DISCLAIMER: I do not own them. Yet.
THANKS: To Gail, the beta bomb, whose unfailing ear helps me sound things out for myself. Also to Cleo, whose unbridled enthusiasm makes me wish I wrote faster.
DEDICATION: For Leyla, the first Kerryite I corresponded with, who unwittingly instigated my fanfic career. She is missed.
SPOILER: up to Survival of the Fittest, give or take.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Harriet

Randi watched Kerry out of the corner of her eye. She appeared to be examining a chart, but the blankness of her gaze told her that the Chief had zoned out. It had been happening more and more lately, and Randi was concerned. "You okay Dr. Weaver?"

No response.

"Dr. Weaver?" she tried again.

"Hmm?" she responded absently, still not quite hearing Randi.

The clerk took a step closer to Kerry and reached out to touch her, then thought better of it, pulling back her hand at the last second. "I asked if you were okay. You look pretty tired."

At that Kerry turned to Randi, and for a moment there was a flash of sadness in her eyes that shocked Randi with its intensity. "Yeah," she finally answered, "I'm fine."

"Are you sure you're not coming down with something? Your color's not so good." Randi hoped to hear the barb the Chief had used on Malucci once: "You don't become a doctor by osmosis, Dave. Just hanging out here doesn't make you a good physician."

Instead, Kerry just said, "I'm okay, thanks for asking," in a quiet voice. She went back to reading the chart, shaking her head and focusing on the task in front of her.

Uh oh, Randi thought. This is very, very bad. She was considering what to do about it, if anything, when Dave and Malik sauntered out of exam two to check the board.

Malik looked uncertain at something Dave had just said. "I don't know, I didn't get a vibe from her at all."

"I'm telling you, she was wearing Doc Martens, that's like, a universal sign."

Randi caught the gist of their conversation, and saw Kerry's head snap up from the chart. "Jeez, guys, don't you ever get tired of this conversation?" the clerk asked.

Dave turned to her, ignoring the jibe. "Randi, you'd know this. Tell me that wearing those big black Doc Martens isn't a sure sign of a dyke."

"Malucci!" Kerry shouted.


"I'd prefer it if you didn't use that word while on the job."

Dave was off his game. He had had a particularly good evening the night before and didn't quite recognize the icy tone of Weaver's voice. With a little smirk, he said, "Why, Chief? Am I bugging you?"

Before she even had time to reconsider, she blurted, "Because I am one, and while the word itself doesn't bother me, your inflection is both irritating and offensive. So can it."

Silence greeted her. Oh, shit. She'd done it, finally, without even thinking about it. The blood drained from her face, and for a moment, Randi was sure the indomitable Dr. Weaver was going to topple over.

Malucci's mouth hung open in surprise. Randi, Malik, and Abby had all heard Kerry's declaration and were frozen in their places. Dave looked at the statues surrounding the desk and let his curiosity get the better of him. Haltingly, he asked, "Is this a new development?"

Kerry turned a fierce, piercing expression that would've sent the average person running in the other direction, but to Malucci it was as familiar as looking in a mirror. "None of your goddamn business. Am I going to hear that word come out of your mouth again?"

He didn't hesitate. "No way, Chief."

With that, Kerry turned on her heel and shot down the hall, making a beeline for the bathroom. Stumbling into the nearest stall, she proceeded to lose her lunch in a most undignified manner. Sweat beaded her brow, and her body vibrated with tension. "Fuck," she muttered into the toilet. 'I just came out. I just came out. I just came out.' The needle of the turntable in her brain was stuck in a groove, repeating the same phrase over and over. Her stomach lurched again, but this time she was able to stave it off.

"Dr. Weaver?" came from behind the stall door.

Jesus, I can't even throw up in private. Good job, Kerry. "What?" she choked.

"You gonna make it?" Randi sounded concerned.

Tears pricked her eyes at the kindness in Randi's voice. "Yeah," she managed, though the tone wasn't entirely convincing.

Randi didn't like the sound of the thready yelp. "Do you need help?"

"No," she said, and then heaved again into the bowl.

Randi decided action was the only choice. She took a chance and pushed against the stall door, absurdly pleased when it swung open. As Randi suspected, Kerry hadn't even had time to lock the door when she'd been sick. She was shivering, crouching over the porcelain, her crutch askew on the floor next to her.

A cool hand came to rest on Kerry's forehead, surprising her. "No, don't--" she croaked, even as another hand came around to flush the remnants of her shame away.

"Shh," was the response that greeted her, and Randi tore off some toilet paper and gently wiped her mouth. "It's okay, it's okay."

Kerry had wanted her coming out to be strong, a defiant, truthful stand made when the time was right. Getting sick not a minute following that stand wasn't part of the original plan. On top of that, having Randi witness her body's revolt felt like the ultimate humiliation. But Randi's hand was so cool, and she was shaking so violently, that after a minute she thought maybe it wasn't so bad. She heaved again, and Randi silently held the hair away from her face. There wasn't much left to come up, so the unlikely pair stayed in place for the next few minutes, waiting for the storm to pass. Sparse tears streaked Kerry's face, but Randi's hand never left its position against her brow, while her other hand rubbed her left arm in comfort. "You think you're done?" she finally inquired.

Kerry nodded.

"Okay then, come on." Hands came under Kerry's damp armpits and hoisted her to her feet with easy strength. There were some wiry muscles framing Randi's lovely figure. Kerry started to lean down to retrieve her crutch, but Randi had already grabbed it by the time she was halfway to the floor. She carefully threaded Kerry's arm through it, grasping the other in case her legs weren't steady enough to hold her up.

They made their way to the sink, Randi keeping in constant contact. She felt Kerry shrinking from her touch, but couldn't seem to stay away. Something was telling her not to leave Kerry alone, not to let her terror at this sudden revelation overtake her. While Kerry would most likely be just fine without her interference, Randi felt a real need to keep watch.

Kerry glanced up into the mirror with resignation. The faint lines of age were more pronounced than she'd ever seen them. Purple smears stood out beneath her eyes, a testament to a week long bout of insomnia. Randi took a good hard look at the usually steadfast figure and could think of only one thing to say. "Do you want me to get your toothbrush?"

Still feeling weak and defeated, Kerry bobbed her head once.

"Be right back. Don't move."

Randi streaked from the bathroom into the lounge, praying she wouldn't be spotted poking into Weaver's locker. She grabbed a toothbrush and the Colgate from the top shelf, then had a thought. She snatched her coffee mug from the drying rack, and retrieved her make-up bag from a drawer next to the sink. Not having a locker was a pain in the ass, but she made do with what was available.

She was back in the bathroom in under a minute, and Dr. Weaver hadn't moved an inch. She tossed the makeup bag on the shelf under the mirror and then filled the mug with water from the tap. "Rinse first," Randi said.

Kerry did as she was told, and Randi put some toothpaste on the brush and ran it under water. When Kerry was through with the mug, Randi replaced it with the toothbrush. "Here."

The expression as Kerry recognized the toothbrush would have been comical in other circumstances. It appeared that she'd forgotten all discussion of toothpaste and toothbrushes, and was trying to grasp what exactly it was she held in her hand. After a few seconds, she began brushing her teeth. Randi breathed a sigh of relief; the last thing she wanted to be caught doing was helping the Chief of the ER brush her teeth.

Finally, Kerry finished, spitting, then using the mug again to rinse out her mouth. She hadn't regained much of her color yet, and Randi scoured her brain for something to distract Weaver. Peering into the reflecting image, she noticed for perhaps the fiftieth time that week that Kerry's hair looked particularly shaggy. Her eyebrow raised, and she contemplated the wisdom of bringing up something as trivial as hair at a time like this. But she also figured that anything might help, so she decided to open her mouth.

Randi gently fluffed the long hair at Kerry's temples. "You know, your hair could use a trim."

Kerry's brow furrowed. "My hair?" She honestly couldn't fathom how Randi could focus on hair at this pivotal moment of her existence.

"It's looking pretty bad lately. When was the last time you had it cut?"

"Are you trying to make me feel better or worse?" Kerry demanded.

Randi would not be deterred. "Hey, I just asked a question. Your hair looks messy, so I thought I'd ask."

Kerry glared at Randi's mirror image. "I just announced that I'm gay to the entire staff, and all you can think about is my hair?"

Ooh, that was what she was looking for. A little spark of the old Chief was just what she wanted to hear. Now, if she could just push it a little further... "Well, how are you supposed to pick up chicks if you have perpetually bad hair?"

A stunned silence descended on the small room. A few seconds later, the side of Weaver's mouth twitched. It twitched again. Kerry looked away, trying and failing to hide the beginnings of a grin. She sighed, "I don't know."

Randi nodded slightly. Mission accomplished. "Listen, you're off at seven, right?" Kerry tipped her head in agreement. "Meet me in the lounge after and I'll clean it up a little. Nothing drastic, just a little trim." Randi touched Kerry's hair again, gesturing at specific places. "A little here, some off the back, maybe add some texture on the sides. It'll take fifteen minutes, half an hour, tops."

Kerry grimaced. Getting a haircut in the lounge seemed a bit odd. "Are you sure the lounge is a good place?"

"Yeah, I've given dozens of trims in there." Sure, Randi thought, two equals dozens. Both in the middle of the night, one to an unsuspecting Malik as he slept on the couch. Oh well. A little white lie for a good cause never hurt anybody.

Kerry's eyebrow rose in question, and Randi was quick to reassure her. "Never on the clock, of course."

"Of course." Kerry looked down at the toothbrush still gripped in her hand. "I guess that would be good." She peeked at her image in the mirror, frowning. "It *has* been a while. I can't actually remember when I last had it cut."

Victory! Randi was nearly leaping out of her skin. It gave her courage to suggest something that she'd been dreading, but it was for Kerry's own good. "Great, I'll be in the lounge when you're off. But till then, do you think you could use some powder? You look a little pale. I brought my bag, I could fix that right up."

Kerry had her mouth open to reject the idea, then looked again at her sallow reflection. "Ok." She watched as Randi rummaged through the bag for one of her secret make-up ingredients.

"Got it," Randi exclaimed, pulling a small compact from the bottom of the bag. "I'm glad I kept this in here. I bought a color too light for my skin and never bothered to take it back. Good thing, too. You never know when there will be an emergency." This is definitely an emergency, she thought.

Kerry just nodded again. She seemed to have left the power of speech outside the restroom door. She closed her eyes as Randi gently began to apply the powder to her cheeks. When she felt a warm hand descend on the side of her neck, she inhaled sharply, and felt her pulse pound against Randi's long fingers.

Randi immediately reared back, but left her hand in place. She'd needed a handhold to steady her progress and hadn't thought twice about touching Kerry. She dipped her head and asked, "Okay?"

"Yeah," came the gravelly response. "Sorry."

"No prob." Kerry's flinch inspired a dozen questions in Randi's mind, none of which she gave voice to. First and foremost was the intriguing idea that while Kerry shoved her own capable hands into the stomachs and lungs and chests of her patients, a simple touch from a co-worker could put her on edge. It was an odd contradiction; Randi had seen Kerry express comfort through touch dozens of times with patients, and occasionally with colleagues. But she could count on one hand the times a hospital employee had touched Kerry, and all of those occasions had been while Kerry was either injured or incapacitated.

Except for right now, of course. She smiled a little as she realized she was flouting convention.

Kerry tried to relax as the warmth of Randi's hand seeped into her skin. With the young woman leaning in so closely, she could smell the distinct aroma of grape bubble gum, as well as a faint coconut scent. Was it lotion or perfume?

It was unnerving to have someone invading her personal space, so she closed her eyes and contemplated the enigma before her. They'd had an interesting, if superficial relationship in all the years of their acquaintance. Kerry had always felt a respect, even a kinship with the ex-con. Randi was an outsider, like she was. But somehow Randi's insouciance gave her the uncanny ability to remain aloof while it simultaneously granted her membership into the inner circle at the hospital. It was a talent Kerry had long admired, secretly. So why was it that Randi, of all people, had chased her in here? Did she feel it too?

She couldn't hold back the question. It bubbled out of her against her better judgment, and she was irrationally afraid of what the answer might be. "Why are you doing this, Randi?"

Randi thought about it as she smoothed some concealer under Kerry's eyes, an inscrutable expression on her face. She snapped her gum. "Why not?" she finally said, unable to put a finger on the reason, even for herself.

Kerry was starting to worry she'd look something like Tammy Faye Baker when Randi declared, "Finished. That should get you through the day." Kerry turned to the mirror with some trepidation, and was surprised to see that she looked basically like her normal self. "Wow."

Randi stood a little taller at that, pride straightening her shoulders.

"I should get back to the desk. Don't forget, seven o'clock, okay?"

"Okay," Kerry replied weakly. Randi's imminent departure reminded her that eventually she'd have to leave the bathroom and face the world.

"Good. See you then."

Randi was gone before Kerry even had a chance to thank her.

Randi paced the floor of the lounge, checking the clock every thirty seconds. It was seven minutes after seven--was Kerry chickening out? Randi hoped she wasn't too stressed, since the rest of the day had been relatively uneventful compared to the morning. Randi couldn't gauge the turmoil that most likely raged inside Dr. Weaver, but knowing her, it was intense.

Earlier that day she'd spotted Kerry writing furiously on a chart. Between scribbles, Kerry was snapping the cap of her pen on and off, on and off, on and off.

After two straight minutes, Malucci snatched the pen from her grasp and replaced it with a capless rollerball.

"Chief, you're driving me crazy!"

Kerry's mouth fell open, abashed. "Sorry. I-I'm a little keyed up today."

Randi was surprised at her show of vulnerability, and she suspected Dave was too. He replied, "No worries, Chief. It's all good."

A fascinating range of emotions flew across Kerry's face, and Randi could see her bite back a response. She'd said nothing, dropping her unsettled gaze back to the chart.

Nine minutes past seven now. How long would she have to wait?

At that very moment, the door flew open and Kerry entered the lounge out of breath. "Sorry, I got stuck in a trauma." She appeared relieved Randi was still there.

"S'okay. You wanna get started?"

That unsure look flitted across Kerry's face again. "Are you sure this is--"

Randi cut her off. "It's totally simpatico. You're the Chief, anyhow. Is it okay with you?"

Randi watched as the light bulb went off over Kerry's head. She smiled. "Yeah, it's okay with me."

"Good. Sit." Randi pointed to a chair. On the table she'd set up a mirror filched from exam 2 so Kerry could see everything she was doing. After seating her, Randi shook out a yellow trauma smock with a flourish and fastened it around the redhead's neck.

"I have a spray bottle. I need to wet your hair, otherwise it might end up uneven."

"Sure." With that Randi proceeded to soak the hell out of Kerry's hair.

"I could have just stuck my head under the sink to save time," Kerry grumbled dryly, pretending she didn't mind looking like a drowned rat.

Randi snickered. "Now where's the fun in that?" She fussed with the doctor's hair for a bit longer, then set to the task. As she started to snip, she said, "Now I'm just gonna trim the sides a little, and shape up the back. You have these bangs in front-- do you like them this way or do you want them thinner?"

Kerry's hand went to the bangs, tugging on them. "I don't know. What do you think?"

"I like 'em thinner. You have such a nice, heart-shaped face. You shouldn't cover it up." To Randi's surprise, Kerry blushed. The clerk was on a roll; she figured she might as well go for it. "In fact, I liked the pixie look from a couple of years ago. You have prominent cheekbones, and the look worked really well to bring them out." Bingo. The blush deepened, and Kerry unconsciously brought her hand to her neck.

"Thanks," she mumbled.

Randi marveled at Kerry's bashful response. In a professional capacity, the word "shy" wouldn't exactly come to mind when describing Kerry Weaver. Randi thought back to the time she'd loaned Kerry her leather jacket for the ER Chief interview, but that day the doctor had been so focused on getting the job she'd hardly registered Randi's compliments. The younger woman had even tried to get Kerry to dump the glasses chain (without insulting her), but to no avail. She wondered what finally drove the granny chain away.

"So can I thin them out?"

"Yeah, whatever you think."

Randi went to town, trimming here, adding texture there, shaping the back into something infinitely more attractive than the mop she'd been displaying. She murmured, "This is going to look so much better."

Kerry smiled. "Thanks, Randi. This is very generous." She was so grateful-- the day had been difficult, but these few minutes had already lessened the tension of her shoulders immeasurably. There hadn't been any negative comments from her co-workers, at least that she could hear. In fact, she got the impression that Luka Kovac has been close to embracing her when he saw her emerge from the restroom. Instead he approached her carefully, placed his hand on her shoulder, and squeezed reassuringly. Kerry had sighed, covering his huge paw with her own delicate hand. He'd been extremely protective the rest of the day, shadowing her every move. When Romano made an appearance in the ER, a knowing leer marring his features, Luka loomed up behind Kerry, a human shield towering over her.

"How are you, Dr. Romano?" Luka asked.

"Fine, fine, Dr. Kov-etch. And you two? How are you today?"

Kerry had felt Luka's hand on the small of her back then, and she suddenly felt a little taller. Her chin jutted out. "I'm great, Robert, thanks for asking. Is there something I can help you with or are you just here to wreak havoc?"

Robert's lip curled, preparing to deliver a veiled, or not so veiled, insult. But he was interrupted by Don Anspaugh, who broke up their tight group. "Robert, just the man I was looking for. Luka, nice to see you. Kerry, you're looking well today, I'm glad to say." Nodding, he looked intently into Kerry's clear eyes, and instantly she knew he knew. Word sure traveled fast.

"Thanks, Don. I'm very well."

"Good, good. Now, Robert, come with me, we have some things to discuss." Then they were gone, and Kerry was still standing. She hadn't caved, or been blown over by Romano's hot air. She'd faced the big bad wolf and lived to tell about it.

Luka rubbed the warm spot on her back for a moment, then disappeared as well. Kerry was left alone in the hall, wondering what the hell was going to happen next.

She didn't have long to think about it, however. A trauma had burst through the bay doors at that moment, and her contemplation was quickly forgotten as she rushed over and demanded the bullet.

The memory floated away from Kerry as Randi snipped cautiously at her bangs. They both heard the door to the lounge open, but they were concentrating too hard on Randi's progress to worry about their visitor.

"Of all the things I expected to find going on in here this did not even cross my mind."

Kim's melodic voice was a song to Kerry's ears, and she tried desperately to appear as though her heart hadn't just leapt into her throat.

Randi felt the infinitesimal change in Weaver's posture, but dismissed it as Kerry reacting to another person who'd heard the news.

"Hey, Dr. K, what's up," Randi offered.

Kerry opened her mouth to speak, but decided to simply raise her hand in a half-hearted wave. She didn't trust her frozen vocal cords to deliver much more than a strangled whimper.

"Hey, I love the new look." Kim, in her effortless way, pulled up a chair close to Kerry and flipped it backwards. She straddled it and dropped into the seat, facing the inviting shell of Kerry's right ear.

She heartily approved of the makeshift hair salon, and appreciated Randi's efforts to tame Kerry's hair. Kerry had been looking a bit ragged about the edges, but Kim hadn't wanted to say anything about it. Silently she wondered who had instigated this little appointment. She decided to save it for later.

"Randi, how many other talents are you hiding in your repertoire?"

"Conservatively? I'd say a dozen." Randi went back to shaping the hair hanging over Kerry's other ear, and tried to appear as invisible as possible.

"Hey, Kerry," Kim said softly.

"Hi," Kerry replied, relieved her missing voice had come out on the first try.

"You did good today."

Kerry's watery smile was tinged with sadness. "You heard?"

Kim crossed her arms along the back of the chair and rested her chin on them. "Word moves like wildfire in the trenches." She paused, tilting her head. "How are you holding up?"

"It was okay. I panicked at first," she snuck a glance up at Randi, who smirked but remained silent. "But a lot of people helped me. Like Randi. And Luka. He would've had Romano for dinner if Don Anspaugh hadn't come to my rescue."

"Oh, Kerry, I don't think you needed anyone to come to your rescue. You did just fine on your own."

Kerry gathered strength from long-ignored reserves. "I wish I could've done better for you," the redhead said. Tears stung her eyes, and Kim's clear blue gaze met hers in the mirror.

"Well I made it. And you made it too, Kerry, that's what matters now." Kim reached out and ran her fingers through Kerry's newly shorn locks. "This looks so nice." Kim's hand then journeyed to the back of Kerry's head, where it fluffed out her hair and came to rest heavily on Kerry's neck. She deliberately maneuvered her thumb against Kerry's pulse, and her breath caught when she noticed the wild speed at which it was racing. Her eyes drifted shut for a moment, and it took great effort to pry them back open.

Randi's eyes narrowed at the goose bumps that appeared suddenly on Kerry's skin. She was starting to get a queasy feeling that told her she'd better wrap this up. She peeked at Kerry's reflection and the roiling in her stomach intensified. Weaver's eyes were half-lidded, the pain in her eyes warring with equal parts pleasure. Randi was about to plea for a potty break when Kim spoke so quietly she almost missed it.

"Want to get some coffee when you're done here?"

A shuddering breath left Kerry's lungs in a whoosh. "Sure," she squeaked.

Kim's answering grin was brilliant and wide. "We have lots to talk about, I think."

"We do?"

Kim paused, insecurity creasing her forehead. "If you want to talk, that is. About... things."

The blonde's eyelashes fluttered, and Kerry thought her heart would break.

"Yeah, I want to talk. About, well, whatever you like. I'm just glad you want to talk to me at all."

"I've wanted to all this time, Kerry. I was just waiting for, I don't know, *something*. And I think that something happened today."

Kerry smiled. "I guess it did." Kerry let out a small giggle, and Randi's eyebrows shot towards the ceiling. It was a foreign sound, but incredibly charming nonetheless. She sounded like a child for a moment, and Randi had a flash of the girl the imperious Dr. Weaver had once been.

Kerry hadn't noticed Randi's reaction. Her eyes were pinned on Kim's reflection, and she tried to steady her breathing. Her heart was jumping up and down, shouting from inside her chest. She didn't want to take any chances or misinterpret what Kim was saying. She would let the psychiatrist lead the way to wherever they might go. "Okay, then. Want to go to Magoo's?"

Kim's eyebrow raised, that appealing half grin still on her lips. "That works. It's as good a place as any for beginnings, don't you think?"

Kerry sighed deeply. "Yeah, I think it's perfect."

"Then I'll see you in a bit, right?"

"Yep. I'll be there shortly." At that moment the two women remembered there was a third body in the room, and Randi was pretending to be busy brushing the hair off of Kerry's left shoulder, a task which she'd been at for a full minute.

Kim stood quickly, and she swayed as the blood rushed to her head. She couldn't figure out if her dizziness was from standing too fast or from the anticipation of seeing Kerry again, in their booth, in just a few minutes. Making her way to the door, she blindly tripped over Randi's bag. "Oops, sorry." Her embarrassment was palpable, but as she looked back at the beautiful redhead's goofy smile, she realized it was worth making a fool of herself to see Kerry look at her like that again. There were issues that both women had to work out, but Kim was convinced that Kerry was worth it. And she knew now that Kerry felt the same. Still facing Kerry, she backed towards the door and gave a little wave. When her back of her head lightly smacked into the door, she started, then blushed a deep red. "I meant to do that." She departed to the sound of Kerry and Randi's joined laughter.

Randi ran her fingers through Kerry's hair. "I think I'm done. And I think if I wasn't done you'd still be running to Doc Magoo's with half your hair long and the other half short."

Kerry's raised eyebrow was a threat. "Oh really?"

Randi was undeterred. "Oh yeah. She's got it bad, and so do you."

"What makes you so sure?"

"Please. No comment. Just be glad you have good hair now. Remember what I said before."

Kerry sucked in her bottom lip. How had she gone from the untouchable chief of emergency medicine to getting a hair cut in the lounge and being teased about romance by Randi in less than a day?

Randi shot some mousse into her hand and lightly worked it into Kerry's hair. "This will add a little body, plus it smells good. Do you want to wear it like this or do you want something more daring?"

Kerry recognized the coconut smell she'd detected on Randi earlier in the day. "What do you mean more daring?"

Randi smiled. "Well, if I add some more mousse, we could make it really chunky. Your hair is pretty fine, but with a little finesse, I could make it funk-out--"

"This is fine for now." Kerry stood and tore the smock from around her neck. She headed for her locker to gather her things. "Maybe we can go for daring another time."

"Like when you have a hot date with Dr. K."

"Or when I'm going to your funeral."

"Good one, Dr. Weaver. Now go get her. And don't say I never helped you out."

Kerry stopped what she was doing and walked back to Randi. She touched her arm lightly. "I'd never say that. Never. I don't know what I would have done--"

"Don't mention it." She cut her off, afraid if Kerry kept going Randi would tear up.

Kerry nodded, snapping back into action. "What can I pay you? You did such a great job, what's the going rate?"

She shook her head. "Don't be stupid, Chief. Consider this a favor." Randi paused. "For a friend."

Dr. Weaver nodded, her heart swelling with gratitude. She flashed the biggest smile Randi had ever seen on her boss, lighting her eyes in the most astonishing way. It transformed her face, and suddenly Randi knew exactly what Dr. Legaspi saw in Kerry. She was amazed, smiling in return without even knowing it. She licked her lips, her mouth suddenly dry. Shaking her head to help herself back to reality, Randi used her arm to sweep the rest of Kerry's hair on the floor.

Kerry slammed her locker shut, wearing the Paddington coat Randi and some of the other staff had once found so ridiculous. But today, Randi thought it looked extremely cute. "I'm going," Kerry said. "Don't bother with that, I'll get an intern to sweep up. You've stayed late enough. Get out of here and have a nice evening."

"You too, Chief."

"I intend to," Kerry answered.

The End

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