Title: "Indivisible"

Author: elfluvr

Summary: Nicole is back (isn't she always) and Alex isn't happy about it. May be a bit AU or off canon – I'm just having some fun with the characters.

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, but wish I did

Archive: – anywhere else, just ask

Feedback: Please! It's always welcome

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"Indivisible" - Chapter 1

"Are you sure you're up for this? You look beat."

An honest assessment, he knew. Detective Bobby Goren closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose before winging his thumb and fingers across his eyelids, pressing harder than was really necessary. Dragging the palm of his hand down his face, he scrubbed at the stubble on his jaw, hoping to wipe away the fatigue. Alex was right, he was tired. Sleep had been elusive lately, and its absence was catching up with him. His partner knew him too well.

"I'm fine," he assured her.

It really wouldn't have mattered how exhausted he was, Goren knew there was no way he would let anyone else conduct this interview. It would be like sending innocents into the lion's den for slaughter.

Lioness, he corrected himself. Whatever else Nicole Wallace may be, there was no mistaking her for anything other than female.

He and his partner, Alexandra Eames, were in the observation area of the interrogation room waiting for their captain to arrive. Jimmy Deakins had already gone home for the evening when the call came in that uniforms had located Nicole and she was being brought in for questioning. Deakins insisted on being there to observe the proceedings.

Amazing, really, but no one was too surprised to hear that Nicole was back. Like the proverbial bad penny, she kept turning up. But unlike that harmless coin, every time Nicole reappeared she brought with her a new labyrinth of deception, violence and death. And every time the outcome had been the same – Goren and Eames reached the end of the maze only to find that by chance, luck or design, Nicole had escaped while leaving no hard evidence or witnesses behind.

Once again they found themselves at the beginning of that twisted path.

Nicole wasn't brought in under arrest. They had nothing to directly tie her to the death of her latest husband, Drew Harrington. The millionaire's body had washed up in the East River a week ago and at the time all signs pointed to suicide. He had a history of treatment for depression, records showed he was experiencing recent financial problems, and he and his new, young wife were separated. But as soon as Goren saw a wedding photo and recognized the young bride, he knew it wasn't suicide. They just had to figure out how to prove it.

Bobby rested his forehead against the cool surface of the two-way glass, studying the woman who stood calmly on the other side. She looked small all alone in the room. At a height of six feet four inches, Bobby was used to being taller than the women in his life. But past experience told him that Nicole Wallace was especially petite, the top of her head barely clearing his shoulder – about the same height as Alex.

There the similarities ended. Nicole was a pale, golden blonde with hair draping past her shoulders. Alex's dark blonde hair had lots of red highlights and a stylish cut that left it swinging just below her jaw. Nicole spoke with a refined but practiced British accent, Alex was pure New York. Nicole was a murderous psychopath. Alex …

"What's this about Nicole Wallace being back?" Deakins arrived with an impatient shove of the door and an annoyed look on his face. "Can't this woman commit her crimes in another part of the country?" Eames handed him a folder containing copies of the crime report, photos and all their notes related to the investigation.

"Anything in here that will surprise me?" Deakins asked without enthusiasm.

"It's interesting reading, Captain," Alex told him while gathering her own file from the small table.

Goren clutched his portfolio in one hand, squared his shoulders and prepared for the now familiar game of cat and mouse with its constant morphing from one role to the other and back again. Nicole knew this game better than any opponent he'd ever had.

"Let's go, Eames."

TBC …