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


"Mrs Scott?"


"Hi...this is Sam, Sam Foster."

"I know who you are, Sam." There was a hint of teasing but something else also in Kris' mother's voice, perhaps fear, as she recognized something in Sam's.  "Is something wrong?"

"Ma'am, uh." Sam cleared her throat and spent a couple of seconds hating having to do this but Mrs Scott was quite capable of handling it. 'Spit it out.'  "Mrs Scott, I'm sorry but there's been an accident and Kris is hurt.  We're on the way to Saint Christopher's now."


Sam could hear a couple of panicked breaths on the other end of the phone.  'Make her concentrate on doing something.'  "Will you tell the Captain, ma'am, or should I try to find him?"

"No, no, uh, he...he's next door helping the neighbor.  We'll be there in a few minutes."

"Yes, ma'am."  Sam reached for the power button as she recognized the end of the conversation but heard the phone speak again with her name, she quickly put it back up to her ear.

"...she hurt badly?" The shaky voice asked.

Remembering that Kris' mother was a nurse, Sam gave a quick rundown.  "She hit her head on something and was unconscious the whole time.  She also has a broken wrist, I'm don't know if there's anything else."

"Okay.  Thank you, Sam.  We'll see you there."

"Yes, ma'am."


Sam leaned back against the wall, she'd tried pacing as she waited for Kris to be brought back from x-ray but only got in the way of the doctors and nurses who were trying to help the other people who were suffering in the curtained cubicles.

When they'd arrived, the Detective had showed her badge several times and explained to the head nurse on duty that Kris was in danger and she wasn't leaving her, period.  There had been a battle of wills but then the nurse had noticed the injury on Sam's arm and had allowed that as a face saving excuse to Sam being back to the area where Kris was being kept.

Of course, the journey there had included various rules and regulations that Sam would have to follow or, as the nurse said with her hands on her hips, "I don't care if you're the President, I'll have security throw you out."  The nurse had also informed Sam that she would have a doctor look at her arm, obviously also regardless of whether or not she was the President.

The dark haired woman felt haggard, as if she'd run a marathon and followed it up with a cross-country ski trip.  She fidgeted for a few minutes until she heard a gurney being brought in.  A peek through the curtains showed a very familiar blonde head being wheeled to the curtain and Sam felt as if her insides were all bundling up together in one tight ball.

Waiting until the orderlies left, she just looked at her friend for several moments.  Kris' face was pale, too pale, and the blood on her forehead and face made a stunning contrast.  As she moved closer she remembered the pain she'd felt when she thought Kris was in the car, her stomach started to rebel.  She took a breath, then another and then another to try and calm herself.  'She's gonna be okay.  She has to be.'

Then she was at Kris' side, reaching out a still shaky hand to softly brush some of the blonde bangs away from the unhurt side of her forehead.  They hadn't done much with Kris' head wound besides wipe it up a bit, Sam started to get annoyed until she realized it hadn't really been that long and they'd had Kris in x-ray for most of the time.  The detective gulped down several emotions and let her fingertips barely touch the spot she'd just cleared on her friend's forehead.

Lifting her hand away, she looked at the traitor to her emotions as it still trembled and then tenderly touched the back of her fingers to Kris' cool cheek.  She could feel the panic begin to grow again and concentrated on watching Kris' chest rise with each breath.  'She's going to be okay.'  The need, and she was honest enough to realize that it was a need, to see Kris' green eyes focused on her was intense, her vision became a little blurred with pooled tears and she struggled to find a way to keep her emotions in check.

She hadn't been this out of control in a very long time but when she thought Kris was dead something had broken inside.  It hadn't just broken, she realized, it had fractured into many, many pieces.  Oddly, as a million thoughts ran through her mind at once, she also realized that it wasn't something she knew how to fix or, as she watched her friend carefully, even if she wanted to.   At this stage, there was no thought about how Kris might feel if she saw her friend falling apart over her.  The only thought was that Kris had to be well, anything else was not acceptable.

Her hand found Kris' unhurt one and she wrapped her long fingers around it, then started in surprise as she felt roughness on Kris' palm.  Frowning, careful of the IV in place further up the wrist, she gently turned over the other woman's hand and saw the scrapes and embedded dirt in the palm, presumably from when she hit the ground.  Sam examined it carefully, noting the raw skin and weeping wounds, which were now beginning to show signs of drying.

It was just one pain too much to bear and the last door opened inside as she felt the tears dropping as her heart pulled her head down.  Almost reverently, she touched her lips to the back of Kris' hand.  Then closing her eyes for a moment, Sam turned her head and touched her cheek to the same spot as she rocked slightly in place.  Opening her eyes, she let loose a shaky breath then moved Kris' hand next to her chest and absently stroked the back of it with her thumb.

She held it there for a moment in time focusing on Kris' face, feeling the coolness of her skin, hearing the machines and mutters in the background before everything faded and only one thought was left, only one thing mattered.  A truth she'd not spoken aloud before now, one that she had been so afraid to feel, to know and to share.  Knowing that once she did any of those things, it would never be the same again.  Ever.  Knowing it would almost certainly cause her pain she wasn't sure she could live with.  It was that deep, that important.

Even then, the sole thought remained.

Even then, only one person mattered.

Even then, her heart spoke and she whispered, "I love you."

She stood for a few moments more, absorbing what she'd just done.  It didn't matter that Kris hadn't heard it, Sam had said it and felt it and fully acknowledged it.  Willing Kris to open her eyes, daring her friend to hear the words she had just spoken, she very carefully laid her friend's hand back down on the bed, smoothing a wrinkle on the bed sheet as she did.  'Please.'

Sam heard the nurse just in time to move her hand up to wipe away the tears and hold onto the bed's rail.  The nurse rounded the corner of the curtain carrying a thick blanket and looked at Sam in surprise as he spotted her.  Before he could say anything she collected herself and took out her badge, then flashed it at him.  "I'm a cop, I came in with her and need to keep an eye on her."

He seemed to consider that for a moment but took one look at Sam's no nonsense stare and decided to take it at face value, then nodded before laying a heated blanket on the blonde, "I think the doctor's checking out her x-rays now."

As he turned to leave, a doctor pulled open the curtain and entered.  Her light brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail and she looked barely old enough to vote.  Sam felt her worries expand as she double-checked the doctor's identification badge to be sure the other woman really was a doctor.

The doctor looked at Sam and then focused on her patient but spoke to the Detective, "I need to examine her and another doctor's coming now to look at your arm.  Move to the next bed, please."  Sam's protests died on her lips when the doctor anticipated the tall woman's protests, "The nurse told me about the potential danger, we've alerted security and are taking every step we can."  Then she opened a green orb and Sam found herself greedily taking in the color she needed to see so badly, even though it wasn't how she wanted to see it.  The doctor looked up before checking anything else and jerked her head towards the curtain, "The sooner you leave, the sooner I can start getting her well."


"Sir, I was inside the restaurant.  I didn't see anything, I wish I had."

The doctor let out an exasperated noise and turned on the Captain. "Excuse me.  I need to finish up here so if you don't mind leaving?"  The statement ended in a question but obviously was an order.  This Doctor had shown up not too long after Kris' Doctor had sent her away.

The Captain began, "Doctor..."

"Yes, exactly.  That's what I am, so out.  Now.  After I'm finished, you can finish."

Kris' father pulled aside the curtain surrounding the cubicle and unwillingly left.

Muttering about stubborn police officers the Doctor returned back to stitching up Sam's arm.  The glass shards had been removed earlier, the Doctor had then left to get a piece of equipment and the Captain had snuck in demanding to know what had happened and not understanding when Sam had little information.   She had to repeat herself several times, even then it was obvious he wanted information she just did not have.

On her part, Sam had instantly asked after Kris when the Captain had entered.  To find out that Mrs Scott was with her and the Doctor was going over her x-rays one final time.  Sam's worry had intensified since she had left Kris' side and she could not wait until she got back to her.  As the Captain left and the Doctor worked on her arm, she realized that as angry as the Captain was he might not let her back to see Kris.  That was a shock and the dark haired woman was stupefied for a few moments.  She barely noticed that the Doctor had leaned back and handed something to the nurse behind him.  Her body had gone cold at the thought of not being able to see Kris and the Doctor looked at her quizzically.

"Are you feeling nauseous or dizzy?"

Sam blinked at him.  "What?"

The Doctor frowned and started to look into Sam's eyes and check out her head for injuries.  "Did you bang your head."

She pulled away from him, "I'm fine.  Just...just that I'm worried about my friend.  She was hurt badly in the accident."

"I think I better be the judge of that."

Ice chips met his eyes and the voice purred dangerously, "I'm fine, Doc."

The Doctor took a step back, his own face paling at the menace in the woman he had been treating.   Not willing to lose face in front of the nurse but also not willing to go up against the obvious intent behind the Detective's actions.  He straightened, resisted the urge to look back at the nurse and spoke up.  "Very well.  I'm finished, consider yourself released.  The nurse will fill you in on when to come back to get the stitches out."

The slight rise of an amused eyebrow answered him, "Thank you."

As the Doctor turned, Sam's eyes focused over his shoulder to the nurse who was trying not to smirk.  The woman's eyes met Sam's with a twinkle.  Apparently the Doctor was not very well liked.  A corner of Sam's mouth tilted up slightly in response to the smirk and she had an inkling that she might have a better chance getting the nurse to let her stay now.  If she could get past the Captain, of course.

The nurse was very professional giving Sam instructions but the twinkle still evident in her eyes.  When she finished, she looked Sam straight in the eyes and winked.  "They're putting a cast on your friend, she's being admitted."

Instantly, the Detective's worries came to the forefront.  "How is she?"

"Still unconscious but that's all I know, sorry."  It would have taken far less intuitive of a person to miss the concern in the Detective's face.   The nurse carefully patted the hand she had just placed the written instructions in.  "The doc's a good one, don't you worry.  She'll get her the best help we have."

The knowledge that her concern was so obvious, the worry she felt and the simple kindness of the nurse tipped a balance she had barely been keeping.  The Doctor had helped to push her to a place where she had a bit more control, now the tables turned quickly and Sam was mortified when tears began to well up in her eyes.  'Dammit!  Get a freaking grip!'  She hopped off the bed and turned as if to look for something.

The nurse was instantly charmed and surprised by the emotion in the baby blues in front of her.  'Why honey, I didn't know you had it in you.'  When the tall woman turned away, she smiled speculatively and made an easy decision.  "Why don't you check on your friend and I'll get you the forms you need to sign before you can leave."


Lisa Scott turned to regard the person who had pulled aside the curtain into her daughter's cubicle.  She was sitting in the corner of the space, having moved out of the way of the person who had come in to cast Kris' wrist.  It had been interesting to watch, actually.  The man obviously viewed it as some type of art, carefully measuring padding and tape by standing back and surveying his work.   What had been most amazing to her was that he had hardly spilled a drop of water as he went from the bucket he dipped the wrap in to Kris' arm.

Somehow, she was not surprised to see that it was Sam's tall form standing with one arm holding the curtain out of the way.  What was surprising was the look on the dark haired woman's face.  Lisa's breath hitched as she noted the pain on the Detective's face, pain that was obviously caused by what she was looking at as opposed to any injury she may have.  She was looking, of course, at Kris.

Sam's head whipped around at the sound and an instant shield slammed across her face. 'Dammit!'  Her jaw muscles clenched in a hint of embarrassment that she may have been caught showing feelings she wasn't even sure she knew the depth of.  Trying to recover she quickly greeted Mrs Scott and asked, "How is she?

Jade eyes surveyed Sam's face, trying to unsuccessfully reconcile the emotion she had seen just a few moments before with the business face she now saw.  Realizing that her delay was likely causing the other woman worry, she spoke quickly, "She's got a broken wrist, a couple of bruised ribs, nasty concussion and various contusions."  It was impossible to miss the haunted look that touched the tall woman's eyes as she tried to rein in whatever was going on inside at the list of injuries.

Sam found it difficult to keep her eyes on Mrs Scott for several reasons, not the least of which was what she had said to her daughter not that long ago.  It also didn't help that Mrs Scott's eyes were so very similar to the ones she wanted to see very badly.  She turned her concerned gaze back to the occupant of the bed and her gut clenched at how tiny and pale Kris appeared.  "Is she gonna be okay?"

"They're worried that she's still unconscious but sometimes that happens.  We just have to wait."  Worry leaking out, Lisa crushed a handkerchief tightly in her hand.

With a nod, Sam stole a quick look at Kris' mother and then slowly shifted from one foot to the other, wanting to ask if she could stay and not willing to show her need.   Guilt, worry, pain, anger and frustration were just some of the emotions swirling in the whirlpool that seemed to have taken the place of her heart and stomach.  The tempestuous tide was forcing her to repeatedly crush various reactions before they seeped out into her eyes or face or clenched muscles.  It also forced her to show more of her heart than she wanted to show.  All of those various parts made her feel like an incredible weakling.  Yet another feeling that the tall woman was very unused to.

Lisa Scott could not seem to tear her eyes away from the Detective's face.  She could count the number of times she could read the other woman's face that well on one hand with fingers left over.  Ruefully, she recalled that it was easy to remember as each time she had seen it Sam had been looking at Kris.  She could still visualize the picture that some enterprising photographer had taken just as Kris had been shoved to her knees at the bank's entrance several weeks before.  The quality was not perfect, as it had been some distance away, but someone who knew Sam could see the clenched muscles in her jaw outlined in clear relief and the perfect stillness that surrounded her.  The stillness that only a deadly predator can attain.  It had scared the older woman then and it still somewhat scared her now.

"Sit and stay a while, she'll want to see you when she wakes up."  Lisa hadn't planned to ask the tall woman to stay, even knowing that her daughter would be very annoyed to find out she hadn't done so.  It was the very same pain now saw in Sam's eyes, the tenseness, the fact that Kris would be very angry and...she closed her eyes for a few moments...the looks she had seen pass between them at Jen's wedding that made her want to just send Sam away.  But she found herself unable to do that for much the same reasons.

Even with the genuine fear for her daughter, should what she was dreading be true, she knew that to deny Sam would be at best incredibly unfair and more honestly a petty attempt at stopping a river with a matchstick.  No, that was not the answer.  She wasn't sure what was but time would have to pass to find that out and she would have to hope that things were not as far gone as her depth of knowledge of her daughter told her they were.

Sensing some type of reluctance in Kris' mother, Sam was loathe to accept the offer but the thought of leaving gave her an almost physical pain.  She rubbed the spot over her heart, the same spot she had held Kris' hand to earlier.  Taking a shaky breath she started to reply when Captain Scott walked in, he stopped as soon as he saw her, looked at his wife and spoke with quiet anger.

"There you are.  I called in a favor and got the Fire Chief at the site, they need to do more work on it but they're pretty sure it was a bomb of some type."

Sam's eyebrows rose high up her forehead, she had realized it was a possibility but the likelihood was so small that it was still a surprise.  Her eyes looked beyond the Captain and focused on nothing specifically as she thought about the information she had just received.  "Did they find any of the papers I told you she was going to look for?"

The Captain's voice lowered considerably.  "No, but they did find a body in the car."

Now Sam's eyes widened, before she could ask the obvious question the Captain glanced at his wife, made a conscious decision to include her in the discussion and continued in an even softer tone that still somehow spoke his anger. "Doubtful if they can get an ID, there wasn't much left."

There was a sharp intake of breath from Mrs Scott before all three of them glanced over at the still form on the bed, overwhelmingly grateful that Kris was here with them.  Sam recovered first, "Maggie taking it?"

The Captain looked at her with a puzzled expression until he realized what Sam was asking.  "I don't know, I just asked them to rush it."

"Mind if I ask Maggie?"

"No, of course not.  I should've thought of that."  He looked over at Sam, "I've asked Robbery to look into it and check out Kris' apartment."  He held up his hand as the tall Detective began to interrupt, "Don't even ask, you're way too close to this one.  I could justify keeping you on the murders because you didn't know the girl really but this - there's no way."


"No buts.  I can't be involved either."

Letting loose a deep breath, Sam realized the futility of arguing.  Not only was it not the time or place, he was right.  They were both too close, both too wrapped up in the woman lying on the bed and, truth be told, Sam was not at all sure she could control her anger if she found the people who did this to ....

Her heart sped up again, she turned away to face a curtain wall, 'To who, Sam?  Someone I love?  Oh sure, cop out now, Sam.  Come on, be real, spit it out.  Did this to the woman you love.  Face the facts, girl, she's the most important thing to ever come into your life and you know it.'  She turned back around, struggling to control the flush she was sure Kris' parents would notice and hoping they would chalk it up to her annoyance at not being allowed on the case.  Grabbing the first way out, she quickly said, "I better call Maggie."

As soon as the curtain swished closed, Sam was on the phone wanting to get her mind off the track it had been on.  Luckily, she had programmed a long list of numbers into her phone for just this type of circumstance and the Coroner had, unfortunately for her, given her home number to the Detective during one of their cases.  Within a few seconds, Maggie was on the phone.   Sam took a deep breath.  "Maggie, it's Sam Foster.  I'm really sorry to bother you but I need the best on a case.  Any chance you can go in?"

Instantly recognizing Sam's serious tone and knowing that the dark haired Detective had never asked for something like this before, Maggie decided that joking was not an option.  She started gathering items she needed to go back to work even as she asked, "What do you need?"

"Captain Scott's daughter, Kris, was injured in an explosion tonight.  They found a body, or what's left of it, in the car that blew.  It looks like it was a bomb, that means she's still in danger and I'm searching for anything that'll help us get the..." Sam clenched her jaw on the expletives that were just about to slip out and used the few moments to gain control of herself before continuing.  "Sorry.  To get the people who did this."

As Sam spoke Maggie's eyes widened, she wasn't sure she had ever heard quite this tone from her friend and almost felt sorry for the people who had done the act.  She finished tying her shoes, standing just as the Detective finished.  "I'm on my way."

"Thanks, Maggie.  I'm sorry to ask.  But...."  Sam was not sure what to add, it was still far too raw and new, and she was far too used to internalizing her emotions to want to show too much of what she was feeling inside.

The Coroner grabbed her jacket and replied as she picked up her keys, finally remembering where she had heard the name.  "Kris?  The same Kris who was at the morgue?"  Without waiting for an answer, the Coroner opened the door and stepped outside.

"Yeah, she was the one that I brought in to ID the body that one night."

'Interesting.'  Maggie thought as she remembered the tall Detective comforting the petite blonde in the morgue's hallway.  Her own blonde curls bounced as she approached her car.  "Listen, I'm at my car.  I'll let 'em know I'm on the way and will get back to you."

"Okay, thank you, Maggie.  I appreciate it."

"Don't worry about it.  I'll talk to you as soon as I'm done."

Grateful beyond words that Maggie had not asked any questions and had simply done as she asked, Sam vowed to make it up to her friend somehow.  'My friend?  When did she stop being a co-worker and become a friend?'  Closing her cell phone, she thought about that for a few moments and then answered herself.  'When you knew you could call her for a favor and she would do it without question?'  It was rather amazing, she realized, that Kris' onslaught into her heart seemed to have dragged a couple of other people in as well.  Sam couldn't control her head's rueful shake at that thought.  'Definitely amazing.'


Startled by the sound of something dropping to the floor in the hallway, Sam jerked upright, banging her injured arm on the side of the chair along the way.  Cursing softly, she gritted her teeth and berated herself for falling asleep in the first place.  It had been a very long night so far, one interrupted repeatedly by the various blood pressure, temperature and general health checks for Kris.  There seemed to have been no change in her status but Sam was infinitely thankful to the Captain and his wife for allowing her to stay once Kris had been moved to a room.

Not wanting to make herself unwelcome, she had stayed in the room only when one or both of Kris' parents were out of it.  Usually the Captain was the one who left to make a call or smoke a cigarette or whatever else he thought up to do rather than listening to the ominous beeps of the various machines in the room.  For herself, when not in the room she had walked the halls, visited the dimly lit garden outside, been chatted up by a male nurse and tried to follow the various investigations going on.

She had checked in with Maggie and Pat, whom she had called and asked to take over the search for the missing papers.  Maggie, bless her, had very little to report beyond pure guess, the body had been terribly damage.  The guess was that it was a male, probably younger than forty but she refused to even make a wild guess beyond that.  However, she had sent in samples for DNA testing to get more information.  Pat, bless him too, had met the investigators at Kris' apartment.  Apparently, Robin had been scared out of her wits by the officers showing up but had rallied to provide coffee and soft drinks for anyone who requested it.  Sam berated herself a little for not warning Robin but it simply had not been anywhere in her list of things to do.

She made a mental note to apologize to both Robin and Kris later.  'Later.'  Sam thought, so overwhelmingly glad that there was a later to talk to Kris.  As worried as she was, she let her gaze move to Kris' still figure, there was no doubt in her mind that Kris would find her way back.  Otherwise, through the night, Sam had stayed on the periphery as much as possible, not wanting to get thrown out for driving the Scott's or hospital employees crazy.

She stood to get a better look at Kris, then put both hands on her back and stretched her back with a barely concealed groan.  The Captain had left a little over an hour ago to get a shower and change of clothes for his wife and Kris as well.  Sam was still trying to wrap her mind around that one.  It was, frankly, incomprehensible to her that he would leave when his daughter was still unconscious but, regardless, she was glad of the opportunity to stay in the room as Mrs Scott dozed in the corner.

For Sam had found that, unfortunately, each moment that Kris stayed unconscious, she felt the tenuous hold she had on her anger and fear slipping.  It seemed that the blonde had ingrained herself into what felt like every cell of Sam's body, life and especially heart.  It also seemed as if the blonde's presence was required for the tall woman's heart to not drag her into some depth only known to Dante.  Oh yes.  It was clear to see that the changes that the blonde had wrought in Sam's life had affected the Detective in ways almost beyond her comprehension.

And tonight, what a night.  Her best friend...  She stopped for a minute and pondered that.  'Yep, best friend.'  Her mind got back on track, in one night her best friend had been almost killed in an explosion, someone else was killed in the car and Sam had admitted to herself how she really felt about Kris.  Add that to the fact that the anger, frustration and fear were waging huge battles inside of the Detective's body and it just was not a pleasant picture.

"You know, I always thought hospitals were a place of rest.  It's amazing people get well with how often they're poked, prodded and otherwise woken up."

Mrs Scott's soft voice carried easily over the various sounds in the room and instantly brought Sam out of her musings.

"Isn't that the truth.   I'm sorry if I woke you."  Sam let a smile touch her lips but it faded soon after.

"You didn't, it's impossible to sleep around here."  Mrs Scott stood up also and moved over to stand by Kris' bedside.  She had been watching Sam since the noise in the hallway had woken her up.  Watching the tall woman had become some type of fascination for her it seemed.  She wondered if the Detective knew that she was telegraphing her worry in such grand fashion that even a blind person could feel it.  It truly was interesting, how her daughter made things different for so many people.

It wasn't just Sam, either.  Even though Mrs Scott could easily recall many times when she had seen her daughter and Sam together, how the dark, beautiful woman's smile had always deepened, how her body language changed and her eyes always kept Kris somewhere in sight.   There were just as many instances when she could remember Kris bringing a light to the eyes of others.  From Lou at the paper, to the coffee shop guy from last week, to just about anyone her daughter met in her life.

'What a time to be having life affirming thoughts about your daughter.'  The heavy sarcasm in the tone her inner self used made the thought ring like a bell in her guilty subconscious  Regardless, it was true and not just the mother in her talking, Kris was one of those rare people whose light seemed to shine in every dark corner.  'And it certainly shines in that dark corner, doesn't it?'  She thought to herself as she watched the Detective's tense body shift slight as she stretched a muscle here and there.

Sad eyes took in her daughter's form.  With a soft sigh, she lightly caressed her daughter's cheek with the back of her hand.  'What am I going to do if I'm right?'   Far too tired and emotionally wrought to really be able to answer that question, Mrs Scott rubbed a hand over her slightly bloodshot eyes and kept them closed for just a moment.

Sam watched as Mrs Scott touched Kris' cheek, seeing the worry and love in the other woman's eyes.  As the blonde moved her hand to rub her eyes, the Detective frowned as she noted the look of fear on the older woman's face.  'Does she know something I don't?'   She was about to ask when Mrs Scott's head tilted heavenward as if she were praying.  Sam did not want to interrupt the private moment and so pulled quietly moved to the window and looked out, her stomach clenched in tight anxiety.

'Please, please let her be okay.  We'll deal with anything else later, I can't do it now.  I just can't.  Please help her.'  Lisa opened her eyes and once again let them rove over the still form in the bed.  The various annoying beeps of the machinery and random noises from the hallway had started to creep in on her last nerve.  She thought for a moment, realizing wryly that having a breakdown in her daughter's hospital room was not the best of ideas.  'Coffee, maybe a roll and perhaps the chapel.  Yep, that sounds good.'

A few seconds were taken to bend over and kiss a spot on her daughter's forehead before she asked, "Sam?"

The tall woman turned anxiously, her eyes full of fear as they searched Mrs Scott's face.  She clenched her jaw, muscles tight against the skin.  Desperately wanting to ask Kris' mother's opinion about the blonde's recovery, she instead settled on the easy alternative.  "Yes?"

'How disarming she can be.'  Lisa thought as she easily saw the worry being projected by the Detective in those startlingly blue eyes.  The other woman's worry somehow enabled her to find the confidence that was lacking a minute ago.  She found this side of the Detective incredibly endearing and stepped over to Sam's side, laid a gentle hand on her arm and then smiled softly.  "She's a fighter, you know that.  She'll come back to us."

Letting a tremulous smile touch her own lips, Sam nodded in agreement.

Now patting the arm under her hand, Mrs Scott went on, "I need some coffee and a walk.  I'll be back in a few, okay?"  At the Detective's affirmative response, she continued, "You'll get me if she wakes up?"

"Of course."

Sending another smile at the dark haired woman, Lisa turned to leave but not without another glance at Kris.

'This must be so hard for her.  How does she hold up?  I feel like I've got one stitch holding all me together and if it breaks I'll just fall into a heap of body parts.'  She sighed softly and stood, stretching her neck on one side and then the other before moving close to Kris' bedside.  'If this is what love does to me, I'm not sure I can handle it.  I'm not sure I want to.  Jesus!'  Her eyes roamed over Kris' face, taking in the details she had been noticing all night.  A tiny snort escaped as she laughed at herself internally and a whisper escaped, "As if you have a choice."

A tiny smile formed in the corner of her mouth as she thought, 'Streaked with blood, concussed, wounded, bandaged and singed, and you're still the most beautiful thing in the world.  Do you know that?'   Sam felt the tears threatening again and forced them back down savagely, swallowing hard and closing her eyes to rein in the galloping sensations.  She let out a breath and edged closer, tentatively picking up Kris' hand and holding it very gently in one hand.  She was pleased to note that the abrasions she had felt the last time she had held the hand had been cleaned and looked much better.

Ever conscious that someone might walk in at any moment, she tried to keep her face schooled to a calm facade.  'Boy, when you fall you really fall, don't you?  Talk about mushball.'  She shook her head almost imperceptibly as the thoughts continued and her eyes moved unfocused around the room.  'How're you going to keep this from Kris? Trying to stay away from her worked so well, didn't it?  But it doesn't matter, does it?'  She lightly stroked the hand she was holding, 'I'll be happy to have her as the friend she already is forever and nothing more, just to have her back is all I want.'

Bringing her attention back to Kris, she reached out her other hand to Kris' head and stroked her bangs back, trailing a thumb over the uninjured part of Kris' forehead.  Stroking Kris' hair lightly, she whispered, "Please come back soon, we need you." A breath. "I need you."

Sam's hand froze as she noticed the slight fluttering of Kris' eyelids.  "Please." She asked whoever might be listening.

She held her breath as a tiny groan escaped Kris' lips and then took a very shaky deep breath as the green she had been aching to see all night finally emerged from under slow moving eyelids.  Tears pricked her own eyes and she could feel a strange sense of tingling joy rising from her very toes.  Her voice cracked when she said, "Kris?"

Kris blinked slowly, her befuddled mind trying to come to grips with several things.  One thing it was fairly sure of was that Sam was standing close by and another that she was probably in a hospital.  Then her brows contracted as a sharp pain sliced through her head, her eyes closed involuntarily at the pain.  That set off a chain reaction of pain as both her ribs and wrist joined in the pain party.

Sam saw the look of pain on her friend's face and instantly moved her hand from Kris' head and started to put down the blonde's hand but stopped when her own hand was gripped with quite a bit of strength.

Kris struggled out of the depths of wherever her brain had gone to escape the pain.  Feeling Sam pull away, somehow she knew it was Sam, was not part of the plan and not acceptable at this point.  Somehow, that contact was very important and she needed it.  Sam being there meant she was safe; had a hell of a headache and even breathing brought her some pain but she was safe.  In defense, she croaked out a "No." and then an even croakier "Stay."

'Forever', Sam swallowed the automatic thought down and cradled Kris' hand with both of hers before saying very quietly, "As long as you need me but we should have a doctor look at you and your mom just stepped out.  I need to get her."

Kris forced her eyes open again and tried to blearily focus on the woman standing by her bed.  She breathed slowly, any movement seemed to increase the pain in her head.  Whispering quietly enough that Sam had to lean down, she said, "Need you.  Just.  You."

For the second time that night, Sam brought Kris' hand to her lips and lightly touched the back of it with a soft kiss.  She let out a murmured "I know the feeling, kiddo." as Kris seemed to drop back into her sleep.  When the hand holding hers relaxed, the tall woman whispered a "Thank you." to whoever was listening.  Her eyes closed as her thanks spilled from cerulean eyes in the form of tears.  'Jesus, what happened to that stoic facade you do so well, Sam?  How many others are seeing it's gone into hiding, and what else are they seeing?'


A couple of hours later, at about six thirty in the morning, Kris' regained consciousness again.  Sam heard voices from Kris' room and looked through the doorway to see Kris' parents standing by her bedside.  Judging by the smiles they had on their faces, Kris was awake and maybe even talking.  She edged inside the door, trying to see if she was right but trying not to intrude, even as difficult as that was.

When Kris had woken up earlier, she had fallen back asleep so quickly that she hadn't been able to get anyone in time.  Kris' mother had been upset that she had chosen that time to leave the room but jubilant that her daughter had woken up.  The initial return to consciousness was the most important and now the tension was greatly relieved by everyone waiting for Kris to get better.

Finally, she got close enough to see around Captain Scott's body.  A smile lit her face at the sight of Kris looking up rather blearily to her father and telling him to go get some rest, that she would be fine.  She froze as green eyes speared into her.  The eyes looked a little clearer, a little less befuddled than the last time to Sam's anxious gaze and a part of her battered heart healed somewhat.

Both parents turned to look at Sam as Kris smiled a very tired welcome to the tall woman.  Uncomfortable under their attention, Sam volunteered, "I'll go get a nurse." and quickly left the room after sending another smile at Kris.

Just as Sam returned, Kris was slowly stammering out, in response to her father's questions about what happened, that she had gone to the car to look for files.  That as she stepped out, a car jacker had forced her to give up the keys at gunpoint.  She had moved away and then, well she still was not quite sure what happened after that.  She remembered a flash of light and heat but that was about it.

Kris stayed conscious long enough for the nurse to come in and do a brief examination, then call the Doctor to advise her of the improvement.  Soon after the nurse left to make the call, Kris fell back asleep and the weary trio finally relaxed long enough to step back and look at each other in relief.

Sam felt very uncomfortable under Captain Scott's gaze and almost jumped when he spoke.

"Aren't you working today, Foster?"

His wife spoke up in aggravation at his tone and question, "Jim!"

He looked surprised at his wife's tone.  "We may not be able to help with the actual investigation but we can help in other ways.  I already know that Sam called in some favors and so've I.  Now, if we can pull everything together we can probably give them a boost in the right direction."  His wife blinked at him and he continued, "You heard our daughter, Lisa.  If that guy hadn't tried to car jack her then it would  be her body lying in the morgue in burned pieces now.  Is that what you want the next time they come after her?"

Lisa searched her husband's face and only found the truth of his words.  His anger and fear for his daughter were paramount in his eyes.  She nodded at him and looked at Sam who had remained completely still and silent.

Before the Detective could say anything, the Captain spoke again.  "We're going to help them find the assholes who did this to our girl.  Yes, we are." He turned to Sam, "Aren't we, Foster?"

Her eyes flicked down to Kris and then back to the Captain. "Yes, sir."


"Sam, have you seen her?  Is she okay?  Where is she?"

Sam took a half step back at the assault and put her palms out to ward off the imminent attack.

"Can I see her?"

The Detective's eyes widened as the other woman started to speak again.  "Pam, wait, wait!  Let me think for a sec."  She was exhausted and just not processing the changes she was experiencing as fast as she normally would.  That the other woman would not even hesitate to question her like this and was obviously treating her as a friend was just another sign of the inroads that Kris had made into her life.  She took a sharp breath at the thought of the blonde and then paused to look around and see  that even though it was lunchtime there were many interested eyes on the two of them.  "Can we go somewhere private?"  The last thing the Detective wanted to do was draw undue attention to them.

Pam looked around as well and realized the scene she was causing in the entryway.  "Of course, let's go into one of the offices.  Come on."  She proceeded to lead Sam into one of the offices off to the side of the entry.  She closed the door as soon as the Detective walked inside, almost trapping her skirt in the door in her haste.

As soon as Pam turned, Sam began her response.  "Yes, I've seen her and she's pretty beaten up but they say she's gonna be just fine.   She's in Saint Christopher's and I'm sure there won't be a problem visiting.  Before you ask, I don't know how long she's gonna be in."

Pam walked over to the desk and leaned a hand on it.  "Thank god she's okay."

"Yeah."  Sam lips formed a tight smile, everything was starting to gang up on her and letting the maelstrom inside her take over was not an option.  "Listen, Pam.  I need your help but nobody else can know just yet.  If you can't that's fine, just tell me and I'll leave, no problem.  I don't want you to get in trouble."

"Forget that, just tell me what you need."

Sam smiled slightly, a little surprised that the other woman had not even bothered to ask what this was for but realizing that Pam must have a good idea that it was for Kris. "Kris was researching something lately and we don't really have enough for a search warrant or, at least, not one we can get quickly.   I think that it was something to do with Rudy Larson and another attorney by the name of Hughes, starting back a few years ago.  Do you have any idea at all about that she was looking through?"

"Dammit, I knew she was up to something," Pam muttered.  She wasn't happy, she had noticed that Kris had been very pre-occupied and had just put it off until she had a chance to talk to her.  That chance had never come.  "I don't know the specifics but Marcy told me that Kris had asked her for some old files.  I can definitely see if she knows which."

Sam thought for a minute.  "No, I don't want to involve anyone else and I don't want to put you in any danger."

Pam frowned at the Detective's wording.  "Danger?"

'Dammit to hell.  You know better, idiot.' Sam silently cursed herself for revealing too much to the perceptive clerk.

Pam's dark skin started to flush, she stood up straight and her dark eyes bored into Sam.  "Kris was hurt because of something here?"

"Hang on, hang on." Sam said, trying to placate the obviously unnerved woman with both hand gestures and tone of voice.   "I don't know that but I'm not willing to risk anything pertaining to you to find out.   We can wait for the search warrant to get specifics."

"And now?"

'What the?  This thing with people reading me too easily has gotta stop!'   Sam looked straight into Pam's eyes. "I don't want you involved, Pam.  If nothing else, Kris'll kill me."

The look on Pam's face told it all, "As if I'm not already involved.  Kris is my friend too and if somebody here hurt her then they better look out."

Sam could not stop a smile from flitting over her lips.  "I can see that."

"Damn straight!"

The tiny smile turned into a full one, the first since Kris had been hurt.  "Okay, okay but nothing much."  She appreciated Pam's silence as she thought but still felt the weight of the other woman's gaze the entire time.  "Any chance you can just get me to Kris' desk?"

"Of course.  I'll get you there and give you anything you need from it."


Pam interrupted the tall woman with an imperiously raised hand, "Listen.  I know of what I speak."  She paused for a few seconds waiting for the Detective to work through the plain facts of what Pam's help could accomplish, "Don't I?".  Sam did not look convinced and she appreciated the other woman's concern but this was her decision to make.  She stepped toward Sam and laid her hand on a tense arm.  "Look, Sam.  We both know that anything I freely give you will be much more likely to make it through than anything you find yourself, and if we wait..."  She trailed off.

Sam wanted to get to Kris' desk but was not willing to put Pam in any danger whatsoever.  She shook her head.

"Sam, I hate to say this but you can't stop me if I want to do this and you need me to get you to that desk."

'Okay, time to turn it on.' Sam straightened to her full height and chips of ice turned their frost on the clerk, "Let me be very clear.  I will not allow you to put yourself in danger.   If I have to take you out of here in handcuffs to make sure of it, then that's what I'll do."

Startled by the instantaneous change in the Detective, Pam stepped back half a step with wide eyes.  There was no doubt in her mind that Sam would indeed do what she said she would do but the feisty clerk was not going to give up.  She realized, however, that she would lose any battle of wills with the intimidating woman and decided on a different tack.  "Okay, okay.  Kris has told me enough to make me know that you're probably not kidding but she's my friend too and I care about her too.  Let me help, I won't put myself in any danger.  I'll just escort you to her desk and give you any of the stuff you find.  That's it.  No danger."

Sam thought about that for a few moments, her respect for Pam had increased steadily, notch by notch, during the conversation but she was still not quite convinced.

"The longer we wait, though, the less our chances of getting out of here without anyone asking questions.  Please, Sam, if I don't do this then I'll probably have to answer more questions.  At least this way I have an excuse for staying in here so long.  I want to help and if these people hurt Kris then I don't want to be here anyway." She continued honestly, "I'm good at what I do, I can find a job somewhere else tomorrow if I need to."

Sam hesitated for several moments.  She had come into the office to try and help Pat expedite things.  He had gone up against a judge who was not prone to issuing warrants quickly and they were concerned that if there was anything to be found in the files that they would be destroyed faster than they could get to them.  It was the proverbial rock and a hard place, to ask the company for access would alert anyone who needed to cover things up that there was something being investigated and the warrant required evidence.

Even with evidence, though, she had to weigh Pam's safety into the mix.  There was also no guarantee that whatever Pam gave them would not be fought in court either but there were, at least, previous instances that they could use to protect the validity of the information.  Plus, a quick transfer of any files with Sam obviously carrying them out should take any potential heat off Pam.  'Of course, this might all be a moot point.' She nodded, "Lets go."

Just before the left the room, Sam put out a hand to stop Pam and turned to lean on the desk behind her.  Removing a handy pen from a holder on the desk, she scribbled something on a small card, returned the pen and turned back to face Pam.  Holding out her hand with the business card in it, she said, "On the back are my cell phone and home phone, keep them to yourself please but at any sign of anything weird, you call me.  Anytime, day or night.  Okay?"

Touched by the gesture, Pam grinned. "Promise.  If nothing else, maybe I can auction off the numbers and earn a fortune."  At the tall woman's raised eyebrow, Pam winked, then hurried to the door and escorted her out of the small office.

A short while later, two annoyed women stood behind a very tidy desk.  They had looked in the desk, much to the interest of a couple of passing co-workers and had come up with conclusions that they didn't care for.

"She's neat but she's not this neat."

Sam looked over at the other woman and nodded, not willing to voice the obvious and start up Pam's righteous anger.  It was apparent that Kris' desk had been cleared out of most of the files it would normally contain and that meant they would have already begun to clean up everything.  Without that warrant they were in danger of losing everything.

"They cleaned it out, didn't they?"  Pam's voice raised a notch in intensity.

"Take it easy, we don't know that.  She may have just loaded a bunch in her car or at home."  Sam tried for the calm and quiet approach, hoping it would transfer over to the other woman.

Expressive brown eyes carefully regarded the tall woman but the owner of them did not say a thing, even though her thoughts were more than obvious.

The tall woman played with a button on her raw silk blouse, not happy with being temporarily stymied.  After the hospital, she had stopped home long enough for a shower and change of clothes.  Then had met Lee at the station and explained that she had a couple of extra things on her plate today.  Lee had been very understanding and they had worked out a plan of attack for the day to get the most accomplished.  She had hoped to see Kris sometime during the day but, so far, it hadn't worked out.

According to Kris' mother, who had called Sam a couple of hours ago with the update she had promised, the blonde had only regained consciousness one other time since Sam had left.  Predictably, at least from Mrs Scott's point of view, Kris had asked about Sam and had been asked about the files but had been very fuzzy about any details of the entire day before the explosion.  She could remember the car jacker but most of the rest of the day was lost for the moment.  Mrs Scott explained that this type of thing happened sometimes and it was only a matter of time.  Sam had fretted and was still fretting about that, wondering how much time they did have to find what they needed.

"They're sure there was nothing at home?" Pam asked, breaking Sam's train of thought.

"Yes, I had someone I trust completely check it out."

A look of surprise flowed across Pam's flawless dark skin, somehow it seemed odd that Sam would trust anyone 'completely' beside Kris.  Yet, there was no doubt in her mind that Kris was definitely one of very few that were allowed that much access into the other woman's trust.  A stray thought about Kris and Sam caused a slight smile to appear,'Talk about opposites.'  Another slightly less stray thought flashed into her mind, 'Opposites attract?'   She found her eyes roving over the Detective as if they could seek out a very interesting answer, unfortunately, it was not forthcoming.  'Naa, I'd know anyway.'

Sam had a sudden idea and was annoyed that she hadn't thought of it before.  'The paper?  Would they have access to that?  No.  When would she have gone?  What does it matter?  Check it out!'

Sam turned to face Pam, catching the other woman looking at her with more than a normal questioning glance.  Having found that asking about this type of thing was only a way to find out things she really did not want to know, she completely ignored it and was about to tell Pam she was leaving when she noticed two men in suits heading their way.  She thought quickly and said in a clear voice, "Thank you anyway, Pam.   It's possible that her address book was in the car.  I'm sure she can recreate it, I was just trying to help her out."

Pam's scrunched forehead betrayed her confusion until the dawning comprehension took control, she forced herself to not turn around.  "Sure and if we find it, I'll definitely get it to her.  Tell Kris I'll come visit as soon as I'm allowed, okay?"

"You bet.  Thanks again, have a good one."  Sam turned and walked away, swinging her arms to make it obvious that she was not carrying anything.  Not bringing Pam into the limelight was still of paramount importance.

As she walked through the building, it occurred to her that the warm tones and business like atmosphere that usually impressed her when she was here only made her cold and angry now.  She wasn't sure if it was Kris' absence or the fact that this building might harbor people that hurt her friend.  Whichever it was, she was glad when she approached the exit.  She reached for her cell phone only to almost drop it as it rang in her hand.  "Jesus!" She muttered softly.  Trying not to show her unease, she pressed a button and brought it up to her ear.  "Foster."

Lee's voice sounded out from the small device, "Hi, it's Lee.  Any luck on your end?"

"Hi.  No, too clean here.  Looks like I was too late but I'm going to try something else.  How about you, anything with the autopsy?"

"I wasn't lucky enough to get Maggie this time, someone named Peters did it."

Sam winced in sympathy.  Peters was not known for his people skills.   Rather, he was known for his lack of them.

"Sorry, Lee.  Did he come up with anything?"

"He thinks this one might've been a bit rushed or interrupted but that's not a definite, of course.  We did get an ID on him, I rushed the fingerprints through just in case and he had a record.  Minor stuff mostly.  His name was Gary Pelman.  Lived downtown.  I figured I'd head down there in a bit."

"If you can give me about thirty to forty minutes, I'll meet you.  What's the address?"

"Six ten Braxton, Apartment 4C."

Sam made a mental note as she pressed the remote alarm button for her car.  "Okay, wait for me.  I'll be there in as close to thirty as I can."

It wasn't until she had hung up with Lee and was buckling her seat belt whilst mentally repeating the address, that she realized that it sounded familiar.  Her musings were cut short by the phone's sharp tone again.  "Foster."

"Sam, it's Pat.  Listen, something's come up and I might be able to get that warrant sooner, rather than later."

Surprised and pleased, Sam asked as she started the car, "That's great news, what did you find?"

"Not so great for someone.  Name Alan Hughes sound familiar?"

"Not off the top, I do remember a conversation recently about someone named Hughes but ....  The light flashed on in Sam's tired brain, "Let me guess, the Hughes who disappeared from Kris' office?"

"In one.  They fished his body out of the lake late last night.  When I got in this morning, I put out some flags so that any hits in our databases come to our attention immediately.  Their place of employment is one of them.  As soon as they got him ID'd and entered he was mine."

Sam thought it likely Pat had no idea he was crowing over someone's death but had no intention of pointing it out.  "How?"

"Shot.  Neat and clean through the head."

"Sounds like they're cleaning up house."

"It gets better."

Sam blew out a breath of air as she turned onto another street.  "Okay?"

"I was able to get his bank records pretty much immediately, lots of money going through his account.  Far too much to account for his salary.  And we got drug paraphernalia in his house, along with various assorted types of drugs.  I should have the warrant to get into their files pretty soon."

"You think there're other bad apples in that barrel?"

"Whatta you think?"

Sam thought about that for a few moments, her lips pursed and then the faintest hint of a smile flickered over her lips.  "From what I just saw, I'd say absolutely.  But it has to be just a few.  Kris would've known."

Pat's disbelief carried easily through the phone.  "That's giving her an awful lot of credit."

And deserved an immediate response. "She's earned it, she can see into people.  There's no doubt in my mind that she would've picked it up if the dirt had been close to her.  She never worked with Hughes, I almost wish she had so we could have some insight."

Pat knew that tone in the other Detective's voice, quite well.  He had not known her this long to not understand that the topic was finished as far as Sam was concerned.  As irritating as that and this Kris was, Sam's faith was not given often.  Therefore, he had to have faith in her that she knew what she was talking about.  He changed paths instead.  "She still not remembering much of the last day?"

"Last time I heard, yep."  Sam looked in vain for a parking space close to the paper and ended up driving around the block, continuing to look.

Hearing Sam's grumbling on the other end of the line and the noise of traffic, Pat decided to get back to work.  "Well, I'll let you know when we get the warrant."

"Thanks, Pat.  And Pat, thanks again for doing what you did last night.  I'm sorry that you didn't get much sleep."

"No problem, anything for you.  You know that."

Sighing inwardly, Sam said her goodbyes and put the phone down on the seat just in time to find a fairly close parking place on the third time around the block.


In a short time she had found her way into the building that housed the paper and stood before a very worried Leo with an eyebrow rising up her forehead.

"Leo, I would not lie to you about this.  They told me she's going to be fine and yes, I have seen her."  She was not willing to divulge the depths of her descent into the world of, she barely controlled the annoyed sneer at herself at this, caring people to him.  The fact that she had stayed up all night in the hospital and couldn't seem to control what was going on inside when she thought about Kris was her business alone.

"You're right, you're right.  Sorry.  I...we're just worried."

"I understand." He fiddled with his tie as he sat back down and Sam found herself trying not to smile at the various cute cat poses that adorned his selection of the day.

Leo noticed the direction of Sam's gaze and held the end away from his body with a fond smile.  "Grandkids."

Wisely, the tall woman simply nodded and smiled slightly.

The newspaperman indicated a chair for Sam, as soon as she was sitting, he asked, "Since Kris isn't here, I'm assuming there's something you need.  What can I do for you?"

"I'm trying to find some papers she may have left here yesterday sometime.  I don't even know if she was here, and she's still a bit fuzzy about yesterday, but I figured it was worth a shot."

Leo's newshound instincts rose but, to his credit, his concern for Kris was paramount in his mind.  "That doesn't sound good.  She doesn't remember?"

"Her mom was a nurse and says it's normal, so does the doctor.  They say it's just a matter of time."

"Okay, let's see what we can find.   Any idea what would she have been doing?  Research, copies, writing or ?"

"Hard to say.  My guess would be that she'd need to make copies somewhere and maybe do some research but I don't know if it would be here."

"Let's try her desk."

Sam found a couple of notes on Kris' desk blotter that looked as if they may have been made whilst Kris was looking at the papers but there was no sign of any actual copies.  The Detective was about to give up when Patricia walked into the room and saw them both standing by Kris' desk.

"Sam!  How's Kris?"  She asked loudly with quite a bit of concern evident in her tone.

Sam cringed slightly and tried not to show it, this well-meaning woman was simply one of those personalities that a single room cannot seem to hold.  From her clothes to her demeanor to everything about her.  She was also wonderfully warm, funny and had been at the paper forever, it seemed.  "They say she's gonna be just fine."

Patricia let out to what would seem to others an exaggerated breath of relief but was normal for her.  "Thank God!"

Sam smiled and Leo nodded.

"So why are you here?"

Blinking at the other woman's abrupt question, Sam just looked at her for a few moments before chuckling slightly.  "I'm...here to see if Kris left any papers in the last day or two.  Her memory is still a little off, so I thought I'd come by and check for her."  Her eyes widened in surprise at Patricia's next words.

"Oh, I wondered if they were hers.  Let me go get them."

As she walked to her desk Patricia kept talking.  "I cleared a paper jam in the copier yesterday morning and several copies came out after I'd fixed it.  I remembered that Kris had been in this weekend and they looked like legal types, so I saved them just in case."  She returned and handed a file folder with several pieces of paper, a couple of them crumpled, to Sam.


"Hi, Honey.  How's the head?"  Mrs Scott asked solicitously of her daughter who had opened hazy eyes a short time before.

Kris blinked a couple of times, the fuzz she remembered from the last time she had been awake seemed to be lessening each time she woke up.  She smiled briefly before the effort and movement of the muscles caused her head to hurt again, both in and out.  "Hi, Mom." She bit back a wince from the reverberation of her own voice and lowered her tone.  "It's getting a little better I think."

Mrs Scott ran the back of her hand down Kris' cheek and then brushed her daughter's bangs into some type of order.  Not that any order was truly possible due to the disinfectant, anti-biotic, blood and whatever else was stuck in her daughter's hair.  She smiled down at her daughter affectionately.  "We'll have to see if they'll let me wash your hair if you'd like that."

"Maybe later, I'm still not sure that the top of my head exists at the moment."

Kris' mother chuckled.  "It's there, honey.  We're just really glad you're able to feel it."  Tears teased her eyes and she swallowed to try and keep them where they were and not filling her eyes.  She decided a topic switch was in order. "Brian was here earlier and Brooke called a couple of times, she's coming down this weekend to make sure you're okay with her own eyes."

Kris smiled at this, her sister was a very good example of a 'doubting Thomas'.  Someone who had to see things before they believed them, even if her parents told her that Kris was okay she would want to see for herself.

"Dylan called too, he said to wish you well and that Justin wanted to come visit his favorite aunt really soon."

Kris smiled, Dylan had been the black sheep of the family for a long time and only recently had started to come back to family gatherings.  She was really glad he was back.  "I'd like that."  Dylan had been a favorite when Kris was younger, very protective of his tow-headed sister.  'Actually,' Kris mused, 'We're all pretty protective of each other.'  Which led the blonde to thoughts of another very protective person who had stayed with her the entire night.  Vague memories had given her the idea and her mother had confirmed it.  'Of course she did.'  Kris thought, 'Where would you be if it was her?'

Mrs Scott's heart contracted at the softening in her daughter's face as she watched Kris' lips stretch over her teeth in a small closed mouth smile.  Unfortunately, for her, there was little doubt in her mind about what, or rather who, she was thinking of.  'Oh Kris, please don't do this.'  She waited, hoping she was wrong.

Both sets of musing were interrupted by a distinctive voice from the doorway, "Kris, girl, I'm glad to see ya awake."

An automatic smile broke out on Kris' face, immediately followed by a grimace of pain as her injuries quickly reminded her that they were there.

Hurrying over, Mrs Kelly could not stop the worried frown that immediately slid into place.  "Love, I'm sorry.  I should've called before I came."

"No, no." Kris groaned out.  "I'm fine, just have to remember that things aren't quite as uh in shape as they usually are.  I'm glad to see you, Mrs Kelly."

With a glance at Lisa Scott to be sure it was all right with her, Mrs Kelly approached the bed and grasped Kris' good hand with a smile.  "My Pat told me that there was an accident and I wanted to see how things were for myself."

The question on Kris' face was obvious and Mrs Kelly answered it before it could be vocalized, "Sam called him and asked him to take the case if he could and why.  I came as soon I found out I could visit."  She turned to Lisa, "I hope ya don't mind."

"Of course not!"  Kris' mother walked over to the older woman and hugged her tightly.  "It's wonderful to see you again but we really need to try meeting over dinner or something next time.  This hospital thing is getting old."  She winced mentally as she remembered that the last time they had met it had been when Mrs Kelly's son had been killed and Sam critically injured.

Mrs Kelly seemed to not let the memory affect her, however.  "Well, if both our girls would stay out of trouble then maybe we could just have dinner some time."

Lisa smiled and agreed rapidly.

Kris opened her mouth to say something about assuming she was always in trouble but closed it again as it seemed a little hypocritical since she was indeed laying in a hospital bed.  'Even if it isn't my fault!'  She thought a little grumpily.

Noticing the hint of a pout beginning to form on the younger blonde's face, Mrs Kelly asked a question she was sure would take her mind off being grumpy.  "So, where is the other half of the dynamic duo?"

Kris had to let a smile slip at the image of Sam dressed up in a bat outfit and herself in the bright colors of a bird.  She spared a glance at her mother expecting to see something similar on her face, as she had teased her daughter many times about the trouble she got into, only to be surprised by the look of fear that flew across her mother's face so quickly she wondered if she had imagined it.

Mrs Kelly looked from one woman to the other, sensing that something was going on and it apparently had something to do with Sam.  Just as she was about to say that she better leave, Kris spoke up.

"I think she's out helping finding some stuff for me and working."

'Of course, she would insist on helping to catch those who hurt Kris.'  Mrs Kelly mused.

Mistaking Mrs Kelly's silence for the older woman's disapproval of Sam's actions, Kris felt the need to speak up.  "She was here all night with me, I...I remember bits of it."

Mrs Kelly reached out and patted Kris' good hand, one glance taking in the healing scrapes there, "Of course she was.  Where else would she be?" Asked Mrs Kelly, unknowingly putting Kris' earlier thoughts into words.

Lisa Scott looked over at Mrs Kelly at that statement and could not help thinking the same thing.  There was just no doubt where Sam would be when Kris was in danger or ill.  It didn't matter when, where or how long it took - Sam would be there.  Her heart fell further.

Mrs Kelly ended up staying about thirty minutes and even managed to bring Kris' mother out of her self induced silence somewhat.  Before she left, she had extracted a promise of them both coming for dinner as soon as Kris was up to it.

It never occurred to either Scott to turn down the invitation, it would have been akin to turning down an invitation from Mother Nature.  Definitely not done.  Kris snickered at herself for that thought and was pleasantly surprised when her head did not immediately feel as if it was blowing off the top of her head.  Wanting to share this good news with her mother, she looked over to her only to stop at the sadness evident on her mother's face.  "Mom?"

Lisa Scott looked up at her daughter and tried to smile in answer to Kris' questioning tone.  She swallowed hard to try and keep down the emotions bubbling up inside.

"Mom, what's wrong?"

Mrs Scott tried a shaky smile again as she squeezed Kris' foot and moved to the window.  "Nothing, honey.  Nothing."

Kris' mind raced, something was definitely wrong and she had no clue what it was.  She had seen her father, her mother had talked about Dylan, Brooke and Brian.  It was as if something had happened to someone her mother ...'or I care about?'  Dread hit her heart in the form of a jolt and quickly indrawn breath.  Her addled mind put too much into the silence again and remembered her mother had not mentioned Sam at all since the tall Detective had left early in the morning.  "Is everything okay?  Is Sam okay?"

Lisa released a breath with a slow shake of her head.  'Always Sam.'  Kris had cried out in her sleep a few times and it was always for Sam.  The first face she wanted to see was Sam's.  And it wasn't just her daughter.  Last night, when Sam thought she was asleep, there were times when the tall woman's tender actions had made it quite plain how deep her feelings went for Kris.

Kris' head began to pound in time with her heart, she whispered, "Mom, did something happen?"  Tears began to form as she struggled to keep the pain from both her head and heart from overwhelming her.  She started to breathe hard and the increased breathing was playing havoc with her ribs, they started to complain loudly.  She let out another considerably more upset, "Mom?" before misjudging the weight of her cast and almost hitting herself in the head with it as she brought her hand up to her head as if it would stop the pain.  The sharp movement caused her wrist to send a jolt up the length of her arm into her shoulder.  The tug of the IV in her other arm reminded her to be very careful.

Lisa heard the strangled tone of her daughter's voice and spun rapidly from the window with widened eyes as she realized what her silence had meant to Kris.  "No, honey, no!  She's fine.  Everything's fine!"  Quickly approaching her daughter's bed, she held her tightly.  "I'm so sorry.  I...she's fine, I swear it.  I'm just tired, honey."  It was obvious that Kris was in pain, "Should I get the nurse to give you some pain medication?"

As Kris struggled with the pain, Lisa stroked the back of her daughter's head, murmuring apologies in soft tones and let her mind look at what had just happened.  'There it is.'  She thought.  If there was any doubt in Mrs Scott's mind about Kris' feelings about Sam, it was fading rapidly.  The looks, the time they spent together, the way they both kept the other in sight at all times and watched the other when they thought nobody was watching, the protectiveness, the way they acted around each other that was so different than with anyone else and every other action that shouted their feelings.

It was all intimately familiar, her own life ran through her mind like a movie.  The tape and pictures from her wedding flickered frame by frame, the connectivity between herself and Jim, the obvious emotion.  Her eyes closed as the frames came to her own family, her mother and father and her sisters.  'Kate.'  The frames stopped on her sister's face.  It had been so many years since she had seen Kate.

She looked at the beige wall in front of her, still stroking Kris' head as her daughter seemed to relax slowly.  However, a quick glance showed lines of pain still on Kris' face.  She whispered, "I'm sorry, baby.  I'm sorry."  And she truly was, for many things.  Some of which were yet to happen.  Kris murmured something and Lisa berated herself for putting her daughter in even the tiniest amount of pain due to her preoccupation.  Only, she recognized that it was not just a preoccupation.

She was so afraid for her daughter if....  She closed her eyes with a deep sigh.  There was no if.  She had seen it, from both Kris and Sam over the years since they had met.  It was beyond magnetic.  You could almost see the current flowing between them when they were together.  The only question was if they had actually realized what was going on between them and done something about it.  Her feeling was that they hadn't.  'What do I do?'

The frames in her mind started up again, this time a breath shuddered out of her when she got to the last time she had seen her youngest sister.  How ugly it had been.  Their father had thrown Kate out, told her that she would not be welcome until she changed her ways.  'Where are you, Kate?'  They had been so close.  Lisa had been the one to tell Kate that she had to tell their parents the truth.  The truth.  It had cost them all so much.  'How could I have been so stupid as to believe they'd understand that love held no bounds because I did and I loved Kate no matter what?'

Lisa had never forgiven her father for sending Kate away and yet, she had made no attempt to find her sister.  She pondered, 'What does that say about me?'   Sadly, there was nothing she could do about that now but she would never let that happen to Kris, never.  'What anyone else thinks doesn't matter.  She's my daughter and I don't give a damn what anyone else thinks.'  Lisa held her now sleeping daughter tighter, her mind fiercely defending Kris' rights to be whatever she wanted to be.

As she held Kris, many thoughts went through her mind ranging from wondering how her father could have disowned one of his kids and the unconditional love that seemed to be missing when she was growing up.  Kate had been the only one to ever offer that type of love and she gave it freely.  'How she was repaid.'  Lisa sighed again as she recalled the devastation in her sister's eyes and her own when her father had discovered that Kate was writing to her and that she had seen her once or twice.  In a fit of rage, he had forbidden her to ever contact Kate again and she had never stood up to him, never tried again.  'Why?  She was your sister, you shared everything with her and vice versa.  Hypocrite.'

'I'm so sorry, Kate.  I didn't defend you when you told mom and dad you were in love with Holly.  I hope I can tell you that some day, if you'll talk to me.'  Her mental frames started to flip through her mind again, stopping at Kate's face the last time she had seen her walk out the door.  Her sister's face was wet with tears and her eyes red rimmed in sorrow.  Tears of remembered sympathy began rolling down Lisa's face.

She stayed that way some time, until the tears on her face dried by themselves and her daughter slumbered easily.  She released Kris slowly and moved off the bed, not sure which was more creaky, her joints or the bed.  She had gone through several phases as she had held her daughter.  All of which had been steadied by the fact that she loved her daughter and would fight the devil to protect her.

Continued in Part 5

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