"Where are we going?"
"You'll see. Are you tired? Do you mind walking a few blocks?"
"I'm fine. Were you planning to throw me over your shoulder and carry me if I weren't?"
"Now there's an idea... "
"Stop looking at me like that. Tall people with poor impulse control shouldn't get ideas."
"Short cute sarcastic redheads shouldn't put themselves in temptation's way."
"Spoilsport. Here, give me your briefcase, you're all off-balance. Jeez, what do you have in here?"
"It's not that bad, it's just bulky."
"So's a bowling ball but I don't usually lug one of those around. Good day at work?"
"Didn't kill or fire or physically pummel anyone today, so yeah, pretty good. You?"
"It was kind of quiet on the floor, thank goodness. I caught up on paperwork and helped DeRaad edit an article."
"Translate it into English, you mean. I've read Carl's reports; his style is probably best described as, um -– "
"Mind-numbingly, teeth-grindingly, hair-pullingly dull?"
"A little turgid, yes. I hope that the subject of the paper at least was interesting."
"Nothing earth-shattering, but good solid research."
"Pretty much describes Carl."
"Very old-school kind of guy. I like him, though."
"He's a good man. But I do prefer your more holistic approach."
"Thanks. That's almost exactly what Carter said the, ah... the other day."
"Oh. Um, about that. I still don't agree that that girl needed to be admitted, but it was Carter's case and I shouldn't have interfered. You were right to call me on my behavior."
"Just not in front of a resident."
"And especially not that resident."
" ... Maybe."
"Kerry, he admires the hell out of you and I know you two are pretty close. I don't think a single display of irrationality is going to change your relationship."
"Perhaps not. But I cannot afford to have my authority in the ED undermined."
"Uneasy lies the head, and so forth?"
"Something like that."
" 'Because authority, though it err like others, Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself'?"
"That's a totally different play."
"I'm not allowed to quote out of context?"
"No. Rules of the game."
"I still made you laugh."
"I am not laughing."
"Your eyes are laughing. You're so easy."
"You may be the only person in the world who thinks so."
"That's because my psychiatric superpowers allow me to see through your nigh-impenetrable armor. Fortunately for you, I use them only for good, never evil."
"And what do they see?"
"You want to know what I see? Integrity that radiates honor like a lighthouse in the dark. Intelligence that you wield with the precision of a scalpel or the devastation of a sword or the crushing force of a club. Compassion as raw and exquisitely sensible as flayed skin, which you try but never quite manage to shield with brusqueness. The most oblique sense of humor I have ever encountered. And last and most certainly not least, fabulous scenery. From most angles, but especially from behind."
"Have my psychiatric superpowers rendered you speechless?"
"No, only monosyllabic."
"Learn to take a compliment, Weaver; you're going to get a lot of 'em from me."
"That wasn't entirely complimentary. 'Crushing force'?"
"It's colorful. Dynamic."
"How long have you been working on that little panegyric, anyway?"
"I told you, it was really slow today. I just thought up that last part, though. What, you didn't like it?"
"I didn't say that. But I had no idea -– "
"That I felt that way? Or that what you most value about yourself was so glaringly obvious?"
"Either. Both. I'm not used to being... obvious."
"Believe me, you're not. I just took the trouble to look. And occasionally to get out a crowbar to pry into a hidden corner here and there."
"At the rate you're going, there won't be any hidden corners left. Just me, naked and exposed under a searchlight."
"Don't worry, I'll protect you. Well, here we are."
"Kim, this is the Hancock Building."
"Hate to break it to you, but I've been here before."
"I'm sure you have. But have you ever seen the best damned view of the city at night?"
"Do they even let you go up to the Observation Deck at this hour?"
"I don't know. Anyway, that's not it."
"The Signature Room?"
"Close, but that's not it either."
" 'Subject displays cognitive and perceptual symptoms of obsession with control, elicited by specific questioning and -– ' ow! Hey!"
"Oops. Crutch slipped."
"Well, you can just kiss my crutch mark, Kerry Weaver."
"That could take all night."
" ... !"
"You know, Kim, this might be the first time I've ever made you blush."
"Wench. There's the elevator. Hit 95, will you?"
"I thought you said we weren't going to the restaurant."
"We're not. Unless you want to."
"Don't we need reservations?"
"I can get us in."
"Let me guess. Another friend?"
"The maitre d'."
"You're going to have to introduce me to this network of yours one of these days."
"They're kind of hard to avoid. This way; you can hang your coat here."
"Kim, this is a restroom."
"Right. Close your eyes."
"Close your eyes, Kerry."
Kerry blinked a bit to adjust to the darkness, then gasped.
One entire wall of the bathroom consisted of floor-to-ceiling plate glass. The view was stunning, extending south and west for what had to be miles, the grid of Chicago's streets trimmed in electric lace and embroidered with constantly streaming light beads of traffic.
"Beats paying twelve bucks for the Observation Deck, wouldn't you say?"
Kim moved closer behind her, wrapping her in long arms; Kerry leaned back contentedly. "You can almost see my house, but the U of C built an apartment high-rise that just obscures it from view... right... there."
"Thoughtless of them."
"Not to be paranoid or anything, but... what if someone walks in?"
"How can you be so sure?"
"Because I stuck an 'Out of Order' sign in front of the door."
Kerry started to giggle, and felt Kim do the same. "Never let it be said that you don't know how to show a girl a good time."
"I wasn't aware that it was said."
"Certainly not by me."
Kerry became gradually aware of a warmth that suffused her like a gentle current wherever their bodies touched. She felt her heart pound harder as lips brushed her hair, making their leisurely way down her neck, and cried out when they found the sensitive spot below her ear. Turning in the circle of Kim's arms, Kerry reached up to pull the curly head down to hers, seeking to conquer that maddeningly soft mouth.
At last Kim jerked away, panting slightly. "Kerry. We have to stop. This is going to kill me."
"Well, I simply can't allow that to happen, can I?"
" ... What?" Kim croaked.
"I mean, I took an oath. Do no harm, and all that. Letting you expire from sexual frustration would be in direct violation."
"Weaver, are you propositioning me?"
"Hippocratically, Legaspi, yes."
"I'll call a cab."
"Race you downstairs."