A/N: Last chapter. It's a bit longer than the others and I thought about splitting it,
but it's done so here you go.
Nora strode into the station with a confidence she hadn't felt in a while. Sure they didn't know yet who killed the teacher but they had found the drugs and she was positive that would lead to the killer. She was sorry that these, seemingly, good kids had gotten themselves into this much trouble but she couldn't help but feel proud of the fact that her first case back went down quickly and was a sure slam dunk.
She met Dan outside of the interrogation rooms. "I've got CSU at the Warren house," she informed him.
"Good. Georgia was able to get into the Delerue basement too."
Nora turned to the other detective, giving her a thumbs up. "Good job."
"Hey, can't let you get all the glory," she replied with a wink.
Dan shook his head. "If you two want to stop slapping yourselves on the back. I've got Knight and Fergus, along with their parents, in the interrogation rooms, neither one knows we found the drugs."
"Fine," Nora frowned playfully. "I'll take Knight. Where's Nikki?"
"Verret said she wanted to stay at the school a while longer, see if she could pick up anything else," Dan said.
Nora nodded. "Why don't you talk to Fergus. Maybe he'll talk to you, you can bond over football."
"Okay," Dan agreed easily. He was happy to see Nora back to her old self and was trying desperately to keep it that way. Then he turned to Georgia, "grab Verret and you two can observe. Since he was in the school have him see if he picks up on anything they say."
With their assignments in place Nora went into the room. "Thanks for coming in, Christina," she said as she entered. "I appreciate you trying to help," she added as she shook Mr. Knight's hand.
"Anything to help catch whoever may have killed that poor teacher," Mr. Knight stated. "Although I don't know how Christina can help."
"We are talking to a few students who have business at school at the end of the day. We are hoping that someone may have seen something," Nora explained to him. Then she turned her attention to Christina. "Have you seen anything suspicious lately?"
The young woman paused before answering. "No," she said hesitantly.
"Do you know a Luke Warren or a Owen Delerue?" the detective asked.
The girl looked up with wide eyes but said nothing. "What do they have to do with this?" her father inquired for her.
"Do you know them?" Nora asked him
"Yes. They're really good kids, Christina is working on a project with them."
Nora smiled. "Has Christina been working on her project in the basement also?"
"What is this about?" Mr. Knight demanded.
Nora turned toward the girl. "We found their projects," she informed her.
"What?" Christina asked breathlessly.
"So what," Mr. Knight glared at the detective. "It's a science fair project."
"A very lucrative one," Nora stated sarcastically.
Mr. Knight turned toward his daughter. "What is she talking about?"
"The boys were growing marijuana in their basements and I suspect that is what your daughter has been doing as well."
The shaken man looked to the detective then back to his daughter, although he couldn't form words. His gaze finally settling back on Nora as he spoke, "I think I need to call my lawyer before we say anything else."
"That is a good idea but I need for Christina to understand that while these drug charges are very serious they don't yet rise to the level of murder."
The man's jaw dropped, "you don't think these kids are responsible for that teacher's death."
"I do," Nora replied.
"We didn't kill her," Christina finally stated.
Nora turned to her but kept her expression soft. "Maybe she found out what you were doing. One of the boys got carried away."
"No. We didn't, I swear," the girl pleaded. "We were even going to stop."
"We have the drugs, where else are we going to look?" Nora questioned.
The frightened girl looked to her father. "I'm so sorry daddy. We started things to see if we could and then we just got carried away, but I swear we didn't kill anyone. We couldn't."
"I believe you sweetheart but who else had a problem with Ms. Simmons. Think. Have you ever seen anyone giving her a hard time?" The man knew he was grasping at straws but anything to help his little girl.
The girl looked to the table as she sorted through her brain for anything she could think of. Suddenly her head popped up and she locked eyes with Nora. "What about Mr. Ledet?"
"He's a teacher," Christina answered.
"You think this teacher had something to do with the murder?" Nora asked skeptically.
"I don't know but he might know something. He was always at the school late, he would watch cheerleading practice a lot. He kinda gave me the creeps and he was always asking everybody out. He even asked me out once."
"A teacher asked you out?" her father yelled. "Why didn't you say anything?"
"I don't know, I just thought he was a jerk."
Nora stood up from the table. "Okay, well we'll talk to him. In the meantime we are going to send officers to your house to look for your project. Mr. Knight you may want to call your lawyer now."
Then she left the father and daughter alone in the room.
Nora approached Georgia and Verret where they were monitoring the interrogations. "Dan's getting pretty much the same story," Georgia announced when she saw Nora.
"So, Verret, what about Mr. Ledet?"
"Seemed like a nice guy," he answered absently.
"A nice guy? Very thorough analysis, thank you." Georgia shook her head at Nora's response.
Verret looked up and swallowed visibly, trying to come up with some information. "He teaches physics."
"Physics?" Nora asked as she recalled last night's conversation with Nikki. Her partner wouldn't give her the name of her potential date but the blonde had managed to get his subject. "Did you ever observe him hitting on any of the students?"
"No, but he did ask out Detective Beaumont." Georgia shot a glance at Nora while her partner continued. "That's part of the reason that she decided to stay behind at the school. She wanted to talk to him about these four kids."
"And you didn't think you should stay behind to back her up?" Nora questioned him harshly.
"No, she didn't think it was necessary."
"And what did you think?"
"I figured it would be okay. Besides, he already knows...." Verret cut off his statement before he gave away his previous screw-up.
Nora tilted her head. "He already knows what?"
Verret looked between the two women, his nerves visibly rattled.
Georgia let out a sigh, "spill it Tommy."
Verret hesitated, especially with Dan coming to join the group, but finally relented. "Ledet knows that we were undercover."
Nora immediately tensed, "What? How?"
"I may...have...let it slip," he confessed quietly, although honestly.
Nora clenched her teeth and took a deep breath through her nose before she pushed past him and rushed from the squad room.
"Detective Beaumont talked to him, she thought it would be okay," Verret revealed.
"Go." Was the lieutenant's only reply.
Victor Ledet entered the empty classroom, the ringing cell phone drawing his attention toward the desk. He leaned against the desk and checked his watch as he waited for Nikki to return. When the phone began ringing again he looked over his shoulder before opening the bottom drawer and pulling the phone out of Nikki's purse. His heart picked up it's pace when he saw Nora's name on the small screen. It's okay, I'm sure she's just calling to tell her about the arrests. Nothing to worry about, he told himself. When the ringing stopped he bent down to replace the phone only to jerk slightly when it began ringing again. Shit. This time he turned off the phone, to silence it permanently, and placed it back into the purse, however he did remove another item.
Vic straightened just as Nikki returned. "While I was in Frank's office my lieutenant called and said that they found the drugs at the kid's houses," she informed him. She figured since he already knew why she was there may as well be honest with him, she could get more information out of him that way. Unfortunately Nikki had left Frank's office before Dan called back.
"Wow, I would have never suspected them. I guess you never know, huh?"
"I can't believe they would go as far as murder," Nikki said as she moved to sit behind her desk. She leaned over to remove her purse from the drawer but paused when she noticed it slightly open. "I appreciate your staying to talk to me but I think I should head to the station," she said as she pulled open the drawer and looked into her purse for her weapon.
Nikki's head snapped up as Nora rushed through the classroom door. A startled Vic grabbed the chair and spun it so that he was standing behind her. He pulled the detective's gun from his pocket and held it behind her head.
Nora immediately pulled her weapon and trained it on him. "Put it down," she demanded.
Nikki held up her hands. "What are you doing Vic?"
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen."
Nora tensed and pulled the hammer back on her gun. "Put it down," she ordered again.
"I didn't mean to kill Lydia. I just..."
"It's okay Vic, just put down the gun," Nikki kept her voice calm. "We can talk."
"I need for you to understand," he began. "I just wanted to ask her out and she started in on me about how I..."
"You want me to stand here and listen to you make up excuses for killing a woman while you have a gun to my partner's head." Nora took a step forward. "I won't tell you again," she spat.
Nikki watched as her partner's jaw clenched and she was slightly alarmed by the anger she saw in the normally soft green eyes. "Nora," she said softly.
Suddenly Georgia and Verret appeared, guns drawn, in the doorway behind Nora and, as if on cue, Ledet dropped the gun onto the desk and with hands up took a step away from Nikki.
Nora surged forward, grabbed him by the shoulder and delivered a quick kick to the back of his leg, bringing him to his knees. "Hands behind your head," she got out through gritted teeth.
Nikki swiveled her chair and reached out to lay a comforting hand on Nora's arm as the blonde fumbled with her cuffs. She stood up and took the handcuffs from her partner, she secured the suspect then shot a quick glance to Georgia who immediately moved over to remove Ledet from the room.
Verret holstered his weapon as his partner moved past with the teacher. "We didn't peg him, did we Detective?" he hesitantly asked Nikki.
"No we didn't," she agreed quietly then grabbed Nora's arm when the blonde took a menacing step forward. "Why don't you go help your partner," she suggested to the young detective.
Nora pulled her arm away after Verret left the room. "I'm going to kill that little twerp."
"It was just an honest mistake."
"A mistake? He blew your cover...to the killer."
"I thought I had it covered," Nikki confessed.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Oh gee, I don't know," she quipped with raised eyebrows.
"This is serious." Nora ran her right hand through her hair in an attempt to calm herself, while her left still clung to her weapon. "Ledet could have killed you."
"He wasn't going to hurt me and we both know it."
"He had a gun to your head." The blonde pointed her gun to emphasize her point.
"Because he was scared, he would have never used it." Nikki moved forward and took the gun from her partner's hand. "You on the other hand," she began as she lifted her free hand to Nora's cheek.
Nora stepped back and furrowed her brow. "I was fine," she said tentatively.
"No, sugar. You weren't," Nikki shook her head. "I know how you feel, it wasn't that long ago that I was in your position. But Nora, you looked like you wanted to kill him. You scared me." Nikki studied her for a second before suggesting what she was sure would lead to an argument. "I think we need to see someone."
"I don't need some department shrink picking through my brain," Nora said with some heat. "I'm fine," she added with less certainty.
"No you aren't," Nikki asserted. "What if I find someone privately? We can go together and no one needs to know."
"Go together?" Nora murmured. She blinked as the tears began to threaten. "Do you think there's something wrong with us?"
"No," the brunette said with conviction. "Us is fine, but I think we need to talk to someone." She moved forward, taking Nora's hands and pulling them to her chest. "This thing is messing with both of us. You can try and hide it all you want but it's there under the surface. It's why I didn't tell you about Verret. It's why you burned the newspapers."
"I shouldn't get an award so the bosses can cover their asses. I didn't do anything."
"You lived through it, that's enough." Nikki understood Nora's feelings regarding her award but after what they went through, especially Nora, she felt the department owed her partner a hell of a lot more than some kind words and a plaque.
"It shouldn't be." The blonde dropped her head as she stepped forward and was instantly drawn into a comforting embrace. "I don't know if I can do this anymore," she finally admitted.
"Yes you can." Nikki pulled back so she could look her lover in the eye. "You closed down a drug ring and arrested a murderer all in one day." She smiled victoriously when she saw Nora's mood lighten, even if it was slight.
Nora took a deep breath, "thanks."
"No thanks needed. I love you and I will do anything to keep you in my life," Nikki said as she leaned down for a quick kiss. When they parted she stepped back, gathered her items from the desk and moved toward the door. "And after working with Verret there's no way in hell I'd ever trade you in as a partner."
Nora watched as her partner left the room, the confidence that she had felt this morning was slowly returning. With Nikki by her side she knew there was nothing that she couldn't do and she would do anything she had to in order for her to stay there. Even if it meant allowing a shrink to pick around her brain. "I'm still going to hurt the twerp," Nora yelled after her partner as she followed her down the hall.
A/N: Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.
I know the case was kinda flimsy and I'm still not sure if I'm satisfied with it but I had to move it out of the 'to do' file.