A/N - Well folks, this is the end of the line. Thanks for your patience with me over the last couple of months.
I want to thank you for reading this fic, I hope you know it's meant the world. The reviews and pms have been incredibly special and I know it takes time and effort to do those things. It's been appreciated and has meant more than you'll know.
I hope this closes off this adventure in the right way. Thanks for staying the course.
Lauren woke to the muffled sound of Kenzi cursing from the kitchen. She could hear the faint crackling of oil bouncing in a frying pan as the smell of a hot cooked breakfast drifted through the apartment. She lay contented for a moment, wrapped in the warmth of the duvet as she watched the light fall of snow at the bedroom window.
Turning over she stretched her naked body end to end, arms pulled out reaching at air and grasping at nothing. Moving to the edge of the bed she sat up and checked her phone, searching for the time, her eyes squinting at the light. It had been less than an hour since Bo had left for work.
Lauren fell back down on the bed, lying there for a moment with legs dangling over the side. She thought about Bo, the trial, about her testimony and their being able to put Venman behind them. They should celebrate she thought to herself before her mind raced to the how's and when's of it. She sat up again, willing herself into her own day and out of what was happening in Bo's.
She pulled on one of Bo's soft sloppy sweaters before walking out to the living area of the apartment where she could hear Kenzi singing. The small woman was hitting the highs and lows in the same broken off-key. Lauren tried to suppress the burst of laughter that bubbled in her but the sight and sound was all too much.
Kenzi look around, shocked and smiled. "She rises! Who would of thought I would ever be up before Doctor Perfect?"
Lauren knew she was being baited but took it anyway. "I didn't finish work until 2am last night Kenzi. Technically, I've not had my full eight hours."
Kenzi looked over her shoulder from the stovetop, a smirk lifting on her face before she returned to the frying pan. "Oh, I know what time you finished last night Doc, 'cause I literally heard you being finished off."
Lauren's cheeks burned and she was glad Kenzi had spared her the indignity of having to look her in the eye. She and Bo possibly had been a little loud. "Oh. Kenzi, I'm sorry."
The petite woman still kept her eyes on her cooking but waved a hand. "Nah. What for? I'm all for screams and yelling when nobody's being hurt."
"Who said there was no hurting?"
That comment did force Kenzi to turn and search Lauren's smug look. "Damn Doc? When are you gonna stop surprising me with comments like that?"
Lauren walked over to the kitchen and grabbed a mug from the cupboard. "Smells good." She said, standing at Kenzi's shoulder examining the almost cooked omelet in the pan.
"Good. There's plenty for both us. Make me a coffee Doc and I'll plate this bad boy up."
Lauren poured them both a coffee and brought cutlery to the table, setting it down as Kenzi ground salt on their food. A light steam rose off the plates. Lauren sighed, enormously satisfied as she took in a warm breath and followed it with a sip of coffee.
Across the table from her Kenzi smiled with a fork stuffed in her mouth. "You look pretty pleased with yourself."
Lauren shrugged. "Good food, good coffee, ok company." She winked. "What's not to like?"
Kenzi just grinned and rolled her eyes. Lauren settled her fork down on her plate, watching the smaller woman continue to cut into her food with vigor.
"What?" Lauren asked, sensing there was something else hidden within the turned up eyes.
Kenzi looked up, lifting into a cheeky shrug. "What, what Doc? I'm just sitting here enjoying my good food, good coffee and ok company."
"You look like you want to ask something." Lauren said, picking up her cutlery again and pushing into her food.
Kenzi swallowed her mouthful down hard and then took a solid gulp of coffee. She needed a breath to aid the digestion. Lauren cringed a little at her eating display, somewhat concerned she may be called on one day to stop her from chocking to death.
"It's not what I want to ask, it's what I know."
"What you know? Come on Kenzi, out with it. You know you're going to tell me eventually anyway, let's jump to that bit and save ourselves both some time. I need to be in work in an hour."
Kenzi lifted her face to meet Lauren's. "You're in love with my sister."
That stalled Lauren. She'd not expected it at all. Not from Kenzi, not this minute anyway.
Kenzi smirked. "Oh come on Doc. You know you're going to admit to it eventually, let's jump to that bit and save ourselves both some time."
It was now Lauren's turn to roll her eyes as she had her own words turned on her for the second time in a matter of minutes.
"Did Bo say something to you?"
"Nuhuh." Kenzi was pushed back in her seat, her arms now folded across her chest and a grin set on her lips. Lauren felt corned, or, if she was really honest, captured.
"Well. I don't know what to say, we've still got stuff to get through Kenzi, but yes-" She paused, taking a breath and lightly laughing at the resisted thoughts running through her mind. She shrugged, looking up to acknowledge Kenzi's question. "Yes. I am. I'm in love with her."
Kenzi unwrapped her arms and slapped down her hand on the table. "I knew it!" She said, triumphantly. "I told Bo she had nothing to worry about."
Lauren's heart clenched, almost knowing what the answer to this question was going to be but she asked it anyway. "Wait. What? What's Bo worried about?"
"Well she's dropped the L-bomb a few times Doc without reciprocation. I think she was a little worried about whether she should be saying it."
Lauren knew it. There had been a moment the night before, an instant where she knew her silence had appeared to hurt Bo.
"We've only been back together a couple of months Kenzi. We went fast in Honiara, I just want this time to be different."
The smaller woman nodded and went to return to her food but she stopped sudden and with a jolt. "It's already different Lauren, you know that, right?"
But it all felt so familiar to Lauren, just like it had been years ago when she was awash with thoughts of Bo, needing to be near her, wanting to know what she was doing and to be doing those things with her. Lauren could concede that Bo was different. She was stronger and more solid, somehow more reliable but there was a gnawing doubt and what she needed to do was talk to Bo about it. Communication. That had never been their strong suit.
After breakfast and clean up Lauren showered, lingering longer than normal under the warm spray as she thought about her conversation with Kenzi. She had been active in her resistance to telling Bo that she loved her, stopping words as they threatened to force their way out. She tried to not think to long on why, fearful that the answer might be one that was unkind. She wasn't deliberately punishing Bo still, was she?
She then rummaged through Bo's wardrobe until she found some clean clothes to wear to work. She'd not planned to come over the night before and after breakfast with Kenzi, she now didn't have the time or inclination to rush home to change. She liked wearing Bo's clothes occasionally. There was always a light essence that sat on them. It wasn't washing powder or perfume; it was a combination of all the things that sat on Bo's skin. It was Bo and it felt warm and comforting particularly on this morning.
She sat on the edge of the bed as she tied the laces of her flat shoes. When she was done, she checked her phone once more. There was a message from Bo, one she'd missed while she was in the shower.
Showtime. Wish me luck. X
Showtime. Lauren looked at the time on her phone and realized Bo must have been on her way to the courthouse to testify.
She thought about whether now was the time to say I love you. In a text message though? No. Not like that, even if it would give Bo a lift.
You don't need luck. You'll be wonderful, because you are. See you tonight but I'll be thinking about you all day.
That would do for now Lauren thought, but they would talk later. With Venman behind them it was time to focus on something else.
She made her way to work without event, the mid-morning traffic was clear even if the weather was hard on the roads. When she got to the hospital she walked through the bowels of the building to the staff locker room. She unpacked herself and pulled on a fresh pair of scrubs. She'd formed a habit of keeping clean clothes in her locker after she and Rachel had begun dating. They'd been such an open secret for so much of their time together that she found it hard to remember why they even bothered with the ruse.
The locker room was dimly lit, benefiting from only a couple of bulbs that sat overhead and the flicker of a small television in the corner of the checked her phone one more time before slipping on her white lab coat and pushing it deep into her pocket. There had been no further message from Bo. If she wasn't now testifying she'd be close to doing so and a flood of butterflies danced in Lauren's belly at the thought.
She'd need to keep herself distracted now and where better than work. Lauren shut her locker and made her way out into the lit corridors and towards the emergencies that were awaiting her.
It was not meant to end like this. It was meant to be on their terms, they'd earned that much.
Tamsin was sat on a bench with head between her knees. Her deep breathes felt devoid of oxygen, her hands sweating as she clung to the back of her neck. Her mind was racing, images flashing like animation, the real and the surreal. There were colors too, reds and blacks staining everything.
"That's it, that's it." Came a soothing cadence from above her.
Tamsin knew the paramedic was trying to comfort her but it wasn't helping. It was making things worse. Much worse.
"Fuck off, would you." She snapped, immediately relieved that she was able to say anything without expelling her stomach contents.
"I need to keep watch over you, you're having an acute stress reaction."
Tamsin shook her head in her hands. Stress reaction? Was that what they called it when all you could see was blood? Bo's blood. Williams' blood. Fucking Andrew Venman.
How did they get here? How did today end this way of all ways?
Tamsin felt a surge of nausea grip tightly around her stomach. She lifted her back up and felt an involuntary retch rip through her chest, it was dry and there was no relief forthcoming. The paramedic was sat next to her in an instant.
"I can take you to a washroom? It's ok to vomit."
Tamsin just grumbled, pulling her shoulder away from the woman who had begun patting her. The paramedic stood up and over her again.
Tamsin looked up at her, her eyes watering and began to pat down her jacket pocket. "I need to make a phone call. Where's my phone?"
"I'm not sure. Who do you need to call?"
"Bo's sister and girlfriend. I need to let them know."
"That's not for you to worry about right now. There's other people taking care of that."
"The fuck? I need to speak to them. Where's my phone?" Tamsin was agitated and found a way to her feet. She needed to speak with Kenzi and Lauren and explain to them what had happened.
"You need to relax, this isn't helping." The paramedic stood in Tamsin's way, gripping her arm trying to lead her back to the seat.
"You need to step out of my way lady."
"Please sit down."
Tamsin felt the rise of sweat on her skin again and this time when she retched it brought forward her morning's breakfast and coffee.
"See what happens?" The paramedic said, holding Tamsin by the shoulders as she struggled to find breath. She led Tamsin gently back to the bench and this time there was no resistance. "Give yourself a minute. I'll go and find out where your phone is." She handed over a bottle of water and walked away.
Tamsin slowly opened the lid and drank small sips down, the cool flow soothing her burning throat. She put her head back into hands and her elbows back onto her knees.
How did this happen? Things were never meant to end like this.
Rachel sat by the bench in front of her locker. Her shoulders slumped forward and her back crooked with exhaustion. Hours in surgery left her skin feeling tight and bruised but her mind was still buzzing and her hands still solid and safe.
It took but a moment more before she stood and pulled clothing out. As she unconsciously undressed she became aware of a low hum from the television that sat in corner of the room. The small old box was mounted high on the wall, out of reach and perpetually sitting on the 24 hour news channel.
She took no notice of it, she never did but then it happened like a lightening strike. Two small words detached themselves from the low drone noise and she heard them clear as day. Perhaps it was that her ears like her heart were sensitive to it, but when she heard the words Bo Dennis it stopped her cold.
Rachel paused in her movements, fingers clinging lightly to the buttons of her shirt. She took a step back away from her locker and lifted her eyes upward to the television. The tagline at the foot of the screen read Breaking News.
She walked closer towards it, stepping lightly as her ears strained to hear what was being said. She picked up occasional words, courthouse drama, man arrested, two dead.
When she came to stand below the screen she could finally make out whole sentences. Whatever news was breaking it was clear the media was still piecing it together. She listened, her mouth dropping open in shock as the report was repeated again.
And that news again just in from the trial of Andrew Venman, we are hearing reports of a shooting inside the courtroom. Police are not releasing details but early indications are that a man has been taken into custody and at least two people are dead.
Rachel stood frozen and disbelieving. Not here, not in this city. She returned her eyes to the screen, listening once more as the studio Anchor crossed to a journalist standing outside the courthouse, a barricade and police huddle flanked behind her.
Thanks Diane. The whole city has been watching this trial and today was a day as eagerly anticipated as any, with the accused's friend Anthony Williams and Detective Bo Dennis both due to testify….
Rachel's breath caught in her chest. Lauren. She'd seen Lauren walk out of the locker room a few minutes before she'd walked in. Lauren would have had no idea this was happening.
She raced back to her locker and pulled on a pair of jeans, rushing out the door in bare feet while pulling together the buttons on her shirt.
The staff locker room felt like a hundred miles away from the emergency department. Rachel hurried past people, gaining glares and curses from patients and visitors while her colleagues watched her dash with shocked expressions. She was disheveled and frantic and both those things were so unlike her.
When she finally arrived at the emergency area she looked quickly around the room, seeing drawn curtains and sitting patients trying to mute their pain. At the nurses station she caught a glimpse of Lauren, her back was turned but Rachel knew her posture. She had studied every part of her form once and it was saved inside her, hibernating, never truly gone.
She walked over slowly, trying to capture a calmness that seemed ridiculous given the state she was in. The nurse Lauren was speaking with saw her first and the look in eye must have been noted as Lauren quickly turned around.
"Rachel?" A concerned, jagged crinkle setting in her brow.
Rachel reached out and touched Lauren's elbow, pulling her gently away from the prying ears of the nurse. "I need to speak with you."
She can see it in Lauren's eyes immediately. It's something akin to panic. She knows that something is really wrong before Rachel even utters a word.
"What is it? Are you ok?" Lauren looks to Rachel's feet, bare and exposed on the laminate flooring.
"I was getting changed and I saw on the news, the trial, Venman's trial."
Lauren's eyes were matched to Rachel's now, apprehension etched on her face. "Yes, Bo's there today. Why, what did they say?"
"Lauren-" Rachel reached out and took her hand as she pried the words from her own lips. "There's apparently been a shooting. Have you heard from Bo?"
Lauren's gaze stayed on her, shocked and shaken as her hand slowly crept into the pocket of her coat. She pulled out her phone and Rachel noticed her hand shaking as she brought it to eye level.
"Nothing." Lauren breathed out, and that single word sounded to Rachel like a collapsing heart. "Did the report say anything else? Did they mention Bo?"
"Nothing's confirmed. They think a couple of people are dead. Someone is in custody."
Lauren stared at with her disbelief and then looks back to her phone, dialing as her chest began to lift quickly. Rachel knows it might be a boundary broken or a step to far but she felt compelled to reach out to her, and stroked her arm gently in an attempt at comfort. She watched as Lauren pushed the phone to her ear wording please please please over and over as the she waited for an answer.
"She's not picking up." Lauren's deflated as her hand moves with a clearly apparent tremor.
"If there's been a shooting then she might not be able to take a call right now."
Lauren shakes her head, a blank expressionless gaze rinsing with her now ashen skin. "She'd know I'd be worried, she'd know."
Rachel squeezed her arm again. "She might not be near her phone."
"She'd call." Lauren responds, quickly and flatly.
All Rachel can hear in her head are clichés and she tries to choose one that might be considered the least trite. "Don't think the worst."
Lauren's head snaps upward. "HOW CAN I NOT?"
The ferocity of the words startle not just Rachel but the room around them before Lauren looks about it and calms. "How can I not?" She almost whispered this time and she sounds so broken and defeated. "We always go wrong, something always goes wrong."
Rachel takes hold of Lauren's hand once again and squeezes it. "What's her partner's number, try to call her."
"Tamsin?" Lauren gasps and nods, pulling her phone list up again quickly. "Yes. I'll try Tamsin."
Lauren fidgets on the spot, biting her lip with a hopefully expression that turns slowly to distress as the phone rings out. "I need to get to the courthouse, I need to speak to someone down there."
Rachel can see the steel in her eyes and wants to help. She needs to help. "Ok, I'll drive you."
"I can't ask you to do that. I can get a cab."
Rachel sees the resistance and understands why it's there. The past between them still sits heavy and clear in both their minds.
"You're not asking me Lauren, I'm offering. Let me help."
The look returned tells Rachel that Lauren is genuinely grateful and that's enough.
"Okay." She smiles lightly, her eyes threatening to shed tears. "Thank you."
Lauren forgot how clean Rachel's car was. How clean and ordered everything about Rachel was. It unnerved her slightly to see the woman sat in the driver's seat, her black shirt only half buttoned up and her auburn hair falling in clumps out of her ponytail. Even on the mornings when they had woken up together Rachel had seemed flawless, complete and untainted by anything.
Throughout the drive to the courthouse Lauren continued to call Bo and Tamsin – no answer. That was before Kenzi made it through to her, her voice frantic. Lauren tried her best to calm her but wasn't sure she was of any help. They should be frantic, this felt like old wounds ripped open, old promises broken and spat on. All Lauren could do was assure Kenzi she'd let her know more as soon as she got to the courthouse.
Dan called soon after and that almost broke her. On hearing his voice she almost allowed herself to cry but didn't, not yet, not until they knew for sure.
Traffic soon became choked near the courthouse. Sirens lifted goose bumps onto Lauren's skin. She watched the traffic shift to allow an ambulance to pass and she wondered where the injured were being taken. Maybe she should have waited at the hospital to see.
"Turn on the radio, let's see if anything else is being reported." Rachel suggested, as she tried in vain to get out of the lane she was now stuck in.
Lauren flicked the radio on and tuned to a news channel. They both hear Venman's name immediately and look at each other, holding their breaths.
A Toronto Police Service spokesman has just confirmed that two people are dead, shot at the trial of Andrew Venman. A third person, a man in his early thirties, has been arrested in relation to the murders. Police are refusing to identify the victims or the assailant but our sources are telling us that Venman himself pulled the trigger. If this is true, some serious questions will need to be asked about how a gun was smuggled into this trial…
Lauren brought a hand to her mouth and pinched her nose. If she breathes anymore she's terrified she'll scream.
Rachel looks over the dash to her. "We don't know anything, it doesn't sound like anyone does, let's not jump to conclusions."
For whatever reason Lauren's mind drifts to the night before. To her arriving at Bo's apartment after work and falling into bed with her. She thinks about the way Bo looked as she settled over her in the bed and how the weight of her body felt against her torso. She can feel the pull of Bo's fingers gripping to her hair just above her ear and remembers how she looked as she smiled down at her, searching her eyes for something. And Lauren knows, she knows that when Bo whispered a gentle I love you that what she wanted in returned. Lauren had wanted to give that to her, not because it was expected but because she felt it. She felt her heart swell and beat as though blood was rushing through it for the first time. But instead of saying what she wanted to say she leaned in and kissed her, truly and with love but without the words to accompany it.
Regret constricted like flax rope around Lauren's throat just as the traffic locked down around them once more.
"I need to get out. We're not moving. I should run the rest of the way." She unbuckled her belt and looked across to Rachel who was searching the traffic ahead for movement.
"I think it might be quicker at this rate, but I don't want you to have to do this alone."
Lauren can see the sincerity in her eyes. Had this been another time or place she might have celebrated this moment as a breakthrough between the two, but not now.
"Thank you for taking me." She smiled, reaching out to Rachel's forearm and wrapping her finger around her.
Rachel nods and smiled back at her. "Good luck."
Lauren pushed open the car door, lingering just a moment longer as the cold air rushed in. She looked back at Rachel one last time before closing the door behind her.
As she turned out onto the road she can taste the cold salted air on the back of her throat. All around her the banked up traffic performs with a crescendo of horns. Nobody is happy in Toronto today. Lauren's footwear isn't right for this weather and she's flat-footed and slipping in the sleet as she makes her way towards the sidewalk. In the distance she can see the lights of police cars and ambulances. That's where she needs to be.
When she arrives at the courthouse there is a swarm of media and onlookers, all pushing towards the police barricades. Lauren forces through them, yanking people to one side as she finally meets the police line.
"Excuse me!" She calls, grabbing the quick attention of one of the officers. "I need to get through."
"I'm sorry, you are?" The officer asked, looking at her suspiciously and Lauren notices that she's still in her scrubs and white coat with a black windbreaker thrown over her shoulders.
"My girlfriend is in there." Lauren pointed to the mass of chaos happening at the courtroom entrance, with huddles of people standing around talking with each other. "I need to make sure she's ok." She pleaded.
"I'm sorry ma'am we can't let anyone in here at the moment, it's a crime scene."
"No. You don't understand. My girlfriend is in the police force, she's the detective that was testifying today and I can't get in touch with her. Please. I just need to know she's ok."
The officer considers her for a moment, seemingly registering something in what Lauren has said. "What's your girlfriend's name?"
"Bo, Bo Dennis. Please, help me." She can hear that she's begging now but doesn't care, she'll happily play pathetic if it gets her some information.
The officer nodded, bringing his police radio to his lips. "Inspector, I have a woman here," and he stalled for a moment, "what did you say your name was?"
"Lauren Lewis, Doctor Lauren Lewis."
"I have a Lauren Lewis here who is claiming to be Detective Dennis' girlfriend."
Claiming to be. That hurt. That felt like a deserved jab to the ribs. The universe giving her what-for for her having let Bo go a single moment more than she needed without having being told that she was loved.
Lauren hears a muffled reply but can barely register what is said.
"Someone is coming down to get you, but I'll need to see some I.D."
"Shit." Lauren says, patting herself down. "I've rushed here from the hospital, I haven't got any I.D on me."
"I'm sorry ma'am, if we can't verify who you are we can't let you enter."
Lauren is about to scream, she searches passed the officer to see if she might be able to slip by him but then she remembers. "No wait." She tapped her chest. "I have my hospital I.D. will that do?"
She unclipped the badge and handed it over watching as the officer inspected it closely. The faded picture of Lauren's face, with her hair pulled back is probably not a perfect, but it's her.
"Alright." He nodded, acknowledging her. "Just stay put, someone will be here shortly."
It felt like hours of waiting but in reality it was probably less than ten minutes.
Lauren had her eyes trained forward and was taken aback when a man appeared from behind to stand next to her.
"Yes. That's me."
"I'm Constable Stone, can you come with me please?"
Stone was a young, tall man, his face patched with ginger stubble and his wiry brown hair greasy and pushed back off his face. He couldn't be more than 19 years old Lauren thought.
"Can you tell me what's happened? Where's Bo? Is she ok?"
"If you just come with me Doctor Lewis I can take you to someone who can update you."
Lauren knew the banked routine when delivering bad news to a patient. You get them somewhere safe, somewhere to allow them to break and scream. Her legs felt weak as Stone pushed open a section of the barricade and ushered her through.
"Please." Lauren said, looking back as her urged her forward. "I need to know that Bo's ok. Is she hurt?"
"I'm sorry, all I know is that I was told to fetch you and bring you up to one of the rooms in the courthouse."
"But you know who is dead? You can tell me whether Bo is one of them?"
"I'm sorry Ma'am, nobody has told me anything, I'm sure everything is fine though."
Lauren wasn't sure whether the young man was telling the truth. She found it impossible to believe that he didn't know something. She wanted to demand it from him but that would only slow the inevitable. Wherever she was being taken, to whomever she was being taken to, they'd obviously give her the news she needed to hear.
They reached the top of the courthouse steps and entered the old building walking straight into its grand corridor. There were people milling about, crime scene tape was blocking a door at the far end of the passage and evidence markers were littered outside of it.
Lauren was being led away from that area but turned her head back to try and see something of the damage that had occurred there. A sudden parting of people allowed her to catch a glimpse of Tamsin, the sleeves and bottom of her white shirt covered in black setting blood.
"Tamsin!" Lauren called, and she saw the taller blonde's face snap upwards before the hand of the young constable pull her forward.
"Ma'am you need to come with me. This is a crime scene."
Lauren pulled herself from his grip but he was at her again yanking her sternly. Over her shoulder she could see that Tamsin was walking towards her with a man by her side.
"Here, please Doctor Lewis, I've been told to bring you to this meeting room. Someone will be with you shortly." The officer pushed open a door and corralled Lauren in. "I can get you some water or a coffee?"
Frustration and agitation now burned in Lauren. Her breath felt hot in her mouth and as she resisted letting lose the tirade of scalding words that she wanted to inflict on this poor young officer.
"I want my girlfriend, can you give me that please? Can someone please just let me know what is happening? This is unbearable." She said, imploring him to relieve the burden she was carrying.
Lauren could see that the young constable seemed unnerved, not having planned to or having the capacity to deal with this emotionally charged situation.
"I'm going to get someone for you now. I'm sorry I don't know more." He stood in the doorway for a second longer before turning and walking out.
Lauren was left behind in a room that appeared to be a clerk's office. A desk was set up with a wall of legal statutes standing dauntingly in the bookshelf behind. She walked up and pulled out one of the chairs that sat in front of the desk but decided against sitting down, feeling too unsettled. So she leaned against the desk, staring at the door as she willed some news from it.
Reaching into pocket she pulled out her phone. Several missed calls from Kenzi and a message from Tamsin. She quickly opened it.
Don't hate me
Don't hate me? What did that mean? A rush of heat quickly turned to sweat across her body and Lauren felt light-headed on her feet. Maybe that seat was a good idea after all. She twisted into it, her eyes growing wet as the beginnings of disbelieving sobs wracked her chest.
The sound of her own overwhelming panic almost muffled the creaking hinge of the door as it opened behind her. Only almost.
Lauren's head shot round and then the sobs did come, let go in relief as she saw Bo standing in the doorway, her arm in a sling.
"Baby?" Bo said, concern in her voice.
Lauren was on her feet in an instant, rushing towards her and wrapping her arms around her tightly as Bo groaned at the forced contact.
Lauren pulled back, peppering Bo's lips with quick hard kisses, her hands holding her jaw in place.
"Hey." Bo managed out in between their lips connecting. "Hey, it's ok, I'm alright."
Lauren stopped and looked at Bo's face and then down to her arm.
"Oh Bo! What happened?" She gasped, finally seeing that Bo had been hurt.
"Tamsin shot me."
"Don't be too hard on her, she saved my life. She's pretty shaken up actually."
Lauren was trying to process what she knew from the snippets of news reports with what she was seeing and hearing now.
"I don't understand? Why did Tamsin shoot you? She's not the shooter they're reporting in the media is she?"
"What? No, Venman, he got a gun into the courtroom and killed Williams and then tried to kill me. While he had hold of me, Tamsin shot me and the bullet passed through my arm and hit Venman. That gave her another shot at him. He's dead. She killed him."
"Venman is dead? The news is reporting there is a man in custody."
"Yeah, the guy that brought the gun in, he went berserk after Venman was shot."
Lauren unzipped the police hoodie that Bo was wearing gaining an immediate raised eyebrow from the brunette.
"Ssssh. I just want to see your arm."
"It's fine Lauren. No artery connection but the exit wound isn't too pretty."
Tears were spilling down Lauren's cheeks and she could feel the warm lines they left with a sting on her skin. "I thought you were dead."
Bo responded by gently kissing the wetness on her face. "I'm not, I'm here."
Lauren wanted to indulge in that moment. Bo was alive after all, they could plan for things, there was a future again.
She pulled back quickly. "Why didn't you call me?"
Bo looked confused and unsure. "Call you after this? I was told someone was getting in touch with you to bring you here. I've only just had this cleaned up and I insisted I not be taken to a hospital until you got here. I have no idea where my phone is."
Lauren grudgingly accepted the answer. "You need to call your sister." She pulled out her phone. "She's beside herself."
Bo took the phone and put it to her ear. Lauren walked her slowly over to the chairs and encouraged her to sit down.
"Kenzi it's me-" Bo began and Lauren could hear the muffled yelling from the other end of the phone.
A light knock on the door of the office was followed by a weary looking Tamsin poking her head through. She stood in the doorway for a moment and noticed Bo on the phone before her eyes connected with Lauren's. She looked shaky and her face drained of all it's color.
Lauren stood up and met her. They embraced without words but Lauren was a little surprised when Tamsin forehead rested on her shoulder. They stayed like that, held to each other in consolation and support, until Bo was next to them.
"T, how you feeling?" Bo asked.
Tamsin pulled back from Lauren and nodded. "I should be asking you that."
"You saved my life."
"I thought I killed you." Tamsin's voice wavered and Lauren took her hand.
"You did what you had to do. The arm will heal and once again I'll get myself a nice little medical break."
"Are you not in pain?" Lauren asked, closely examining Bo's pupil responses.
"They've given me some pain killers. I'm feeling ok. Tired, but ok." Perhaps it was the talk of pain, but let out a slight groan as she shifted back towards the door. She looked back to Lauren who was following behind her. "Take me to hospital? I want to get this seen to properly so I can go home. Will you do that?"
"Yes, of course. Let's get you both checked out properly and then home. We all just need to get home."
They returned to Bo's apartment after a few hours at the hospital. Bo had been lucky, Tamsin was a very good shot. The muscle and bone damage was enough to have Bo in a sling for the next six weeks but all in all, her second gunshot wound was not nearly as bad as the first.
When they arrived back at the apartment Tamsin, Kenzi and Dan were waiting. Tamsin still looked green and nursed her beer while the other two picked up the pace. Bo was unable to drink anything and was asleep on the couch, passed out from the heavy pain medication within the hour.
Dan helped Lauren put her to bed. They tucked Bo in, pushing pillows onto her right side to stop her rolling over.
"She almost looks fucking serine." Dan quipped, looking down at Bo in the bed. "Who'd want to kill her?"
"Sssh you. I'm just glad she's able to sleep and isn't in pain."
"And what about you Doctor Lewis? Are you going to be able to sleep?"
Lauren looked down at Bo, a relief still filling her when she contemplated the day's events. "I will, I think."
Dan put his arm around Lauren and she leaned her head on his shoulder but kept her eyes on the sleeping Bo. "Hey. Makes you re-evaluate stuff, what's important what's not?"
Lauren's watched Bo's chest rise and fall in a gentle rhythm. She wanted to protect her the way she felt protected by her. "Yeah, it certainly does."
"I'm glad you said that, 'cause I want to talk to you again about going into business together. Imagine it, normal hours, you two can actually take holidays and plan things."
Lauren turned out of Dan's arms smiling, she'd not need much convincing. "Let's talk tomorrow." She said, in a tone that was almost conceding to the fact he'd already won.
"OK. Let's do that." Dan patted her shoulder and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.
Lauren undressed and put on an old t-shirt she'd taken to wearing when she'd spend the night. She pushed slowly into the bed next to Bo and the movement caused her bedfellow to stir.
"It's ok, it's just me." Lauren said, running her fingers delicately through Bo's hair.
"Lauren?" Bo's voice sounded heavy and woozy, her eyes still closed.
"Hmmm." Lauren hummed, placing a soft kiss that was barely registered by the patient next to her.
"Do you love me?"
Bo's eyes remained shut as her words were filled with exhausted delirium. It must be an answer so important for it to have pierced through her consciousness like this.
Lauren pushed close next to her, leaving a warm soft kiss on her lips.
"You won't remember the answer to that if I tell you now. So in the morning when you wake up, I'll be right here next to you and before I say anything else, I'll tell you that I do."
Bo purred contented and Lauren couldn't tell if she'd heard or understood anything of those words but it mattered little. All that mattered was that she was now ready to say what did.
Bo felt the ache first, dull and then throbbing as soon as it was acknowledged. She lay still for what felt like the longest while before feeling compelled to move her stiff body in the bed.
"Argh, shit." She growled, before turning her head to the sound of light laughter next to her. "Oh good morning. Is my pain amusing?" She smirked, settling her eyes on Lauren whose head was propped up on her hand in the bed next to her. The blonde was just staring at her, and the look was so deep and warm that Bo forgot about the pain in her shoulder and became instead acutely aware of the burning warmth that set in her chest. Lauren said nothing, she just continued to stare.
"What?" Bo asked, suddenly self-conscious. She felt she knew what those eyes were saying but after the previous day's events wasn't confident. Lauren did have rights to be angry.
Twice she'd been shot in twelve months and that was enough to have Bo questioning whether she was good enough at her job to survive it. The circumstance were unique, no doubt, but still on both occasions she'd been caught unawares. It wouldn't be surprising however if Lauren felt as though it was all too much.
Lauren had seemed quiet and withdrawn at the hospital while Bo was undergoing her x-rays and then treatment. The doctors had wanted to keep her in for a few days for monitoring but she'd have none of it, suggesting instead that Lauren could monitor her condition at home. Lauren had agreed but Bo had felt a little presumptuous.
Now, staring back at Lauren she wondered whether they were about to have a talk about their future. If they were, she'd hoped it was with an outlook that was good for both of them. If the first shooting had led Bo back to Lauren and gave her chance to make things right then this second shooting had reminded her how much she suddenly had to lose.
Lauren watched Bo, holding her with a steeled expression before slowly moving off her hand and in to capture Bo's lips against her own. When she pulled back she was wearing the brightest smile and Bo laughed, so pleased was she on seeing it.
"This silent treatment is starting to worry me, doc."
"I love you Bo. I'm in love with you."
The words just about took Bo's breath. She bit down on her lip, trying to suppress the overwhelming desire to cheer. Contained and controlled she grinned instead.
"Yes Bo, I do."
This time when they kissed it felt like the future begun.
"I've wanted you to say that for so long." Bo caught her breath, panting slightly as she spoke.
"I know, and I've wanted to but-" Bo could see Lauren trying to find the words but she already knew. There was doubt, even with everything they felt for each other there was going to be doubt and that could only be snuffed out with the passing of time.
"You don't need to explain. You love me." Bo said, beaming. "That's all that matters Lauren."
And it was and it with would be always for them both.
3 Months Later.
"Dan! These are your cases, are you going to carry any of them?" Bo was done, the early warmth of spring felt like the blazing heat of summer under the weight of luggage.
"Chill woman. I'm directing traffic here. There are the grunts and there are the officers and clearly I'm no grunt." Dan was sauntering behind Bo into the apartment lobby with just a small duffel bag thrown over his shoulder. No match at all for the two large suitcases Bo was dragging into the elevator.
When they arrived up to what was about to become Bo's old apartment the brunette threw the luggage in through the doorway.
"Hey, hey now!" Dan complained, suddenly finding a concern for his belongings, rushing in after them and giving Bo a stern glare.
Bo just shook her head and walked toward the kitchen to fetch a glass of water.
"You shouldn't be carrying that type of load on your arm." Lauren slipped in behind her at the sink, her arms snaking around Bo's waist and her nose nuzzling into her neck.
"We'd have to do two more trips if it was left to Dan. I just want him moved in here so I can finish moving into your place."
Lauren peppered Bo's neck with indulgent kisses and Bo melted into her, any anxiety from moving Dan out of Lauren's apartment slipping away under the attention she was receiving.
"You're sweaty." Lauren muttered into her neck.
Bo turned around in the embrace, Lauren loosening her grip enough to allow her maneuver easily.
"I've been working hard."
"I can see that." Lauren purred as she returned briefly to Bo's neck before working her way up her jaw and then her lips as she kissed her hard.
"See this type of PDA is why we need to move Bo out and Dan in." Kenzi groaned, loudly and with the intention of breaking up the kissing that was threatening to boil over in the kitchen.
"You're right, this is exactly why I need to move out, I keep getting things started with my girlfriend and you find new ways of interrupting." Bo retorted, letting a slightly embarrassed Lauren out of her clutches.
"One time!" Kenzi defended. "One time. I was having trouble with the television and you didn't have a sock on your door handle. I thought it was ok to enter."
"A sock? Kenzi, when have we ever used the sock system?" Bo walked over to the lounge room and threw an arm over her sister's shoulder, pulling her in tightly against her frame.
"The sock system is a universal system. It belongs to all peoples. It exists even if we choose not to use it."
Bo kissed her cheek, hard and sloppily. "I'm going to miss living with you, you know?"
Kenzi stopped fidgeting in the embrace and an air settled over the two. "Yeah, good times."
They hugged solidly before Bo broke away, unshed tears lingering in her eyes.
"Lauren, you ready to go? Let's leave these two mischief makers to it."
Lauren walked over to Dan at the door, he dangled a set of keys in front of her.
"You keep them, you're always welcome in our house Dan, you and Kenzi. Plus it's nice to know where there is a spare set for when Bo loses hers or locks herself out."
"Hey!" Bo crept up behind Lauren, grabbing her waist and pulled her back into her body. "That's not a nice way to start day one of our living together."
Lauren turned into Bo's arms. "Yeah? I can definitely think of better ways to start day one."
"Dear lord, we're standing right here." Dan laughed. "Get out of here before I puke on my new shoes."
"If you puke in this apartment you clean it up." Kenzi yelled from the kitchen.
Bo laughed. "She's a tyrant Dan, you'll need to watch for that."
"Hey, I heard that." Kenzi called out again.
"And apparently she hears everything too." Dan said, rolling his eyes.
"You don't need to tell us that." Lauren laughed. "You guys are still going to come over for dinner and cards tonight? Tamsin will be there at 7pm."
"I'm planning on winning all your money Lewis, be ready." Dan said, smugly.
"You wouldn't want to win so much I can't afford 50% of the overheads at our new clinic."
"Alright you two, save the trash talk for tonight, I want to take my live in mistress home." Bo dragged Lauren out the door, knowing both of them were somewhat reluctant to say goodbye to Dan or Kenzi and that part of their lives.
As they walked out of the lobby of the building, Bo wrapped her arm around Lauren and sighed into their warm, perfect connection.
"So Doctor Lewis, what's the plan when we get home, to our apartment."
"I don't know, what do you fancy doing?" Lauren pressed a kiss into Bo's cheek as they approached the car.
"Well, we could keep unpacking?" Bo suggested, lyrically.
"Or we could start preparing some food for tonight's dinner?"
"We could do that." Lauren mused.
"Or we could get to christening all the rooms and see how many we can get through before our friends arrive for dinner tonight."
"That sounds like a much better plan." Lauren planted a hard and quick kiss on Bo's lips.
They reached the car and Bo drove them home with Lauren's hand on her thigh. The sun set in front of them, warm and glowing red against the drifting clouds. The moon would rise soon enough and the stars would find their place in the city sky. Everything as it should be. All things right in the world.
A/N - Thanks again for reading, you're wonderful. I hope that was the ending you were after and if not, I'm sorry, hopefully the next fic fits the bill for you :)
I've got no plans for an epilogue but if you have a prompt for one then shoot me a pm or message on tumblr ( via - vunderbarh) and I'll give it a go.