"I don't need someone staying with me, Loretta!" Pride argued forcefully, sitting rigid in his hospital bed and shaking his head, his hands clenched tightly around the guardrails. Annoyed and frustrated, he insisted, "I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself!"

"Don't give me that crap, Dwayne Pride!" she rebuffed him, hands on her hips and a stern glare on her face, "You got shot a month ago, for goodness sake! You need someone looking after you for a while and it's already been arranged so you might as well just sit back and rest."

He shifted his gaze to his friends, all of them packed along the walls with determined stares, "Come on, guys! I need a little help here!"

"Sorry, King," Lasalle shook his head, "Ms. Loretta is more than a match for me."

"Yeah," Sebastian added, "Besides, you were shot in the chest, like, a bunch of times so I kind of agree with her, you know? I mean, I don't even know how you're still here."

"Because he's Pride," Sydney murmured, a small smile softening her face.

"Yeah," Gregorio added, "and we've all agreed that we need to keep you here."

"Sorry, ole, buddy," Elvis looked sympathetic, "But we've gotta have an insurance policy on you for a while."

"That's right," Newman crossed his arms, "I can't afford to lose the only guy in town who still believes in me when the chips are down."

"That's the truth!" Patton agreed.

"Here, here," Sydney nodded.

"Look," Pride interrupted, "I appreciate the sentiment and I know you guys are just doing what you think is best, but I can't have someone running into me every time I turn around! I just need to get back to normal. Please…" A lump formed in his throat as he watched their resolve stiffen, "Please…"

"Loretta," he reasoned, turning back to her, assuming that she was the only one who would volunteer for the dreaded duty, "You don't need to do this. You can't do this! What about your work at the lab? You don't have time to look after me! And what about CJ? You're not seriously thinking of moving him-"

"Ohhh, no!" she snorted, almost laughing when it occurred to her what he was thinking, "I'm not doing it! You wouldn't listen to me anyways! I bailed you out of jail and helped you guys catch Barlow." Reaching out, she squeezed his shoulder fondly, "But, I know my limits so I'm leaving the dirty work of keeping you in line to someone who you'll listen to or else."

Caught off guard, Pride looked quizzical, then almost panicky, "What? Who?"

"Someone who you'll listen to." she repeated, her stern glare returning before a sly smile appeared.

"Or else," Rita suddenly stepped into the doorway, glaring pointedly, her arms folded across her chest.

"Rita!" Pride gasped, sitting up a little straighter; his eyes widening in surprise as his scowl rapidly morphed into a wide excited smile, "What are you doing here?"

Author's Notes: Okay, let's just face it, the Prita relationship needs to go somewhere in Season 5 and, honestly, it can't if they don't have more on-air time together. I'm not necessarily saying that Chelsea Field needs to be a regular (although that would be my vote), but she ought to be on more than 2-3 times a season! Whose with me on this?

So, when Pride got shot at the end of the season finale, I thought it could set her up to come back to New Orleans for at least a little run of episodes...or more!