Chapter 16 – Whedonist

The scene lain out before them was something Hollywood could only dream of imitating. Nora could never really figure out why you'd want to recreate tragedy to begin with. There were parts about her job that she loved.

Some parts, like the destruction that she and Nikki just pulled up to were not one of her favorite parts. Usually, she hated this.

The El Camino came to halt right outside the taped off scene. Patrol cars, two F.B.I. vans and a S.W.A.T. unit helped hold the perimeter while news vans and on lookers crowded around.

"Let's go check our team," Nikki said as Nora pulled the keys from the ignition.

Nora paused, her hand on the door handle, "Can I shoot Honscombe?"

A smirk twitched on Nikki's face, but she shook her head. "Not if I can't. And we both know Dan'd be pissed if we did. We can let the Feds sort him out."

Nora grunted as she pulled on the handle and stepped from the car. She reached back and grabbed the two flak jackets on the seat between them. Not bothering with the door, she tossed Nikki hers and then slipped into the piece of armor with "Property of N.O.P.D." in block white lettering across the chest and back.

She took a brief second to admire Nikki in hers, enjoying the way her partner stood just a tad taller, looked just a tad more cocky suited up in the gear. Nora shook her head, sure that she shouldn't find Kevlar sexy, but unable to help herself.

"Delaney, Beaumont, over here!" Agent Dickerson called out from the side of a van. Jogging over, they went around one smashed up SUV, a shot up department car and another SUV that was turned upside down. Tracking the path of the overturned vehicle Nora thought it probably bounced the curb, hit the hydrant that was still spewing water and rolled.

"Nice of you to join us ladies," Dan grinned as his two detectives approached, "I've got Savoie and Peterson on lock down duty, securing the scene, dotting 'I's' and crossing 'T's'. You two run in to any trouble?"

They both shook their heads as Dickerson and Dan gave them reassuring smiles.

"Good," Dickerson cut in, "We've made arrests on the rest of Ricci's men, the raid on the estate went well, but we're missing the wife. Not sure where she slipped away too." The agent rubbed the back of his neck. Between the stress of the case, the shoot out today and the missing mafia queen, he didn't think Excedrin made pills big enough for the tension headache he was suffering from.

Instantly a frown appeared on Nikki and Nora's faces. They knew the Ricci file from top to bottom, inside and out, Caroline Ricci was a snake in designer skin and could cause more problems for the department and F.B.I. then Dickerson knew.

"Any idea where to?" Nora asked, rubbing at her chin.

"We've locked down accounts, property, the works, and," Dickerson answered, "from everything we know there's nowhere for her to run too." He tapped the map and list taped up to the inside of the van door. "We've been going over possibilities. What do you two think?"

The two women crowded together and looked over the list of properties that Ricci owned, either under a company name or personally. Exchanging a glance, neither woman felt that Ricci would go to any of those. They knew her profile, what she was like and given that, they decided in that glance that Ricci wouldn't run.

Not just yet.

"Who?" Nora asked as she turned towards her partner.

Nikki turned around and surveyed the carnage once again. Caroline Ricci had to know that the nets were closing in. She sucked in her lower lip and went over the mental tick list in her head. Interview notes from their first meeting with Jensen flashed in front of her. It was a simple thing, nothing that would give her pause usually, but she noted it then.

When Jensen first talked to them, he started with using only a male pronoun, but once they got into the thick of it, he slipped once and said she. Jensen was scarred of the husband, any sane person would be, but the wife…Nikki felt she was the one that was ultimately responsible for her husband's empire.

"Dan, send a unit to Honscombe's sisters residence. Tell them to be on the lookout for Caroline Ricci." She directed a look to her partner.

Nora nodded and they started to take off towards the last destination. She called over her shoulder, "We'll give you a call if we find her! Get someone to Neal's sisters NOW!"

Dan and Agent Dickerson looked at the two women running off towards their car. Shaking his head, Dickerson asked, "They always like that?"

Dan's hands went to his hips, a sly grin spreading over his features as he answered, "They make a better team than Delaney and I ever did together."

"You and the blonde were partners?" Dickerson asked as they watched the El Camino speed off.

"A few years right before I landed the promotion. Those two clicked the day they met," Dan supplied and ran a hand over his shaved head.

"Uh," Dickerson grunted. "Best we should listen to them then and get that unit over to the sister."

"Savoie! Peterson!" Dan bellowed as he returned to his main set of problems.

The El Camino crested the top of the hill pushing ninety. Nikki's left hand was pushed against the ceiling and her right gripped the dashboard. Her eyes skirted over to her partner. Nora's face was taught, her brow furrowed, lips a thin line as they raced down The Ten-East.

"This is unit Thirty-Nine-Twenty-Five, suspect eastbound, leaving New Orleans proper, over." Peterson's voice crackled over the handheld unit.

Nikki removed her hand from the roof and snatched the radio from between her and Nora. "Copy that Twenty-Five, this is Thirty-Nine-Ninety-Six, we are in pursuit, over." Pulling the radio away from her mouth, she released the button and spat, "Where the hell is she going?"

Nora shook her head. "She keeps heading that way, she's got swamp, the Pontchartrain and then Slidell…"

"She doesn't have a boat," Nikki cut in, wincing as they hit the shoulder to move around traffic. "If we're gonna chase down people in your precious car, sugga, we're going to need to get her fitted for some pretty little red and blues and a siren."

She watched slightly amused as the corners of Nora's lips turned down. "I ain't messin' with the original parts."

Nikki's mouth clamped shut as Nora swung the car back on to the highway and maneuvered around a semi.

"What if the Feds didn't net everything, what if we didn't catch everything," Nora asked, eyes still glued to the road in front of her.

"It's possible. So we know there're docks out that way, anything else that she could be running to?" Nikki wondered aloud.

"Dunno. At least Georgia and James got to her in time before she tried to take out Neal's sister." Nora's jaw flexed as she admitted, "I don't agree with what Neal did, but I can see how it happened."

Nikki's eyebrow's shot up. That was the last thing she expected to hear from Nora. She was more inclined to think that her lover would deem it all as unacceptable as she did.

"I don't think it's right. He could have chosen different, but if it were…if it was you or one of my brothers…" the blonde trailed off and glanced at her partner quickly. "I'd do whatever I needed and live with the costs."

Nikki opted not to speak to that. Instead, said, "If she's heading for the docks…there's a few dozen that would fit the bill. Her profile and all, it won't be small…"

"What about the Harbor, where your dad keeps his. They'd have the capability and the right staff for Ricci's tastes," Nora offered and saw Nikki nod in agreement.

The two locked eyes for a brief second before Nora stepped on the gas. "We won't be able to pull ahead of them. Take the second exit coming up, go left."

"Nik, it's swamp."

Nikki gave the blonde a raised eyebrow in response.

Shaking her head, Nora swung over and down the off ramp.

Nora's legs pumped faster, pushing up and jumping up to clear a chain. She wanted to look back and make sure that Nikki and James were okay, but…

Caroline Ricci was hauling ass in the heels she was in.

She heard Georgia right behind her. Breathing hard, cussing under her breath. Nora could only agree. Where the hell this woman thought she was going was beyond her. There was nothing around but water and boats. The stretch of dock they were on was also coming to a quick end.

Nora looked ahead and saw a couple prepping to take a small speed boat out. "Shit!"

A fresh wave of energy coursed through and she sped up. Georgia keeping pace, seeing what she saw.

Nora watched as Ricci looked back in time to see the gap closing. She raised the gun in her hand and fired over her shoulder. Not caring if she hit anyone or anything.

"Crazy bitch!" Georgia barked next to Nora.

Nora just pushed harder. She sprinted and watched Ricci point the gun at the couple. She felt herself launch herself forward. Another body slammed into her back.

A gun went off right before they hit the top of the water and went under. Ricci clawing and hitting anything she could connect with.

Georgia twisted away from Nora as they sunk to the bottom, using the other detective's shoulder as leverage to push herself around and get behind Ricci. She freed her cuffs from the small of her back and managed to close one of them around the woman's wrist.

Grabbing a fistful of hair, Georgia tugged upward, buoyed by Nora's assistance. The three of them broke the surface together. Nora grunting, Georgia breathing hard and Ricci cussing in a mix of Creole and English.

Spinning to face the woman, Nora pulled back and punched the woman square in the face. Blood squirted out of the woman's nose as she fell silent. Georgia held the unconscious woman's body above the water as the two detectives kicked and swam towards the dock.

"You first," Nora said and took hold of Ricci. "I'll push her up. You pull."

They maneuvered Ricci's handcuffed body so that she was sitting on Nora's shoulders as she pushed up and Georgia pulled from her place atop the dock. Grabbing hold, Nora pulled up, one rung at a time, finally making it to the top.

She cleared the top and fell to her side, blinking away the water.

"What the hell was that?" she finally asked Georgia who was lying on the other side of Ricci.

"Couldn't…" Georgia sucked in a breath, "let you have all the fun."

Unable to stop herself, Nora let out a bark of laughter.

"Besides, I figure you'll owe me one and tell me why you and Nikki are living together."

Nora's laughter cut off and she clamped her eyes shut.

"Best you not know," Nikki answered from somewhere above Nora. A shadow fell over her face and she blinked again looking up. Nikki stood above her, bottom lip firmly clamped between her teeth.

Propping herself up on her elbows, Nora looked at Georgia.

The other woman shrugged and said, "Thought so."

A/N: Thanks to those who read. Hope you enjoyed reading this experiment of ours as much as we enjoyed writing it.