Authors Note: My first Necessary Roughness Fic – Based on the Season One episode 'Poker Face' – this is a one shot...hope you all enjoy. Comments, kind and constructive are always adored and please...Enjoy the ride! Ckorkows

"I'm concerned for your safety!"

Dani blinked, blindsided by such a direct statement from Nico. The man was usually so...withheld. She nodded, thanking him silently as he told her Xeno was going to be posted at her house.


Nico looked at her one more time, his usual half-smirk disappearing as he locked eyes with Santino, "I'll deliver Coogan to your door safe and sound. Trust me."

As he turned and walked away Dani shook her head, muttering, "I do," before strolling off to her own busy day.

After her rounds at the office Dani headed home for some down time before a couple of her evening clients. The kids were going to be with their father for the rest of the week – he'd offered to take them to some sort of festival and she jumped on the idea. She didn't want Lindsay or Ray Jay to feel unsafe in their own home...and she had a feeling that this week wasn't going to be a good one.

She gulped as she gripped the handle on her front door. Those men the night before were born intimidators, "I don't intimidate...".

Her hand shook a little as she turned the door handle belaying her fear as she tried to talk herself down. She knew Xeno was here. She couldn't see him - that wouldn't be discrete and discretion was Nico's style – but she knew he was at her house. Keeping her safe.

She opened her door quickly, flinging it open as her eyes scanned her house. Everything was in it's place. She was sure there wouldn't be any pony heads in her room...or blood smeared across her walls. But something about being threatened in connection to a client had her spooked. Especially when that client had made a point of running away.

She was not the time to analyze herself. She was safe, her kids were safe, and whenever Nico found Coogan he too would be safe. And then she could get back to figuring out what it was that was troubling the young man.

Tea. With two hours until her next appointment she planned to cut out a little time for just relax. She stretched up to get her favorite tea from the cabinet when she heard the voice behind her.

"Doctor Santino..."

Fear crawled up and down her spine...that voice – Brooklyn with a hint of Italy... She froze, carefully tucking her emotions away before turning, her voice unwavering, "Get out of my house."

He chuckled, the sound more ominous than humorous as he stepped closer to her, "You can tell Coogan the car won't be the last thing to disappear. And if he keeps running..."

She steeled herself, her mind never once considering that there was supposed to be a large man protecting her right now, and took a step toward him. "Get out of my house. And leave my client alone."

The man arched a blonde eyebrow, his hair shaved close to his head with just a hint of Mohawk to intimidate as he stepped right up into her personal space. Breath heavy on her face he smirked, "Big bad doctor thinks she can protect everyone doesn't she? What happens when she can't protect herself?"

His hand stroked gently down her hair, his intention clouding her eyes for a moment as she swallowed audibly. Her voice wavered as she simply repeated the same phrase, "Get out..."

"Get out." The echo was stronger, deeper, and was tinged with a hint of danger so intense that even Dani blinked.

The thug turned, his hand burying itself into her auburn curls and locking there as he looked over at the other man. They simply stared at one another, the tension palpable as they sized one another up. Dani felt the bigger man's grip in her hair tightening and he slowly tugged her to his side, his other hand coming up to grab her arm in a vice grip.

Nico spoke first, his gaze never leaving the man as he stood across the kitchen with his hands at his side. Not passive, but appearing more like an old-west gunman waiting for the draw.

"If you have any sense of what is good for you you will release the good doctor and...disappear."

The man laughed again, tugging on Dani's hair sharply – causing a whimper to escape her lips as she stared at Nico. He was her anchor...he was here. Even as her captor squeezed tighter on her arm and forced her toward the door she watched Nico. He wouldn't let anything happen to her.

"I think you're a little out of your element Hilo," Nico commented as he stepped closer to the duo.

Hilo stopped at the sound of his name. The guy looked like a pro but he hadn't expected him to actually know who he was. He growled as the man got closer, moving his arm from Dani's arm to her shoulder, his fingers digging into a pressure point before he moved further up, trailing his ham-like hand across her skin as he circled her neck.

"I think you'd better stop moving towards us."

Nico halted. His eyes flashing as Dani cried out quietly yet again. He could see the fear in her eyes – and the hope – and wasn't sure which had him more worried.

Another man might ask Hilo to let her go. But Nico's eyes simply hardened and he took one more step, standing to the side of her island closest to them but still five or six paces away.

Hilo smirked. He'd won, "Good. Now, the 'good doctor' and I are going to leave. You will not move."

Dani's heart beat like thunder through her body – the sound of it pulsing angrily through her eardrums as she felt her body being dragged toward the door again. She couldn't help the whimpers of fear that escaped her lips as Hilo half lifted her by her neck to help them move faster.

Nico waited until he was at the open door before he spoke. His words quiet as he picked a spot on the counter top...seemingly uninterested in what Hilo was doing, "You know...that man you hit in order to get to Dani doesn't really like what you did to him."

He waited for a moment of fear to cross Hilo's face – and the hulking form of Xeno to appear silently in the doorway behind him, "What he does like to do is hit back."

Hilo relaxed his grip on Dani as he spun around, Xeno's fat hands flying through the air to easily separate the thug from Dani and knock the man to the ground.

Dani felt herself spin away from her captor – the adrenaline pumping through her body causing her reactions to be delayed... and she was certain she was going to fall when she felt a hard body catch her. Arms wrapping around her shoulder and under her legs, lifting her off the floor and carrying her out of the room.

Dani looked up at Nico, half-smiling in thanks before she tried to peak over his shoulder at the commotion that continued in her kitchen but Nico was too swift and adjusted her against his chest so she couldn't see.


She realized he'd reached her office. He slowly released her, letting her legs get steady on the ground before loosening his hold a little. She glanced up at him with shining eyes...emotions and turmoil boiling in them as she held his gaze.

He swallowed, his arms remaining looped around her waist as he closed his eyes slowly, "Danielle...I'm sorry."

She shook her head, her arms hanging onto his neck, one hand distractedly playing with the ends of his hair, "No. You were here."

The conviction in her statement was an echo to his own words from earlier. He smiled softly, unsure as to why he was still pressed against his charge. "Still. I'm sorry."

Dani tightened her hold, acknowledging the no-arguments look in his eye as she pursed her lips, "And very thankful."

They parted mutually, Nico glancing down at his phone as a force of habit as Dani took a deep breath to steady herself. She looked around her office, at her schedule book and the discrete filing cabinet – double checking that everything was secure while her brain whirled away with all of the things she had to do before her client arrived. At the same time she couldn't help but feel how his hand had moved across her skin. Goosebumps rising as the implied message replayed through her mind like a broken record.

Nico and her started speaking at the same time, "I need to..." "I canceled..."

They started...glancing across the room at one another as Dani bent her head, "You first."

Nico smiled, his hand dangling awfully close to the jelly bean jar, "I canceled all of your meetings for the day. Rescheduled them. You need to rest."

Dani shook her head...that was what she was thinking but not what she had planned on doing. How was she going to make it through the day with nothing to occupy her mind?

Nico raised an eyebrow, "Danielle?"

She shrugged, "Thank you. But..."

He stepped closer again, his protective instincts seeming to swell whenever it came to Dani. He didn't want to ponder why, in fact he had gotten used to completely ignoring the fact that things were different with her.

"Danielle?" He repeated...more softly this time.

She shook her head and slumped down onto the couch, "Nico, I... I can't be alone right now."

He sighed, this woman! And sat down next to her, one hand on her knee as he gently turned her face toward him, "Dani, you're not alone."

She nodded. Her hand going up to cover his, cupping her cheek as she leaned into it and closed her eyes, "I know. I just can't stop feeling...feeling his hands on me."

Nico's lips pursed and he leaned forward, his head almost touching hers as he stared deeply into eyes filled with conflict.

And somehow...without words, he knew what would take that feeling away. As tears began to slowly leak from his favorite doctor's eyes he made the decision to just go with his gut.

Dani gasped. Nico's hand had found it's way out from under hers and slowly, gently, it had begun to trace the exact same path Hilo's had.

And his fingers whispered through her hair, the silky texture heaven to his sense as he slowly moved them to her shoulder. Kneading softly where Hilo had caused pain, dancing circles on the skin near her pressure point before moving up her neck. He paused, where Hilo hadn't, on her pulse point, feeling the slightly erratic beat as he moved his eyes back up to hers. They were closed, a soft smile pulling at the corners of her mouth.

His whisper was barely audible, "You should never have been touched like that..."

He bent closer as he moved his hand the rest of the way up her neck, instead of circling it he stroked gently across her collar bone and back, bringing his hand up underneath her curls and entangling it within them.

His lips were too close to hers when he spoke next, "And when a man puts his hand in your hair it shouldn't be to control hurt you..."

Dani's eyes fluttered open, her heart beating harder as she saw the raw heat in Nico's eyes. She didn't have any time to question that or the responding flutter in her stomach when he finished.

"It should be to love you."

And he crushed his lips to hers. Gently yet firmly pushing past her barriers to sweep his tongue inside her mouth. He kept his eyes open, locked on hers, and he nipped her bottom lip just to watch them widen then melt. Dani didn't know he had felt this way about her...Nico hadn't really known himself. What had started as an attempt to stop Hilo's memory from controlling Dani had turned into something more.

And as her sigh passed over his lips and she fully relaxed into him, Nico realized that he didn't want this something more to stop. And he deepened the kiss just to prove it.