Author's note: I do not own the characters of Nikki & Nora.
This story is a sequel to The Alley. This one is from Nora's POV.
After a month of sitting around, watching bad daytime TV, and being tended to my suspended partner in crime, I went back to work. Yep. Nikki got herself suspended for two weeks along with two sessions of anger management counseling a week for three weeks thanks to her rampage. Honestly, she needs more than six sessions, but something is better than nothing. Besides, they're making her go. If I tell her to go she'll never go.
When I returned to the station, my hopes of getting back in the groove were quickly crushed when Dan placed me on the dreaded desk duty for a month. Actually, it felt more like a year because each day crawled by. Phone calls, paperwork, and bad coffee. I would have taken another month of crummy soap operas instead of shuffling papers around. He also made me go to some counseling sessions to talk to a stranger about my "ordeal." Sorry, but I'm not much for dumping my feelings out on the table to someone I don't even know...but I played along to get through it.
Today is my official day back on active duty, of course not without the usual warning from everyone to take it slow.
"Welcome back, partner," Nikki says as she tosses the keys to me and climbs into the passenger's side.
I smile as I slide behind the wheel, thankful for breaking free of the pencil pushing nightmare. "It's great to be back on this side of the fence." I start the car up and pull away.
"Let's pay a visit to Dylan McCormick."
"Why do I feel like this is going to be a wasted trip."
"Because you're probably right."
Nikki got quiet for the remainder of the ride and I could sense something was up. "What's wrong?" I asked as I pulled over and parked the car.
"You sure? You got quiet. That's not like you."
We both got out of the car. "What are you implying? That I talk to much?" Her hands moved to her hips and I couldn't tell if she was really put off by my comment or playfully asking.
I put my hands up in front of me, "Don't get all defensive. Just making sure everything's okay with you."
"I'm fine. Everything's fine." She paused for a moment and spit out what she'd been holding in during our ride, "Let's um...take this one easy in case something crazy happens, okay?"
"Yeah. Easy," I said sarcastically, knowing full well the meaning behind her words.
The house was more like a shack. The wood was rotted and falling apart and the roof was patched up with globs of tar that obviously wasn't placed there by a professional or anyone with any attention to detail.
The screen door had no screen so I reached through the frame and knocked on the door and waited about ten seconds before knocking again.
"Dylan McCormick," Nikki yelled out as she gave it a try.
The door slowly opened a crack and a woman's face peeked through. We held up our badges for her to see. "I'm Detective Delaney and this is Detective Beaumont, is Dylan McCormick here?"
"No," she said flatly.
"May we come in and talk to you for just a few minutes?" Nikki asked.
"Nothing to say. He ain't here."
"You know where we can find him? We just want to talk to him." Out of the corner of my eye I could see a kid jumping over a fence and begin to run towards the street. "Dammit, that's him!"
I started to run down the front walk when Nikki grabbed my arm, "Stay here. I'll get him." She sprinted off towards him, leaving me behind.
"Bullshit you are," I mumbled to myself as I ran after her.
We must have run four blocks before she finally caught up with him as he tried to scale a chain link fence. She grabbed him by the seat of his pants and tried yanking him down. "Get off!"
I ran over beside her and started yanking too. Finally, the kid's hands broke away from the fence and he toppled down on top of me. I quickly flipped him around and pinned him down on the ground. I searched him and didn't find any weapons, just a couple of joints.
"What the hell are you doing?" Nikki asked me, furious.
"What does it look like?" I cuffed him to the fence and stood up, brushing the dirt from my jeans and breathing heavily from all the running.
The stare Nikki shot towards me almost bore a hole in my head. Luckily, she turned her attention to the kid and away from me. "Why'd you run, Dylan? Guilty people run."
"I didn't do nothin'!"
"Well, time will tell if that's true. In the meantime, spill it. What happened down at the docks last night?"
He frowned and looked away.
"Witnesses said you were there last night with a couple of your friends just before these friends of yours shot and killed a 16 year-old boy, tossing him into the river." Nikki folded her arms over her chest and waited for his response. A response that never came. "Where were you around 1:00am last night?"
"You don't know who you're messin' with."
"That so doesn't answer my question, but now that you're in such a talkative mood how about telling me who these friends are."
"Come on, Dylan. You don't want to go down for something you had no part of right?" I hate good cop bad cop.
"If they find out I'm even talking to you right now I'm dead."
"We can put you and your family in protective..."
"Don't bullshit me, man. That shit ain't bulletproof. They despise cops and would think nothin' of killin' a few cops baby-sitting me."
"Have it your way then. Let your friends find out that people saw you down there last night and they'll probably toss you in the river too." I uncuffed him and he took off running. Neither one of us flinched.
I put my cuffs away, tucking the key back in my pocket. "Let's check the surveillance tapes and see if we can get a hit on any of these friends of his. I knew this was going to be a waste of time."
Nikki's brow was creased as she stood there for a moment, her arms folded across her chest. I could tell she wasn't listening to anything I was saying because her mind was focused on something else. "Okay, so let's rewind to when I told you to stay at the house. I get over here and catch the kid when suddenly you come flying in here and yank him off the fence, causing him to fall right on top of you. What is that? What if he had turned around and punched you in the ribs or pulled a knife and stabbed you?"
I chewed on my bottom lip and chuckled sarcastically, "I see what this is and I was really hoping it wasn't what I thought it was when you told me to stay put. Wanna know what I think? I think you have it in your head that from now on I'm going to sit by and let you chase down the suspects, or let you return fire on the bad guys firing at us while I'm huddled in a corner somewhere with my security blanket." I shook my head, "Not gonna happen, Nikki."
"Oh so you'll just risk your life again just..."
"Again? Is that what you really think about what happened that night in the alley? That my mission was to go in there and risk my life?" She turned her head away and looked down at the ground. "Did we or did we not discuss the issue of backing each other up, and THAT was the reason why it happened." I threw my hands up and shook my head. "I can't believe you are making such a big deal about this. I'm perfectly capable of chasing him and taking him down. Yeah, he fell on top of me, so what. I checked him for weapons and he didn't have any!"
"So, he could have hurt you. You were shot not that long ago, do you not remember?"
"Believe me, it's not like I'm going to forget it any time soon. Especially not with you treating me like a Goddamn baby and reminding me of it every other minute!" I walked away and started heading back to Dylan's house.
"Nora! Nora, wait!" She ran up beside me and grabbed my elbow. "I'm sorry. I...I just don't know how to handle this." A single tear rolled down her cheek.
I sucked in a breath and let it out slowly. "I think we really need to hash all of this out or else we're never going to get past it."
She nodded in agreement as we walked along side by side.
We got back to the car and she reached out and took the keys from me, "I think I know where we need to start."
I got in and she drove for about a mile and a half before coming to a stop. I looked over to my right up ahead and saw the alley.
We got out and she was immediately by my side as we walked into the mouth of the alley. I felt her grab my hand and squeeze it. "Here," she squeaked as she pointed to the ground and began to cry. "I found you right here." She sank to her knees and cried like I've never seen her cry before.
I placed my hand on her back as I knelt down beside her. A flashback of that night consumed my mind - He elbowed me in the side and pushed me backwards. I hit the ground on my back and looked up into the darkness only to see a shadowy figure standing above me. Two flashes of light and extremely loud bangs filled the alley. I could feel my body jerk in response to each bullet penetrating my body. I grabbed my gun that was just barely within reach. Painfully, I rolled onto my side and fired at the dark figure running down the alley. One shot was all I could manage before the pain took over and stole my ability to do anything other than to curl into a ball. My abdomen and my back felt like they were on fire.
Nikki turned towards me and put her hand on the side of my face, "I don't want to lose you, Nora. And I almost lost you right here."
My blood that once stained the pavement had been washed away by the rain, but the rain could never wash away the memories. And even though the alley was lit by the sun, it was still a cold and dark place to be in. "Nikki, you have to understand that even though this happened to me, it doesn't mean you have to over protect me from now on."
She reached out to me and put her hand over my side where my wounds were now replaced with scars. "He hurt you."
I put my hand over hers. "I can't stop my life and stop doing what I love to do because this happened."
"I just...I just keep thinking about you getting hurt again?"
"And I might. Or you might get hurt. This job doesn't have any guarantees, you know that, Nikki."
"How can you be so calm about this?!?" She stood up and swiped at the tears, "Why is everything no big deal for you?" There goes that angry side of her again.
I stood up and put my hand out and touched her arm, "Nikki, you know I don't think this whole thing is some scrape on my knee. Do you honestly think I don't realize the seriousness of the whole situation?"
"I don't know, Nora. Do you? I'm a bawling mess and you're standing here shrugging it off like it's business as usual. Maybe you're the one that needs to come to terms with all of this, not me."
"I've already told you how I felt about the whole thing and they made me see a shrink." I let out a sigh, somewhat annoyed by her accusation.
"You bullshitted your way through counseling. That's not coming to terms with it, Nora."
"Oh and nearly killing the guy in a fit of rage is?"
"He almost killed you, dammit! Do you fucking get it?"
"No shit! I took the bullets, remember? Neither one of us have been shot before so we're both scared as hell...I get that. You're crazy if you think that I don't understand how you feel about me getting hurt. That night...I saw you over me and..." So much for not crying. "You told me I was okay but I was far from being okay. No one that's bleeding to death is okay. You...you had this look on your face...fear is what it was. I don't want you to be afraid for me. So stop treating me like I'm damaged or incapable."
"Oh, Nora," she said as she threw her arms around me and hugged me tight.
"I know that if the situation were reversed I'd be scared as hell too, but I wouldn't try to prevent you from living or doing your job."
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, sweetheart. I've never had a partner that I've loved so it's hard for me to accept what happened to you. But I promise I will try to be better about not over protecting you."
"Come on, let's get out of here and get back to work."
We each wiped the tears from our eyes and walked back to the car.
"You drive," Nikki said as she tossed the keys to me.
I smiled and gladly accepted, "I hate when you drive anyway," I teased.
"Ha ha, very funny," she said as she climbed into the car.
TO BE CONTINUED