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If you asked Samantha Nishimura when she realised she was in love with Lara Croft, she wouldn’t really be able to tell you for sure. It just sort of crept up on her slowly. Somewhere along the line her best friend became something… more – at least to her. Certainly Sam knew it by the time they were on the Endeavour, searching for Yamatai. Maybe she could fool the rest of the crew when she said that the reason she spent so such time filming Lara was to make sure that her contributions were properly recorded, so that Whitman didn’t steal all the credit, but she wasn’t fooling herself. Not any more.

Sam made sure to get plenty of candid footage too; the sort of stuff that would never actually appear on the show. For her private collection, for times when Lara wasn’t around to ogle in person. She wasn’t sure when the ogling started either, but Sam rather suspected that her fixation on cute boys over the last couple of years was an attempt to avoid it. There was no way she could tell Lara that she was the one Sam wanted to take home. Although technically she did, since they shared a flat, but that really wasn’t the point. There was just no way that Lara Croft liked her that way, and the idea of risking their friendship by saying something terrified Sam. Much better to have a purely platonic friendship than take a chance and end up losing her completely.

What happened on the island did make her start to question that. The single-minded determination that Lara had to rescue her, and the hell she put herself through to do it. The sheer desperation in her eyes when she thought that Sam was about to die. Maybe these were signs that Lara too felt something more than just friendship. But then on the freighter, after they had escaped the nightmare, Lara was… distant. Sam decided that it was just wishful thinking after all. So maybe Lara wasn’t going to be her girlfriend, but she was still the best friend a girl ever had.

If you asked Lara Croft when she realised that she was in love with Samantha Nishimura, then she could tell you almost to the second. It was on Yamatai, just after escaping from the monastery where she found Himiko’s body. The joy at hearing Sam’s voice, quickly turning to terror when the Solarii guard found her with the radio, and anguish at Sam’s desperate cries for help. In the moment of clarity that followed, Lara realised that she would do whatever it took to rescue Sam, no matter the cost to herself. The remorse she had felt when she killed the first Solarii was a luxury she could no longer afford; these men, these… monsters, were standing between Lara and the woman she loved.

Just like that, Lara found herself unquestioningly and unhesitatingly accepting this new reality. It didn’t even seem like a surprise, as if she’d known all along but just not wanted to admit it to herself. Later, when she found Sam in the caverns, throwing herself into a desperate attempt to stop Matthias from performing the fire ritual didn’t even seem like a choice. Even though she knew that it was hopeless, that it would almost certainly lead to her capture and probable death, what else could she do? If she’d stayed in hiding and watched Sam burn, she might just as well have cut out her own heart.

After they escaped the island, Lara felt like she was cast adrift, without the clear purpose that had been driving her. Her feelings towards Sam no longer seemed so simple, and she had no idea what to do about them now that they were headed back towards the real world. Surely after all that she’d done, Lara deserved… But she stopped that thought in its tracks; despite what she’d done, she wasn’t entitled to anything from Sam. And then she wasn’t sure what scared her more – the thought that she might be like one of those ‘nice guys’ who felt that they were owed sex after doing one small good deed for woman, or the thought that she might want to have sex with Sam. Easier to avoid thinking about it at all.

If you asked Jonah Maiava when he realised that Sam and Lara were in love with each other, he’d tell you that it was on the freighter, sailing away from Yamatai. Sure, he’d suspected for a while that there was some sort of attraction between the two women, especially on Sam’s part, and sure, he’d suspected that Lara’s quest to rescue Sam was motivated by more than just friendship, but it was only after escaping the island that he knew for certain. Unfortunately, what seemed obvious to him, they seemed oblivious to. Already, they seemed to be drawing apart, closing off from each other, no longer even the friends they were before embarking on this adventure.

This, perhaps, was something he could fix. Sam and Lara might now be aware of their own feelings, but they could clearly both use a little help in understanding that the other felt the same way too. Jonah remembered his Shakespeare: a little bit of Much Ado should do the trick, although perhaps with rather less subtlety – especially with Reyes as his only possible accomplice. On second thoughts, maybe just straight out telling them the truth might be the best way to go about it. Separately, yes, but at the same time. And then… just let nature take its course.

If you asked Joslin Reyes when she realised that Sam and Lara were in love with each other, it certainly wasn’t when Jonah told her. The very idea seemed preposterous, and she didn’t really want to take part in Jonah’s little scheme, but anything was better than just sitting around, alone with her thoughts. So, she agreed to talk to Sam, to tell her about how ‘completely in love with her’ Lara was, and to seem genuinely baffled that Sam didn’t know. That last part wouldn’t be likely to strain her acting abilities, but the whole thing seemed rather clichéd.

Still, she was caught off balance by Sam’s reaction when she did tell her. The younger woman just stared at her, blinking slowly, with her jaw hanging open. Eventually, she asked Reyes if she’s sure and, on the affirmative nod, practically flew out through the hatch. Reyes followed her, bemused, only to see Lara running towards them. There wasn’t even the slightest hesitation as the two friends crashed together, lips meeting in a kiss that seemed to go on for ever.

That’s when she realised.