whedonist: (Kenzi FTW)
[personal profile] whedonist
Title: Near Life Experience
Disclaimer: Not my characters – except for one or two. The rest of the ladies and gentleman contained herein belong to entities with a higher pay grade. Thanks for allowing li’l ole me to play; I promise to return them as I found them…just like the tools I borrowed from dad when I was a kid. Also, this is unbeta’d so…mistakes are really all me. Sorry about that.
Fandom: Nikki & Nora
Pairing: Nikki/Nora
Rating: PG-13-ish, there are some adult concepts and themes, but nothing too over the top.
Summary: Nikki's not really "Nikki" and Nora's sings a different tune.

A/N: I'm sorry



Ch. 13 – Lilly White Wings


It takes every ounce of will power I have to not wince as I flash my badge to the uniformed officer guarding the door I need to get through. She dips her chin as I shove my shield back onto my waist and shuffle into the room.

She’s alone. I knew she would be. I watched several agents come and go from the room over three hours. It took another two to muster up some semblance of will power and the courage to come and see her.

I push open the door and hear the monitor she’s attached. It shows a slow, steady heartbeat. I’m sure the drugs they have her on are the primary cause for that. The break in her wrist required surgery. The dislocated shoulder was set. They also found a laceration on the back of her head. That required stitches. They put some pins in her wrist, from what they were able to tell me.

What Dan was able to tell me.

No one else is saying much of anything to me about her. No one really thinks they need to.
Except Dan. Dan knows. Kira hasn’t put two and two together yet. I hope she never does.

I let the door close behind me with a soft snick as I engage the lock. I figure we can have a few hours together before anyone else comes knockin’ for answers. I shuffle forward trying to decide on sitting or standing and what would be less painful.

The two broken ribs and the stab wound have caused more pain than what I thought possible. If I sit, I’ll have to get up…

That’s an unpleasant thought.

“You’re startin’ to creep me out, Supergirl,” Nikki’s voice, thick with anesthesia and sleep, break the stillness. I blink and look up at cloudy brown eyes.

“Just trying to decide if I want to stand or sit,” I answer and move closer, coming up to her uninjured left side. My thighs press again the edge of the bed as I lean over her.

“Hmm, stand,” she mumbles, shifting in the bed to look up at me. Her face is relaxed and there’s an easy smile teasing her lips that shouldn’t really be there given the circumstances.

Nodding, I reach out and rest my right hand on her forearms, giving it a reassuring squeeze. “How are you feeling?” I ask, my words stilted, awkward.

“Not feeling much of anything right now,” she says, indicating with a nod towards the I.V.’s dripping a steady stream of pain killers and fluid into her system. “You?”

“Could be better. Could be worse,” I admit and tense as she shifts to lace our hands together.

Her thumb rubs circles against my palm as she asks, “How much do you know?”

“Not a lot. The feds have kept us out of it. They don’t know you and I…” I start.

“They won’t. Not from me at least,” she interrupts me.

“I…” I stall trying to put my thoughts in order. It’s so hard. There’s so much I’d like to say, but not much of it matters. Not now. Not sure if it ever really did matter.

“I owe you, though. Some explanation,” she cuts into my thoughts.

“Not…”

The squeeze of her hand stops me. “I do. Darius’ll have my hide, but I don’t know where he’s…”

“Gone, from what Dan told me. They went to get him, bring him in. His place was empty. Geno’s too,” I answer that lingering question for her.

“Good. He doesn’t need to be a part of any of…”

“Good?” I snap. “You two were…and you’re—” I indicate her state in the bed.

“He’s doing what he promised. Besides, I have everything the feds want. It’s all safe,” she cuts me off.

“What?” my question the least intelligent one I could come up with, but the only one I can muster right now.

“Cliff’s Notes: I was hauled in about five years ago with Darius on trafficking charges. We cut a deal with the U.S. Attorney’s office to feed them information on larger trafficking rings in exchange for immunity.” She stops and swallows. “Water?” I grab the cup sitting on the bedside table with the straw and offer it to her. A few pulls on the straw and she swallows.

“We’ve gone city to city over the past four years or so. Developing an exit plan, socking money away and things we’d need, all while feeding information back to the feds so that they can make busts. Never stuck around to testify,” she’s slow and deliberate in her explanation. “I’ve offered to testify this time. Those kids…”

“But you’ll be…” my head spins at the implications.

“They’re trying to get me to sign up for Witness Protection,” she confirms. “I keep on telling them no.”

“But they’ll, Nikki, they’ll come after you,” I try to reason.

She shakes her head. “I’ve got a plan. One I intend on sticking too just as soon as everyone is locked up like they need to be. You need to know, I didn’t know about the kids. If I’d…”

“I know. I know. You don’t need to…” I know she didn’t know. Her reactions in the van told me as much. The room quiets after I cut her off. I look her over, from the top of her unruly mop of brunette locks, down to the feet hidden under the thin hospital blankets.

She tugs on my arm and I comply, not needing her to tell me more. Toeing off my shoes, I slide into the space she’s made for me. Careful of my injured side, I press against her left and she rests her head on my shoulder.

My side burns, breathing’s a bitch, but the fire fades as we settle into each other. The room stills and I reach across my body to trace random patterns up and down her left arm. Her head burrows a little deeper and I sink against her.

“Do you think,” she whispers against my neck, “if things were different?”

I press my lips against the top of her head and nod. I don’t really trust my voice right now and the tears leaking down make it hard to see.

“Aren’t any easy answers though,” she mumbles, her breath heating up already warm skin. “Kinda wish I’d met you years ago…”

“Me too,” I mumble against the top of her head. “What do you think we’d be doing now—if we’d met earlier?”

“Hmm, bickering about something, maybe have a dog. I always wanted one.”

“Name?” I ask as I smooth some of her hair back.

She shrugs at the question. “I’d leave that up to you.”

“What else?” I ask out of a need I didn’t think I had. There’s this crazy part of me that thinks that maybe somehow, we could make this work.

“We’d be living together, obviously, with the dog. I’d…be doing something else. Maybe a dance studio. I’ve always liked tap. Not much call for it in what I usually do. I’d worry about you being a cop and all. But we’d be happy. I’d goad you. You’d huff and puff and I’d kiss away the scowl I’ve grown to…” her voice chokes off and the tears leak hot down my neck. “I’m sorry,” she mumbles, sniffling against me. “I lo…lo…”

“Shhh,” I whisper against her. “Me too,” I choke out and hold on tighter. “Me too.” Another life, another time and I can see us together. It’s so clear and right that my heart stutters, clenching in my chest. I squeeze my eyes shut tight, willing the pain to subside. “It’s okay though,” I manage through my tears. “It’s just not our time, y’know?”

“Yeah,” she mumbles as her lips graze skin.

“I…maybe next life? Maybe we’ll get that dog and that place to call ours. You could save me from boring family functions and I’d…” I swallow to ease the constriction of my throat. “I’d wake you up on our anniversary with breakfast in bed.”

The image paints itself. Nikki would be lying in bed, the sheets low on her hips. Her bare back shines in the morning sun that’s peeking through the curtains. I’d be sneaking in and set the tray on the bed to wake her.

Maybe another life, another time. Just not this life, not this time.
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