A/N: This is a companion to 'True Faces' and belongs to the 'I'm Not in Love' universe. That means it involves slash basically! So... let's catch up with Nikki and Di...
'So, they're a couple now then?'
Diane smiled and took the glass of red wine that Nikki passed her before she sat down on the sofa beside her. 'That's what I'm assuming.'
'You mean you didn't ask?' Nikki queried with mock-shock. 'Have to say, I'm very disappointed.'
'Fish for your own gossip!'
'Can't. I'm above such things.'
'Mmm, course you are.' Stretching her legs out, Diane sipped her wine before placing the glass on the coffee table and slipping an arm over the back of the sofa. 'I reckon they're alright for each other though. Think Jo actually wants to settle down or something. It's crazy.'
Nikki threw her a glance. 'Yeah, mad.'
Diane just grinned and closed her eyes contentedly. It had been a rough week or so at work, what with the McMartin case and everything, and, now that it was all over, she was looking forward to spending some quality time with Nikki. They both had two days off: that was very fortunate and didn't happen very often. And what was even better was that the girls were only staying for the second of those two nights. At least that meant a little time alone, something they seemed to get precious little of these days. Still, she really shouldn't complain. As much as she missed Nikki when they spent weeks only passing in the corridors, she wouldn't swap the little time they had together. It made it all the more special. Besides, she did still need some time on her own occasionally. Maybe she and Nikki were fine- maybe they were stronger than ever, maybe perfect could even be used as an adjective- but it didn't alter the fact that sometimes she needed some processing time. After all, she had jumped headfirst into a relationship for the first time in her life, and not looked at the depth of water first. Sometimes, mainly when relations between Nikki and Doug became strained, she had the strange sensation of both floundering in the deep end and running aground in the shallow end. It was irritating. She liked having answers and knowing where she was going and the trouble was that she had little control when it came to Doug and the kids. All she could do was support Nikki and hope that was enough. Feeling powerless wasn't something she enjoyed. Part of the joy of the army- and now the police force- was that she had control. She felt like she needed it. Sometimes when the rug was pulled out from under her feet she felt very vulnerable. But she had the feeling that Nikki recognised that part of her now and was ready for it.
Suddenly, her thoughts were distracted by a pair of lips on her own. Opening her eyes, she drew back. 'What was that for?'
'You looked miles away,' Nikki replied, propping her elbow on the top of the sofa and resting her head against it. 'When I get to see you I don't expect you to fall asleep.'
'What, even if it means I'm very relaxed?'
'I'd still rather you stayed awake.'
Diane let out her breath in a small laugh. 'Even if it means I'm knackered?'
Nikki kissed her again. 'I'll let you off with that one.' She picked up her own drink. 'I need to ask you something.'
'Sorry,' Diane answered immediately. 'I promised not to tell you.'
Arching an eyebrow, her lover questioned, 'Tell me what?'
Clearing her throat, she muttered, 'You should tell me what you were talking about.'
'I will in a minute. What were you thinking of?'
After thinking for a few moments she discovered she couldn't come up with something logical or something that wouldn't sound suspicious so she just shrugged. 'Your birthday. I know what the girls are doing. Thought you'd guessed, that's all.'
A smile slowly spread across her partner's face. 'I thought everyone had forgotten.'
Di shook her head. 'Not a chance. But you're not getting any details out of me, okay? I'm a closed book.'
'Mmm, don't I know it?'
Smiling, Diane questioned, 'So, what were you talking about?'
Nikki shifted her position so her right leg was curled underneath her. 'Well, it's what's happened with Jo this past week or so.'
'What about it?'
'Did you…' Nikki paused then shrugged. 'Did you do anything that might not've been strictly legit to help her out?'
Diane reached for her own drink and took a gulp. 'You want details?'
'Look, I didn't do anything Jo wouldn't have done for me or you.'
'Well, I like to think we wouldn't get ourselves into that situation.'
She exhaled heavily. 'Oh, come on, Nikki! It could easily happen. We've both had false complaints levelled at us in the past. Well, I have, not my fault you're a saint.'
Nikki rolled her eyes. 'Hardly.'
'You just haven't been caught out, eh?'
'Something like that,' her lover replied with a half-smile. 'But…'
'Look,' Di interrupted. 'Don't ask in a professional capacity because I can't answer.'
Nikki nodded then reached for her hand. 'Go on then. Strictly off the record.'
'And you promise not to grass me up to the Inspector?'
'I might ask for favours, sweeteners to keep me quiet but yeah.'
'Okay,' Diane said, tracing circles on the back of Nikki's hand with her forefinger. 'I kept Jo up to speed on the developments of the case. Well, the ones CID let me in on anyway. I warned her that the DI was on her way to re-arrest and charge Lorna.'
Nikki frowned. 'You realise how that could have backfired?'
'Yeah, course I do. But I owed it to Jo. You know, she had a lot of faith in Lorna; that had to count for something.'
'So you put your career on the line?'
'She's a mate! You've gotta stick together in this job. You're sounding more and more like my sergeant instead of my girlfriend.'
'Yeah, I know,' Nikki muttered apologetically, squeezing her hand. 'Don't know where to draw the line sometimes.'
'That's why it's best not to ask,' Diane advised, moving so she could put her glass down safely. 'Look, there was something funny about the whole case. Anyone could see that. I mean, if Lorna had whacked him one she'd have had the good sense to wipe her prints off the weapon. It would've been the perfect crime, practically, if she'd done it.'
Nikki conceded that with a shrug. 'I know that. But what if the DI had found out you tipped Jo off?'
'Well, she didn't. What's the point in worrying about it now?'
'I just need you to be more careful, that's all.'
'I am being,' Di objected. 'I know that I've gotta tow the line with Gina Gold and John but… You couldn't ask me to sit back and do nothing while Jo was going through all that. She wouldn't do that to me. And what kind of mate would I be, eh?'
Finally, Nikki merely shook her head and leaned forward to kiss her. 'I'm worrying over nothing.'
'Yep,' Diane agreed, enjoying the sensation of Nikki's arm snaking around her waist. Pulling back, she quickly placed her glass on the table then refocused her attention on her lover. Then she drew away and muttered, 'If it had looked like we were in danger of being caught out or whatever, or if I thought it seriously might not work out how it has, I wouldn't have done it. I only gamble with what I can afford to lose.'
'Not just with your winnings then?' Nikki queried, entwining their fingers.
'Nope,' she replied. 'Can't afford to lose them.'