Disclaimer: We don't own the characters so we profit not.

A/N: This was a challenge posted on the N&N forum. Whedonist (1shinyboat on the forum and lj) put forth and then filled a prompt and then all heck broke out. Docwho2100 and I quickly jumped in and this is what we came up with. We had no collaboration, until the very end when we needed a proper end. And even then it was very minor. One of us would write a chapter and hope it sparked something in someone else. We had no planning on who would take the next chapter so if you wanted it you had to write fast or get beaten to the punch. We also didn't plan out where things were going so often the story would zig in a way we may not have intended.

Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, this was a lot of fun. It was also a great way to challenge my skills, such that they are. Both the fun and challenge I'll attribute to my co-authors.

The prompt was: You know it's going to be a shitty day when you wake up staring down the barrel of a gun. With such a solidly perfect first chapter the muse was instantly sparked, a maybe a little nervous about keeping up.

Anyway, enough of my yappin'...Enjoy.

Chapter 1 – Whedonist

You know it's going to be a shitty day when you wake up staring down the barrel of a gun. At least that was the snarky, biting line running through Detective Nora Delaney's head as she blinked, muzzily staring down the business end of a fire arm. The bigger problem was that she knew she was even more fucked as she had no recollection of where she was, how she'd gotten in her current state and moreover, the most nerve-wracking of them all, where her partner was.

Nora's eyes skirted away from her demise and glanced around the room. She took in the details, quickly and efficiently absorbing the small room. One lone window was inlaid in the back wall of the ten by five foot square space she found herself. The walls were at one point white, but had taken on a faint yellowish hue due to age and by the smell, cigarette smoke. A crack against the wall opposite her ran down the left side of it, from the ceiling to eye-level if she were to stand. The only light that trickled through were the shadowed hues offered by the dirt smudged window. The light provided a vague sort of time reference; she gauged that it was mid morning at the very latest.

"Up," a cold, hard voice sounded above her. Her gaze flicked to the man holding the gun at her. Her brain grasped to reconcile the face with her current predicament. His hair was cropped short, nearly military style in cut; thick black framed glasses perched on a ruddy bulbous nose, a clean square jaw, with cheeks that looked smoother than Nikki's legs. Magnified, slate grey eyes blinked back at her motioning her to move with the tip of the forty-caliber Glock.

Nora stiffly complied, biting the inside of her cheek to avoid the groan of pain caused from achingly stiff muscles. As she righted herself, he shoved her forward, causing her to stumble. The hard impact of her left cheek with the wall sounded in the room.

"Move, I don't have all day to be messin' with your stupid ass," he snapped in a thick southern accent, gripping the upper part of her right arm in a way that was sure to leave a bruise.

As she was yanked away from the wall, she cursed under her breath at the small smear of blood her impact left. She felt a slow warm trickle down her cheek. Nora was frog marched out of the tiny back room and down a hallway. Her stomach pitched at the lingering bouquet of piss, smoke and the undeniable aroma of fear. Clenching her jaw, she took notice of the doors and potential exits. Her mind working through a few different escape plans. She needed to figure out where Nikki was and what the hell happened. Her mind searched through the last few memories and nothing came to mind. The last memory she had was of the last time she woke up. Nikki had come home from a stakeout with Georgia exhausted. Nora had been woken up by her lover fumbling with her clothes and then promptly falling into bed.

They came to the end of the hallway and spun right into an open doorway. She staggered on the steps that came up as soon as she passed the threshold. The man behind her fumbled and shoved the muzzle of the gun into the back of her ribs a little harder as they both regained their equilibrium. He was only slightly gentler as they stomped down the rickety wooden steps to the basement. Nora's nose scrunched as the scent of mildew and blood lingered with the house's staple aroma. Hitting the landing and rounding the corner, Nora first noticed the two bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Bright and harsh they exposed the floor and surrounding area. A drain set off to the side, the ring around it thick and ruddy black. The concrete was stained by fluids Nora didn't want to contemplate. The stains would probably sing a chorus of colors under a black light and some Luminol.

Her eyes tracked up and noticed the heeled boots bound to the legs of the wooden chair first. Her green eyes went north as her heart and stomach went south. Nikki's exposed knees were bruised, scrapped, bloody patches of skin. Her usually immaculate outfit was dirty and torn, her hair falling limply around her face in a curtain. Nora couldn't see her arms, but she assumed they were tied behind her to the back of the chair.

It was when she was forced to sit down and the face of her lover came up did Nora feel a bitter rage burn through her. Nikki's beautiful face was marred, black and blue. A patch of skin had been abraded off her left cheek. The other side was bruised a garish purple-green. Both upper and bottom lip was split and bleeding. Her partner's forehead held an open gash on the left side.

Nora's thoughts raced as she tried again in earnest to figure out what in the hell happened.