DISCLAIMERS:  Any similarities to Xena, Gabrielle et al are well, you guessed it.  Those characters are the property of Renaissance Pictures and MCA/Universal.  There is no copyright infringement intended in any way, shape or form.  However, the characters in this story are from my own rather warped imagination and are mine, mine, mine!  Not that anyone would ever possibly want to but just to cover all bases, this story cannot be used or sold for profit in any way.
PREVIOUSLY: The first part of Kris & Sam's 'Arc' can be found under "Insight" at
http://www.academyofbards.org/fanfic/i/ins1.html.  This started out as the various bits being separate stories and turned into something completely different, if you can imagine a story gaining a life of its own. <g>  So, whereas Realization can be read as a type of stand alone, you really do need to read Insight first for it to make considerably better sense.  If you haven't already, please go read that first and then come back here for the next part.  I apologize for any confusion.
RATING: PG-13 at worst, a couple of bad words.
RELATIONSHIP: Yep, if you do not or cannot celebrate love in whatever form it presents itself to us then please find another story to read.  Although I sincerely doubt this story will ever range beyond PG-13 and this specific episode barely rates a scale, please be aware that it does touch on these subjects.
NOTES: I'm not a detective, lawyer or journalist and don't profess to play one on TV.  Anyone who feels like writing to me, I'd love to hear from you but this 'Arc' is my first attempt at Fan Fiction, and even if it wasn't, please don't be nasty.  Helpful critique is fine, wonderful praise is fine <eg>, "Hey, it was okay" is fine etc but bad stuff will be tossed and put where it belongs.  If ya don't like it, I don't need to know but I hope you do.  Idryth@aol.com
SPECIAL NOTE:  Once again, thank you to Inga for her invaluable assistance and support.  Neither story would have been completed without her.

Song lyrics used without permission and are the copyright of Martina McBride.


'Dammit!'  Kris hung up the phone with a bit, in reality a lot, more force than necessary. This was the third time Sam in two weeks that Sam had either canceled her appearance at the softball game or begged off the two of them doing something together.  Even when she'd showed up at the one softball game she had left immediately after the game was finished.  The phone calls they usually shared a couple of times daily had also dwindled to occasional and Kris was finding this a situation she didn't like at all.  In fact, it had to stop.

Sam rested the back of her hand on her forehead; phone still firmly attached to under her fingers. 'She knows, Sam.  You're going to have to deal with this.'  She placed the phone back on the receiver very carefully and looked at it for a minute.  Slowly, her eyes closed and she tried to deal with the pain she was causing herself.  She knew that this had to be hurting Kris, 'Who am I kidding?  I could hear it in her voice.'

The blonde thought back to the last time they'd really had any time together, it had been Jen's wedding which was just a little over two weeks ago.  She remembered Sam singing the song and how Kris could've sworn an electric current was running between the two of them.  It had been the strangest feeling, Kris vaguely recalled turning down a request to dance but couldn't remember whom from.  In fact, all she could remember was Sam's voice and her blue eyes staring right into the depths of her soul.  Kris' mind let loose a mental sigh of exasperation, 'She IS going to talk to me!"

Sam brought her hands up to scrub her face and left them there, leaning hard into them as her mind wandered back to the wedding reception and the song.  It had almost seemed as if she shared the song with Kris, the spark between them at the end was almost palpable.   The detective couldn't deny her feelings anymore or push them behind her defenses or even blame it on circumstances.  She couldn't do that but she had to find a way to hide it from others, especially from Kris. 'And you're doing such a good job of that aren't you?  Hiding from her like a ten year old.'  One of the main problems was that she missed her friend terribly; the detective had thought it would get better but it hadn't.  She'd almost given in so many times when the pain from just the thought of pulling away from Kris was incredibly intense.  With an echo of the pain stabbing her she rubbed her chest. 'God, this is gonna kill me.'


An eyebrow rose high in shock.  "A partner, sir?"

"Yes, Foster.  A partner.  You do remember what one of those is or has it been too long?"

"Of course, sir."  Sam paused and then forged ahead, "May I speak freely?"  It had been over a year since she'd had to work with a partner.  Her last had transferred to another city to be closer to his wife's family and apart from sporadic pair ups she'd been alone.

"Wait a minute." The Captain made as if to write something down, "I need to make a note that you actually asked first on this day."

She couldn't help the twitch to her lips, "Sorry, sir."

He looked more than a bit dubious at her sincerity. "Should I assume that you want to know why I'm giving you a partner?"

"If I may be frank, yes."  She rushed ahead, "I've been by myself for a while now and my record speaks for itself.  I think you'll find it shows I do much better by myself."

"To be frank in return, the records also show that, simply put, you're a bit of a maverick.  That's going to catch up to you and I'd prefer it not be anytime soon."

Sam frowned, "Sir, I..."

The Captain interrupted her, "My decision isn't going to change, Foster.  I know you're not happy with it but I do have ulterior motives and it's probably not permanent."  At the detective's interested look, he continued.  "You're a damned fine cop and I have someone coming in that could learn a lot from you.  Your drive and experience are just what she needs."

"She?"  Being one of the few female officers in her division, she was frequently paired with other females by those who didn't want to work with women and it still annoyed her when she saw that happening.  Thankfully, it wasn't that many guys back then and seemed to be getting less, but her hackles were raised anyway.

As if reading her mind, Captain Scott tried to soothe her in his own exasperating way.  "Don't get your feathers in a ruffle."

Sam squirmed in her chair a little, "It's not permanent, though."

"Probably not.  She's got a request for a transfer in; we're just a stop along the way.  I need your promise that the next piece information is between us."

"Of course."

The Captain looked troubled.  "Since she's going to be your partner, you should be aware that she had some trouble at her last precinct with her partner.  There were charges filed and it's quite likely he'll be without a badge soon.  Her Lieutenant and I worked together for a while, she says she's a good cop but it's not working for her where she is."

Both of Sam's eyebrow rose high under her bangs.  The fact that this woman's other partner was projected to be out of the Force meant that it was something bad indeed.  "Can I ask what happened?"

"I'd rather she tell you in her own words.  If it looks like it's causing any type of problem then we'll discuss it."

Sam nodded somewhat unhappily.  "When is she starting?"

"Should be tomorrow afternoon.  She's getting processed in the morning."

Now Sam's mouth dropped open slightly before she found her voice, "Sir, I have the autopsy on the latest murder victim tomorrow afternoon and witness interviews the next day.  There's no time to get her up to speed before then."

Captain Scott stood and walked around the desk, leaning back against it. "Foster, I know this is difficult and not what you want but I need her up to speed as soon as possible.   Work with me here."

Sam was not happy at all with this development but beyond making a formal complaint, which would certainly gain her nothing since the Captain had the final say and was certainly within all his rights to assign her a partner.  Normally, the lieutenant would pair partners and govern the department.  However, they hadn't promoted anyone to fill the Lieutenant spot that had come open recently due to the sudden illness of the last Lieutenant with the job.  She sighed inwardly, "What's her name?"

The Captain looked relieved, "Lee Carson."  He returned to the other side of the desk, "Thank you, Foster.  I can't think of anyone better to help me with making her a damned fine officer than you."

Sam looked up at his face, trying to decide how long she could keep inside the incredulous look that threatened to break free.  Her eyebrows started to rise higher on her forehead.  To her surprise, the Captain laughed.

"That was a little heavy, wasn't it?"  He grinned wryly.

A pang hit Sam's chest as she recognized Kris in his face, she tried to recover with a touch of a smile on her lips.  "Why sir, I'd never say such a thing."


The ball flew far over the head of the first basewomen, hit a fence pole and bounced firmly into short right field.  Kris watched Jen grab it and set to throw it to second base and she prepared to back up Jen's throw to second.  Maria fielded the throw but it was far too late, the runner was safe.  'Omigod.'

A couple members of the team called out words of encouragement but Maria took a few moments to walk over to Kris, before throwing the ball back to the pitcher, "Hey, maybe you'll catch up with me in errors soon!"  She winked at Kris and threw the ball in to Anne.

They were being kind but Kris knew she had been completely and utterly distracted, she had just barely fielded the hit and then simply threw the ball away.  In fact she had been so distracted through the innings they had played so far that it was a miracle she had not messed up already.  It was her first error in she couldn't remember how long and she had enjoyed that streak a lot. 'This has to stop.'  She mentally slapped herself and prepared for the next batter.


"Hey, where's tall, dark and sing-me-a-song-anytime been?"

Kris noted that several heads turned to look at her after Maria asked her question and some chuckled.  Most of the core team members had been at Jen's wedding and, of course, Maria had also been at the bachelorette party. "She's been swamped at work.  Doing a lot of extra duty to try and keep up with the bad guys, I guess."

Several comments followed ranging from the state of society to encouragement for Sam to return to comments about almost feeling sorry for the bad guys.  Anne made a comment that hopefully they'd see the detective for tomorrow's game, since they played twice a week, and how nice that would be.  Making absolutely no secret of her admiration for the tall woman, a couple of the team teased her about that.

Kris, however, chose not to participate and grabbed her glass instead, taking a gulp, almost choking in the process.

Jen slapped her on the back and then leaned close to Kris, saying quietly, "You okay?"

Kris kept her attention on her beer, "Yeah, just fine."

Jen frowned and looked around to judge where the attentions of the rest of the team were, she whispered, "You sure?"

'Snap out of it, Kris!' She smiled brightly at Jen, "Sure.  Speaking of, you told us all about how gorgeous the honeymoon place was but how's married life?"

It was the perfect thing to say, all attention was suddenly on Jen and she was forced to respond to several questions, reach over and smack a few people on the arm lightly and laugh a lot.  In fact, everyone laughed a lot.  Even Kris was pulled into it although the ache inside made sure she knew it was still there.  Still, she resolved to try and keep up with everything and have a little fun for at least this short time with her friends.




"Hey, how's it going?"

"Wanted to let you know that they've already called the softball games tonight because of the rain, the fields are already lakes."

"Great.  Thanks for calling to let me know."

'Great?' An unreasonable sadness hit Kris and she paused for a second to punch it down, "I was wondering if we could maybe get some dinner instead?"  She held her breath.

The desire to spend some time with Kris was becoming overwhelming and her resolve had all but eroded but her new partner was due in at any time and she had no idea how long the updates were going to take.   She rubbed her forehead, "I'm sorry, Kris, I'd love to but I have no idea when I'll be done here.  I have..." She took a breath but felt she couldn't tell Kris how annoyed she was since her father was the one who had assigned her a new partner, "a new project that just got dumped on me and bunch of stuff I have to prepare.  Maybe another night?"

"Maybe?"  Kris felt the sting of tears starting to pool in her eyes.

'Stupid!'  Sam grimaced, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it that way."

Kris kept silent; not willing to show the emotion she knew was in her voice.


"I'm here." Kris barely managed to not croak it out.

Sam's heart felt as if it were right around her toes, she could hear the emotion in Kris' voice and was angry with herself for being such an idiot. 'That's it!'  The detective thought for a few moments, forcing a separation obviously wasn't working for either of them and Sam simply wasn't willing to cause her friend any more pain or do without her friendship.  "Are you free tomorrow night?"

"Yeah, after I turn my story in for the paper."

"How about seven thirty at Carmelita's?"

"You sure?"

Sam winced at the question where there never used to be, "I'm not on call and unless something completely beyond my control hits then wild horses couldn't keep me away."

"Okay.  Seven thirty."  Kris took a breath to say something else but changed her mind.  She just wanted to see Sam and prayed that her friend would make it the next night.  They said their farewells and hung up


Sam studied the pictures of the latest in what appeared to be a series of murders.  This one, Roger Jensen, had been found with the same type of wounds, in an empty house that didn't belong to the victim and seemed to have nothing to do with the owner either.  She hadn't responded to it but the file had ended up on her desk since she'd shown interest in the case.  Nothing seemed to tie the three people together, they were all from different backgrounds, different areas of town, didn't bank or shop in the same places it was a large puzzle.  Fortunately, Sam had always liked puzzles and she was sure she'd find something to get a lead on the person doing this.

Her mind flashed back to the night she'd discovered that the second murder victim was a softball player she'd played against with Kris' team.  Of course, a certain blonde person popped into her mind too and she remembered how upset Kris had been when she'd identified the body.  She was remembering comforting Kris when it broke through to her busy mind that all the chatter in the room had stopped.

This was a pretty unusual event, so she looked up and saw that several heads were focused somewhere behind her.  Not seeing danger in the inquisitive looks from the others, she turned her head over her shoulder to see what was going on.  In the doorway stood the Captain, looking at her, and a tall blonde dressed in a dark blue suit, 'Lee Carson, I assume?'  Sam turned her head back around and her eyebrows rose for a moment in recognition of the surprise, 'Well.'  Standing quickly, she turned to walk towards the pair and noticed the Captain nod almost imperceptibly at her.


"Come on you two, back to my office."

He closed the door behind them and walked around to sit in his chair.  He then looked at one, then the other. "Sam Foster please meet Lee Carson and vice versa."

Sam wanted to start out on good terms and was determined to try her best.  She thought of how easily Kris handled new people she pushed aside her normal abrupt attitude and smiled, then held out her hand, "Nice to have you with us."

The blonde shook hands and quirked up a hint of a wry smile, "It's good to be here.  I've heard a lot about this station and you."

A dark eyebrow rose, "Oh dear."

"All good, of course." The smile grew slightly, whereas, internally, Lee Carson was a mess.  She was still cut up inside from having her partner go off the deep end and everything that entailed.   Add that to the fact that she'd heard a lot about Sam Foster and she had a huge case of the jitters, even though the other woman had seemed, at the very least, friendly so far.

The Captain watched the exchange with interest and just settled back into his chair.

The eyebrow rose higher, "I'm sure."  This time it was followed by the twitch of a smile on Sam's lips as well.  'Okay, maybe we'll manage.'


Kris sorted through the files on her desk to try and put them in some semblance of order.  It was a job that the clerks were often asked to do in the office but for the umpteenth time the blonde wondered if she was doing the right thing.  She had a story to finish for Leo by tomorrow and just what did she want to do with her life, Sam had asked her and she had no honest answer. 'When's the last time someone asked you that?'  She couldn't remember, really.  Her teachers in school had expressed interest in her choices but they just offered ideas and suggestions.  Nobody really wanted to hear what she wanted to do, besides Sam.

Her parents would likely be supportive of whatever choice she made but they really wanted her to be a lawyer.  Even so, she'd doggedly chased journalism throughout her schooling as well.  It had meant extra work frequently but she'd never regretted that.  It was something she truly enjoyed and something she felt truly blessed to be able to work in.  'Maybe that's it?'  She thought to herself, musing over the possibility that perhaps it would make all the difference when she became a lawyer.  She was practicing her craft as a journalist but not as a lawyer, she was able to make a difference with her stories and that was a powerful pull.  'Maybe I'll talk to Sam about this tomorrow.'

She was about to start in on the puzzle that was named Sam when Pam interrupted her.

"Hey girl. Did you hear?" She kept her voice down to a conspiratorial level.

"Probably not?"  She studied Pam, who was once again dressed perfectly.  Her dark skin accentuated by just the right amount of makeup and accessories.

"Hughes' is gone."

"Gone?  Gone as in gone to another company?"

"Nobody seems to know.  He's just gone.  Didn't come in yesterday and had a bunch of people really upset because he didn't cancel the appointments.  Isn't here today either."

"That's crazy.  He was up for a partnership.  Where would he go?"

"Don't know but I guess sent some people over to his house and his car's there but not him.  Shirley said she overheard Dwyer talking about calling the cops since it looks like he doesn't have any family here but one of the other guys was saying how bad it would look for the firm.  That he'd do some checking around."

Kris looked up at her friend with an incredulous look on her face.

"I know, I know!"  Pam held up her hands to stop the tirade she knew that Kris was about to get into, and then lowered her voice even more, "Personally, I'm not too upset about it.  He was a major jerk according to Marcy.  Makes me glad that we don't work with some of the other clerks and lawyers much.  Marcy's been told to refer any calls for him to Dwyer."

"How weird.  Maybe there's just been some emergency and it'll sort itself out."

"With you, the human trouble magnet, around?   What are the odds?"  Pam gave her a look that indicated her thoughts on that matter and backed away a step with a grin at Kris' glare.

"I am not a trouble magnet!"

Pam's eyes widened and she gave Kris a look of utter disbelief.  "Oh, you're not?  So, you're not the one who put the Mallory woman in the room alone with her cheating husband and his bimbo girlfriend?"

"Hey!  That was not my fault!  Shirley was supposed to put the two of them in Roger's office, not Connie's!"

"Uh huh, and you're not the one who the Xerox guy tripped over and spilled toner all over the office?"

"No!  He didn't trip over me."  Kris said with a touch of petulance.

"Oh that's right, he was trying to ask you out for a date and tripped over someone else."

"Not my fault either!"

"Uh huh."  Pam grinned and decided to give her friend a break,  "Okay, okay.  Hey, some of use are getting together tonight for dinner at Benson's Bistro.  Come with?"

"I don't know, Pam, I have a story to finish by tomorrow."

"Oh come on, protect me from Tim at least.  Please?"

She started to turn Pam down but realized it had been a while since they'd done anything beyond Jen's party.  That and the soulful look of pleading that Pam was giving her gave her no choice.  She agreed.

"Great!  I'll talk to you later, have to help Dan with some depositions he needs.  See you at the Bistro after work."

Kris watched her leave with a spare thought of how quickly Pam's demeanor had changed once she had agreed to go but her mind was really on the puzzle of the disappearing lawyer.  Alan Hughes had been a shoo in for the next partnership position and it really was a surprise to find out that he'd apparently disappeared.  'No wonder some of the lawyers seem on edge today.' She thought, referring mostly to how snappy Connie Evans had been today and how others had complained of the same. 'Wonder what's going on?'

She got back to her files when Tim came by her desk, she sighed inwardly.

"Hey gorgeous."

Unwilling to give him an inch, Kris replied with far less than her usual enthusiasm, "Tim."

"Did I hear you right, that you're going to be at the Bistro with us tonight?"

Mentally groaning, wishing she'd not said yes, Kris fumbled for a moment and then saw Pam looking at her piteously over the top of one of the gray dividers.  'Ugh.'   "For a little while, I have some work to do afterwards."

"Great, if you're lucky I'll buy you a drink."  He flashed what he probably thought was a sexy smile and sauntered away, seemingly quite pleased with himself.

Kris' lip curled up as he walked away.  She found herself mocking his 'If you're lucky,' silently and thinking, 'God, what a creep.'


Sam rolled her head around to try and ease out some tension and noticed her new partner wincing at the pops that seemed to echo down the corridor.  She smiled inwardly and leaned back against the wall to wait for Maggie's appearance, spending just a minute wondering how this partnership was going to work.

Sam admitted that she had control issues sometimes and was very well aware of the fact that she wasn't always sweetness and light to work with.  This afternoon really hadn't told her much about her new partner, there simply hadn't been time to do anything but talk about cases and bring her up to speed before the autopsy with Maggie.

After several hours of going through a mad dash rundown of quite a few case files and the stress of the first day, Lee was exhausted, starved and more than ready to go home and relax.  Unfortunately, she saw that this wasn't likely to happen with her new partner and she was determined to keep up with her. 'Especially on my first day, dammit!'

Sadly, for her, it was at that moment that Lee Carson's stomach decided to introduce itself.  That too seemed to carry down the corridor.

Sam looked up and met her partner's dark blue eyes, the corner of Sam's mouth quirked up slightly.  "Let me guess, you didn't have time for lunch after processing?"  Inwardly, she was pleased that Lee seemed to have no problems with the autopsy.  Whereas never pleasant, it was always helpful when one's partner did not end up in the bathroom the entire time or, worse, on the floor.

The answer was a sheepish shake of Lee's head.

"Well, I just want to make sure Maggie doesn't have anything to add and then I'm heading back to the station to pick up a couple of the files.  I'm guessing you'll want to head home after that."  They'd driven together to the Coroner's Office and so Sam had left some of the files in the safety of the department, rather than a car.

"Actually, I was hoping I could take some of the files tonight to try and get some of the tougher cases down."

Sam pushed herself from the wall, her control issues asserting themselves with a passion at the thought of having to share the files when she'd already planned on spending the evening mapping out both the serial murder case they appeared to have going and a series of brutal robberies that had been assigned to her.  She had other cases, of course, but these two needed the most work, at least in Sam's eyes.

Maggie saved the day by exiting her office and instantly noting Sam's stiff posture.  She quickly ran over the details with them, they had found an odd patch of an oily substance on one of the fingers.  A sample of that and the clothes had been sent to the lab in hopes they'd find something.  Otherwise, the details of Bob Curtis' death were very much like the other two had been.  Four strong swipes of a very sharp knife and his life had been extinguished.

"That's about it.  You'll get a copy of the detailed reported, of course."

"Thanks, Maggie.  Appreciate you handling this yourself."  Sam's voice chased the rest of the noises as it rumbled down the corridor.

Maggie smiled at them both, "Just doing my job."

"From what I've heard, that's very good."  Lee contributed.

"Thank you.  I do my best."  Maggie gifted the blonde with a smile then chuckled as Lee's stomach made itself known again.  "Sam, don't you take breaks to eat?"

Lee perked up, "Anywhere close by here to grab something?"

"We have a bunch of files to go over still, I'll find a drive through on the way back to the station."

Maggie looked at her in exasperation, "Sam, go find somewhere decent to eat!"

The 'glare of death' began to turn to Maggie. 'What the hell is this, people worried about my eating habits now?'  Sam was a little disconcerted.  Not only about Maggie's comment but also because of the fact that autopsies did bad things to her appetite.  She usually had to wait a while to eat after one.  Although she had never been ill during one, it seemed necessary to allow the smell and sights to fade before eating.

'Hmm, did I take an anti-glare pill today?'  Maggie grinned to herself, "What harm will it do?  You can talk about your files and have a good dinner.  I don't want to be finding you on my table because you super glued your arteries with fast food, got me?"

Sam just looked at Maggie, a study in shock.  Her mouth was open slightly and her eyes wide, then she shook her head.  'What in the hell is getting into people?'

Lee stood by and watched the Coroner with quite a bit of surprise.  The surprise grew when Sam seemed speechless.

In the intervening seconds, Sam was filtering all of this through her mind.  Going out to eat would mean they wouldn't be bothered by people wanting to meet the 'new kid' at the station and, even though they would have to be careful about they discussed, it might mean that Lee wouldn't need the files tonight and Sam could have most of them to herself.  'Plus, Kris is always telling me to try harder with new people.  Carson and I do need to have some type of rapport.'  She laughed inwardly at herself, 'Oh no, nothing to do with you wanting those files to yourself, nothing at all.'

'This might work.'  An hour or two more spent discussing the files would certainly help tomorrow when some of the interviews would require a solid background of facts.  "All right, Mother Superior Maggie." She looked over her shoulder at Carson, "How about we get the files and then get something to eat.  We can go over a couple of things and then see what information you still need?"

Groaning inwardly since she'd hoped to go home soon, Lee swallowed down any complaints and nodded. "Okay, that'll be great."

They said their goodbyes and, as she watched them walk through the doorway, the Coroner wondered briefly how long this was going to last.  She knew that Sam wasn't the easiest person for some to work with sometimes.  When the pair of detectives had met with her briefly before the autopsy she'd been instantly aware of several things.  The first, of course, was how striking the pair were together.  She briefly wondered if that was truly going to be an asset to them, sometimes that much attention was not a good thing.

She had also noticed that Sam was trying very hard to behave herself and it amused the Coroner a little bit.  During the autopsy, detective Carson had asked what the blonde detective realized later was a question with an obvious answer and Sam had restrained herself admirably from making a cutting comment.  Instead, she'd allowed Maggie to answer and instead had fidgeted by plucking at her protective gown.  However, when one of Maggie's techs had knocked an empty can on the floor, Sam had gifted him with a 'death by glare'. 'Still, she didn't say anything to him or send him flying across the room.  That has to be an improvement?"

Still, the image she preferred was the one of Sam gently comforting the small blonde that she'd brought in to identify a body a few weeks ago.  That image reminded her that even as complex as people could be, there was almost always someone who could bring out the best of them.  With a tiny smile playing on her lips, Maggie kept that thought and went back to work.


"No, thank you." Kris said for the third time, she was rapidly losing interest in this social occasion but Pam had cornered her already and made her promise she would stay for at least an hour longer.  'Why do I do this?'  They had had a light dinner at the bar along with the various alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.  Tim, of course, was all over any woman that he could get within two feet of and one of the other clerks had already left in disgust.

"Come on, babe.  Just one."

Green eyes glittered in annoyance, "Tim..." She blew out an exasperated breath and against her better judgement said, "Okay, one and you're done?"  The dark haired man nodded and smiled, "Fine, tequila."   Kris almost snickered when she saw Pam do a double take as the other woman overheard the order and was quite self-satisfied to see Tim's quickly hidden look of surprise.

The shot glass was placed in front of her along with a piece of lime, following the normal traditions the clear liquid was knocked back soon after.   Putting down the slice of lime she turned her head to face Tim, "Now, we're done.  Thank you."

"Sure I can't interest you in another, you seemed to enjoy that one."  Tim moved closer, "Or maybe you'd prefer the worm?"

'Shit.'  Her mind was screaming at her for being an idiot.  "Time for me to go.  I have an article to get written."

"I'll walk you to the car."

Pam turned worried eyes to Kris at Tim's offer but Kris shook them off with a little smile indicating she could handle herself.  "Not needed.  You stay here and have fun."  She said her goodbyes to Pam and the others and left the bar area quickly.  Walking along the railing to the exit she let her eyes scan the various tables and almost tripped over a plant stand when she spotted a familiar head at one of the tables.

'Sam?' The detective was sitting at a table with a blonde woman and they were talking earnestly, Sam's back was mostly facing Kris and as she watched her friend reached across the table and gently touched the blonde's hand.  Kris felt as if all the blood had drained out of her body, a chill began to move from the tips of her toes and her stomach was clenching so badly she wasn't sure she could keep her dinner in.

"Sure." Sam drew her hand back as she responded to Lee's thanks for the loan of her pen.  "Did you get everything you needed?"  They hadn't gone into detail, of course, in the very public restaurant, nor delved into any pictures but they had discussed questions and potential ideas on which directions to go with them.  It had been a strained but satisfactory meeting.

Lee nodded absently but Sam's attention was suddenly on the skin crawling along her back.  She looked up and surreptitiously scanned the rest of the tables in sight and then nonchalantly moved her head around to look toward the bar area.  With a start of recognition, the detective saw Kris standing at the rail.  She immediately began to smile but that turned directly into a frown of confusion as her friend turned and almost ran into a dark headed man behind her.

Kris was struggling with several emotions, some of which were so strong that she wasn't exactly coherent in her response to Tim's jokingly asked question about her having enough to drink.  When he offered to take her to her car, she just nodded and tried to get herself under control.  She wanted to look back but her pride refused to let her do it.

If she had she would have seen Sam's hastily excused departure from her table.

The much cooler air hit the blonde with a force and she stopped in her tracks and shivered involuntarily.

"Yeah, let's get you out of this."  Tim was seeing some interesting thoughts go through his mind and most of them involved somewhere dark and quiet with the suddenly submissive blonde.


Sam stopped in mid-stride and whipped her head around to face a vaguely familiar face.

Pam smiled, "I thought that was you.  I'm Pam from.."

Sam put two and two together quickly and hoped Pam would know why Kris was acting odd, "I remember, from the wedding.  You work with Kris.  Nice to see you again."

"You too but by any chance were you going after Kris?"

"I thought..." Sam thought for a moment, 'How do I say I was frantic that something was wrong without saying that?'   She uncharacteristically fumbled for the words.  "Well she seemed uh..."

"Upset." Pam interjected, "She left like a bat out of hell, I saw her.  I was trying to warn her that Tim was following her but she ran into him."


Pam scrunched up her face a little at the word and paled slightly at the perceptible change in the demeanor of the other woman.  The concern that had been evident was now a pulsing beat rolling off the detective.  "Well, maybe not warn but he's a bit of a creep and I just wanted to make sure she knew he was following."

"Do you know why she was upset?"

"Well, Tim was being his normal pain in the ass self but she seemed okay until she came out here.  Then I saw her run into Tim and take off."

"Okay, thanks.  I'll see if I can catch her."  Sam was impatient to be off but forced a touch of a smile and nod as her goodbye, then turned her mind to what Pam had said.  She had a painful idea why Kris had taken off and she wanted to talk to her friend badly.

Out in the parking lot, Kris had just about come to her senses and was berating herself for allowing Tim to get her almost to the car.  She stopped and removed the arm that was around her waist, pushing it gently away.  "Thanks Tim, but I'm fine now."

He moved closer.

"Tim, thanks for the concern.  Really.  But I'm going home now."

"Come on, Kris.  We could have a good time."

Kris found herself with her back to her car and was more than a bit angry with herself for getting in this position, her eyes began to glitter with anger.  "Back off, Tim."

He lifted a hand to her jaw and stroked it gently with one finger, "We work well together.  Think of how good we can be in other places."

Kris put a hand on Tim's chest as her heart began to pound a beat with her anger, "That's enough!"

Tim smiled at her and started to move his hand down her neck, "Come on, Krissy.  Lighten up a little."

'Krissy?!'  Her other hand joined the first and she started to push him away, all of the emotions pent up inside from the Bistro were now spilling out.

He attempted to move in closer, bringing one hand down to her waist and the other headed to grasp her arm.

Kris let her emotions go, anticipating his move and knocking his wrist away with the back of one hand.  She then stepped closer to him with one leg, whilst bringing the other's knee up between his legs.  She felt and heard the satisfying results as his breath expelled and he dropped to his knees, holding the affected area as if his life depended on it.

"I told you that was enough.  You are not God's gift to women, you jerk.  When someone says no, she means it!"  Her voice rose on the last part of the sentence and she tried to keep up with her accelerated breathing.

After a few seconds of hearing his moans of pain, she began to feel a little contrite and wondered whether or not to try and get him some help.  Then she felt something.   Her eyes rose from him instantly hitting a pair of very proud, concerned and furious blue beams.  'Oh shit, she'll kill him!'

Kris was about to step around Tim and get in between her friend and the man on his knees when he croaked out, "You bitch, I'm gonna sue you for this."

Half a moment was spent deciding on whether or not to tell Sam she had it handled.  The blue eyes watched her carefully, Sam had obviously noticed her indecision and was waiting for Kris before taking any action.  Finally, Kris leaned back against the car and crossed her arms looking far more secure and calm than she really was.

Tim didn't see the angry woman behind him look at her friend's acceptance of whatever actions she was going to take, nor the long legs that bent slightly as she grabbed him by the collar and pulled him up.  He did, however, hear the voice that growled dangerously in his ear, "And just how far would that get you when I put you up on assault charges or told the Captain of my department that you attacked his daughter or..." She let her eyes close to slits and her fury show, "let myself remember what you tried to do here."  She shook him, "Hmm?"

He groaned and tried to turn, his hands still trying to protect his injured parts, but he was held quite firmly.  He forced out, "You can't do this."

Sam almost laughed at his attempts at trying to be tough and also trying to protect his injured parts.  "Wanna bet?"  She grabbed her badge off her belt and thrust it in his face.

Kris eyes brightened suddenly and she spoke up. "Are you going to charge him, Detective?"

A dark eyebrow rose but she played along. "Would you like to press charges, ma'am?"

Kris appeared to think about this for a minute.  "Well, can we put him on some type of warning?"

"Oh, I can certainly think of a few ways to warn him, ma'am."  Sam's eyes lit up dangerously as she looked at the man still in her grasp.

"I'm sure you can." Kris replied dryly, "But, I've already 'warned' him today."  A smirk lit her face, "Maybe if we flag his record somehow and if he ever does it again he gets in trouble?"

"Are you sure that's what you want to do?"

"Yes, I think so."

Sam turned the man around to face her and let the anger she was feeling crackle around her, "Remember how nice she was to you tonight.  Also remember that if I find you've ever bothered another woman like that,  I will truly enjoy watching the inmates sizing you up after I'm done with you.  Do you get my drift?"

He swallowed hard and nodded, his tough act running farther away with each second he was under her control.  He was well and truly scared of this woman, her energy had long ago sapped him of the tiny bit of courage he kept stashed away for emergencies in his little toe.

"Now apologize to the lady, then go back inside and make sure you drink a lot of coffee before you drive."  She turned him around to face her friend with a jerk.

After he apologized, Sam stood aside and crossed her arms waiting for him to leave.  She watched him the entire way, noting that he did not look back.  When he was inside the door she quickly turned to Kris, "Are you okay?"

Seeing all of the emotions flitting across Sam's face seemed to bolster Kris' morale, "Yeah, I'm fine."

Sam looked back over her shoulder her anger still on a burner, "You know, I should've run him in.  The son of a bitch, I can still do that."

Kris shook her head, "It's finished.  I sincerely doubt he'll ignore the lesson he learned tonight."

"You'll be really careful, though.  Right?  Just in case?"  Sam's anger was still very present but concern for Kris was rapidly overwhelming it.

Kris nodded, "Of course."  She looked at Sam briefly, "Thank you for the help."

"As if you needed any help.  You were awesome.  You stepped in perfectly and ...bam!"  Sam let loose a breath that clouded in the cool air.

"Thanks, I guess that class has come in handy for a couple of us now.  It did feel good to know I could do something."  Kris flashed a quick smile and then frowned,  "Um, in case you hadn't noticed, it's a bit cold now the clouds are gone.  Did you forget your jacket?"  The memory of where the coat probably was caused Kris to become uncomfortable again.

"I left it inside, I uh..." Sam shifted on her feet and felt uncomfortable about the quick change of subject, "I was worried that something was wrong."

'It's not my business.'  Green eyes looked up to search Sam's. 'But she lied to you.'  Kris gritted her teeth as she wanted to say something about it as the hurt replaced the anger she had been feeling.  She truly wanted to believe that this was a misunderstanding, her heart was still beating quickly when she said, "It's fine but I have to go.  I've got a story to write.  Thank you for the help."  Still hurting, she half turned to walk around the back of her car and barely resisted the urge to make a comment about the person waiting for her friend inside the restaurant.  Instead, she gave into the part of herself where Sam resided and asked, "I'll still see you tomorrow?"

"Yes, of course."  Sam was confused, it had been quite some time since she felt the need to explain and it went against several of her well honed control issues but felt she shouldn't, no couldn't, let the blonde leave like this.  Something was not right and Kris was not happy.  That just would not do.

"No...wait, please?"  Sam waited until Kris turned back to face her, her worry causing her to chew on the inside of her cheek as the blonde turned very slowly.  "I'm sorry I wasn't able to meet you tonight, I didn't know what I'd be doing or where I'd be." The detective reached for some way to draw Kris out in her need to explain, "Remember that new project I told you about?" She let one corner of her mouth lift slightly and then let it fall again as Kris did not respond.

Kris nodded.

The detective looked at her friend and then anywhere but as the words poured out, "Well, I got a new partner today and she wanted to take the files home.  She hadn't eaten and well..." Sam was a little sheepish, "you know how I am about my files.  So, I figured I could kill two birds with one stone.  You're always telling me to try."

Kris took a deep breath, the feelings still churning inside dissipated a little.  With the relief, "Yes, I am but why didn't you tell me?" slipped out where it normally would've stayed hidden far inside.  'Maybe it's time for some honesty?'

A look of pure chagrin hit Sam's face, "I was...a little bothered about the whole thing."

Kris' eyes narrowed as the a big piece of the puzzle fell into place, "And let me guess, Dad assigned her to you?"

Sam looked at the ground and nodded.

Kris just smiled, feeling the knots inside loosen even more.  "And you didn't want to put me in the middle but you knew I was upset?"

Sam kept her head down and shifted again, almost squirming in place.  Then she looked up through her bangs and winced slightly both at her own ridiculous insecurity and in preparation for the answer as she asked, "Are you mad at me?"

The last of the knots faded, leaving just an unpleasant aching reminder of some nasty emotions that Kris was going to examine in detail later.  She took a half step closer, the impossibly cute picture before her seemed to be tugging at her feet.  Automatically, her hand reached out to Sam's arm.  "Just tell me what's going on from now on, okay?  No protecting me."

Abashed at both her relief and her need to explain Sam nodded, "Deal."  She stood a little straighter and looked at Kris again with a tight smile, "Would you like to meet her?"

Kris considered for a few moments, in one way she did and yet, there was Tim and someone else might've noticed her rushing out.  "I better not this time, I really do have to finish my story and Tim's still in there."

Sam instantly straightened her posture, "He wouldn't dare!"

The blonde felt a little twinge of annoyance, she had taken care of it herself after all, but that turned to a slight flush as her friend added, "He'll remember what you did to him for a long time to come."

"And if that wasn't enough, you put the fear of you into him.  He didn't have a good night."  Kris replied and then muttered, "The jerk."

Sam chuckled lightly, not really wanting to let her friend go but realizing the need, "I'll see you tomorrow then."

"With bells on.  Now get back inside!"  Impulsively, Kris stepped close and gave the tall woman a quick hug, which was warmly returned, and a smile.


"I'll bring it right in."  Kris pressed the phone's button and shook her head.  Connie wasn't always easy to work for but she'd never been as contentious as she had been for the last few days.  Kris grabbed the paperwork that her boss needed and thought about how everything seemed to be a problem and everything needed to be done immediately lately.  She sighed at the piles of work on her desk, she wasn't getting any of the filing she'd planned on doing today done, nor any of the research she promised she'd finish up.

She had not even had time to reflect on the really nice dinner she had with Sam the night before.  They had closed the restaurant and then spent some time talking in Sam's car after that.  It had been so late when Kris got home that she had taken a shower and fallen into bed immediately.  As she opened the door to Connie's office, she smiled slightly at how wonderful it had been to spend some quality time with her friend.  She had missed it terribly over the last few weeks and had come to realize just how important it was to her.  She handed the papers to Connie, who absently nodded to her before getting back to the phone call she was on.

Back at her desk, Kris looked over the various jobs awaiting her and reached for one of the piles and started sorting.  As she worked, her mind reverted back to the many things she had discussed with Sam the night before.  She started to examine the night when, almost immediately, her work and musing was interrupted by the phone.  She let out a puff of exasperated air through her lips and answered it.

"Hi Roomie!"

"Hey, Rob.  What's up?"

"A few of us are getting together tonight at Blast, want to come?"

Kris looked at the piles of work on her desk and thought about both the late afternoon class she had and the batting practice a bunch of the women had planned tonight.  She hadn't promised she'd be there but she did feel something of an obligation to join since she was the one who got most of them together each year.  Then again, she hadn't done anything with Rob in a long time.

Robin must have heard the hesitation in Kris' voice, "Come on.  We haven't been out together in ages, it'll be fun."

Part of that was a fact.  Truth be told, Robin and Kris were friends but really didn't share much beyond the rent, a chat here and there and the apartment itself.  Not that Kris really minded.   Robin was really more Jen's friend and Jen had been the one to alert Kris to the fact that Robin was looking for a roomie to share an apartment when Robin's latest roomie had moved out.

Since it was very convenient for Kris' school and the attorney's office where she worked, it seemed an ideal solution.  And, in fact, it had worked out well for both of them.  They did tend to operate at different hours, not seeing each other that much so it really couldn't be said that Kris was ignoring Robin at all.  Robin's current love interest, the latest in a very active love life, was frequently taking her out of town as well, so Kris oftentimes had the apartment to herself for days and that was a true joy.

Kris was wavering, she didn't want to seem like she was putting off her friend but still.  Then a sudden thought popped into her suspicious head.  'There'susually there's a 'but' in Rob's plans when they involve me.'  "Who else is going?"

"Oh, just a few of us.  No big deal."

Now Kris was sure something was up.

"Who did you invite, Rob?"

"Aw, come on.  Just Jason from Allied Marketing.  He's alone and I thought maybe you and he could entertain each other.  Not a date!" She added quickly before Kris could assume it.

"Not a date?  Yeah sure!" Kris shook her head and tapped the head of a pencil against her desk blotter.  "Rob, you really have to stop doing that.  I'm just not interested in that right now, okay?"

"Kris, you haven't been interested in a really long time.  Not since Paul."

"Can you blame me?"

"No, I can't but you're not dead, you know.  Come on, I kinda promised Jason you'd be there."

"Rob!" Kris was more than slightly upset with her roommate for trying to set her up again.

The first few times Kris had fallen for Robin's line that it was 'just a few friends'.   However, the last two times Kris had only gone along with it after Robin had turned on the charm and begged her to be there.  The last time had found Paul waiting for her.  A nice enough guy to start out with, unfortunately, he wanted quite a lot more than Kris had wanted to offer and did not care how he got it.

Kris' mind wandered for a few moments as she remembered the bruised cheek she had ended up with and trying to hide it from everyone.  A shudder ran through her body as she remembered that the booze he liked to drink with abandon finally saved her, he had passed out before he could do any irreparable harm.  That had been over a year and a half ago. 'Jeez, has it been that long?'

Kris' eyes widened as she realized that fact and that she hadn't missed any part of it, in fact, she'd enjoyed the time more than she believed possible.  A twitch of her lips betrayed the fact that a picture of a tall, dark haired woman had flashed through her head when she thought about why she'd had such a great time over the past couple of years.

Dragging, and it definitely had been dragging she admitted to herself, Sam out of her self induced shell was a task she had taken on with all her heart, mind and body.  It had been infinitely more interesting, challenging and 'dare I say?' fun than any date Robin could ever set her up with.  'Hell, Sam is more fun that just about any date I've ever set myself up with.'  She thought for a moment and snorted to herself, 'ANY date I've ever set myself up with.'

"Oh come on, Kris.  It won't kill you."

'It won't kill me but it'll get me attacked?' She really was getting disillusioned with her roommate.  "No, just get me bruises."

"What?  Kris, that was a one-time thing.  Come on."

She'd given a lot of leeway to Robin's parade of boyfriends and her methods of getting Kris to do what she didn't want to.  'Sam's always telling me to do what's best for me.'  "I'm sorry, Rob.  I can't.  You'll need to tell Jason, I'm afraid."

"Kris, I promised James it would be a double date.  It'll be fun."

"Robin, I'm sorry.  I have stuff to do with the team tonight and a bunch of work and a class first."

"The team?" Now Robin seemed to be getting annoyed, "Kris, if I didn't know better..."

"What?"  Kris was trying not to raise her voice, she was still at work and was always quite professional but Robin was making it difficult.

"Are you going to come tonight?"  Robin demanded.

Kris bristled, "No."  She refused to apologize again for not wanting to go.

"Then I'll give you Jason's number and you can let him know."

Kris was astonished, "What?  I don't even know this guy.  You'll have to call him."

"God Dammit, Kris, I'm really beginning to wonder about you."

Before Kris could ask for a clarification, Robin hung up and the blonde stared at her phone in shock. 'Wonder about me?  What the hell?'

In her haste to hang up the phone, and a bit of annoyance as well, Kris accidentally knocked one of her careful piles of work.  Several files fell to the floor and quite a few pieces of paper slid out from them.  'Crap!'

The blonde rounded her desk and knelt down by the papers and files with an exasperated sigh. 'Maybe it's time I thought about finding a new place.'   Then she had a thought and grinned impishly, 'Of course, I have to make sure they do not allow pets so that Sam doesn't get any ideas about Cat.'

With a last healthy exhale of breath she grabbed the two final pieces of errant paper and stood, her knees cracking somewhat.  'Ugh, ancient bones!'   She moved to her desk and laid the files that had fallen where she could see most of the nametags and then resolved to find the correct homes for the individual sheets of paper that had fallen out before she did anything else.

With a sigh of exasperation, she started looking through the papers and putting them in their places.

Continued in Part 2

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