The day was very close to over, in fact Lara only realised it was one in the morning when she glanced at her watch. and yet Sam still had the audacity to claim the night had only just begun.
Begun. Like it hadn't been five hours ago when Lara had got back from paying the delivery guy for takeout to find Sam had somehow hidden every book and paper she had on the ancient Roman jewellery she was doing her paper on.
If it hadn't ticked her off so badly, Lara would almost have been impressed. There had been a LOT of books so she must have moved like lightning to pull it off. Plus Sam had been doing this to her for years, and Lara was still to figure out where her best friend was putting it all.
So resigned to not getting her work back until she gave Sam whatever she wanted, Lara had put the food on the table and sighed. "what do you want?" she asked in a long suffering tone.
Grinning innocently at her in just the right way to make Lara feel more willing to give in, Sam had jumped out of her seat, "Glad you asked!" she said happily, "you're not the only one who can figure stuff out Miss Croft, no sir! See I figured out you have done nothing fun for three days now. You've barely come out of your room for food let alone breaks." Sam spoke as if this was the most dreaded and terrible thing imaginable, which got a smile out of Lara.
Even when she was taking Lara's stuff, Sam never failed to brighten things for her.
"hey, my papers important Sam." Lara protested, "It's 20% of my grade for the term for a start. And I have less done then I wanted by now. I just haven't the time for-" she was cut off by Sam who reached up and put a hand over her mouth.
"you forget, I told you I've been figuring stuff out. For instance I asked that blonde guy in your class. The deadline is two and a half weeks away and I'm willing to bet a weeks laundry duty you're already about five thousand words past the minimum requirement. Well?" The shorter girl asked grinning at the sheepish look on Lara's face.
"…six." She admitted quietly. "but that's not the point!" Lara ran a hand through her long brown hair. "you can't just take my stuff all the time."
Really the worst part about arguing with Sam was the fact that she was always so darn reasonable about talking Lara into doing things that she didn't want too. It was like she had 'manipulating Lara Croft for dummies' Memorised. Or more likely she was the author.
"even you can burn out from studying too hard. I'm asking for one night to let you recharge. I swear in the morning you can get right back to your stuff and I won't try and drag you away from it until it's done or the building catches fire." Sam shrugged, "Whichever comes first."
Lara groaned causing Sam to cheer and punch the air in triumph. The next hour was spent speed eating the food, followed by a good forty minutes of Sam trying to force Lara into every dress in her wardrobe so Sam could decide what looked best on her.
"Why do I let you do this to me?" Lara grumbled as Sam put the tenth outfit onto the 'maybe' pile.
" 'cause you're my Bitch." Sam replied in a sing song voice, tossing Lara another dress to try on.
Lara glared at her and headed towards the bathroom once again to change. "Hate you."
"No you don't." Sam answered without missing a beat.
Lara smiled in spite of herself. No she didn't.
Eventually that all sorted itself out. So at nine PM Lara and Sam got out of a taxi and headed towards the front of a nightclub. Both of them wearing dresses Sam adored and Lara wanted to kill with fire. Skin tight red dresses that showed way too much skin made Lara feel like someone else, it was so far beyond her comfort zone.
Sam was actually wearing a more conservative dress then her, a silver one that Lara actually liked. Why couldn't she have been given something closer to that at least? When she posed the very same question Sam laughed and replied with a simple "so you're more likely to be noticed by any girls that are around. Do I have to think of everything?"
And with that she showed the bouncer of the nightclub her and Lara's I.D's and vanished inside, still laughing.
Lara had come out a couple years before all the crap with "The island that shall not be named or brought up around Lara or any of her surviving crewmates." And while she had gotten a few weird reactions. (Poor Alex. Lara had never realised how badly that must have stung until after he was gone.) most people she knew had been supportive. But Sam had seemed to made it her mission to find Lara a girlfriend.
In fact she actually had pulled it off once, introducing Lara to a girl named Amy who she had been with for a month or two before they drifted apart.
Really Lara appreciated it, even if it had led to one memorable night where Sam had tried to convince a certain waitress to become Bisexual just because Lara had said she thought the poor confused woman was attractive.
They hadn't been back to that place since.
And now it was one in the morning, the two had drunk more then was wise, danced a lot, been to three different clubs and almost got lost twice. She hated to admit it but she was glad Sam had made her come. As much as her friend teased her, Lara really did like going out, it was just that she liked research and archaeology a lot more. And Lara was carrying their new drinks to the table she had seen Sam pick out when they had got here.
Only to find a stranger in her seat.
The guy was at least half a foot taller than her, with short black hair and sunglasses. He was wearing sunglasses inside a club. At night. That told her everything she needed to know about this guy as she approached and put down the drinks.
Sam's eyes lit up at seeing her and immediately gave her the weird look she always had when she wanted Lara to just go with whatever she said. "See? My Girlfriends back. So I'm sorry but I'm taken." Lara almost ruined it but managed to keep a straight face. How many guys had she pulled this with at this point. The guy looked bothered, but made some half assed excuse at them both and headed off to try his luck elsewhere. The second he was out of earshot both of the girls cracked up laughing, Sam actually having to rest her head on the table to try and get herself under control.
"that was pretty good." Lara admitted, offering her friend a high five, which Sam missed on her first attempt. Okay maybe now was a good point to stop drinking. Lara hated to be a killjoy but Sam was smaller and thinner then her, so got drunk a lot faster. Already she was giggly and slurring her words at odd moments. "Want to head home after this song?" she asked, and to her surprise Sam nodded without argument. Relived Lara leaned back in her chair to listen to the techno track booming out over the speakers.
Suddenly Sam jumped out of her seat and declared "going to the bathroom!" as if it were a grand artistic statement. Lara laughed as she watched her friend dance her way over to the ladies room instead of walking. Knocking back another gulp of her drink she paused and swapped her bottle for Sams. The black haired girl had a lot more left and Lara seriously doubted it was a good idea to let her drink that much.
Turning when she caught Sam returning a few minutes later, she watched an accident occur that ruined their entire evening. It was complete chance, Sam slipped on something at the wrong moment and staggered right into the back of some mean looking brick wall of a man at the bar. He was clearly far more drunk then anyone near him and without even looking swirled around and lashed out, catching Sam across the face and sending her to the floor.
For the rest of her life, Lara would try to figure out what happened next. Seeing as the way she remembered it made little sense it would just be something that always confused her.
She saw red. That Lara was certain of. The cold, unending fury that she thought was gone after the therapy and the island was back. It was worse than ever if she was honest. The next instant she was across the room and swinging a fist into his face. No matter how hard she tried, it was a black spot on her memory, however fast she got up and ran at the guy was irrelevant to her so she had just forgotten it. But hitting him. THAT Lara remembered.
One of the people to record her testimony had noted that her body count put her as one of the deadliest women on the planet. Certainly the top thirty or so. Since then she had only gotten better, going to the gym more had made Lara more toned, and after a lot of consideration she had gotten training to make sure if something ever happened to her again, she would be able to fight better and make sure that never again would anyone die because of her.
An average (if tall and heavy) man, who was extremely drunk and had little understanding of what was going on. Against a one woman army who was enraged beyond comprehension.
It couldn't even be called a fight.
Lara punched him hard enough to send him sprawling, then she knelt on his chest and just kept striking him as hard as she could. Lara had no idea what was going on, but she wanted to kill him. Lara wanted to cave his skull in for daring to hurt Sam.
Distantly she realised she was shouting something at him. Each punch coinciding with a word.
Crack. His nose was broken.
Punch, his lip was spilt.
The next one would be a black eye.
And that would ensure the black eye would last for weeks.
Her knuckles were bleeding, so without pausing, Lara head butted the guy, her forehead meeting his face hard enough to knock him out.
"No one hurts my Sam. never again. Do you understand?" Lara growled down at him, before realising he was out cold. Scoffing in disgust, she stood and turned away from him.
Sam had got up at some point, and was staring at Lara with….. Was that fear?
It hit Lara like a bucket of cold water. What the hell had she done? The guy had hurt Sam yeah, but Lara may well have just hospitalised him. She had lost it. Actually gone off the deep end. There was no other explanation.
"S..sam?" Lara whispered, aware everyone in the place was staring at her and someone was calling the police. Time to go.
Lara almost grabbed Sam's hand but the look she was being given made her hold off. Instead she just bolted as fast as she could towards the door, people scrambling to get out of her way. The cold night air stung her eyes, but Lara didn't slow down, running as fast as she could towards the apartment her and Sam shared, stopping only to pull off her heels once she realised she would end up breaking an ankle.
When she got to her apartment building, Lara's lungs burned and her heart was trying to give up. Suddenly feeling drained, she reached out to the front door and found it locked.
Her keys were in her handbag. The handbag was on the table at the club.
Covering her face with her hands, Lara pressed her head against the cool glass of the front door. There was something wrong with her. There was so many things wrong with her. Why did she do that?
Well the answer was obvious. She had felt the same way she had done when seeing Sam grabbed by the damn cultists. The mix of rage and fear. The same determination to protect her closest friend. Her….
"Oh shit." Lara whispered slowly. She'd said "My Sam." Back there. It had been as instinctual as attacking the guy, which made it no better. Sam was her best friend. Her Sister from another Mother or whatever that crap saying was. She couldn't imagine life without her, even though nightmares of failing her had plagued Lara for so long.
Dreams of Sam drowning. Sam burning. Sam looking at her but with the fucking sun queen behind her eyes. So many times Lara had woken up to have Sam tease that she had been whimpering out Sam's name in her sleep. Lara had always assumed it was more nightmares.
The sound of a car parking made Lara freeze. Of cause Sam would just call a cab. Lara had no idea how she hadn't beaten her here.
"Lara?" Sam sounded nervous. Unsure. It was a kick to the gut to think Sam had stopped trusting her. That Lara had ruined something precious to her. "Lara what the hell happened back there?"
Lara ignored her, scrunching her eyes shut as if that could block out what she didn't want to deal with.
"Don't you ignore me!" Sam demanded, walking up behind her, Lara felt her shoulder be grabbed and let herself be pulled around. Lara slowly opened her eyes and saw Sam was staring at her, holding a napkin to her cheek which was bleeding slightly. It wasn't disgust or fear or whatever else Lara had been scared to see. "Are you okay Lara?" it was concern.
That was too much, and Lara broke down crying think ugly tears.
Immediately Sam wrapped her arms around Lara and hugged her tightly, whispering small comforting things to her. When Sam opened the handbag she had picked up for Lara and pulled out the keys, Lara numbly let her lead her inside and up the two flights of stairs to their place. like a sack of potatoes she collapsed onto the sofa, with Sam hitting the lights and dumping their stuff out of the way before sitting down next to her.
Lara flinched when Sam took her hands in hers. It reassured her more then she could put into words to feel her friend there for her.
"I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself. It was. I had to…" Lara trailed off as she realised she was making no sense. "he hurt you." She tried lamely.
"I'm fine Sweetie." Sam shrugged it off before quietly asking. "why did you say I was yours?"
Lara said nothing for a good five minutes. "because. Because you mean more to me than anyone on the planet." She tried. "I thought I was going to loose you so many times Sam. I was hurt and alone and scared. I didn't think I could save myself let alone you." She was crying again. "everyone was dying around me and every corner I turned in that place had me afraid I'd find you dead too."
Sam's breath hitched sharply. Lara knew Sam had put so much faith in her through the whole ideal. "But you saved me Lara. You and no one else looked after me, like always."
Lara nodded dumbly and then froze in shock when Sam kissed her on the cheek. "Sam what are you-?"
Sam looked at her, she seemed scared again, but it was different, more vulnerable. "Lara you saved me so many times. You never stopped looking after me even when you took a bear trap to the leg and a spike through the side as well as crap knows how much else. It was you that stopped a corpse stealing my soul and then carried me down a mountain to safety in your arms." She stopped her rambling and smiled weakly. "did you really think I could go through that and not feel something for you?"
So this was what it was like for your brain to grind to a halt. Lara thought numbly. "but… you don't. you're not…."
"Gay?" Sam nodded. "I think I'm Hetro-and-Lara-sexual. If that makes sense." She smiled weakly and Lara found herself returning it, the tears stopping. "what you did wasn't okay. At all. But you've been through hell I'm not surprised you have some things to go through and a couple outbursts."
Her fingers shaking, Lara brushed Sam's hair behind her ear. "I think. I know." She swallowed. This was the all or nothing moment. "I know I'm in love with you Sam. I finally realised it on the way back here."
Sam's smile was so wide Lara thought her face would split. In a flash she had climbed onto Lara's lap and kissed her passionately. She tasted like fruit. Lara kissed back with everything she had, her hands resting on Sam's hips. "love you." Sam whispered, pulling away slightly.
Lara grinned and suddenly surprised Sam by flipping her so the short haired girl found herself on her back, laying across the sofa with Lara atop her. "Mine." She whispered into Sam's ear.
Sam smiled and leant up to kiss her now girlfriend. "Yours."