UNDERSTANDING FROM THE HEART

STRANGE EMPIRE

KAT/REBECCA

Disclaimer: I sadly do not own this show or the characters therein. I wish I did. This is just for entertainment and because I miss this show and these characters.

PART 1

"It's strange here Thomas," Rebecca Blithely commented calmly. "The people look on me as my father did. As if I were too strange to be amongst people. They talk to me when they need tending, but most avoid me and sometimes…sometimes I see the children pointing and laughing and then they run away from me."

Rebecca paused as she felt an inexplicable ache in her chest. She realized that there seemed to be a direct correlation between emotional pain and physical but at the moment she couldn't seem to care enough to dwell on it. She rubbed the spot over her heart as she looked down at the small ragged bouquet of wildflowers she had placed on her husband's grave.

"I didn't notice it so much when you were here though," she sniffed. "You talked to me. Now, you're gone and I'm all alone." She frowned as she felt something on her cheek. Thinking it was a fly, she wiped at it and was surprised to discover it was a tear.

"I'm crying Thomas," she gave a watery laugh as she another drop slide down her cheek followed by another. "I don't know why I should be crying. I've spent my whole life being gawked at or shunned. I learned a long time ago that it didn't matter. That I didn't matter."

Kat Loving stood silently at the edge of the woods watching the sad one sided conversation. She had been on her way for a bath in the small pond when she heard someone talking. She smiled when she recognized the soft, far too serious voice of Rebecca Blithely. The woman doctor had fascinated her from the moment they met. She was so serious but had a fierceness that came out at the most surprising times. She stepped forward, prepared to greet her new friend and was surprised to see the quiet woman kneeling by a grave. She hadn't known this was where she'd buried her husband. She was about to turn and leave Rebecca in peace but the next words froze her steps.

"I learned a long time ago that it didn't matter. That I didn't matter."

Kat's heart broke when she heard that and she wanted to tell Rebecca how wrong she was but Rebecca kept talking and her heart jumped when she heard her name.

"Sometimes Mrs. Loving talks to me," Rebecca continued quietly, unaware she was being watched. "She's always nice to me and never looks at me if I were an abnormality. She listens to me when I talk and doesn't run away and I don't feel so lonely, but…"

But what? Kat wanted to shout. She'd had no idea how alone Rebecca felt. Kat had never met anyone as hard to read as Rebecca Blithely but now she wondered if there was something she'd done to add to that loneliness or make her afraid of her.

"But talking with her is different than talking with you," Rebecca stated, not at all bothered by the fact she was talking to nobody. "She confuses me and I don't understand it. From the first moment I saw her at the station house, I felt strange and I continue to feel that strangeness whenever we talk. When she smiles at me I feel flushed and have trouble forming a coherent thought. I get an ache in my chest that I can't explain, my heart starts to race and breathing becomes difficult. I've studied every book that we brought with us, but I can't find anything that explains these symptoms."

If Kat hadn't been so stunned by Rebecca's revelations, she might have smiled at her curious tone as if her emotions were a strange creature that could be explained away in a book, but she couldn't. Even if she weren't aware of it, Rebecca had all but said she had feelings…romantic feelings for her and Kat's mind shut down. Suddenly she found herself looking at the lady doctor in a much different light and she was surprised at what she saw.

Rebecca Blithely was a damned fine looking woman. Kat had known that from the beginning, she had eyes after all, but looking at her now Kat saw so much more. Brown hair which was normally pulled so tightly atop her head Kat wondered at how she didn't have a constant headache, fell in soft waves around her shoulders and the damp shift she wore clung to a surprisingly beautiful body that had been hidden far too often beneath those stiff fancy dresses of hers. However, what stole Kat's breath was the almost sad and wistful expression on her face.

Many folks in Janestown often said that Rebecca had no feelings, but it was so very obvious she did and though it went against everything she'd ever known or even thought of, Kat found herself wanting to sit beside Rebecca and hold her.

"Oh Thomas. I know if you were here you could tell me what was wrong with me. "

Watching Rebecca wipe sadly at her cheek forced Kat to move.

"There's nothing wrong with you Mrs. Blithely…. Rebecca," Kat said quietly, stepping forward and trying not to startle the skittish woman too badly. Still Rebecca squeaked in surprise and turned around.

"Mrs. Loving?" she stammered, her heart racing in fright as well as embarrassment wondering how much the other woman had heard.

"I'm sorry, I was coming for a swim and I didn't know you were here."

"Oh. That's alright, I was about to leave anyway," she smiled awkwardly as she got to her feet.

"No, wait," Kat said quickly before Rebecca walked away. And then it was Kat that forgot what she was going to say.

"Mrs. Loving I…"

"Kat. Call me Kat."

"Kat. I…how much did you hear?" Rebecca whispered, wondering if it were possible for someone to literally die from humiliation.

"Enough," Kat said quietly. She was surprised to see a flush pass across Rebecca's face and she knew she needed to do something to keep the skittish woman from bolting.

"Rebecca, there is not one damned thing in the world wrong with you," she repeated. "You are a strong, smart and beautiful woman with more courage than just about any man I've ever met."

"I'm not," Rebecca protested. "I'm afraid all the time, especially now that Thomas is gone."

Kat shook her head. "Mrs. Blithely…Rebecca, bravery doesn't mean not being afraid, bravery is fighting even when you are and you've fought for me and my girls too many times to count. You stand up for anyone who needs it, even if they don't deserve it and no matter the risk to yourself."

"Mrs.…Kat, you're very kind but…"

"I'm not being kind," Kat interrupted. "Rebecca, I have to ask you something," she shifted nervously.

Rebecca swallowed. "Of course," she replied warily.

"Have I done something to make you afraid of me?"

"Of course not," Rebecca said quickly, not wanting this proud woman to think such a thing.

"Oh," Kat said relieved. "I just…I heard what you said about me and I was afraid that I've done something to upset you."

As she had once before, Rebecca cautiously placed a hand on Kat's arm. "You could never," she insisted sincerely. "You have been the only person…" suddenly she feared she was saying too much and she was afraid to continue.

Where others thought Rebecca's fractured way of speaking proved she was touched, Kat knew self-doubt and fear when she saw it.

"The only what?" she prodded, wanting Rebecca to know she was safe talking to her. About anything.

"The only person who talks to me."

The matter of fact way she said that broke Kat's heart more than tears would have done. "Why wouldn't I?"

Rebecca shrugged. "I'm…It's getting chilly and I need to dress and…and you wanted to swim," she prevaricated. That horrible, wonderful ache was filling her chest again as she looked into Kat's warm brown eyes and she was afraid she would say something else to make her appear foolish.

"Do I really make you feel all those things?" Kat asked, unsure if she wanted to know the answer but unwilling to let Rebecca run away.

"Yes," Rebecca replied honestly, having no idea how to be anything else.

Kat blinked, surprised by the woman's bluntness, though she shouldn't have been. "Oh." She had absolutely no idea how to respond to that, nor did she understand the flutter in her stomach at the simple answer.

Rebecca noticed the frown on Kat's face and instantly feared she'd offended the only friend she'd ever had. "Please don't be mad," she pleaded. "It's not unpleasant, I promise. It's just confusing and I don't understand what it means or if I'm sick or…"

Despite the awkwardness of the moment, Kat couldn't help herself and she smiled. It would be so easy for anyone who didn't know Rebecca Blithely to assume she was slow and not yet mentally grown. Kat, however knew her and she knew there was a big difference between slow and simply never being taught anything and she mentally cursed every person in Rebecca's life who ignored her need for learning.

"You aren't sick," Kat sighed. She wasn't sure how to explain what Rebecca was feeling without embarrassing them both.

"I'm not?"

Kat shook her head and sighed. "All those things you said I made you feel…you never felt that way for you husband?"

"No," Rebecca replied in confusion. "He just made me feel protected. Isn't that what a husband is supposed to make you feel?

Kat wanted to groan with the awkwardness the conversation, but knowing someone had to explain things to the naive young woman before she made herself sick. Someone should have explained it to her years ago and it made her angry nobody had bothered to tell her the most basic things.

"Yeah Rebecca it is, but…" she scratched her head, struggling to find the right words. She then just decided to blurt it out. "Feeling protected isn't the only thing your husband is supposed to make you feel."

"I don't understand?"

"Damnation," Kat muttered, but the innocent, almost pleading look in the pretty eyes melted her heart. "You see uh, those things you said about how you felt about me? That's exactly what I felt the first time I saw my Jeremiah," she said and then waited for this amazingly smart woman to make the connection.

Rebecca frowned. Kat had felt the same way about her husband as she had been feeling about Kat, but then Kat had married him. It didn't make sense.

"Mrs. Loving I…"

Kat felt her face warm knowing she was going to have to spell it out. "Kat," she said awkwardly. "Call me Kat, and Mrs. Blithely…Rebecca, what I'm trying to say is those feelings I had about Jeremiah, that's how I knew I was in love with him."

Rebecca's eyes grew impossibly wide as she finally realized what Kat was saying. "Love?" she whispered. "You're…I'm in love with you?"

Kat shifted nervously. The last thing she wanted was to humiliate this woman but she could see it was too late. "Rebecca, please don't…"

So many things swept through Rebecca. She had fallen in love and had been too stupid to recognize it and she'd fallen in love with a woman who clearly didn't feel anything but pity for her. Despair and shame threatened to knock her knees out from under her.

"I have to go," she whispered. "I'm sorry," she added before she fled.

"Rebecca wait!" Kat called after her, wanting to tell her it was alright, wanting to…she wasn't sure what she wanted but she found herself wanting to make it right. She wanted to make everything alright for the woman who was so alone in the world and that confused her.

PART 2

Kat was frustrated. It had been a week since her encounter with Rebecca and it had been all she could think about. Rebecca Blithely, the most unusual, fascinating and contradictory woman she'd ever met, was in love with her and the fact that she was so innocent she had thought she had an illness was both sad and incredibly…adorable.

Kat had heard whispers about people who loved only those of the same sex and she knew that folks were even more intolerant of that than they were Indians but Kat had never particularly cared. One didn't choose who they loved, their heart did and besides it wasn't any of her business, thought that wasn't true anymore and she realized it didn't bother her at all. In fact, it had her mind thinking all kinds of things she never would have thought of before.

Kat had found herself remembering those moments between them that she had been too distracted to pay attention to at the time. The day Rebecca spent caring for two Blackfoot men who had been falsely accused of attacking their wagons, not the least bit afraid or judgmental of them. She cared enough to learn a little of their language and was so gentle as she tended to them, ignoring the insults and threats hurled at her. She remembered Rebecca lying to that bitch Isabelle Slotter and then turning around and giving all of her money to the same bitch to secure Kat and her girls' freedom from the whorehouse. She remembered telling Rebecca she was leaving and Rebecca's reaction as if her heart were breaking. She'd been too distraught believing her kids hated her to think about it then, but now she saw the fear and sadness in Rebecca's face and realized at that moment she'd just been one more in a long line of people who had hurt her.

The most puzzling memory to Kat though was the memory of her first true conversation with the doctor. Kat had found herself charmed by the woman's nervous babbling, though she'd been surprisingly angry to learn her own parents had stuck her in a mad house because she was smart and curious. However, now she was able to put the endearingly awkward comments aside and picture Rebecca as she looked that day, her shift clinging to her body from her swim, hair falling around her shoulders in damp waves and the earnest expression on her innocent face as she blurted out a list of what she had apparently seen as flaws and it hit her then just how beautiful the shy, quiet and painfully forthright woman truly was. Kat figured she was about the most beautiful woman she'd ever seen and that had confused her as she wondered what she was supposed to do with that realization.

Unfortunately, she hadn't been able to talk more to Rebecca because the woman had been avoiding her. It had gotten to the point that Kat's frustration had turned to amusement at the woman's blatant and very poor attempts at hiding from her. Still, she would talk to Rebecca Blithely, come hell or high water.

It was early evening when Kat approached Rebecca's cabin with every intention of making her talk to her. Suddenly she saw something off to the side in the shadows and frowned, wondering if one of Slotter's men was stupid enough to try and break into the doctor's cabin. She walked around the corner and froze when she saw Rebecca backed up against the wall being kissed quite furiously by what appeared to be some scrawny stranger.

A sudden and inexplicable anger filled Kat at the site of Rebecca's head thrown back while the lips of the stranger was kissing her neck and Kat didn't like it. Ignoring what her rational mind was trying to tell her, she convinced herself the man was assaulting Rebecca. She drew her gun, fury having her cock it and fully prepared to use it.

"Get your hands off her," she ordered with a deadly calm that had the two breaking apart. The man turned and Kat recognized him as Morgan Finn. She hadn't spoken two words to him but she'd seen him sniffing after Rebecca before and that just made her angrier.

"Mrs. Loving," Morgan protested, fear evident on his face.

"I don't much care for men who try to force women," she retorted, though she briefly thought this skinny kid who looked as if he'd faint if someone said boo too loudly, didn't look like much of a threat to anyone.

"I'd never…"

"He wasn't forcing me," Rebecca said quietly, unable to meet Kat's gaze.

Kat ignored Finn and looked at Rebecca in shock. "What?"

Rebecca did as she always did in uncomfortable situations. She straightened and slipped into the emotional detachment that always saw her through uncomfortable situations. "He was doing nothing to me that I didn't want," she said plainly, though it was all she could do not to run away. It seemed she was forever destined to humiliate herself in front of Kat Loving.

Kat just stared at Rebecca, not understanding the strange ache in her belly. "Oh. Well, my apologies Mrs. Blithely," she muttered awkwardly and then walked away, feeling irritated and not knowing why. She spent the rest of the night trying not to think about what she'd just walked up on but she couldn't stop it. Rebecca had said she had feelings for Kat but now, just a week later she was letting some…puppy paw her up against her house. She instantly thought maybe Rebecca was one of those women who played at being innocent but were really…no, Kat cut that thought off before she finished. There was no way Rebecca was like that. Almost immediately Kat found herself remembering the look on Rebecca's face as she was being kissed. Kat had refused to see it at the time, but now it was all she could see. Rebecca's head thrown back, lips parted in a gasp, cheeks flushed, her hair mussed; Kat realized she'd never seen anything quite as beautiful and with a jolt, she finally understood the feeling eating her gut was jealousy and she didn't like it. No, she didn't like it one damned bit.

DDDDDDDDDDDDD

Rebecca sighed. She'd been staring at the same page in her medical books for over an hour and hadn't comprehended anything. All she could focus on was the memory of Morgan Finn's lips on hers. She'd never been kissed before and it had felt extremely good. It had stirred several emotions inside of her and she had wanted more. She needed to try and understand what it was about the simple act of kissing that caused the warm, tingling sensation, but then Kat Loving had interrupted and as she witnessed the quiet woman mistakenly defending her honor, everything that Finn had made her feel had vanished, replaced by the more potent feelings generated anytime Kat was near. She thought she may grow mad if she didn't discover the source of her agitation. The only thing she'd read that came close was a description of 'female hysteria' and based on the treatment recommendations in her book, she hoped to God that wasn't it.

PART 3

It had been five days since Kat's mistaken attempt to rescue Rebecca from the handsy Morgan Finn. In that time, she'd caught glimpses of Rebecca as she tended to those who needed help, and Kat had clenched her fist in anger as she noticed how those being helped would leave without so much as a smile of gratitude and seeing for herself what had driven the shy doctor to confiding in a grave. She had grown even more irritated when she witnessed Finn speaking quietly to Rebecca and it was clear he was lecturing her about something. When he left, Rebecca had clearly been fighting tears and Kat longed to teach the insolent boy a lesson in disrespecting Rebecca Blithely. However, she said nothing, just stayed in the shadows and tried to protect the doctor as best she could without being noticed.

After watching Finn treat Rebecca so badly, she'd been tormented by thoughts of the innocent young woman giving herself to a man who clearly had no respect for her which immediately faded into images of Rebecca being kissed except this time it was Kat's lips trailing down her throat. It was driving Kat crazy thinking of it. She had wanted to barge in to Rebecca's cabin and demand the surprisingly stubborn woman talk to her, but she refrained. She didn't want to frighten the already skittish woman so she gave her time to let her guard down.

After the sun went down on the fifth day and she saw the lamp in the cabin go on, Kat stepped out of the shadows and onto the front porch. She knocked softly and waited. As soon as Rebecca opened the door, Kat pushed her way in, careful not to hurt her but not allowing her to slam the door in her face.

"Mrs. Loving," Rebecca stammered, her eyes immediately searching for an escape. She didn't understand why, but just seeing Kat reignited the humiliation she felt after the woman discerned inappropriate feelings she'd been to ignorant to recognize in herself and especially after Kat had caught her in a compromising position with Morgan.

"Rebecca," Kat began and then faltered. Now that she was in she had no idea what she was going to say.

"Why are you here?" Rebecca blurted, drawing a soft smile from Kat.

"To the point as always," Kat said fondly. "And I don't know," she shifted nervously.

Rebecca frowned, more confused than angry. "You push your way into my home and don't know why?"

Kat removed her hat and ran a hand she was embarrassed to realize was shaking, through her hair. "I do but I don't."

"You realize that sentence contradicts itself, right?"

Kat grinned. "Yeah."

Rebecca waited patiently for Kat to explain herself but when the stoic woman remained silent, it got the best of her nerves.

"Really Miss Loving, if there's nothing…"

"I didn't like you kissing that Morgan fella," Kat blurted.

Rebecca blinked. "I beg your pardon?"

Kat sighed and clenched her hat tighter in her hands. Rebecca Blithely had never been cowardly in speaking the truth to her and she felt it was the very least she could do to be just as honest to the woman who'd done so much for her.

"I haven't been able to stop thinking about what you said that day in the forest about how you felt about me."

Rebecca felt her cheeks warm and she looked away embarrassed. Suddenly she felt fingers on her chin lifting her face and she was alarmed to see that Kat had stepped impossibly close.

"Don't," Kat ordered softly. "If anyone should be embarrassed it's me."

Rebecca's eyes widened. "Why on earth would you be embarrassed?"

Kat snorted. "Aside from bustin' in on a clearly private moment between you and that Finn kid?"

Rebecca blushed again as she remembered the last time she'd seen Kat and everything that Kat had been witness to.

"I…you were just trying to protect me," Rebecca replied, realizing it was true. Nobody had ever tried to protect her before.

"I thought I was," Kat admitted shyly, "but that wasn't it."

"I don't understand."

Kat sighed again. "I don't either but, I was…I didn't like seeing that kid kissing you and it wasn't because I thought you were in danger. It's…"

Rebecca saw a look in Kat's dark eyes that she couldn't quite read but that had her heart racing. "What?" she prodded breathlessly.

"It's…" Kat's mind was blank but then again she had never been one for talking about feelings. She was more of a woman of action.

"Rebecca," she whispered and moving slowly, she placed a cautious hand on Rebecca's cheek, seeing her eyes widen in shock but relieved when she didn't look afraid. She stepped closer and leaned forward and placed her lips against Rebecca's.

Rebecca's breath caught at the brush of Kat's lips against hers. Just that one whisper of a kiss had her closer to swooning than Finn's more aggressive kiss.

"Kat?" she whispered, her mind spinning.

"Did I hurt you?" Kat asked quickly.

"No, but…but why?"

Kat stepped back a step, her own lips tingling and her knees shaking. "I…because I realized that after I saw you kissing someone else that I wanted that someone to be me."

"You did?"

The hope that shone in Rebecca's expressive eyes caused an ache in Kat's chest.

"Yeah. I don't…I'm like you I guess. I've never been one that really paid much attention to my own feelings. In fact, I hadn't realized how I felt about Jeremiah until he told me how he felt about me. Kind of like with you." Feeling deeply embarrassed, Kat began to pace around the room.

"I never really thought people could feel romantic toward me so I never thought to look for it," she continued.

"How could anyone not feel romantic about you?" Rebecca asked with a simple curiosity that made Kat smile.

"You're a…you're a beautiful woman Mrs. Loving, you're strong and brave and are the kindest person I've ever known."

Kat blushed. "I…you're far too kind Rebecca and I hate to remind you but my name is Kat," she grinned.

For the first time Rebecca felt a determination to be heard. "Kat. You are a woman that any man would be lucky to win."

"But I don't want a man," Kat blurted and though that was a statement she never thought she'd make, she realized how true it was. Especially as she looked into Rebecca's sweet face.

Rebecca's face fell. "I'm so sorry Mrs... Kat, that was incredibly insensitive of me," she apologized quickly. "I know you are still missing your husband and…"

"That's not it," Kat interrupted, needing to explain herself before she changed her mind. "I mean, I do miss Jeremiah and I know I will every day, but that's not what I meant."

Once more Rebecca furrowed her brow as she tried to understand what most other people would have and once more Kat found the sight more endearing than she probably should have.

"You're not making this easy for me," Kat laughed awkwardly.

Rebecca turned Kat's words over in her mind a few more times before she finally began to understand.

"Are you saying that you…that you feel kindly towards me?" She asked tentatively, bracing herself to be laughed at.

"No," Kat said and winced at the dejected expression that crossed Rebecca's face. "Well I do feel kindly toward you," she immediately corrected, "but I also feel more for you than that." And suddenly, a weight was lifted off Kat's heart that she hadn't truly been aware of. She slowly walked back to Rebecca and reached out to take her hand.

For a moment, Kat looked at their joined hands, her thumb stroking almost negligently against the soft skin and she became aware of how soft Rebecca's skin was and how long her fingers were.

"You fascinated me from the second we met," Kat admitted honestly, looking into Rebecca's eyes. "You're so different from anyone I've ever met," she said with a hint of bemusement. "You look so innocent but have this amazing courage that I've never seen in any man except Jeremiah. And each time you stood up to the Slotter's or the holier than thou prudes in this town..." Kat sighed, for the first time she could remember, wish she were better with words.

"That day you gave all your money to that whore Isabelle Slotter to free me and my girls, I couldn't understand why you would do such a thing but then I looked at you," she continued. "You looked so shy but at the same time so determined," Kat couldn't help but smile at the memory, "and I felt something here," she placed her hand over her heart, "I didn't understand it what I felt. I told myself it was gratitude and I was…I am grateful to you and reckon I always will be, but after seeing you with Finn I know it was more than that. I realized I wanted to be the one making you feel those things you were feeling. I realized that you have sort of burrowed under my skin and don't appear to be leaving any time soon. "

Rebecca's heart was racing and the feelings inside of her were twice what Finn had made her feel and Kat wasn't even touching her.

"I…but you didn't…you looked mad before, when you heard me say how you made me feel."

"Oh Rebecca," Kat said shaking her head. "I wasn't mad. I was just surprised and confused."

"Oh. Alright."

Once again Rebecca's easy acceptance of a rather weak explanation surprised her. "Good," she replied not knowing what else to say.

"So what you said, you really have feelings of a romantic nature? For me?"

Kat's lips lifted. "It seems so."

"Oh."

Kat's grin widened as Rebecca frowned, mulling over Kat's words as if it were some great medical problem. That was an expression she could easily get fond of seeing.

"Well I believe you should kiss me then. Just to make sure," Rebecca stated primly.

And damned if Rebecca didn't look like she was truly just proposing an experiment which just had Kat shaking her head.

"By God you're an interesting woman Mrs. Blithely," she chuckled.

"Maybe. So will you?"

For the first time in her life Kat Loving was laughing when she kissed someone. However, her laughter didn't last past the first touch of her lips against Rebecca's. She'd never felt anything so incredibly soft as those full lips and her knees began to tremble.

She pulled back and an unexpected shock of desire shot through her when she saw the dazed expression and the darkening of Rebecca's beautiful eyes.

"You're so beautiful," she whispered, surprised that it didn't feel strange at all to say it. She carefully reached out but froze as she remembered Rebecca's dislike of being touched. When Rebecca didn't flinch, she continued and placed a hand on Rebecca's cheek.

"You said I was brave," she continued, letting her thumb trace the lips she'd just tasted. "But you're the brave one. Not just because you're smart, not just because you aren't afraid to chase your dreams of doctorin' or the way you fight for me. You're brave because you know your feelings even if you don't understand them. You're brave because you aren't afraid to express them."

Rebecca blinked rapidly, still confused by her feelings for Kat as well as Kat's sudden admission that she returned her feelings. Deciding that the words she couldn't seem to find were irrelevant anyway, Rebecca pushed forward and captured Kat's lips. It was soft and awkward, both confused by an attraction they didn't understand but for Rebecca this tentative kiss made her feel more than Morgan's ever had. And it felt right.

Kat pulled back, resting her forehead against Rebecca's while she caught her breath. Finally, she lifted her head.

"Did that tell you what you needed to know?" Kat asked, more seriously than she'd intended.

Rebecca could barely think over the pounding of her heart. She finally understood what desire was and she decided she liked it.

Curiosity and need overriding her fears, Rebecca touched Kat's face, her eyes roaming over her handsome features, captivated by the dusting of freckles but caught by the darkness of smiling eyes.

"I…I was never taught anything about…romantic entanglements," she admitted. "Everyone, including Thomas felt I wasn't mentally mature enough to grasp it."

Kat swallowed the anger that she often felt when she thought about how the people in Rebecca's life treated her. How people who were supposed to love her, treated her like she was either deranged or a simple child.

"You don't have to understand it here," Kat said, tapping her forehead. "As long as you feel it here," she reached out and placed a gentle hand over Rebecca's heart.

To her surprise Rebecca covered her hand with her own. "You make me feel things I don't know how to explain," she said in a voice that had it come from anyone else, Kat would have called it uninterested, but though the tone was simple, Kat could see the longing in her incredible eyes. She could see longing to understand, a longing to be 'normal'' and a longing for Kat.

"Do you care for me?" Kat asked simply.

"Of course," Rebecca answered as if it were the most ridiculous question in the world.

"Do you get a strange sorta flutter here," she said pressing against Rebecca's chest, when you see me?"

Rebecca blushed but nodded, the feel of Kat's fingers on her chest, her words, the intensity in those dark eyes that could only be called exotic, were making her dizzy.

"Do you want to know more about what it feels like to kiss me? To touch me?"

"Yes," Rebecca whispered, her eyes dropping to those same lips that had tasted so wonderfully.

"Do you want to care for me and protect me?"

"Of course I do."

"That's how I feel about you and that's all that's important."

"But, what if…what if someone finds out?"

Kat sighed. "That is a problem," she admitted. "We have to be careful, but I'm willin' to try if you are?"

Rebecca didn't hesitate. She's already spent time in a mental hospital. She could do it again and it was well worth the risk. "I've never been more sure of anything," she said with a conviction she'd rarely felt about anything other than her medical theories.

Kat released her breath. "Yeah, so I would like to kiss you again," she said softly, carefully placing her hands on Rebecca's hips and pulled her close. The shock of feeling another woman's body against hers was startling but the very rare glimmer of true happiness on Rebecca's face overshadowed everything.

"I would like that very much," Rebecca said, her hands going to Kat's shoulders and then into her hair, unable to resist exploring the silky texture.

Kat licked her lips, biting back a groan when Rebecca's startling hot gaze followed the action intensely. Feeling no further need to talk, she leaned in and captured Rebecca's lip and in a heartbeat she pressed harder, cautious of frightening the other woman but desperate to taste more of her and even knowing they would have to hide, Kat knew it was worth it. This woman was worth it and so much more.