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

Sam pulled away from the curb, on her way to her meeting with Lee and then talked into the phone.  "Yes, in my hot little hands.  I don't know what they'll do for you but they appear to be copies of disbursements and various files.  There are some notes on a couple of them, Kris' if I'm not mistaken."

"Anything you can understand?"

"There's a note about IOLTA, whatever that is, and some dates with question marks.  Along with a couple of other notations with names and what appear to be file or case numbers."

"This may be the icing on the cake, especially if they've destroyed the originals.  IOLTA is Interest On Lawyer's Trust Accounts and it wouldn't even be the twentieth time I've seen it used illegally.  On this type of playing field, I'm betting grand theft.  It sure fits with Hughes' killing."  Pat doodled on his desk blotter.

"How so?"

"From what we found in his house, the best guess is that either a large gang or perhaps even the mob was supplying the drugs.  If that's the case, it's possible that Hughes had something on them to protect himself, I sure would.  If so, Hughes was a liability who almost certainly owed a great deal of money to them.   If they had even the faintest idea that he was gonna do a runner or spill it all then they would've taken him out."

"Well, that fits with the execution style killing, but why Kris?"

Pat leaned back in his chair.  "Loose end.  They must have a contact there who told them she was snooping."

Sam rolled her eyes at the slowly moving car in front of her, annoyed that, as usual, there seemed to be no reason why the car in front of her was going far below the speed limit.  "That seems like a pretty radical way to silence a snooper."

"Not if they wanted to destroy all the evidence too.  We questioned the landlord of Sam's building this morning, seems as if he and his cousin chased someone off last night who was trying to get into the basement of Kris' building.  What if they had plans to destroy Kris' apartment too?"

"Christ, this is hard to take in.  I so very badly want these assholes but one thing's for sure, we need to get this closed so she's not in danger anymore."

"Yep and that should hopefully be pretty soon.  Keep a tight hold on those papers, turn them over to me alone, okay?  I don't want to crap up the chain of evidence, such as it is."

"You got it, hopefully they'll do some good."  Sam tapped the steering wheel as she drove.  "Pat, whatever this takes, whatever help you need from me to keep her safe, please ask.  Okay?"

Slightly stunned, it took Pat a few moments to completely take in what Sam had said.  He finally responded,   "You got it."  Then wondered what exactly it was that caused Sam to care so very much about this small blonde woman.


Lee greeted Sam as soon as the dark haired woman opened her car door.  To say that they were both very confused and apprehensive was an understatement.

As soon as Sam had turned onto the street she realized where she had known the address from, it was the same building where Ray Coombes lived.  As she pulled up, she had wondered how astronomical the odds were that this was a coincidence.

"I know, I know." Sam said to Lee's anxious face.  "Do you have a picture of this guy?"

Lee nodded, opened the folder she had been holding and handed a copy of Gary Pelman's driver's license to her partner.

Sam's face paled and her mouth went dry, she knew the face.  "Oh shit,"  Escaped her mouth in a tone that came out considerably more calm than she felt.  She looked over at a now concerned Lee and blinked.

Lee, of course, had immediately realized that Sam knew the dead man.  "Where from?"

"Here.  Dammit!  Here!"  Sam's heart was pounding, Stacy Morris and now Gary Pelman.  Two people she had had altercations with, both of them dead.  She put a hand up to her forehead and rubbed it, there was no question of a coincidence now.  "Jesus.  What in the hell is going on?"

Lee waited patiently for Sam to come to terms with the news she had just received, concerned that her partner had now known two of the murder victims.

Still a little dazed, the lack of sleep not helping anything at all, Sam wrestled with her spiraling thoughts and brought them into line.  "Let's go see what we can find."

"You sure we should be doing this?"

"Hell, yes.  We're on this unless someone takes us off.  I want to know what in the hell is going on."  Her anger now fueled her mind and body, she strode toward the building and Lee, initially surprised, quickly followed.


Sam folded her black leather jacket and draped it over the back of one of the straight-backed chairs.  Kris' mother had just left to make some calls and get a bite of dinner.  The detective had noticed that the older woman had been more distant than normal but put it down to worry over Kris.  Sam had taken the instructions about how much water to give Kris if she woke up and how to contact the nurse if she was in pain good naturedly, figuring that Mrs Scott really needed a break and she did not mind at all being the one giving it.

The strange thing had been the distracted request Mrs Scott had asked outside Kris' room before she left, it still puzzled Sam.  Still, when the older woman had explained it was for a relative that she had not seen for a long time and wanted to contact as a surprise for Kris' birthday party in a few months, she had dutifully written the name of Kathryn Mead down and promised to find out whatever she could for Kris' mother.  It wasn't something that she did as a rule but the other woman had insisted Sam get the Captain's approval first and so Sam planned to do just that.

With a lingering look at Kris, Sam moved to the window and leaned forward against the sill, stretching as many muscles as she could and being pleasantly surprised that any pain in her arm was down to a twinge.   She was relieved.  Due to being bone tired, worried sick about Kris and the feelings she had finally let surface, being up all night and the day she had had, most of her reserves were gone.  She and Lee had spent hours canvassing the building where Gary Pelman had lived, they had searched his apartment and had not found one thing that might help.  That is, beyond the fact that he and Stacey Morris had both had arguments with Sam.

She could still recall how angry she had been when the softball player that night, what a stupid move the other woman had made to finally touch off Sam's ire.  Gary Pelman had been a nuisance, nothing more.  However, reviewing the records showed no connection with the other victims.  The partners had split with the promise of meeting up at the station in the morning and taking one more look at everything before going to the Captain.

"Running on empty." Sam sang to herself quietly and hoped that she could keep herself together long enough to get some sleep.  Strangely, though, as tired as she was, there was nowhere else she would rather be.  She knew that she needed to see those green eyes and talk to Kris before she could possibly rest.

A short while later, Kris fought the fuzz of the drugs and pain, finally forcing her eyes open by sheer will to see what, or rather who, she knew would be there.  As she focused her eyes, she floated through the infinity of the sky in front of her and had her world lit by a luminous smile that appeared on the same face that held that bluest of skies.

"Hey." Sam's grip tightened on the bed railing, fighting the urge to reach out and touch Kris.  She tilted her head to pretty much the same direction as Kris' and smiled again as she spoke quietly.  "They tell me you aren't complaining about the food yet, so I guess it's not quite time to take you home, huh?"

"Soon." Kris croaked.

The smile coalesced into a lopsided grin at Kris' tenaciousness.  "Want some water?"

Kris barely nodded a "Mmm." before Sam was reaching over to grab the plastic cup.  The blonde sipped a little water from the cup whilst Sam watched over her, anxious to make sure she did not spill anything or cause her friend any pain.

Slowly laying her head back the short distance to the pillow, Kris looked at her friend and smiled.  She knew that Sam had been working on her case on the side, thanks to her father, and the detective's own cases as well.  "I hear you've had a busy day?"

Sam frowned a little, the memory of the discovery about Gary Pelman was still very fresh and very weird.  Pre-occupied, one hand reached out to place the cup of water on the tray table as the other curled around Kris' mostly uninjured hand and held it gently.  "Yep, but we found some of copies you made.  I took them to Pat and he was pretty excited.  You did really good, I just wish I'd stepped in earlier."

"You helped by checking on the missing person's notice, I told you I didn't think I had enough on the rest yet.  It was my decision, you had to honor it."  At Sam's slightly sour face at that, Kris continued, "I can be just as stubborn as you, don't forget that."  Then, as if it had taken a slow boat to China, the fact that Sam was holding her hand, and it felt ...soft, warm and wonderful, hit Kris' brain.  She did a fuzzy double take as her still hazy mind wondered if she was seeing something that was just not happening.  Then not being one to ignore that type of opportunity, she simply enjoyed it.

Sam's eyes widened when Kris' fingers tightened slightly around her hand, never so glad that her face had been averted by the extra action she had taken to make sure the cup was safely back on the tray table.  The fact that she had just grabbed Kris' hand without a single thought about it forced herself to take a hard look at the reality that the last twenty four hours had made her crave touch, 'No, be honest with yourself.  Crave Kris' touch.'  Her need to feel that Kris was alive had become overwhelming at times and it was obviously affecting her actions.

Kris, of course, realized that something else was on Sam's mind too, "What else?"'

She broke out of her thoughts at the sudden knowledge that Kris was probably waiting for a comment and turned with a smile, "Just worried about you."

Will she never let me in for more than a split second every once in a blue moon?'  Kris' head began to ache a little and her grip on Sam's hand loosened reflexively.  She looked away from her friend and stated, "Mom told me she talked to you a few times today."

Sam looked at Kris sharply when she felt her friend's hand began to loosen its grip.  When she saw the pinched look on Sam's face she brought her other hand up to cup the blonde's hand between both of her own.  "Are you okay?"

Tired and slightly dull eyes turned back to Sam and deliberately echoed, "Just worried about you."

Sam felt something twist inside at Kris' words and the stark multi-faceted pain behind them.  Her eyes tracked to their clasped hands and she felt her world compress again, as it had a few times in the recent past.  Her eyes moved back to capture Kris' and held them as she said softly,  "I'm sorry."   Her eyes slid back down to their hands, "I..." She paused, giving this much power to Kris was incredibly frightening, she wasn't sure she could.

Kris held her breath and squeezed Sam's hand slightly in what she hoped was encouragement. 'Please.'

Sam smiled slightly at that action, "Always helping me, huh?"

"Always."  This time Kris held Sam's eyes and would not let the other woman look away.

With Sam's soft smile of acceptance a door opened and long ago drawn barriers crumbled beneath the shocking weight of everything Kris meant to the dark haired woman.  She took a deep breath, released it and took another.  Although she felt like a train speeding out of control on its way to disaster, a decision was made.  She lifted their intertwined hands and slowly brought them to her chest, mindful of the IV in place near Kris' elbow.  Knowing they both needed something now, she gently ran her thumb over Kris' knuckles and began again.  "When I c...couldn't find you in the parking lot...."  Her breath caught and she barely tore her eyes away before continuing in a rapid burst, "I thought you were ...gone."

Kris watched as Sam closed her eyes in obvious pain and her own dimmed to a tiny ache with the wonder of what she might be finally experiencing from her friend.

Her eyes opened and Sam spoke again, "I promised...."  She looked at Kris again, "Lots of things."  But could not keep contact.  "One of which was to be the friend you needed, if I could only get that chance again."

Kris tried to get Sam to look at her.  Failing, she too made a decision and whispered, "I've promised myself a few things lately too... and you are exactly what I need."

With pinpricks of tears in the back of her eyes Sam asked, "You can somehow see right through me can't you?"

Struggling with her own tears Kris just nodded slowly and knew that Sam had caught the motion.

"And I'm not doing a very good job of what I promised am I?"

"It's never too late."

Sam smiled wryly and glanced back at Kris again, "Yes, you've taught me that.  Even for me."

"Especially for you."

Kris' serious and rather pale face held Sam's gaze yet again.  The pit of Sam's stomach dropped to her toes as she thought, 'I love you, so much.' She blinked and wondered if she would ever be able to speak those words to Kris.

Kris heart had begun to speed up, to the annoyance of the pounding pain in her head and wrist.  She refused to let it interfere with what she was seeing in Sam's eyes, something she had not even dreamed could be there.  There was no doubt what she was asking for when she whispered aloud this time, "Please."

Sam searched Kris' eyes and face, frowning as too many thoughts and emotions fought for dominance in her head and heart.  This was the point of no return, what Kris was asking of her was something she wasn't sure she could do or risk.  Even though she was sure she could see what she felt for the blonde reflected back at her, it was too much.  'Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.'   Her mouth opened and for several seconds her jaw moved without any words coming out, then "I..."  'I can't do this, this is not the time!'

The pain in her head almost completely ignored, Kris felt her heart wrench at the sight of a single tear on her friend's stricken face.  She could not imagine causing her friend, her love, even if she was completely wrong about what was going on and Sam never knew it, this much pain and wanted to try and stop whatever was hurting her from doing so.

Still completely captured by emerald jewels, Sam's mouth began to move again almost against her will.  "Love." She took a breath, "You."  Released from whatever spell had taken her over, she turned away in shock but Kris would not release her grip.  Sam's heart pounded with fear until she heard Kris speak her own magic words quietly.

"I love you too."  Tears began as Kris added, "I always have."

Sam blew out a surprised breath and turned quickly back to Kris, searching again to see if she would find the truth she knew would be there.  Her heart was pounding in ears, this was something that was rapidly ascending beyond her comprehension. 'It couldn't be that easy.'  She struggled to find the words, it was as if sharing the truth had not only lightened her heart but struck her mute also.  'It's never been that easy.'  That thought was followed quickly by another, 'It's never been like this.  Never.'

Kris needed to say something, needed to make sure that Sam understood.  Unfortunately, the tears and everything going on appeared to be making her head begin to pound again.  She winced and realized her eyes were getting very heavy again, then shook her head as Sam's face made it obvious that her friend was now concerned.  The pounding in her head was escalating , however she was determined to speak her mind but she was fading fast.  "No matter what, it's enough just to know.  Just to be together."

As Kris finished, the blonde drifted out again and Sam carefully placed their still linked hands back on the bed.  Then, in a move she knew she could not have done if those green eyes had still been watching her, she leaned over and softly brushed her lips against Kris' cheek, almost jumping back when little zaps of electricity flew between them.

In the hallway, Kris' mother leaned back against the wall next to the doorway with her eyes closed.  She had just gotten off the phone with her husband and he had given her a message for Sam, Lisa had wanted to pass that along that before she went to eat.  Walking in three quarters of the way through a conversation was always difficult but she had heard enough to know she was too late.  She knew her daughter too well, it was definitely too late.


"You don't have to be here you know."

"Of course I do, you're my partner.  Besides what else do I have to do?"

"Sleep?  This isn't our case, I'm just here because...because I need to be."

Lee's eyes widened ever so slightly at that declaration, knowing that the people involved in the case had hurt the Captain's daughter and that this was why both her partner and the Captain were present for this arrest.  Still, all she said was, "Then I need to be here too."

Sam couldn't help the tiny smile that appeared.  "You know, this partnership would probably get along much better if you just did what I said and not what I did."

Refusing to be baited, Lee replied, "Where's the fun in that?"

Sam snorted and shook her head but stilled quickly when she saw that the team was being given the go ahead to go in.  Much to her annoyance, she wasn't part of the team that got to actually go in and subdue the man inside.  Frank Rawlins was a partner in the law offices of "Dwyer, Evans, Rawlins and Winters" and they had found enough evidence, thanks to Kris' copies, which led them to other files, to be able to arrest him on grand theft.  There were murder and attempted murder charges to follow but the D.A.'s office was still gathering all the information in order to choose the best path to follow.

She watched as the team burst in the front door and in a matter of minutes brought the bearded man out the front door in handcuffs.  She moved from behind the car and stood watching one of the men that had almost certainly approved of the attack on Kris.

Lee blinked as watched her partner's demeanor switch from on edge to downright dangerous in a split second.  The dark edge now surrounding her partner as she watched Rawlins being taken into custody was almost palpable.  Even with the short time she'd been working with Sam, she'd heard talk of this but hadn't really believed it until she saw it for herself.  'Wow,' She thought, trying to equate the pulsing danger in front of her with the person she had just been chatting with a few moments before.

Sam moved closer as she followed the progress of the officers with Rawlins.  Right before they were about to put him in the car, he looked up at her and she realized that he had been one of the suits heading towards her when she and Pam had been speaking the day before.

Frank Rawlins stood motionless for a few moments, speared to the spot by piercing blue eyes.  He was sure that his life was over.  The people he was involved with didn't bat an eye about killing insignificant people like him but those eyes staring at him now held the promise of dark pain that scared him even more.  He was relieved when one of the officers pushed his head down and put him in the back of a police car.

Surprised, Sam still managed not to flinch when Captain Scott's voice sounded out on her right side.  "They've promised to let me know what they find.  They're hoping it'll be some connection to the guys who are really behind it all but it's just a hope."

Half turning her head but not looking at the Captain, she asked, "You'll let me know what they find out, sir?"

"Of course.  I have to get back to the office and meet the Chief.  Are you still planning on going to the other one?"

Now she turned to look at Kris' father, "Oh yes.  That one I'm going to enjoy very much.  I just wish I could've been there when they picked up the others too."

"Better to get them all at once, if possible."  He saw Foster nod her agreement and asked curiously, "What is it about this Collier guy that has you after him?"

Sam turned back to look at the man in the back of the police car when she felt the slight flush of anger start up her neck and flash in her cheeks.  "Let's just say that he's a jerk who deserves everything he gets, sir."

"I see and will my daughter be similarly pleased to find out that he's being arrested?"

That brought an evil smile to Sam's face, "Oh yes, she'll be very pleased to hear that."

Vowing to ask his daughter about Tim Collier, he looked at his watch and realized he had to leave.  "I'll see you both in the office, no later than nine.  I'm going to need an update on the murder case you've been working on."

Both Sam and Lee responded affirmatively and the Captain turned quickly and left, sparing one last glance at man in the back of the vehicle.  That was one case he would follow with great interest.

"You ready to move onto Collier's?"  Lee asked, almost as curious as the Captain as to why Sam had insisted she be there for his arrest.

"Yeah, let's go."  The plan had been to arrest Frank Rawlins and several associates at the same time but Tim Collier had blown that by not being home.  They had set up surveillance of his house and had just received word, just prior to the arrest of Frank Rawlins, that he had arrived.  Collier's house was just minutes away, the team on site had agreed to wait a few minutes for some of the investigators that had been at Rawlins' to arrive.


"So what's this guy done to piss you off so much more than the other one?"  Lee asked from her protected position behind the car.

Sam thought about that for a few seconds.  Her initial response of "He was a jerk to Kris" had died on her lips before being uttered and she felt decidedly odd about the real reasons she was so very happy to see Tim Collier being arrested. "Let's just say that he thinks he's god's gift to women and the world in general."

Lee frowned, there was obviously more to be known about this Collier guy but it wasn't her business so she wasn't about to push the issue.


Sam turned her head to regard the man in charge of the operation, Lieutenant Mason.

"They think he's on the move and the rest of the team isn't here yet, want to do back up?"

Lee watched as a feral grin appeared on Sam's face, 'Remind me never to get her mad at me.'

"Just point me, sir."  Sam replied.

Mason looked over at Lee, who nodded her agreement to assist, "Both got vests on?"  At the twin nods, he continued, "Follow Brower here."  He nodded to indicate a man who had just appeared at his side, "Remember, just back up only.  Got that?"

They both nodded and shrugged their jackets off revealing the protective vests underneath, warmth didn't cut it when the ability to move might save a life.  Then they followed Brower, who was making a wide sweep to approach the house.  The stopped at the neighbor's wooden fence, where they all had to crouch a little to not be seen over the top.

Sam leaned back and whispered, "You don't have to do this either."

"Some crazy person once told me that partners watch each other's backs.  This is my turn to watch yours."

Pursing her lips at Lee's use of her own words against her, Sam just nodded.

Before any other words could pass between them, the first team rammed their way into the front and back doors of the house.   At that sign, the three of them sprinted to the front of the house, ducking past the windows and waited with by the front door with guns drawn.

Sam could hear the yells of the team telling someone to get on the floor with their hands behind their backs and seconds later they received the all clear.  She asked Brower, "I'd like to go in."

He looked at her curiously and nodded, "Sure."

Lee met Brower's eyes, shrugged her shoulders and followed her partner into the house.

It took just moments for Sam to find Tim on his knees in the living room.  He looked up as she entered and his eyes widened in shock and no little amount of fear.  One side of Sam's mouth raised in a quirky grin that contained no humor, "Hello Timmy, remember me?"

Lee pulled her hand back before she could touch Sam as the other woman suddenly moved to kneel by the handcuffed man.  She could once again feel the dark aura surrounding Sam and had to admit that it was a bit scary.

In a low, deadly whisper, Sam said "Time for you to pay the dues, Timmy.  And I'm gonna enjoy watching you pay every one of them."

Lee stayed on edge, watching her partner very carefully.  Not at all sure where this was going.

"You better make sure you tell every tiny bit of what you know because I promise you that what they'll do to you is nothing compared to what I will if you don't."

Tim swallowed as sweat broke out all over his body, he couldn't seem to look away from the eyes that held his.  Then his whole body relaxed with a deep sigh as the eyes disappeared and the woman in front of him stood in one smooth movement.

"I'd like to stop by the law offices on the way back, if you don't mind.  I just want to check on something."

Lee nodded, still speechless at her partner's swift change from detective to deadly predator and back again.

A quick stop at the law offices had reassured Sam that Pam was most definitely being viewed as one of the good guys by the rest of the firm.  That Sam had taken great pains to make sure the remaining partners were well aware that Pam deserved to be treated well wasn't something that she felt anyone else had to know.

The rest of the day Sam had spent working on the murders with Lee.  That had been a grueling exercise, trying to gather enough information to persuade the Captain that they should keep the case.  They would probably have to do that tomorrow since he had been called out of the office for the rest of the day.  With all of that and the fact that she had been fighting the impulse to go over what had gone on with Kris the night before over and over in her mind, she was more than ready to go home at the end of the day.


"So, like I said yesterday, the copies you had capped it off.  They led us to the safety deposit boxes and finished off any hopes they had of getting away with it.  You were amazing."   Sam had turned down the radio low enough to not interrupt their discussion but they could still hear it when they'd first entered the car and had been updating Kris since then.

"Not me."  Kris shook her head, both at her friend and the facts she had told her.

"Oh yes, you."  Sam looked in the rear view mirror and caught a glimpse of Kris' overnight bag, which caused a pang of regret to resonate through the detective.  "I really am sorry we didn't check with Robin about the mess they'd made of your apartment.  I had no idea."

"I know that and it's fine."  Even though Kris was very tired and a dull ache had begun to worm its way into her head, she did not remotely regret leaving the messy apartment behind for the night.  She knew that she probably should have gone with her parents' offer to stay with them but she had been around enough attention lately and wanted to just be quiet for a while.   She knew she would get that with her friend.  She also hadn't had much of a chance to talk with Sam after she had fallen asleep the night before.

It was incredibly reassuring to have the tall woman by her side again, even more so that they had fallen into their normal rhythm of ease.  They hadn't discussed their talk of the previous evening, knowing they were still together, knowing they had time and able to feel the change that had taken place between them was more than enough for now.

Kris had called Sam to ask her to take her home when her mother was speaking with the Doctor.  Unfortunately, when they got the apartment, they had discovered that Robin had not even attempted to clean up beyond the very basic requirements, of course, and was apparently out with James.  She had 'kindly' left a note for Kris, welcoming her home and apologizing for the mess that she had not had time to clean up.  Sam had taken one look at the mess and said "I have a great guest room, can I pack a bag for you?"

Between the two of them, they had thrown enough in a bag to cover the night and next day, left a note for Robin and had immediately left for Sam's house.  Sam knew she had basic food supplies at home and Kris hadn't wanted anything on the way, so they had gotten there fairly quickly.

"Thank you again for putting me up."  Kris smiled to herself as she recognized the song beginning to play on the radio.

There you are in the early light of day
There you are in the quiet words I pray.
I've been blessed by the simple happiness
of the perfect love we've made.

Sam turned her head with a grin, "A wise person told me we have to stick together, just doing what I'm told."  Her eyes held Kris' for a few moments before she looked back to the road and, unconsciously, she began to sing very quietly to the words of the song.

Every time I turn around
When I'm lost and when I'm found
Like an angel standing guard
There you are.

Kris smiled outwardly in reflex to Sam's grin and listened with quiet pleasure to the duet between the radio and her friend.  "That's how I feel, you know?  Like I have my own guardian angel."

Sam replied softly, "I'm not the angel."

Every time I take a breath
and when I forget to breathe.
You're watching over me.
There you are.

"You should sing this song at a wedding some time." She teased as she tried to persuade her unruly heart to control itself.

"Hmm?" A distracted Sam asked and then realized what her friend meant with a soft chuckle, "I think I'm done with the wedding song scene, at least I hope so."

When I'm looking for the light
in the middle of the night.

Kris turned her head to watch her friend carefully.  "You wouldn't sing it for me?"

Searching for the brightest star
There you are

Sam just breathed, trying to control the thoughts running rampant. The thought of Kris getting married to someone... 'else.  Come on, Sam, say it.  The thought of her being with someone else is what's making that lead weight in your stomach bounce up and down.  That just can never happen.  No.' She felt somewhat nauseous at the idea of that particular event happening and struggled to keep her control of her roller coaster emotions.  Still, her friend had asked and what other answer was possible?  She met the blonde's gaze equally and said softly,  "I'd do anything for you."

There you are
Standing in a crowded room.
There you are
The earth and I'm the moon.

"Anything?"  Kris noticed the nervous swallow of her friend, the elevated breathing from the rising of her chest and she wished she could lean over to feel the increased heart rate that almost certainly twinned her own.  Something chimed inside her and she raked her teeth over her bottom lip in her nervousness.  Her headache seemed to fade as it tended to do when in Sam's presence.

My desire is to stand by the fire
that burns inside of you.

The detective had returned her watchful gaze to the road as she drove but could sense something in Kris' tone and knew the blonde needed an answer that went far beyond her original question.  The music faded away and Sam's stomach churned as she refused to hope that what she was sensing in the question had nothing to do with someone else.

She pulled into her driveway and parked, then looked over to the blonde searching her eyes for any sign that she was reading this wrong.  That what they had said last night had any other meaning than the one she was sure of.  There was still only one answer and she held Kris' eyes as she said it. "Anything."

Kris' eyes never left Sam's and she felt her heart jump at the other woman's answer.  For a moment, hope soared in her chest, a feeling that she could not seem to tamp down.  Then an odd sense of calm invaded her body and she heard herself say, "Let's go inside."


The taller woman felt her mouth go dry as she walked into the house, "Would you like something to drink or eat?"   She could feel the gaze boring into her back and was trying to find some way to avoid the emotions that were steadily building inside her.  The feelings were starting to spiral out of control.  She took a deep breath and turned, almost jumping in the air in surprise at having Kris standing so much closer to her than she'd expected.

Kris resisted the urge to step back at Sam's surprise, she realized that the detective was just as nervous as her fluttering stomach, pounding heart and shaky limbs told her that she herself was.  It was with more than a touch of wonder that Kris realized Sam was trembling, almost imperceptibly, but she was shaking.  She was almost awestruck with the thought that it was entirely possible that she was causing this beautiful, confident woman to tremble.

"A...a drink?"  Sam asked again.

Kris shook her head and tried to keep her eyes on Sam's but they were drawn aside when the blonde reached out with her good hand, she belatedly realized was shaking itself, and touched Sam's arm with her fingertips.  With wide eyes, she whispered, "You're shaking."

Sam swallowed, she didn't have to look at her body to feel how strained everything was, even her skin felt unbelievably tight and sensitive.  She felt the touch of Kris' fingers like a hot poker, searing its way through her clothes and skin.  Her very bones knew that this was a point that would define the rest of her life and she'd never before felt something this intense.

Her mind was running an impossibly fast marathon as it went from one outcome to another, touching on one scenario before blindingly racing to another.  She couldn't dare pray or even speak in case she did something wrong and yet was incredibly frightened of what would happen if she did something right.  It was a foreign feeling for herself, being frightened.   It was, however, one she recognized from the experience with Kris at the bank.  In fact, one she recognized from any time Kris was even remotely in trouble.  'Always Kris.'

They looked at each other, blue and green reaching into places they'd never gone before.  Places they had only dreamed were possible.

Kris felt the magnetic current between them and could not resist the pull.  Her body moved almost of its own will to stand as close to the other woman as she could be without touching her.  Her heart was pounding so loud now that she was sure Sam could hear it.  Her headache had completely disappeared.

The world condensed itself to two people as Sam watched the tiny blonde spitfire move closer, aware of goosebumps rising on her skin.  Unwilling and unable to believe that someone this wonderful was being so incredibly brave for her.  Unable to really put words to anything she was thinking.

Kris slowly slid her fingers up Sam's arm, over skin and cotton until they rested on the other woman's shoulder.   The blonde knew what she wanted and it stood before her in all its tall, dark haired, blue-eyed glory.  She was sure Sam wanted the same from her but it was too important to make that big of a mistake, she was taking things as slowly as she could and watching the other woman carefully.

"Kris..."  Sam croaked as she searched the blonde's face.  The detective was breathing heavily now, her pulse was unbelievably fast and she was trying to come up with the words to explain why this couldn't be.  How difficult it would make everything, how hard it was.  Fortunately, the only thing clear in her mind was how intoxicating being this close to Kris was.  Close enough that she could feel Kris' presence thrumming through her veins, in her blood like sweet wine.  She found herself unable to break her gaze away from the green eyes she loved.

"Tell me you don't want this." Kris whispered as she searched Sam's eyes, her heart bursting with what she could see there.  Her focus was the person in front of her and she was almost mesmerized by increased beat she could see in Sam's pulse point.  She broke free to explore the play of shadows over the taller woman's face, it was fascinating.  Stretching her arm was pulling at the soreness of her ribs, but that pain was fading as the importance of what was going on seeped in.

The dark haired woman's mouth opened but no words came out, there was a heat rising inside her that she wasn't sure would ever be quenched or if she wanted it to be.  It wasn't possible to talk, it wasn't possible to see anything but the woman in front of her, the person she loved without question.  Could she show her that?  Should she?  Before she could think any more, the decision was taken away from her.

Kris' hand moved from Sam's shoulder and reached around her neck, her eyes never leaving the blue orbs that were just as intent on her own.  She could feel the heat that Sam's body was giving off and the scent that was all Sam enveloped her.  The touch of her fingers on Sam's skin zinged its way down her arm and spine.  Letting go was never an option.

Sam felt the anticipation stir from somewhere she didn't even know she possessed.  Every bit of her normally strong common sense was yelling at her to stop this now.  Every hormone was telling her to go with it!  The tiebreaker was her heart, which was quite firmly pushing the tall woman to claim what she wanted so badly and what was obviously being offered to her.

Kris leaned in as close as she could get, her insides fluttering and every sense tingling.   She asked again in a hoarse whisper, "Tell me now, Sam."

Sam could smell Kris' wonderful perfume along with a vague hint of a fruity scent that she recognized as Kris' shampoo.  She was thankful that Kris' mother had brought them to the hospital after a quick visit to Kris' apartment.  She knew the scents so well, it occurred to her that she might need to be embarrassed about her past need to memorize every detail of her friend.  But now there were other things to wonder about.  The body brushing up against her own was distracting at the very least.  The green eyes before her were wide open and betrayed the depth of Kris' emotions as they seemed to darken before Sam's gaze.

Everything faded from their minds but each other, there was no house, no families, no jobs, no world.  Nothing but the two of them with hearts pounding, breaths racing and bodies magnetically attracted to each other.

Sam was surprised to see hands appear on Kris' waist, even more surprised to realize they were her own.  Then completely shocked to notice that one of the hands had reached up and was now cupping Kris' cheek tenderly.  She felt like she was distanced from herself, watching the scene play out in front of her.

Keeping her eyes firmly on Sam and resisting the urge to melt into the touch of the hand on her face, Kris pulled the other woman's unresisting head down and reached up with her own, turning hers slightly and closing her eyes as their heated breaths mingled.

Soft lips met.  Twin jolts of stunning electricity ran down their spines and heat ran wild through both of their bodies.

They surfaced together an undetermined amount of time later finding their bodies had completely betrayed them.  Their bodies touched along their lengths creating a heat that threatened to sear them both.  Kris' hand remained hooked around Sam's neck and her cast was wrapped comfortably around the other woman's waist.  In return, the detective's long arms were wrapped firmly and unbreakably around the other woman, not allowing her to move far away.  Not that it seemed she was inclined to.  Both of them were breathing raggedly.

Kris slowly opened her eyes and immediately focused on Sam's uncharacteristically darkened blues.  She had never felt the overload her senses were feeling now, not with anyone.  It was as if every cell in her body was overflowing with honey and wanted more.

Sam took in Kris' face, her eyes caressing the flush of her cheeks, the shimmering eyes, the impossibly adorable nose and talented lips.  She wasn't sure how this had happened but at this point she didn't care, she just knew she had to have it.  The emotions swirling inside her were too much, too strong.  Tears pooled in her eyes as the emotion tumbled out in any way it could.

Kris barely registered how heavily she was breathing when she switched her focus to Sam's thoroughly kissed lips.  Then her breath caught as she saw a tear drop began to travel a path down the Sam's face.  Unable to control the overload of emotion, her own eyes teared in sympathy and the depth of her own feelings.  Absent mindedly, eyes still firmly attached to Sam's face, Kris cleared a tear from her own lips with her tongue.

When the blonde licked her lips, without much thought, Sam gracefully bent her head back down and chased after the tongue with her own.  She lined Kris' lips tentatively, tasting the aftermath of both their tears, and then with more decisiveness before they soon ended up back in another breathtaking clench.

A leisurely exploration later, Sam found herself leaning back against the kitchen counter.  It seemed as if she was supporting both of them and that was rather difficult since her spine felt as if it had turned to molten lava.  They were both still wrapped around each other and very flushed.

Breathlessly, Sam said, "I..I..."  then closed her eyes and carefully leaned her chin against the top of the blonde's head as words deserted her, making sure she was nowhere near Kris' wound.  Aware that Kris was still injured in other places as well, she gently hugged the blonde to her in an attempt to convey what she was feeling.

From somewhere against the other woman's chest, Kris mumbled, "Tell me why we haven't done this before."

The feel of Kris' warm breath against her chest was completely distracting and sending far too many signals in different directions.  Sam shook her head in her inability to answer a question she would have like to have known the answer to herself.

Feeling the shake of the head and strong arms around her, Kris smiled to herself then closed her eyes and held on as if she would never let go.


All shall be revealed in the final bit, which is named "Emotion".

Thank you for reading the story, please let me know if you liked it.

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