A/N: Welcome back to my little corner of the CSI Verse.
THIS IS THE THIRD AND FINAL PART OF THE "SAINTS AND SINNERS" TRILOGY featuring Angela Wilkins. If you have not read "Saints and Sinners" or "Funeral of a Good Girl" you will be LOST reading this. Do go check those out first.
If you already have then welcome back and please enjoy!
Episode 3x01: If You Can't Beat Them, Kill Them
"And then just add a drizzle of E.V.O.O. and you're all set to go!"
I looked away from the brunette on Food Network and stared at the items I had scattered all over my kitchen countertop. "What the fuck is EVOO?"
Giving up, I wiped my hands of the flour that had accumulated there before tossing down my dishrag. It had been two whole weeks since the Powers that Be down at the station had put both myself and Dara on paid leave for a month. The time walled up inside the house with really nothing to do but wait on Nick to return was slowly driving me insane. Christ, I was even trying to cook. If that wasn't a sign of the apocalypse, I didn't know what was.
A bark echoed through the house and I watched Fuddles come barreling at full speed into the kitchen. He barked excitedly again the moment he saw me. I smiled and tossed lettuce into the floor, the small terrier pouncing on it immediately. He devoured the morsel before begging for more, a request I denied with a wag of my finger.
I watched him sniff around disappointedly before disappearing again into the living room and with a small sigh, I picked up my cutting knife.
"All this Betty Crocker nostalgia is leaving a bad taste in my mouth."
Knife in the air, I stared at the television screen.
"Ignoring me are we? That's not very nice Angela."
I looked down and began to chop vegetables in a quick motion. If it killed me I was going to make something for Nick when he came home in the morning, something eatable and not burnt.
Fingers snapped in front of my face. "Angela!"
I slammed the knife down onto the counter. My head snapped to the side. "What?" I stared at myself. "What is this?"
"This?" My duplicate motioned down at the shirt and jeans it wore. "You don't like it?"
"This isn't funny."
"You're right, it's not. This is a very sad situation you've gotten us into Angela."
I picked up the knife again. "I want you to go away." I hissed. "I don't need Nicole and I definitely don't need you."
"I thought you'd like this instead of that poor woman. You should let her rest in peace Angela, stop bringing her out to play when you have me. We're in this together and Nicole? She's…" My image tilted its head as if in thought. "She's turned to dust by now, nothing but worm food, and I don't know about you but I don't plan on being that any time soon."
I turned my head away and closed my eyes. "This isn't real. This isn't happening." I inhaled sharply through my nose. "I'm not crazy. I'm not."
"You really believe that? You're talking to yourself! How is that not crazy?"
"Because I'm not." I opened my eyes and focused on the television again. "And you're going to go away now. I don't need you. I'm not crazy." I repeated.
"You kill people. You live a double life and deep down, you hate the person you're pretending to be." My image leaned onto the counter. "I'll admit, it's all quite cozy and Nick is certainly cute." A wide smile appeared. "As are Warrick and Detective Henderson…" She straightened. "But that's all in the past and now you're stuck in this Hell watching Food Network, it's pathetic."
I gripped the knife as hard as I could and welcomed the pain that came from it. "What do you want?"
"I want things to go back to the way they used to be; I want you to be how you used to be."
"It's not that easy."
"It never is and that's what makes it fun!"
"I don't know if I want to be that person anymore." I lowered the knife. "I like how things are and now that someone else knows…"
"How long do you actually think she'll keep your secret? The first chance she gets; a promotion? A tight spot? Something to do with Warrick? She'll turn on you."
I shook my head. "You're wrong."
"You're a killer Angela. You take life where she protects it. Dara's all about the badge and right versus wrong where you just… You're judge, jury and executioner baby. Rules don't apply to you, to us. Her world? Without rules it'd crumble into a thousand tiny fucking pieces."
"It's not like that. She'll keep my secret."
"And if she doesn't? If she tells on us?"
"She will." My image leaned in again with a smile. "But don't worry; I'll take care of us Angela."
I barely had time to move back before the knife slammed into my stomach. Blood spurted free from my mouth and I stared up at my own face, hands pressing into the wound as she jerked the knife free and I fell to the hard linoleum.
"But don't worry." My image towered over me, the knife dripping with my blood. "I'll take care of us. Don't worry. It's time to let me take over for a while."
I jerked awake and startled, Fuddles barked in alarm as he went flying off of my stomach. I was breathing hard as if I had been running. I ran my hands through my hair as I sat up against the pillows on the couch. My hands were shaking and I stared down at them. It had been a dream and yet it had been so real.
I stood up and walked into the kitchen. The chopped food and knife lay on the counter, the television still playing. I turned it off and for several seconds merely stared down at the knife. I wasn't sure what compelled me to pick it up. I let the sharp blade hover over my skin.
The doorbell echoed loudly through the house and Fuddles barked wildly in response. When I opened the door the last person I expected to see was Dara Waters. We stood staring at each other until I motioned her inside. Compulsion hit me again and I locked the door the second I shut it.
She didn't seem to notice as she looked around or so I thought. "Was that necessary?"
"I don't know." I let go of the door knob. "Was it?"
"I just came to talk Angela."
I moved around her to go back into the kitchen. Turning back on the television but lowering the volume, I positioned myself behind the cutting board again. "About what?"
"I wanted to see how you were." Dara stood next to the counter adjacent to me and watched as I began to cut more vegetables. "You haven't been returning any of my calls." She cleared her throat. "Or anyone else's for that matter. Greg is worried."
I kept my gaze down. "I've been busy." I informed her. "And don't act like you've been Ms. Talkative 2008 either."
"I can't say I have but I've been at least letting people know I'm okay." She sighed. "Well, maybe I'm lying because I don't know if I'll ever be okay but if that's what they want to hear…"
I raised my head to stare at her. "We all lie about something. Given your line of work, you should know that already."
"This isn't just about you and me, it's bigger than us Angela. People… depend on us to be okay, even if it's just an act. Given your line of work, you should know that already."
My eyes flashed at her, my grip tightening and I think I actually saw her take a step back. "My line of work." I smiled thinly. "Indeed."
"How long do I have?"
I kept that smile on my face because even if I wanted to, I couldn't erase it. It was as if I was moving without thinking, the words tumbling past my lips. "How long before you change your mind about me? This little dance of ours can't go on forever Dara and we both know it."
"We've already discussed this Angela. I'm not going to change my mind." She swore. "I understand why you do it and-"
"You understand." I let out a dry laugh. "Do you?" I stepped towards her and she backpedaled. "Wow, someone who finally understands me, that's refreshing."
"Angela, what are you doing?"
I backed her up until she hit the wall next to the stove. Smiling, I stretched my free hand up to press it against the wall by her head. "I want to make sure we understand each other Dara. I want to make sure that there's a level of trust here." I slammed the knife handle into the wall next to her head and chuckled when Dara jumped in surprise. "If you ever think of turning on me, I will make you regret it. I've done this for a very long time, killing people, and I'm not going to jail over some torn sense of morality. I will do whatever it takes to make sure that I never see the inside of a cell. Do you understand that?"
I was impressed that she didn't show any fear even with a knife so close to her head. I stepped away. "Can I get you some coffee or some tea? No matter how much I try, Nick won't give up his addiction to caffeine."
"I…" She stayed where she was as I resumed my spot at the cutting board. "I can't have caffeine."
"Oh that's right!" I laughed. "Silly me." I lowered the knife and began to put everything I had chopped into the colander positioned in the sink. "You and Warrick must be very excited."
I heard her push away from the wall but I knew she was still leery of me. I couldn't blame her, I know I would be if someone had just threatened my life. Then again I wouldn't just be leery; I'd also be arrested from having killed them. "Good."
"Angela…" She cleared her throat. "I'm never going to turn you in."
I turned on the faucet and watched the water spray the vegetables. "I apologize if I scared you. I don't know what's… Lately I've been…" I stopped and shut off the water. "Let's just say I don't usually go around threatening pregnant women."
"Well, that's a relief."
The joke fell flat but neither one of us cared.
"This is good baby; you must have spent all day making this."
I watched Nick eat. That wasn't far from the truth but only because I kept messing up and having to redo everything. Rachel Ray didn't know what she was talking about; for me there was no such thing as an easy thirty minute meal. "I'm glad you like it." I raised my wine glass to my lips and sipped. "How was work?"
"It was good, the usual you know." He smiled at me and continued to eat. "But all I could think about was coming home."
"Dara came by to see me today."
He swallowed the beans he had just shoved into his mouth. "She did?" He reached for his tea. "How's she doing?"
"She came to see me so I guess she's bored."
"Or she could have just wanted to check up on her friend."
I almost snorted into my glass. I lowered it back onto the table. "Actually she came to berate me for not answering phone calls. She doesn't understand the concept of me not wanting to talk about… things."
"It would be a good thing if you did baby, especially with her." Nick continued to eat, his eyes on mine. "You've been through a lot and I know the time off isn't helping but IA is working as fast as they can to get everything settled. And everyone is asking about how you are…"
"I know that but-"
"Nick." I shot him a look as I wiped my mouth with my napkin. "I don't want to talk about this right now."
He sighed and leaned back into his seat. "And when do you think you will want to talk about it Angela? It's been three weeks since… it happened and you haven't said a word about it to me, not one single thing."
"And what exactly would you like me to say? Would you like to compare notes on the men you've killed? I forgot; you haven't killed any so how could you possibly understand?" I threw down my napkin and stood up, taking my plate with me as I escaped into the kitchen.
I stood at the sink washing the food down the garbage disposal when I heard him leave the table. Seconds later his hands settled on my shoulders and I closed my eyes at the feeling of him leaning in to press his lips against my hair.
"I'm sorry baby. I know it's hard."
I opened my eyes and stared down at the drain where everything was swirling as it disappeared; irony in its simplest form. "I'm sorry too. I didn't mean to snap at you but between being stuck in this house and everyone bugging me about how I am I think I'm losing my mind."
"It'll all be over soon and you can go back to work. Things will return to normal." He turned me to face him and cupped my face with his hands. "I promise."
"I believe you." And why shouldn't I? Nick wasn't the liar in this relationship now was he?
"You really should talk to Dara."
"I will when we both go back to work."
He frowned. "From what Rick said, she might not come back."
I blinked rapidly. "What?"
"He told me she's been debating about whether or not her job on the force is the right place for her especially after the baby comes. He's worried about her. Being a cop has always been the most important thing to Dara and now it's the last thing she seems to want." Nick leaned in to press his lips to my forehead. "It's okay to be scared."
"I never said I was." I whispered.
"Neither of you have but you can't hide the truth from the people that know you the best." His eyes met mine and he smiled softly as he stroked my cheeks with his thumbs.
I closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around his waist, his cheek resting against the top of my head. "I'm not scared. I'm just… unsure of myself."
"And I think Dara's in the same boat as you baby. You two have more in common than you really think and if you would just take the time to talk to her, seriously talk to her, I think you might find you could really help each other out."
"I…" My eyes few open, words stuck in my throat.
Nick pulled back to smile down at me. "You?"
I smiled slowly, pressing my hands against his back. "You might be right about that."
"What in the world are you doing Angela?" I berated myself the entire ride home from the mall. "You have completely lost your mind."
It took several minutes to empty the car of all the bags but I couldn't bring myself to wake up Nick just to help me. He had worked a double shift and had barely been able to keep his eyes open at the dinner table.
Shutting the front door behind me, I dropped the bags carelessly but maintained my hold on the box that had taken up a good portion of my backseat. Fuddles came running into the living room, sniffing at me suspiciously.
"Nick, what are you doing up?" I glared at him from the doorway of the kitchen and spotted the coffee mug in his hand. "You should be asleep."
"You should be asleep with me but since you're not, I got up." He smiled. He eyed the box in my hands. "Whatcha got there?"
"I went shopping." I couldn't stop my smile. "I got you something."
His eyebrows rose. "Me? Seriously?"
"No, not seriously; it's actually for me." I joked. "Yes, you." I lowered the box onto the couch and watched him approach. "Hurry and open it."
He smiled but his confusion turned to alarm when the box moved. "What in the world?" Quickly he sat the mug onto the coffee table and flipped open the box. "There's holes in the…" He looked over at me. "There's a puppy in here!"
I managed a small smile, still not altogether confident that I hadn't completely lost my mind. "I was in the mall and I went by the pet store and I just… couldn't help myself." I watched him lift the chocolate lab from the box. "I figured why not; I mean Fuddles needs a playmate and you like bigger dogs and… And I know that kids are important to you but I thought maybe one step at a time and if this was what we wanted I thought-"
My babbling was stopped as he stepped forward to press his lips against mine. He took my breath away like he always did, the caress full of words I would never be able to truly express. I smiled into the kiss at the feeling of the puppy squirmed between us, wanting to be let down on the carpet where Fuddles wildly barked for attention.
Nick broke the kiss with a chuckle and sat the puppy down next to Fuddles. We watched them sniff each other and I couldn't help but smile as the two animals began to play with each other.
I was distracted by Nick pulling me close to kiss me again. I draped my arms across his neck. "I take it you're happy with what I've done?"
"Deliriously." He brushed his lips against the corner of my mouth. "You make me so happy. I can't tell you how much."
"Maybe you should show me."
"What a great idea." He chuckled. He skimmed his hands down my side and began to lift me up when Fuddles suddenly barked again.
I groaned and looked over to see the lab finishing up with his potty break. "Puddles, no!"
"Puddles?" He burst out laughing. "You want to name him Puddles?"
"Fuddles and Puddles." I grinned. "It's poetic in its own ironic way, don't you think?"
"I think…" He kissed me several times before he released me. "That you won't be naming our children in the future."
I eyed him but didn't say anything, the conversation not really one I wanted to get into at the moment. The new dog was in its own way a step towards a family unit but I wasn't entirely gung ho about my own plan of action. For now the compensation of animals to children would have to do. For now I would continue to narrowly avoid the inevitable.
A/N: Okay, so I lied. I haven't finished my Faith(Buffy)/Lost Crossover but it's being a pain so I came back to AngelaVerse. She just wouldn't let me rest. I hope you enjoyed this; I will be posting again shortly but not frequently (I started a new job so I'll be gone a lot). Please REVIEW and I'll try to post as much as time will allow!!!!!!!!!!!!