"Hey, its Sofia, you still up for that friendship offer?" she nervously blurts out into the phone, smiling when the voice on the other side replies with a slightly irritated "Um, yes. Sure."

"Good." Sofia smiles in relief, then takes a deep breath before asking, "So, ah...would you like to spend some time with me? I could use company." she is playing with her keys. It's not often Sofia admits weakness.

"Yeah, I'd like that, just give me a few minutes, then I can come over." Hearing those words makes her release a breath she didn't realize she's been holding.

"Ok, thanks. But actually, I'd rather meet somewhere else, I've spent too much time in my apartment lately, I need a change of scenery."

"As you mean, just name the place and I'll meet you there." Sofia smiles.

Half an hour later, after a quick stop at home to get changed, Sofia walks into a small café. She's never been there before but she trusts Sara's word that it's nice. A fact that is confirmed to her as soon as she crosses the threshold into the homely atmosphere of the remote place.

Immediately feeling relaxed she makes her way over to a table in the corner where a smiling woman is already waiting for her.

"Hey" she is greeted when she slides into the booth. "Hey" is what she answers.

"I already ordered coffee, hope that's ok..." "Sure."

This friendship thing is obviously taking time, they discover. "I'd have preferred beer though." She jokes and thereby succeeds in lightening the mood. They both crack smiles.

"So, you're back to work tonight?" Sara asks as if she didn't know. "Hmm, yeah. Been cleared." Sofia replies absentmindedly. Sensing the unease in the detective's posture Sara refrains from deepening the topic, instead searches for something else to converse about.

"So," she starts, "I've been wondering, where did Eleanor come from?" "Huh?" Sofia eloquently mutters as she is pulled from her thoughts that once again threaten to drift back into unsafe territory.

"Eleanor, your cat. I was just curious how you came up with that name." Sara explains, with a hint of intrigue and a bit of amusement at Sofia's far away state of mind.

"Oh, that." she finally answers, "I, uh, named her after one of my favorite singers, Eleanor McEvoy." At the look of interest on her companion's face she continues, "She's an Irish singer, little melancholic at times but sometimes that's just what I need." Sara nods. "Never heard of her, but she must be good if you name your pet after her." Sofia blushes, suddenly finding the action a little silly. "Yeah," she mumbles, already searching her mind for a question to ask the other women, something to divert the attention from herself. After all, friendship is a two-way road.

"So, now you know my cat, my taste in music and you've seen my apartment. Time to turn the tables." Expectantly she eyes Sara, momentarily afraid that she's pressuring her. For a fleeting second Sara's expression equals one of fright but then she smiles. Sofia doesn't analyze it, lets it slide, at least for the moment. She truly wants to get to know the woman, so she starts with a question of her own.

One question leads to another and before they know it hours have passed in first faltering, then flowing and eventually animated conversation. Inwardly Sofia smiles. The more she learns about Sara, the more time they spend talking, the more intrigued she is by the dark haired woman.

She would have never thought they'd get along so well.

She would have never believed they could so easily open up to one another.

Certainly, she would have never thought she would so quickly connect to the stubborn, distanced, often times uptight and absolutely serious Sara Sidle. Yet here she sits, being proven differently. By one very open, friendly and humorous person who looks acts and talks just like the Sara she knows.

"Earth to Sofia, are you still with me?" the smooth voice of her opposite breaks into her thoughts. "Hmm, yeah. Sorry." She shakes her head. "Just zoned out there for a minute." "Or Two." Sara jokingly adds and she shrugs, "Or two" she repeats smirking.

When the waitress comes by to ask whether they'd like another refill of their coffee they suddenly both realize the time. Sofia asks for the tab, unwilling to put an end to their afternoon but aware that they cannot stay in this place forever, however comfortable and welcoming it may be.

Reluctantly they decide to part for the day.

"We should do this again, it was fun." Matching smiles. "Definitely."

"My car's the other way down, I, uh..." Sara gestures down the street, "Might just see you tonight."

"Yeah, it'd be nice." The smile now a constant fixture on her face, something unthinkable until a few hours ago, with everything that happened to her recently. But she's grateful, almost happy.

She waves through the window of her car, thinking it's a peculiarly silly action, yet she's unable to hold it back.

The woman walking away from her has helped her get her mind cleared. Or almost cleared, as now it's occupied with different matters. On top of it the question, what exactly is that thing growing between her and her colleague, -friend, she corrects herself.

Whatever it is, it drove away her anxiety of what the shift might bring. Instead she feels a different kind of nervous now, a positive kind to be true.

She knows things will look up, she has a friend in Sara, or maybe, she dares to picture it for a while, maybe something stronger than that. Whichever way it will go, she is sure of one thing: She is strong, she survived and she is ready. Ready to face the world and come back.


The End. At least for now.