color to it.

"Yep!  Of course, breakfast and dinner with you definitely helped."

"I know what you mean."  Sam smiled and then the smile faded as she recalled their breakfast discussion.   "Did you want to still talk to me about something?"  A little twinge of fear hit her gut, even though Kris had already told her it wasn't anything bad.

"Yes, I do.  Is that okay?"

"Of course."

Kris could feel an increased tension in many of the muscles she was leaning on and she pushed herself back to look at Sam's face.   "Are you sure?"

"Yes, of course."

Feeling the heartbeat under her hand speed up, Kris' brow wrinkled.  It took just a few seconds for Kris to roll her eyes at herself as she realized what was going on.  A soft smile breezed across her lips and she shook her head ever so slightly before snuggling back down.  The smile grew as Sam's arms closed around her.  "How long have we known each other?"

"A few years, I guess."

"Uh huh.  And how long have I been chasing after you?"

"What?"  Sam tilted her head to the side and looked down in surprise.

"Come on, Sam.  How long?"

"Chasing after me?"  Her voice rose on the last word.

"Yeah.  Since one look at you made me feel safer than I've ever felt before."

"What?"  The dark haired woman repeated.  Realizing Scrabble was almost certainly out of the picture any time soon unless she brought the dictionary with her to play with.  However, a game that involved repeating what someone else said was definitely a good bet.

Kris lifted her head up to look back.  "It took me a while to figure that out but surely you realized?"

"Uh ..."  Sam blinked. 'Years?  She's wanted this for years?'  For some reason, that idea was shocking to the detective.  Her mind shot back to the mall, to the first look into green eyes that . She exhaled sharply and shook her head.

"Sam?"  Kris was aware that Sam's affections had almost certainly only developed recently but that didn't account for the surprise on her friend's face.  A jagged dart of worry impaled itself in her stomach.

Moving her thumb over Kris' back slowly, Sam let that thought roll around in her mind for a few moments.   That didn't seem to be a problem since it appeared she had lost all her brain capacity in the last minute or two anyway.  However, Kris sitting up all the way, with a concerned look on her face, broke Sam out of her mind whirl.  "I'm sorry.  I guess just hearing you say that made me think a bit there.  It's a little bit of a shock."

Kris swallowed a little lump of sadness.  'Teach you to try to be a smarty pants two times in a row, hmm, Kris?'  She hadn't meant to weird Sam out, nor get the admission that it hadn't been the same for her but nevertheless, she decided, you don't always get what you want.  Her shoulders drooped a little.  "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to weird you out there."

"Hmm?  No, you didn't."  Sam shook her head a little, as if to clear it.  Kris had a questioning look on her face and the detective finally realized that the blonde appeared a little upset.  "Hey, what's up?"

'Typical.  I freak her out and she asks me what's up.'  Kris looked directly into the clear blue eyes.  "Are you really bothered that it's been that long for me?"

Blinking away her surprise, Sam kept her sight right on the precious jade and lifted a hand to rub Kris' upper arm with a smile.  "I'm not bothered at all.  I just realized that it's taken this long for my brain to wake up to what my heart's been telling it for a very long time."

A little stunned and not daring to hope, Kris asked, "How long?"

Sam's smile grew and her hand moved to cup Kris' cheek.  "Oh, since a certain brave blonde caught my eye in a mall, I'm thinking."

"But you were with ..." Kris winced, afraid she might have just said something very stupid.

"Steve, yes."  She took a breath and moved the hand to Kris' uninjured one.  It was time to share something very private.  "We were already having some problems, to be honest.  I loved him but ..."  Sam looked at Kris and shook her head very slightly.  "It would never have worked out in the long run.  We both knew that."

After thinking a moment, Kris couldn't bring herself to be jealous of a dead man. "From what I've heard, it sounds like you two were very much alike."

"Yes, that's part of it.  Frankly, we were too much alike."

Kris watched as a sad smile crossed the angled face and she waited to see if her friend would continue.

"He would like you."

"Me?"

"Yes, you.  In fact, I think he would've given me a run for my money once he saw you."

"You think I would've tried to take him away?"  Kris asked with more than a touch of incredulity in her voice.

"No."  Sam replied.  "I think he would've gone after you like a fox after a prize hen."

"Me?!"  A startled Kris replied

Chuckling, Sam replied.  "Yes, you."

"But ...but I'm ..."

"Beautiful?  Kind?  Honest?  Intelligent? Want me to go on?"

"But you were together!" Kris replied indignantly, ignoring the tinge of blush that had rushed to her cheeks.

Sam thought about that for a few long seconds and then looked at the blonde.  "I know.  That night at the restaurant ..."  She'd never told anyone about what went on that night in the restaurant.  A hard swallow later, she had to blink back the excess moisture in her eyes and then resisted the urge to put a hand up against the ache in her chest.

Kris touched the back of Sam's hand with her slightly swollen fingers and gently stroked.  "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bring up bad things."

Taking a few seconds to gain control of herself, Sam continued after a tight, and very short, smile.  "I know.  It's just that ... nobody knows we'd pretty much decided to break up that night.  Not even the Kellys."  She shook her head slowly.  "I couldn't add that to their pain, not then and there's certainly no need now."  A deep sigh.  "It just wasn't working and hadn't been for some time.  The saddest thing is that I don't think he would've been there if I hadn't insisted we meet."

Kris took a breath to deal with the ache she felt for her friend.  To carry around that type of guilt was a terrible burden.  That had to stop.  "Sam, my Dad told my Mom that they were after the two of you because of the busts you'd been involved in.  Both of you."  Scooting closer, she asked, "What if he'd been with the Kellys at the time they decided to take him out?  You can't play 'what if' because there are too many directions to go."

"Sometimes "

Kris frowned, the word had been said so softly it could have easily been missed but the pain in it couldn't be.   She waited for a little while and then prodded, "Sometimes?"

A sigh.  "Sometimes, the worst thing is that I didn't know I was pregnant, Steve didn't know I was pregnant."

The blonde was very gentle.  "Would that have changed things?"

Sam's eyebrows closed on each other as she thought that one out.  The first thing to come to mind had been 'Of course' and that wasn't really true.  'Was it, Sam?'  Be honest with her if not yourself.'   "I want to say that it might have helped, that we might not have been at the restaurant.  But, I know that's not realistic.  They could've found us anywhere and it would've just delayed the inevitable as far as the relationship goes."

Tendrils of dark hair floated into the air as Sam blew a breath up through them, thinking hard about the next words.  "A baby would've just been another complication in something already so very complicated.  He wasn't ready for that and I sure as hell wasn't either."  She shook her head, her eyes focused far away.  "If I'd kept it, we probably would've tried to stay together but there's no doubt in my mind that it would have just been for a little while."

Kris found herself almost breathless with wonder.  She'd never gotten this deep with Sam and she wanted to handle it as the precious gift it was.  Sensing that pushing for more would break this connection, she kept quiet and waited for Sam to continue.

Not wanting Kris to misunderstand, Sam focused tighter on the green eyes, "Don't get me wrong, Steve and his family were very important in my life, they gave me a glimpse into what could be.  They offered and accepted love without reservation and helped me understand how things could be.  It's just that ..."  Her lips slid into a tiny smile at that, finding just a smidgen of peace when her mind's eye called him up this time. "It was easy to fall into that sense of ... belonging with them but it wasn't enough."

Feeling the tiniest release of tension from Sam, Kris felt a little relief herself at that fact and also the words being spoken.  "I'm glad you had them.  His family sure is great."

"Yeah, they sure are." 'Okay, snap out of it, Sam!'  Straightening her back a little, Sam tried to get herself in order with a mental shake.  "I'm sorry, not really sure where that all spilled out of.  I try not to think of it."

Kris let her eyes travel over her friend's face, seeing the pain she was trying to hide.  In a voice that was almost a whisper, she spoke, "Sometimes, you make it so hard to know you and there's so much inside.  Please don't ever apologize for talking to me.  Your trust is something I value so very much."

Sam licked her lips as she thought about that.  "You've more than earned my trust."  She couldn't help but be entranced by the huge smile blossoming on Kris' face.  "I'm very lucky to have a friend like you."

"And very much of a ditto from me."

"I guess I might not have really known you except for everything that's happened."

Avoiding Sam's gaze, Kris couldn't help but ask, "Do you regret it?"

Widening eyes betrayed the surprise on Sam's face.  "I can't ..."  She looked away for a minute, trying to decide on how exactly to answer that question.  "I regret that good people were hurt and worse along this path."  The dark head turned to look back at her friend.  "Including you.  But, regret having your friendship and ... "  Sam found herself just watching Kris, unable to voice the next words.

Luckily, she didn't have to.  "My love?"

Sam closed her eyes for a moment and then opened them again, a soft smile decorating her face.  "Yes.  Your love."  Dark hair moved in tandem with Sam's very gentle shake of her head as she squeezed the hand she was holding.  "I can never regret that.  Ever.  And I pray that you don't ever have a reason to either."

"I think my heart's in safe hands."

"Are you sure?"

Kris kept her gaze even, she was fairly certain that this wasn't just about her heart.  "Very sure."

Sam leaned forward and touched her lips to Kris' for a long moment, enjoying the immediate reaction of the younger woman.  She whispered against soft lips, "I love you."

Curving her own lips into a smile, Kris let her forehead rest against Sam's.  "I love you too.  So very much."  She then snuggled back down happily in the dark woman's arms.  "Then you should know."

"Huh?  Know what?"  Sam asked, completely oblivious to the circle they'd just traveled.

"That what I need to talk to you about is nothing bad."  Proud of herself for finally getting them back on the track she had started them on but not upset at all to have learned what she did, Kris spoke again.  "I just want someone to bounce a few ideas off.  Is that okay?"  Of course, part of the return to original subject came from the fact that she also realized that she'd managed to push the envelope as far as she'd ever pushed with Sam and didn't want to ruin the effort.

Sam returned her arms to their previous position around Kris, glad to be moving away from matters she preferred to keep inside.  "Of course it is.  What's up?"

"It's my job."

Sam leaned back into the cushions, she'd had a feeling this might come up.  "Which one?"

"That's just it.  Which one's the question?"

"What's the answer?"

Kris exhaled a deep breath through her lips, "I'm not sure."

"Do you need to be right now?"

"What, sure?"

"Mmmhmm."

Kris thought about that for a few moments, enjoying the feel of Sam's fingers feather touching her back.  "Yeah, I think I do.  It's just that I don't think I want to be a lawyer."

"Why?"

The blonde put her arm around Sam's stomach as she let her mind work on that.  "I...  I'm not even sure I can really explain.  It's like, when I was watching the TV reporter at that one building.   I couldn't even imagine doing that job and it's, at least, somewhat similar to what I do at the paper."

"And a lawyer is very far away from that?"

"In some ways not.  I mean, I'd want to be a lawyer who dug for the truth and I do that as a reporter."

"But?"  Sam chuckled to herself as a thought ran through her mind, 'Hey, I think I have this bouncing thing down pretty well.'

"But ... I think I could probably be a good lawyer ..."

"There's no doubt."

"So say you."  Chuckling, Kris lightly squeezed her friend.  "Anyway, I think I could be a good lawyer but I found myself resenting the time I spent at work.  There was no joy in it."

"You're not a lawyer yet, though.  Maybe it gets better?"

"Maybe."

"Have you spoken to anyone, maybe your boss?  You seem to like her?"

Kris groaned a little.  "That's part of the problem.  I've watched Connie and all she does is work too hard and deal with a whole bunch of idiots."  She continued with a sigh.  "I guess I shouldn't say that.  I mean, lots of people are really great and she does seem to enjoy it sometimes but, I just don't know."

"I'm guessing you've already done the pro and con columns or something like it."

"Something like that."  Kris had indeed.  Her mind still spun around when she thought of the time she'd spent trying to work through the reasons why she should stay with the job or not.

"How about Micki?"

"I thought about it but I wasn't sure how you'd take that."

Surprised, Sam asked, "Why would I have a problem with that?"

"Well, she's your friend and all."

"Um, I hate to tell you this, but she's your friend too."

Kris flashed a grin.  "Yeah, I guess she is."

Sam paused for a moment before speaking, getting her ducks in order.  "Kris, can I say something whilst in bounce mode?"

Kris laughed.  "Of course, silly, that's one of the things you do in bounce mode, you know."

"Gotcha.  Well, lets start with first and foremost.  You would make an incredible lawyer.  In fact, Lee and I were discussing that fact recently and decided that we both prayed you'd be on our side."

"Lee?  I don't even know Lee!"  Kris wasn't quite sure how she felt about being a topic of discussion between Sam and her partner.

"She knows you," Sam replied, her tone rather disgusted.

Kris was a little startled.  "What?  How?"

Sam found something very interesting to look at on the ceiling.  "From me."

Kris heard the rumble more than the words.  She looked up but could only see an expanse of neck that appeared a little flushed.  "From you?"

"I ..." Sam sighed.  "I think I probably drove her nuts saying how great you were and how you helped with the exterminator truck and all that."  'Mush, mush mush!'

"How great I was?"  Kris wiggled a little in pleasure.

"Ayup." Sam grinned at Kris' movement. "Anyway, there's no doubt that you'd do a really great job.  We already know about your skills as a journalist, you've proven yourself many times over.  But, I think it needs to come down to not only what you want to do with your life but what you enjoy."  She pushed on.  "This is nothing to do with what anyone else wants for you.  It has to be what you want to do."

"Mmm, that's the problem isn't it?  I don't want to let anyone down."

Sam pulled back, immediately missing the warmth against her, and looked at her friend.  "Kris, that isn't a problem at all because it won't happen.  You're not going to let anyone down.  It's your life, your choice and needs to be what you want to do.  Has to be.  Do what's right for you."

Taking in the earnest and heartfelt words, Kris commented, "I seem to be doing a lot of that lately."

Sam's face turned puzzled.

Kris smiled and brought her hand up to brush the back of her fingers against Sam's cheek. "You.  You're right for me."

Sam couldn't help but return the smile as she leaned slightly into the warmth of the fingers against her cheek.  "And you are very precious to me."  Sam could feel her heart beat increasing as she looked into Kris' eyes.  A moment was spared to wonder how they'd gotten this far off track that quickly before she leaned close to the blonde and was met half way by warm lips meeting her own.

The jolt traveled straight to Kris' gut, she circled Sam's body with her arms just as Sam pulled her closer with one arm and braced against the couch with the other.

With Kris holding her tightly, Sam's hand began to move gently across Kris' back.  Her body now centered, and in a firm hold, she brought her other hand up and stroked down Kris' soft hair a few times before lightly cupping her hand against the back of the blonde's skull.

Kris couldn't help the little moan that escaped when the kiss deepened.  'She is so good at this.'   It was, therefore, quite a shock when the Sam's hands touched the sides of her head and the dark woman's lips moved away just a short time later.

'Down, down!  She wants to talk to you, remember?'  It had taken a little while to get that thought through to Sam's brain, it had to go through quite a few locations before it got to the right place.  She drew back and kissed Kris' forehead, apologizing in a ragged breath, "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to get us off track, as pleasant as it was.  You needed to talk."  Her hands fell.

"Sam?"  This time, Kris moved her good hand to the back of her friend's neck.

Sam looked at Kris and her voice cracked a little, "Yes?"  She felt herself being pulled back towards the blonde and wasn't able to put up any type of resistance.

"Never thought I'd say this, but, sometimes you talk too much."  It was a complete explosion of senses for Kris when she leaned back against the throw pillows on the couch and pulled Sam down to her.  Sam had put her arms out to take most of the weight from a still injured Kris and the blonde was very pleased to note that this left the tall woman's body completely unprotected from wandering hands.  Not that they needed much help.   In the places where they touched their bodies fairly lit up with searing flames.

Sam's elbows almost gave out as Kris' hands slipped under her t-shirt and traced the hard line of stomach muscle.  With only a tiny waver, she managed to lock the joints and continue with her intimate tour of Kris' very warm and soft mouth for several long moments.

Feeling almost light headed, Kris inhaled sharply as Sam's lips and tongue moved across her jaw and down the side of her neck in an apparent random fashion. She could feel goose bumps trail behind the seductive warmth.  In the heat of the moment, her hands paused for a second, requiring a couple of seconds to get back on track.  Then the fingers of her injured hand followed the curves of Sam's side whilst the other moved inexorably closer to the curve of a breast.

This overwhelming crash of emotion was beginning to take its toll on the detective.  The muscles in her arms were twitching with the desire to collapse and allow her hands to do some exploring on her own.  However, all thought of that was momentarily stilled when she was forced to suck in a gulp of air through pursed lips as Kris' hand flitted over some very sensitive areas.  That felt far too good and the detective struggled to control the blazing fire building inside her.  'Damn, she makes it too easy to lose it!'

After nipping at Sam's collarbone, Kris paused for a long moment over her pulse point, enjoying the wild beating that signaled Sam's enjoyment of the proceedings.  The fact that her friend was just as involved in this as she was only seemed to fuel the flames.  But, when the other woman reached the slope of her neck to shoulder and bit down lightly before paying careful attention to the area with her lips Kris almost forgot what she was doing herself.

Sam was breathing very rapidly, heat had spread until every inch of her was flushed and she began to feel the desire start to take control.  Unfortunately, that wasn't something she could allow.  'Need to take it down a few notches, Sam.' She started to slow down a little but it appeared as if Kris wasn't getting the signals.  Taking a deep breath, she swallowed and paused for a moment in her attentions, breathing out, "Kris, we need to stop."

The light groan, when Kris pulled down the loose t-shirt from the inside and moved her lips lower, following Sam's rumble against her ear spoiled the effect the words might have had otherwise.  She looked up into passion darkened blue eyes and felt them reach deep into her soul, tugging gently on her very essence.  Licking her lips, she asked, breathlessly, "Do you want to stop?"

'Oh god.'  Was all that Sam could think as she began to get lost in the forest of jade beneath her.  She could feel Kris in every cell, every heart beat and breath.  It was beyond intoxicating, beyond anything she'd ever felt before.  The answer was obvious but she was desperately trying to not overwhelm her less experienced partner.  The tiniest shake of her head betrayed the depth of her passion.

Kris smiled gently.  She could see everything running rampant in Sam's eyes and, yet, herself felt nothing of the obvious indecision.  It was very right but she wanted it to be for both of them.  The blonde was positive that the other woman's indecision came from fear for her and that helped her decide her next move.

Removing her hand from its latest exploration, she brushed back Sam's dark bangs, only to have them fall forward again against a very warm forehead and reddened face.  Tenderly, trailing fingers down the ruddy face, she idly watched her friend's facial muscles twitch where she touched and then whispered, "Don't stop."

Sam's heart thudded with a jolt at the whispered words and warm breath that caressed her face.  It took all of the scant concentration that she could muster to keep her elbows from resigning from their current duty completely.  She was forced to take a second to deal with her rebelling joints, then blinked and kept her gaze directly on Kris.  "Are you ..."  The hand now pulling her head down from the position it had retaken against the back of her neck and the soft lips capturing hers cut off the rest of the words.

It was done so smoothly that Kris was surprised, after she'd fired up enough brain cells to be able to think, to realize they were now both standing.  It was impossible to concentrate on anything but the trading of blazing touches and breathtaking kisses.  Her entire body felt energized and when Sam pulled her into another deep kiss, she willingly complied.  Not that she had much choice; almost every cell was lost in sensual abandon and reaching to be a part of the other woman.

In quite a daze, she allowed herself to be led to another room, their bodies in constant contact the entire time.  It wasn't until she noticed the deepening shadows on the dark woman's face and a slight dip in temperature that the fact it was Sam's bedroom hit her.  That brought about the realization that Sam had stopped most movement, beyond hands stroking Kris' back and arm.

She blinked and looked up from a particularly satisfying series of licks and nibbles on the other woman's upper chest into slightly dilated, sparkling and passion filled blue eyes that regarded her carefully.  It took but a moment to realize that Sam was giving her another chance to stop.

It was odd, she realized.  There was no fear, no unease at what was about to happen, no hesitation and no shyness at this new stage in their relationship.  They had come to a point where she just had to be a part of Sam in every way and nothing inside her mind, heart, body or soul was protesting any move they'd made.  She didn't expect they would.

In relationships before, some part or parts of her tucked themselves away in their respective hiding places not willing or interested to be involved in whatever was going on.  Not this time.  This time everything was familiar, comfortable, yet incredibly exciting and very obviously going to get more so.

The blonde took the opportunity to turn the pair of them around and slowly sat down on the bed.  She smiled as she grabbed the front of Sam's t-shirt and pulled.  The smile grew as the tall woman gave no protest to the movement and, instead, somehow settled them both on the bed.

Before she could get back to her place on Sam's chest, a thought of how she'd bookmark that particular body site snapped through her mind coalescing into a wicked grin.  Then Sam was looking deeply into her eyes and tracing her face with a fingertip.  Kris could feel the tiny hairs on her face reach for attention in waves of desire that shot straight to her groin.

"So beautiful."

Kris' smile grew at that compliment, then she was forced to close her eyes as the possessive lips and tongue of the other woman laid claim to wherever they touched.  Her own arms faltered in their search for new territory to conquer when she felt Sam's hands begin to push up the comfortable shirt she had on.  And, when she felt the warm and incredibly soft kisses on her injured ribs, the last thoughts she had, before she completely lost herself in a sensual haze, were of how she planned to make very good use of what she'd learned in the past few days.  She would make sure that Sam felt as much as she could of this pleasure.

------

With a bleary series of blinks, Sam awoke.  The sunlight streaming in through the partially open blinds not only told her it was at least mid morning but also made patterns on the various surfaces it struck.  From a hazy warmth on the wood of the chest of drawers to an odd iridescent metal sparkle from the side of the mirror.  She felt so completely comfortable and rested, when she doubted that should be the case, that it took a few moments for the fact that she'd never noticed these things before to sink in.

She lay on her back with a warm weight pinning her down on one side.  Closing her eyes for a moment, she then angled her head down to confirm the blonde tangle of hair spilled like careless sunshine across her naked chest.   Her breath caught when Kris' hair seemed to pick up the approaching bars of light and reflect them in an almost magical aura.

An involuntary chuckle spilled out.  'Speaking of things I've never noticed before.  Careless sunshine, Sam?  What is that?  God, she's turning you into something worse than a mushball.  A romantic mushball!'  Oddly, however, she couldn't find even the slightest desire to be annoyed at herself.  Not even the tiniest iota, not after what they'd shared last night.

Her heart sped up as she relived some of the many hours that she and Kris had spent exploring the depths of what they felt for each other.  It had been wonderful and Sam still was a little shell shocked at that.  She'd expected it would be good, there was just too much between them for it not to be.  But, she'd also expected one or both of them to be somewhat uncomfortable or, at least, have some reservations.  But, there had been no barriers, no reservations and a whole bunch of surprises.

A sharp inhalation of breath accompanied her memory of holding Kris gently with one arm, moisture beading on both their bodies, and asking softly, "Everything all right?"  She'd reached out a hand to tenderly push some loose blonde locks behind Kris' ear and waited for just a short moment for Kris to answer, barely having time to pray that her new lover was comfortable with what they'd just experienced, before the blonde did respond.

Kris' ragged, "Oh yeah.", and immediate, not to mention startling, surge of movement that ended up with half lidded smoky green eyes looking down at slightly widened blue had been unexpected.

What had come next had been even more unexpected.  Somehow, the blonde had seemed to know exactly what to do to get the best response and by the time they'd fallen together in a wrap of limbs and sweat slicked skin quite some time later, Sam had been completely wiped out.  She'd honestly lost track of their dance, unable to control a hunger that she couldn't fill, and with a partner who seemed to be experiencing the same, the corner of Sam's mouth quirked up, problem.  It had been ... incredible.

Kris nestled closer and Sam's arm curled protectively closer across the blonde's back.  The accompanying thrill down the tall woman's spine, as her body reacted to Kris' closer presence, woke her up even more.  She let out a slow breath and tried to concentrate on relieving some of the ball of pleasant but growing tension.

'God,' She thought wryly, as she shoved down a tickle of joy bubbling up inside, 'I feel like I've never done this before.'  It wasn't as if she hadn't found ....  She thought about that for a minute.  There was release, satisfaction and then there was what she had experienced last night.  There was what she was experiencing now.

That was how Kris found her when she began to stir.  This was so different from when she'd woken up, for the first time, with Sam a few days ago.  The skin touching her own felt like pure silk and she couldn't resist a slight stretch against it, reveling in the baby powder smooth sliding of their skin together.  That, along with the warm length of arm pressing against her back, and even more so the fingers stroking lightly and slowly, sent pleasant tingles radiating throughout her body.

Just because she could, she slid her cheek lightly against Sam's upper chest slowly and then tilted her head back to look at Sam's face.  Her face twitched into a smile at the slightly incredulous lift of Sam's lips.  The blue eyes gentled perceptibly and she found her own smile growing because of it.  Lifting the arm with the cast, she traced the line of Sam's jaw and melted even more inside when the other woman's eyes fluttered closed.  She could feel the tall woman's heart beat jump at her touch and thoroughly enjoyed the feeling that gave her.

In a sleep, and other emotions filled, husky voice, she quipped, "And I was silly enough to wonder why it took us so long to just kiss?"  She felt more than heard Sam's chuckle and pushed herself up, realizing with a start of surprise that her body wasn't really feeling any pain.  She wasn't ready to climb a mountain, certainly, and there were a couple of twinges from her ribs but ... "Wow, therapeutic properties as well?"

Sam raised an eyebrow at that, truly pleased that Kris seemed just as happy as she was, and rumbled, "Hmm?"

"I don't hurt and that's been a novelty lately.  But, then again, I would guess that pretty much every muscle in my body is as relaxed as it's ever been."  Idly, she traced patterns through dark hair that lingered in waves over the strong collarbone.

Sam cleared her throat but it still managed to crack a little, "I doubt that the doctors would accept this as the definitive cure, but ... "  She continued a little shyly, "I'd be willing to help you try it out?"

A mischievous grin appeared on Kris' face and her nose wrinkled up as she surveyed the extremely adorable expression.  "Would you now?"

Feeling her own lips grow into a larger smile, Sam nodded and just replied with a "Mmmhmm."  The gust of air that she inhaled right after that, as Kris moved her hand lower, caused her eyes to widen in surprise as she looked at the smirking blonde.

Kris had time to think, 'Utoh!' before she was gently flipped onto her back and flashing blue eyes dipped closer.  Once Sam was finished with her thorough and very complete attentions, a puddle wouldn't have had anything on the blonde.  She protested as her lover moved away and then paused for a second as that thought caught up in breathless wonder.  'My lover.  Wow.' Blinking up at the retreating figure, she croaked, as she got a good look at the expanse of skin in front of her, "Where do you think you're going?"

Sam grinned.  "Breakfast?"  It was interesting to watch as Kris' very flushed face turned into something that said 'I don't think so!' and a dark blonde eyebrow rose a bit.

Sam smirked a little, "No?"  When the blonde head moved from side to side and green eyes turned dusky, the dark haired woman flashed a full smile and leaned in closer.  Breakfast could most definitely wait.

------------

"No, sir.  Nothing that either of us could find."

Captain Scott caught himself beginning to pace and diverted to the window instead.  At least there he could look out and use that to try and calm his mind.  Too much was going on and there wasn't enough information to make any type of move.  To top it off, his own daughter had provided some of the key information.  No, they had to be very sure.   'What a way to start off a Monday.'

He glanced at the dark haired detective for a second as she turned to say something to her partner.  There was also that situation with ...  It took quite a mental shake of his head, but the Captain pushed himself away from that direction.  There had been moments, after his wife had seemed to be pushing the point of how close his daughter was to the detective, when he had allowed himself to walk down a path he didn't like at all.  He wasn't very proud of himself for that.

Now, he'd realized that his daughter wouldn't do anything that would hurt her family, nothing to embarrass them or try to break out of the mold that he'd carefully crafted for her.  She had certainly been a difficult river to channel but he had managed it through perseverance, luck and prior planning.  He thought about that for a moment, back to when it had appeared that Kris wanted to follow in his footsteps.  But, he knew it wasn't really a job for his daughter.  He'd definitely known best on that and had taken the steps necessary to make sure that she did as well.  He accepted that, it was how it was supposed to be.

His eyes flitted over the proud form of the tall detective again and then over to Carson.  The pair had fit well together; even he hadn't really thought it would go as well as it had so far.  They seemed to be able to work with each other quite effectively and had fallen into an easy rapport that even he could see.  It had surprised him, honestly.  The dark haired woman was not known for her ability to put up with many people and definitely not fools.  It only proved to show just how valuable Carson might be to their unit.  Something to consider.  For another time.

"All right."  He moved to the corner of his desk, noting with approval the instant attention the detectives gave him.  "There's not much we can do here, officially.  What you two have to concentrate on is finding that proof and finding it fast.  If Raston really does have something to do with this, he will have screwed up somewhere.  There will be a receipt, a conversation, a phone bill or whatever it is that'll trip him up.  It's out there.  I've arranged for you both to be able to visit his apartment on the basis that you're looking into his disappearance."

He looked at his two officers.  "You both understand that this is all it can be at the moment?"  They both nodded and he continued, "I don't like this at all but I have to agree that there are far too many coincidences on this one.  I want them all checked out.  Keep me informed with any new developments immediately."

-------

Sam's bangs floated up as she blew a breath of air towards them and then she watched as they dropped back down.

Lee watched the activity with a tiny smile on her face, then immediately tucked the smile away when she noticed the blue eyes staring straight at her and a dark eyebrow raised high.  "Something up?"  She asked.

Shaking her head, Sam replied, "Just waiting to get through to Marty.  Figured I better do that before we head out.  He called again this weekend, it looks like."  The fact that she had been daydreaming about a certain little blonde whilst on hold, again, wasn't going to be common knowledge.  Not to be repeated was the fact that she hadn't thought of much else besides a little blonde the entire morning either.  Nor was the fact that she'd slept terribly the past night and she certainly would never admit that it was because of the lack of a certain blonde's presence.

Kris had gone back to her apartment the night before after a wonderful weekend strictly spent ... Sam struggled to control the heat that began flaring up her neck and making her more than a little uncomfortable.  Simply put, it had been an incredible weekend, full of fun and passion and gentleness and, most of all, love.  Sam had certainly not wanted it to end.  It would be no surprise, therefore, to know that she had also not wanted to drop Kris off, not wanted to help her pack and definitely not watch her walk away.

'Get a grip, Sam!'  She had yelled at herself when her stomach had fallen to her toes and her heart had started to beat rapidly at the sight of Kris walking away from her.  It was as if she was sure she'd never see her again.  Her mouth had gone dry and she'd found herself half out of the car, wanting to yell something stupid to her lover until she'd calmed down and just watched her be greeted by Robin and walk inside the apartment.  Thankfully, not without a long look back and dazzling smile that, even now, threatened to cause its echo on Sam's face.

"Detective Foster?"

Shaking herself out of her stupor, the detective hastened to respond.  "Yes?"

"Ma'am, I'm afraid you can't talk to the prisoner right now."

Dark brows scrunched together.  "But I thought this call had been approved?"

"Yes, ma'am, it was."  The prison official cleared his throat.  "I'm afraid there's been an incident."

Instantly, Sam was all business.  "What type of incident?"

"The prisoner was attacked last night in the jo... lavatory.  He's in the hospital."

"In the prison or out?"

"Inspiration, according to this.  He had to have an operation that the doc here couldn't do."

A very short while later, Sam was on the phone to Inspiration Hospital, inquiring after Marty's health.  Finally, she hung up the phone and noticed Lee's rapt attention from across the expanse of the two desks.

"What's going on?"  Her partner asked.

Sam sighed, not really quite sure how to answer that.  "Marty was attacked last night.  Someone beat him up badly and then stabbed him a few times to try and be sure he'd bleed to death on the floor.  He's in critical condition but they think and hope they got him on the table in time."

"Random or?"  Lee asked, fairly certain of the answer.

Annoyed that she hadn't taken the time to look into his calls sooner, Sam shook her head.  "I'm not a big fan of coincidences.  He's been trying to get me for days and now he's attacked?  What're the odds?"

"He's in prison, pretty high."

"Yeah, I know.  It's just ... I need to talk to him but they won't let me until, at least, tomorrow.  LaMont's hearing's on the docket for tomorrow afternoon.  I'd like to try and drop in on that too."

"Why's it been so long?"

"Oh, poor Joey's injuries were so severe, you know."  The dark head shook back and forth in disgust.

Joseph LaMont had attempted to rob a bank some time before.  When they'd been interrupted, he had ordered Sam into the bank in an attempt at some misbegotten vengeance for Sam's prior wrongs against family of organized crime members.   Of course, Kris had found her way into the mix by being at the bank when they had tried to rob it.

"Then I guess we go search Raston's place?"

"Yeah, you ready?"

---------

"Tired, honey?"

Kris trailed her fingers from her eyes to her chin.  "Yeah, a little."  'God, what a lie.  That had to be the most terrible night's sleep I've ever had.'

She'd finally gotten a little sleep only to wake up curled around the pillow that Sam had laid on the night she'd just held Kris in her arms for a few hours to try and soothe the pain the blonde had been feeling.  The ever so slight whisper of the tall woman's perfume and warm scent helped her to finally drop off but it had not been easy.  'Amazing how quickly you can get used to sleeping with someone.'

Her mind began to wander.  'Someone warm, strong ... naked.'  Green eyes widened and she flashed a surreptitious look at her mother before rolling down the window slightly and finding very interesting things in the cement scenery outside.

"You warm?"

"Uh, I was for a minute.  Yeah.  The window okay?"

"I can turn on the air if you need?"

Kris stifled the urge to not be grateful for the attention to her needs.  "No, thanks, mom.  It was just a little sort of hot flash thing."

Kris' mother sent a worried glance towards her daughter.  "Are you sick?"

'In love?  Uh, and lust?  Uh huh.'  "No, I feel just ... perfect."  Mrs. Scott turned back to the traffic and missed the grin that planted itself on her daughter's face.  'Just perfect.'

"Okay, but if you need to stop or something just let me know."

"I'm fine, Mom, honest.  Thanks again for driving me."

"Of course.  That's what moms are for."

Kris looked over at her mother and smiled.  She had always been a source of strength and love for the younger woman.  Everything she had done in her life had seemed to be incredibly important to her mother.  When she'd failed at something, Kris had always known that her mother would have words of encouragement for her, no matter what.  And now, having made it plain that she wasn't thrilled with the idea, she stood behind Kris' involvement with Sam.  Sometimes, the oddest situations make you realize what you have.  "I love you, Mom."

A pleased grin, very reminiscent of her daughter's, lit up Lisa Scott's face.  She looked over at her daughter for just a moment, "I love you too, Kris.  No matter what."

An hour later they were in another doctor's office, waiting for Kris to be seen by the ortho who was dealing with her wrist and was also going to check her ribs.  X-rays were in order for the wrist, to make sure things were progressing well and they had wanted to check the fit on the cast to be sure that it still fit well after some of the swelling had gone down.

They'd already been to the doctor who had dealt with Kris' head wound and Kris was still wondering what on earth her reflexes had to do with the neatly healing wound on her forehead.  They had told her that the scar would likely not be terribly noticeable but she could have surgery, at a later date, to try and lessen the impact if it truly bothered her.  Kris wasn't sure how she felt about that and decided to just wait and see how things turned out first.  No point deciding anything yet.

Still, the doctor had been pleased that the headaches had stopped over the weekend and she was hopeful that they would start slacking off in general.  However, she warned Kris to keep her stress level down and keep the strenuous activity to a minimum.  That doing whatever she'd done the past weekend was probably fine.  The blonde had to bite back a smile at that and remembered the doctor's frown when she'd noticed Kris' heartbeat increase at the mention of the past weekend.   Luckily, the doctor also noticed the blush on the blonde's face and wisely decided to not ask any more questions.

When her name was called, Kris left her mother sitting in the boring beige waiting room and headed into the indicated tiny room.  Waiting patiently, she allowed herself to examine the rooms with its various depictions of the human body and bones.  Concentrating on the wrist, she tried to identify the part that had broken on her and repeatedly glanced between the drawing and the x-rays the nurse had helpfully put up for the doctor.

It still amazed her just how many things connected to others in the human body.  She never could get used to that.  It was in the middle of this deep thought that her ruminations were interrupted by a yelp of obvious surprise from the next room and the sound of a heavy object hitting the wall.  Hopping off the table, Kris peeked her head around the corner and drew back sharply as Doctor Molin's panicked face appeared at the other doorway and yelled, "Someone get a real doctor, this lady's collapsed!"

After doing a double take, Kris had to laugh when the doctor disappeared back into the room and several nurses headed for the room in question.  Several minutes later, Doctor Molin strode past and poked his head in.

In a hushed tone, he said, "I'm sorry, it'll be a few more minutes.  The lady next door brought her daughter with her and I had to ...  well, there was a large needle involved.  The daughter just went splat and fell against the wall, then slid down."

"Yikes.  Is she okay?"

"Well, um, I had another doctor come to check her out.  Emergency room stuff isn't my field, you know?  I deal with bones, not people falling over and banging their heads.  But, I think they're taking her to emergency to check her out."

-----

"He said what?  He's a doctor!!"

"Yes, I know but he does bones, not emergencies.  It was pretty funny.  Well, not for the lady and her daughter but they think she's fine."

"Okaaayyy.  And you, how're you?"  Sam asked, her head resting on the telephone handset, which was held up by her elbow on the kitchen counter.

"I'm good.  Everything seems to be healing fine.  But..."

Sam stiffened slightly and her tone became concerned, "But?  Are you okay?  What is it?"  The detective kept expecting the other shoe to fall anytime, the last few days had been unbelievable and she prayed that Kris wouldn't have to pay for that.

"Whoa!  I'm sorry, I was just teasing a little.  Hang on."  Kris grimaced a little, vowing to be a little more careful about that.  "I was just going to say that I didn't tell the doctor about your prescription for feeling better but, oddly, he did tell me to keep doing whatever I'd been doing to make my head hurt less and enable me to stop the pills."

The corner of Sam's mouth twitched up into a quirky grin.  "He did?"

"Uh huh."  The blonde's voice became a little husky and she cleared her throat.

Sam's grin grew wider.  "When, uh, can you resume this prescription?"

"Weeelll," Kris teased, "You know, medication's supposed to be taken regularly and I may just need a booster shot very soon."

Sam's voice lowered to a purr.  "Really."

"Oh yeah."  Kris felt the purr rumble right through her bones and had to marvel at the effect one simple word had over her.  'Only when it's the right person speaking it.'  She reminded herself.

"I'll be happy to administer the dosage."  It was becoming difficult to keep the smile from her face and Sam finally let it free as she padded to the couch.  She gave it a once over and took a deep breath at the memories, very fond memories, of a certain blonde and the couch flooded in.  'Phew, very fond memories.'

A knock on her door diverted Kris' attention.  She told the phone "Sec." and then raised her voice a little as she cupped her hand over the receiver, "Yeah?"

"Got a sec?"  Robin asked through the door.

'Dammit!' Kris groused.  "Sure, just give me a minute to get off the phone."

"Okay, I'll be in the living room."

"Sam?"

"Gotta go?"  Sam asked as she leaned back against the couch cushions.

"Unfortunately.  Can we take this up again in person, maybe soon?"  Kris asked, a little uncertain of how much of her feelings on the matter she should show to the older woman.  She didn't want to crowd Sam but there was a definite strong, 'Hell, it's a riptide!', pull in the detective's direction.  She really wanted to ask her to pick her up but understood that pushing her friend too much would likely not force a good result.

"Well, since I can't very well steal you away tonight.  Tomorrow?"  The tall woman found a large part of herself wishing that Kris would disagree and ask her to drive over now to pick her up.

White teeth flashed as Kris' face molded itself into a relieved smile.  "That'd be very good.  Are you planning on going to the courthouse tomorrow?"

"Oh yes.  You're not are you?"

"Yeah, I figured I would, actually.  Mom wants to be there too, so she said she'd take me."

"Kris, that was a bad time and he is a complete ... jerk.  You sure you want to put yourself through that?  It's just the preliminary stuff."

"I know, but I need to do this.  It's later in the day, though.  Any chance we can go home, I mean your home, after, and then maybe the softball game?"

'Home?'  The smile came back to the dark woman's face and then came a slight grimace as she realized she had completely forgotten about the softball game.  "That sounds good, the game's late, though.  Is that okay with you?"

"Uh huh."

"Okay, barring emergencies, I think that'd be an excellent idea.  I'll make sure Lee's okay with it but I don't think she'll be going to the courthouse anyway."

"Great, I uh ..."  A little shy bug crawled into Kris' body and took over for a minute.

"You'll be staying?   I can take you somewhere on the way to work the next day or you can just stay?"

The morning sun had nothing on the towheaded woman's smile.  "That sounds good, I'll bring a bag."  Kris could hear her roommate making noise beyond her bedroom door.  "Sam, I better go.  I think Robin's getting antsy.  I'll call you later?"

"Yep, that sounds great."

"Okay, I love you."

"I love you too.  Talk to you later."

Both of them hesitated before hanging up their respective phones but eventually were forced to do that.

------

"Hey, Rob.  What's up?"  The blonde asked, noting the seemingly tense form of her roomie.

"I need to go out of town again.  I uh ..."

"What is it?"

"Well, I wanted to apologize for not being around when you got out of the hospital.  I know the joint was a mess and well, you know."

"Yeah, it was a mess.  Not your fault, of course.  Mine, if anyone's."  Kris had wondered if Robin would say anything.  She hadn't the night before, they'd just chatted for a few minutes and then Robin had disappeared after a call from James.

Robin looked up in surprise, ready to be reamed by her roommate for her total lack of assistance during her recent ordeal.  "Uh yeah.  Well, I'm sorry I wasn't much help, it's just that this thing with James was set and I needed to go."

"Mmhmm.  I understand."  Not truly understanding Robin's reasons for not cleaning up but realizing that she likely never would really understand the person she shared space with, Kris decided to drop it.  "Speaking of which, when are you leaving?"

"Tonight, maybe in the morning.  James and I ... we need to work a few things out, so I told him I'd go to this stupid conference he has to go to in Chicago."

The part of Kris that always seemed to care about everyone poked up its head, as usual.  "Are you okay?"

Robin hung her head a little.  "I guess.  Well, no.  We're ..."

Kris frowned, she could clearly see that Robin was upset.  "Rob, what is it?"  Reaching out, Kris rubbed Robin's arm lightly.  "Problems?"

"I uh... did something...  Remember Jason?"  At Kris' nod, she continued, "Well, I made a mistake.  Had a little too much to drink.  You know."

It took quite a bit of resolve to not shake her head, but Kris managed it.  Robin just seemed to be unbelievably self-destructive sometimes.  This wasn't the first time she'd ruined a relationship with an indiscretion or ten.  "And James found out?"  It didn't escape Kris' notice that Jason had been the one Robin had set her up with the night she refused to go out a few weeks back.

Robin's voice dropped to just above a whisper.  "Yeah."

Gently pulling Robin down to sit on the couch with her with her good hand, Kris thought for just a second before plowing ahead.  "Rob, you're happy with James, right?"  She watched as Robin's head bobbed up and down but no words came out.  "Then make it up with him and figure out what you want to do with your life.  If he's THE guy, then don't screw it up.  Okay?"

"It's not that easy, Kris.  You know that."

"Which part isn't?"

"All of it!"  Robin replied a little indignantly.

"Okay, Rob.  Is it finding a person, which you have, that isn't easy?  Is it making up to him, figuring out what you want to do with your life or not screwing it up?  Which is it?"  Kris drew a breath of surprise at herself.  She wasn't usually quite so straightforward with her questions.

"Come on, Kris, you have a hard time with all of this stuff too.  Do you honestly think there is ONE person that will be everything for you?  Do you never think there's something better over the next hill?"

'Oh boy, that is so the wrong question to ask me now that I finally have what I've wanted for so long.'  Kris wondered for a moment what her response would have been a week before but it didn't really matter anymore.  "Yes, there is one person and no, once you find it, there's absolutely nothing better over the hill," came the quiet, firm response.

Robin frowned and ran her fingers through her hair.  She had been too tied up in her absolute knowledge that James was great but there had to be more, be better and hadn't been prepared for Kris' definite answer.  Her anger at the situation came out at Kris as she dismissed her words.  "How can you know that?  You haven't been in a relationship for ages."

'Well, you started it, dummy.  Now you have to find an answer.'  Kris ignored Robin's bitter tone and looked over her roommate's face, wondering exactly how she should say what she was going to have to say.  She certainly could not 'out' her relationship with Sam without discussing it with her lover.  A delicious tingle ran down her spine and she promised herself to repeat the word 'lover' several times later on, with an inward grin.  "It's true, Robin.  And, when you find that person, there will be nothing better over the next hill or country or decade.  There will be no point searching anymore because the best will be in your arms."

Robin tried not to smirk, she could tell Kris was quite serious, but failed.  "Kris, that's romantic nonsense and you know it.  You haven't had a date in ... what was it, almost two years?  Now you've suddenly become Ms Expert?"

Misty green eyes never faltered in their possession of Robin's gaze, Kris smiled inwardly as Robin's smirk faded.  "Not an expert by any means, no."  Blonde locks moved a little as Kris ever so slightly shook her head.  "But ..."  She paused long enough for a calming breath.  "Rob, if James isn't the one then when you do find the right one, hold on with everything you have because you may never get another chance."

Robin frowned; something was obviously different about Kris.  She seemed more centered, more confident, perhaps.  After a couple of moments, she made an assumption.  "I'm sorry, I really hadn't thought of what you've just been through.  It must bring some stuff home, I guess?"

Kris almost snorted when it took her a few moments to realize what Robin was thinking.  She'd been so lost in the wonder of the love that had possessed her soul that it had taken a little while to shift gears.  "Well, yes, that it does.  It makes you realize what you have right in front of you and what you need to do to accomplish your dreams."  Pleased at being given a natural way out, Kris thought. 'There, that's safe and completely true.'

"Gotcha."  Robin replied with a smile.  "Maybe you can help me find Mr. Right, eh?"

Kris leveled a steely glare at her roomie.  "Rob, if you try to set me up again you won't have to worry about Mr. Right ever again."  Momentarily, Kris fought the urge to chuckle at just how true that statement would be from both herself and Sam.

Holding her hands in front of her, Robin laughed.  "All right, all right.  No more blind dates, I promise."

'Of course, I could always bring along my tall, dark and gorgeous bodyguard and see how long the poor guy lasts.'  A smirk flitted its way across Kris' face.  'Ooh, bad girl!'

Continued in Part 5