A/N: To Start off I'm SUPER sorry for the late update, I usually try once a week but I procrastinated on this last one and then before I could finish it somewhat on time I went out of town where I didn't have any proper internet! Hopefully the next chapter will be up much quicker :) Feedback/Reviews are appreciated! I like to know how I'm doing and if there is anything I can do to improve.

Chapter 7:

"Ughh! Where is it?" I groan out dramatically, shuffling through yet another stack of books that had been piled haphazardly around my hotel room.

"Err, Lara sweetie, are you alright?" Sam questions from where she stands in the open doorway, apparently confused at how I'm making a larger mess of my, or rather our, temporary residence.

"I'm fine it's just, I swear I had a book on Native American drawings around here somewhere. It had that white sun dagger symbol in it... If I could just find it…" I grumble out the last part, setting aside the book I had been holding and plopping down onto my knees so I could reach the tomes that had been knocked under the bed. Leaning my shoulder onto the floor I use my arm to search for the hidden materials. Hearing a sudden snort I sit back a bit so that I can see Sam. She's hovering in the kitchen now holding a hand over her mouth, attempting to hold back some giggles but not doing a very good job of it. When her eyes meet my own she drops the act and lets out an amused cackle. Sitting up, I lean back casually on the feet tucked under me. Crossing my arms I raise an eyebrow at the laughing girl.

"Sorry, sorry… It's just… Is this the book you were looking for?" Sam asks, reaching onto the counter next to her and picking up a rather large book, the title reading Stories in Stone: Native American Cave Arts. Using the bed to push myself up I make my way to Sam, whose Cheshire Cat grin beams at me constantly in my short few steps to her.

"Yes Sam… That's the book." I take it from her lightly, offering a playful eye roll. "And don't even think about saying what you're about to." I set the book on the table to my right and sit down in front of it, quickly flipping through the pages wanting to find the drawings from the caver earlier.

"Fine… Way to ruin a girl's fun Lara, but you know… If I wasn't here you-"I glance up from the tome and shoot her a small glare "-would have found it eventually?" She finishes lamely with a huff. A small smile quirk's the corner of my lips up, I return to flipping through the colorful pages in front of me with Sam moving to stand behind my chair, peering over my shoulder at the images.

"Ha!" I exclaim and tap the picture on the open page in front of me. "I knew it was in here!- Sam, do you think you could pull up the photo on your camera? I just want to double check that this one is the same as what we found." She nods to me as I turn to look at her and pulls the black camera out of a small bag she still had draped over her shoulder.

After comparing the images I find they're almost an exact match, it's kind of uncanny when they're placed next to each other. Returning my attention to the art depicted in the book I read the short inscription listed next to it.

The image on the left was painted by the Anasazi Tribe (100 B.C.-1300 A.D.) at the ancient ruins of Mesa Verde, CO, USA.

Confusion swept over me at the single line of text on the page. Anasazi… Ancient Native American culture may not have been my specialty but I did know a thing or two about it from my previous studies at university. For instance, something I knew was how the Anasazi Tribe had never been heard of coming this far east; ever. They were primarily a south western tribe.

"What's wrong?" Sam questions from behind me, placing a hand on my upper arm tenderly. "You're being so quiet…"

"It's just, this doesn't make any sense. I knew when we saw the paintings they were abnormal, but I didn't think they were this abnormal. The only other recorded drawings similar to these are hundreds of miles west of here." I turn in my chair so I'm facing her now, a frown tugging at my lips. Sam looks about as perplexed as I feel with her eyebrows pinched together, trying to figure out our newest mystery. I feel Sam's hand clench my arm tighter for a moment as a ghost of a smile begins to make its way onto her face.

"The drawings in the book, they were in Colorado right? And you haven't found anything else here in Roanoke?" Sam questions while releasing her grip to bring her hands together and bouncing on her feet excitedly.

"Yes?" I ask, not understanding what she's hinting at. This leaves me with a sinking feeling at her sudden change in demeanor. Generally when she's this delighted over an idea, it's not one I'll like.

"Oh my god Lara we could go on a road trip! I always said in college we should do one around America!" Sam squeaks out quickly, too thrilled to speak normally. Bringing a hand to my brow to cover my face in exasperation, I feel my eyes give a slight roll at Sam. Resting my arm back down on the table I study her for a moment as she stands there in anticipation, waiting for my reaction.

"Sam, a trip like that in a car could take days if not longer. Flying would be much more comfortable if not faster…" I drift off slowly, not wanting to say what I have in mind next but knowing I have to. Watching the excitement dim in Sam's grey-blue eyes I struggle on with my next words. After she almost got hurt today, just doing some normal exploring, I didn't want to take the risk of her getting harmed for real.

"Besides, I don't think it would be best if you came along with me Sam." Seeing her expression quickly change to that of pissed off I finish what I was saying hastily. "I mean, look at what happened today! You could have seriously gotten injured! I won't take that chance again Sam, not to mention the creepy twat with the camera earlier… I told you when you first got here that the first sign of danger I'd want you on a plane back to Japan…" I sigh out the end of my pleading rant, placing my head in my hands after receiving just one, that's right just one look from her of absolute unyielding, uncooperative, determination to ignore everything I had just said and do what she wants. Typical Sam. Ugh!

"Sammm… Please just listen to me, just this once!" I beg of her lowering my hands and peering up at her through my eyelashes.

"Lara, that's not going to work. I'm staying with you and that's final. I wouldn't have tracked you down and flown across the world if I had planned on tucking tail and running the first chance I got. Get that through your thick head, alright?" She states, propping her hands on her hips and glowering down at me.

With an aggravated sigh I glance up and away from her to stare at the ceiling momentarily. Clenching my eyes closed briefly I open them to study Sam as she now watches me curiously.

"You are the most pig-headed, irrational, not to mention completely mental best mate I could ever ask for." I rub my temples gently before refocusing my eyes on the still silent girl in front of me. Standing, I lean back against the wall and cross my arms.

"If you're coming with me, I have conditions…" I glare at her, not liking the corner she's quickly backed me into. Why can't I ever just say no to her?

"I'm listening" She drifts off, her previous excitement returning with a sudden ferocity. Beginning to bounce on her heels again she watches me expectantly.

"One, you let me teach you some self-defense. Two, you wear sensible clothing and three… You do what I tell you from now on okay?" I ask her firmly, hoping she'll agree to my terms without too much trouble.

"Even if you tell me to jump off a bridge?" She asks amusedly, quirking her eyebrow.

"Yes, even if I ask you to jump off a bridge. Do we have a deal?" I hold out my hand and wait for her decision. It comes quickly, with a roll of her eyes she grabs my out stretched hand and pulls me into a hug instead.

"Oh eww Sam, not again…" I push her off me because I had forgotten about our nasty clothing in the rush to get back here. Wiping some of the muck she left on me off I glance up and catch her shuffling towards the bathroom quietly.

"Sam! I didn't say we were done talking about this!" I take a few quick steps after her but she's already closed the door. I can hear giggling on the other side and know she just loves taking the piss out of me. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that was the only reason she came to America in the first place. God was she good at it, and she knew it too. Running a hand through my hair, tightening my pony tail, I let my eyes glide over my temporary home. With a sigh I go to find a change of clothes, picking out some plaid pajama pants and a black cami. I lay them out on the bed and take a seat back in the kitchen to wait for my turn in the bathroom.

"One of these days Sam… I'll get you back just you wait." I shoot the door that Sam resides behind a semi-serious dirty look.

Xxxxxx

"Okay Sam… stop… ouch, stop!" I plead with the girl tugging on my hair, attempting to drag me to the floor. With a quick release of my brown locks I can hear her tease at me under her breath, something about saying uncle.

With a deep sigh I compose myself (fixing my mangled hair) and place a hand on my hip. "I said I wanted to practice some defense moves with you before we went to bed, not practice on how to beat up a cheeky trollop in a club."

"Sorry it's just, you told me to attack you so…" She shuffles her feet now, adjusting her white t-shirt and boxer shorts, apparently she's a bit embarrassed at her swift actions in murdering my scalp.

"I meant like a normal person, I was going to show you how to deflect a punch!" I reply with humor, chuckling to myself, I plant my feet shoulder width apart with my leading foot slightly behind me for balance.

"I said I was sorr-" Sam begins again but I cut her off with a raised palm.

"It's fine Sam, here, just copy what I do instead okay?" I raise my arms in front of me, similar to how a boxer would hold them only a bit more relaxed.

"Okay…" she examines my form before slowly moving into the same position. Reaching out I grab onto one of her pale arms with a firm grip.

"Now, use your other hand to pull my thumb backwards towards my wrist." Sam does as ask, and with a slight strain to my digits I release her from my grasp and shoot her a small smile.

"See? That wasn't so hard now was it…" I tease back at her before stepping forward to restrain both of her limbs this time. "Now, try to get away." I smile at her reassuringly after seeing the skeptical look she gives me at her current predicament. She struggles for a few minutes, trying to overpower me with just pure strength. She's surprisingly stronger than she looks and I have to work hard to keep a hold of her. Becoming frustrated at my unwavering grip on her forearms, she stops attempting to escape for a moment and collects herself, scowling down at where our limbs are linked. I can feel a few scratch marks burning on my arms, but I did tell her to take this seriously before we started and not to worry about hurting me. She's listening to my conditions so I'm content to take the scratches that come with them.

"So, are you going to tell me how to get out of this or do you just enjoy watching me suffer?" Sam asks while quirking an eyebrow at me. With a roll of my eyes I let go of her arms and instead place her hands on me where mine had been on hers only moments ago. Twisting both hands to the inside I jerk them up and out, successfully breaking the firm holds she had taken on my skin.

"Ugh! How did you do that?" she asks a bit aggravated, but otherwise mostly in awe that something difficult to her was so easy for me to accomplish. Smiling at her, glad that she seems to be really taking to heart what I'm trying to teach and letting it sink in I show her the move a few more times until she has it down. These two things are a great start into some of the techniques I wanted to teach her so I think I'll stop here for the night before we get too carried away. I'm by no means a master fighter, but I did pick up a thing or two from some previous self-defense classes, not to mention Yamatai.

"Well..." Sam starts off looking a bit embarrassed for some reason as a pink tint becomes apparent in her cheeks.

"Well?" I ask her sitting on the edge of the bed, a few feet away from where we had been practicing in the kitchen. Glancing at the clock on the nightstand it reads a quarter to midnight, we've been at this longer than I had thought and should be getting to bed soon.

"Well, is there anything else you can teach me?" Sam asks fidgeting on her feet, wringing her hands together nervously. I feel my mouth pull into a bright smile, my eyes crinkling at the corners in delight.

"Why Sam, could it be that you actually enjoy self-defense?" I laugh at her in wonder. Sam actually liking doing something physical outside of hiking is completely unheard of.

"Hush up, Lara." Sam says with a laugh, a deeper blush making its way to her face. I'm not sure why this bothers her so much but it's amusing none the less. Stepping around me she picks a pillow up off the bed and smacks me lightly in the back of the head, consciously avoiding my back and sides as my ribs are still sore. Feeling my stray hair poof out in front of me I run a hand through it slowly as I turn to look at her with eyes sparkling of mischief.

"You shouldn't have done that Sam…" Standing swiftly, I corner her between the wall and the bed. She backs away slowly, arms held out in a surrender motion as her eyes dart side to side semi-nervously. Reaching out before she has a chance to get away I assault her weakest point with wiggling fingers as her hands clamp around my wrists briefly.

"Lara!" Sam shrieks out before rolling onto the bed to get away from my digits that had begun tickling just under her arms.

"No way, this is for trying to wreck my hair earlier." I push her lightly on the shoulder and down onto the bed. She attempts to cross the mattress, but as she's struggling to get away from me I pull myself onto the bed and straddle her thighs keeping her in place for this torture.

"Lara this is- isn't- fairrrr!" Sam squeaks out now, trying to move my hands away from her but failing miserably due to her non-stop giggling. "You know I-I can't t-t-tickle yo-u back!"

"What is it you were saying earlier Sam? Something about uncle?" I question her through the smile that hasn't left my lips in the past ten minutes.

"Uncle! Mercy! What-ever! Plea-se ju-just stop!" I bark another laugh at her pitiful state as she labors to breath properly from all of the so-called pain I was putting her through. After a few more seconds of ghosting my fingers over her sides and sending her into one last fit of giggles I finally stop and roll off of her and onto the end of the bed. Propping my head up with a hand I look at her with the spark in my hazel eyes still apparent.

"Are you going to be alright Sam?" I question her, still chuckling at what a mess she is now. With one last deep breath runs a hand through her short charcoal hair and turns over off her back and shoots me a half glare. I'm pleased to see the joy hovering behind her eyes; it's been a long time since we've acted this silly.

"As much as I hated that, I'm glad to see the old Lara back." Sam smiles at me shyly before sitting herself up and propping her shoulders against the headboard of the bed. When we were back in school we used to have similar fights all the time. Sam has never not been touchy-feely, so shortly after meeting her she decided tickling was her go to if she was irked at me for something, knowing how much I hated it after I had made the mistake of telling her how ticklish I was.

"Me too Sam…" I say while dragging myself to sit up next to her, still trying to catch my own breath from the strain of trying to keep her still. Shutting my eyes I let this memory sink in, I think it's going to be a new favorite. A moment later I feel fingers snake between mine from where my hand lies next to me. I'm beyond thrilled that since her confession the other night she's been mostly back to her old self as far as the physical contact went. This morning she didn't shy away from me when she woke from her position at my side. Peeking my eyes open I bend forward and look at the girl next to me. She has her blue-grey eyes that previously shown with cheerfulness closed while her face is entirely peaceful. Leaning back I stare out ahead of me at the wall in an almost blank stare before breaking the easy silence.

"You know, for a while I was afraid I couldn't ever be the old Lara again… Something on Yamatai changed me, it changed the way I think and act and there's nothing I can do to reverse it, but at least I'm still myself, in the very thick of it all… I'm still me." I confess to her, glancing away from the wall to meet her now open eyes. I feel her grasp my hand tighter for a moment as a response, a way to show her never ending support as our eyes stay locked.

"I wasn't afraid of that Lara, I knew you'd be back. It was just a matter of time. I am happy it was sooner rather than later, I don't think I could take much more of the broody skittish act you had going on…" Sam tells me fondly, squeezing my hand periodically through her little speech. I roll my eyes at the end, still grateful that at least she had confidence that I'd come back to myself and not let what happened on the island consume me. Don't get me wrong, I've still got my demons to work on but with Sam by my side, I have no doubt in my mind I'll be able to conquer anything in my way.