DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, Fox does. I'm only taking them out for a test drive.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story contains some adult situations, so be forewarned.
SPOILERS: Strap-on, Ryde or Die

After the Fall
By Sam

Part 5

And like a fickle flower when it first sees the light,
I cannot show just how I fight.
        - Nelly Furtado

Billie clasped Sara's wrists and gently pulled her hands away. "I told you, Sara, I can't do this." She took a step back and reluctantly let go of those warm hands.

Sara remained silent for a moment, studying the brunette's face. She was still trying to make sense of Billie's erratic behavior.as well as understand the words she had just spoken. Her only thought was that it had something to do with their violent confrontation yesterday, but there had to be more to it than that.

She focused her gaze on the picture still lying on the counter. Cautiously, she reached over and picked it up to examine it again. Whatever else was going on here, she was desperate to know what it was.

"That's Alexa," Billie offered, seeing the blonde's curious expression. "We met in the academy." She tilted her head, slightly, as she looked at the photograph. "That was graduation day." A soft sigh escaped her lips. "It was a great day. One of my best."

Sara glanced at Billie out of the corner of her eye. "You and she were.close?"

The corner of Billie's mouth turned up in a slight grin. "We were friends."

The blonde grinned, slightly, in spite of herself. "Oh." She handed the picture back to Billie, who continued to stare at it, thoughtfully. "You said `were friends'. Did you lose touch?"

"She's dead," Billie replied softly as she dropped the picture back onto the counter and turned away. She began to busy herself by unpacking the grocery bags.

"I'm sorry," Sara said honestly.

"It's a dangerous job," was all Billie would say.

Sara sighed, inwardly. Okay, so obviously Billie's friend was killed in the line of duty. Well, that explained something about the way she was acting, but there was definitely a lot more to the story. The only thing she wasn't certain of is if she could coax Billie into sharing the rest of it with her.

The blonde chided herself for even entertaining such a thought. What difference did it make now? Billie just made it perfectly clear that the two of them didn't have a chance. And in truth, Sara was still angry with her for what she did. She couldn't even say if it was something she would ever be able to get past, no matter how much she cared for Billie.

Her Billie, she corrected herself.

It was odd to think of them as two people, but Sara couldn't help herself. The woman she met, the one she had been seduced by, was not this woman. Well, it was but.God, she couldn't even figure out who the hell Billie Chambers really was. And if she couldn't do that, then there really was no chance for them at all.

Which only left her one option.

"Please talk to me, Billie."

The brunette turned to look at her, as she placed a box of pasta on a shelf. "About what?"


"What do you mean `everything'?" Billie questioned.

Sara closed the short distance between them and took Billie's hand. "I want to know you."

Billie regarded her with a quizzical expression. "You do know me."

Sara shook her head. "No, I don't. I thought I did, but the person I got to know was a lie."

"Look, Sara. I may have lied about a few of the details, but for the most part, it was still all me." Billie tried to pull her hand away, but felt the blonde gripping it tighter.

"That's bullshit!" Sara replied angrily.


"No," Sara interrupted in a forceful tone. "That person wasn't you."

"Yes, it was," Billie hissed through gritted teeth as she yanked her hand free. "I'm sorry to burst your bubble, Sara, but that's who I am. I played you and I arrested you, because that's my job.end of story."

Sara grabbed Billie as she tried to slip past, and pushed her back against the counter, ignoring her arm's painfully loud protestations. "Then, kiss me."

Billie's face registered a look of surprise. "What?"

Sara leaned in close, noticing how the brunette's struggling had suddenly ceased. "If you won't talk to me, then I want you to kiss me."

Billie's eyelids dropped slightly. "I." Whatever thought she was about to give voice to was swallowed up as Sara pressed her lips firmly against Billie's, her hands sliding up well toned arms and over soft shoulders until she finally had the brunette's face cradled in her hands once more.

The kiss was molten, passionate. Billie could feel herself letting go, her desire for this moment, for this woman, overriding any and all other conscious thought. She wasn't even aware of a hand leaving her cheek, until she felt it slip into the waistband of her pants. She moaned softly as long slender fingers began to do delicious things to her.

Sara held Billie tightly between her body and the counter, continuing her seduction in earnest. There was no denying the heat she felt pressing against her palm, or the moisture that built as she brushed her fingers against her lover's center. She was aware of the sound of the surf pounding the shore outside, and subconsciously, she began to move her hand in time to its rhythm.

Billie whimpered into the blonde's mouth as she felt her muscles tightening, the beginning of her climax causing her to pull back for air, but Sara wouldn't allow it. She placed a hand against the back of the brunette's head, holding onto her as she felt the first spasms clenching around her fingers.

Strong hands gripped Sara tightly as Billie's body stiffened, a long harsh groan emitting from deep within her while her hips moved against the woman who held her, quite literally, in the palm of her hand.

The blonde finally relented, allowing Billie a moment to catch her breath as she hovered close, taking in every last detail of that beautiful face. A gentle flush bathed the woman's tanned cheeks and a thin sheen of perspiration covered her brow.

Billie opened her eyes, slowly, and Sara could see they were darkened with arousal. She removed her fingers from inside the brunette with aching slowness, her ocean blue eyes never straying from those that were the color of sky.

"That was some kiss," Billie croaked.

Sara's expression was serious as she whispered softly, "I wouldn't have pulled the trigger."

Billie looked away. "I know."

Sara placed a finger under the brunette's chin and turned her head back to face her. "No, I don't think you do. And that's part of the problem." She stroked Billie's warm cheek with the back of her hand. "We don't trust each other, Billie."

"Well, we didn't exactly start out on the right foot, now did we?" the brunette commented, her body still twitching slightly.

"No, we didn't."

"So," Billie inquired with a slight raise of her eyebrow. "What do you suggest we do about that?"

"We start over."

Billie glanced down at the hand still tucked inside her pants. "Right now?"

Sara nodded. "Right now." She removed her hand, a small feeling of satisfaction welling up as she noted the look of disappointment on Billie's face. A smile graced her lips as she lifted the hand up in front of the other woman. "Hi. I'm Sara."

The brunette shot her a wry grin. "Hi," she responded as she grabbed the blonde's hand and gave it a firm shake. "I'm Billie."

"Nice to meet you, Billie." The blonde flashed a wicked smile. "What do you say we go upstairs and-" A pair of soft lips abruptly cut off her words. She closed her eyes and savored the moment, enjoying all of the sensations that Billie Chambers kissed into her mind and body.

Her Billie. The one she knew. The only one.

Part 6

I caught you knockin' at my cellar door
I love you, baby, can I have some more
Ooh, ooh, the damage done.
        - Neil Young

Sara kicked at the sheets gathered around her legs, a soft whimper escaping her lips as she woke up from another nightmare. She sat up too quickly, gritting her teeth as she felt a sharp pain shoot down the length of her arm.

She took a quick glance at the bandage still wrapped tightly around her upper arm, amazed that she hadn't yet managed to pull the stitches out, considering the workout she'd been giving it.

That thought brought a brief smile to her lips as she turned to look at the person who had helped her get all of that rigorous exercise.

The bed was empty.

For a split second, vivid images of the dream she'd just awoken from filled Sara's mind, adding fuel to a fire that had been burning there since yesterday morning. Of course, it seemed ludicrous for her to worry about Billie. It's not like the woman couldn't take care of herself. But, the nightmares she'd been having about Jill, coupled with the precarious, and newly forged bond she and Billie had begun to form, only made her all the more fearful of everything going terribly wrong.

Sara reached down and grabbed her t-shirt from the spot on the floor where Billie had thrown it earlier, slipping it on as she got to her feet and headed out of the bedroom, now feeling a need to find out where the brunette had gotten off to.

The absence of moonlight made darkness nearly absolute as she walked along the edge of the balcony, her hand trailing along the railing to help her find her way. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, she noticed one of the doors leading to the deck off the living room was open, so she headed toward it, the sound of the waves getting louder as she approached.

She could barely make out Billie's profile against the dim night sky. Sara stood there watching her silently, almost afraid to disturb the young woman's solitary. As she decided to leave, a soft voice broke the stillness.

"It's so beautiful out here at night."

Sara turned back to find Billie looking at her. She moved to stand in the doorway, still feeling a bit like an intruder. Her eyes glanced up at the starless sky as she inhaled deeply, taking in the crisp salty air. It smelled like rain. "Mmm.yes it is."

"Nervous about tomorrow?' Billie asked, referring to Sara's appointment to appear before a judge. It was part of her plea agreement, and hopefully the last time she would have to appear, until she testified at Jill's trial.

"A little, I guess." Billie held out her hand. "Come here."

The blonde stepped onto the deck, moving slowly as she reached out and clasped Billie's hand, giving it a firm squeeze. "I'm sorry if I interrupted something."

The brunette gave her a quizzical smile. "What? No.no, I just couldn't sleep." She glanced out over the beach. "Something about being here," she shrugged, unable to put her feelings into words. "I don't know," she finally muttered. "Maybe it's the water."

A pair of blue eyes drew her gaze back. "Billie, are you alright?"

Billie smiled, but there a hint of sadness reflected in it. "I'm fine."

Sara looked away, a familiar feeling of frustration gnawing at her. "There's something about this place, and the way you've been acting since we've been here." She shook her head. "I know we've got a long way to go, and maybe you can't trust me enough yet but..."

"It's not that, Sara."

"Then, what is it?" She pressed the palm of her hand to Billie's cheek, enjoying the way the brunette leaned into it, probably without even realizing it. "I just want to help."

Billie could feel herself being drawn in by the beautiful blonde, those eyes promising a mixture of safety and danger. The temptation to give in to her was nearly impossible to resist, but the risk of exposing herself to this woman she barely knew was something she wasn't sure she could do.

This thing she felt for Sara, it was hard to understand. Not so much the physical attraction, of course. Just being close to her was enough to send Billie's pulse racing. And there was most certainly a whole `opposites attract' thing happening between them. But, when those deep blue eyes focused on her, wanting her, it was so much more. She felt a need for this woman, a desire that came from somewhere deep inside, and there was only one word she could find to describe it.


Billie certainly knew what it felt like, to need something so badly that your body physically ached for it. And that's exactly what happened to her whenever Sara was near. All it took was one look, and she felt as though Sara had could just take control of her. She would hold her breath, waiting for a hand to reach out and touch her, or for a pair of soft lips to press against her own. It was maddening, because as time wore on, it was getting more and more difficult for her to think objectively where the blonde was concerned.

.which is why it hardly came as a surprise when Billie heard herself say, "Let's go upstairs."

Jill wandered though the apartment, careful to keep her flashlight covered as she used it to guide her way. It was bad enough that she had to break into her own place; she certainly didn't need to get her ass thrown back into jail.

The details of her bail had been simple enough: keep her nose clean until her trial, don't leave the county without permission, and stay away from Sara Matthews.

It was that last item that was still burning a hole in her gut. She and Sara were friends, and even though they had been forced to turn against each other, she couldn't really blame the woman for wanting to stay out of jail. No, the blame for this entire mess rested elsewhere, and if Jill had her way, the person responsible would be made to pay.

The problem with exacting a little revenge was that you really needed to have the person handy to do it. And so far, Billie Chambers had made for an elusive target.

Even her brief visit to Felicia's house this afternoon had yielded no clues as to where Sara might be holding up. Felicia had Billie followed after she left, but the woman was hip to it and wasted no time in losing them. Which is why Jill now found herself creeping around her own apartment in the middle of the night searching for clues, anything that might give her a hint as to where Sara went. Because she was fairly certain that wherever Sara was, that bitch cop wasn't far behind.

She entered Sara's bedroom, pointing the flashlight at the floor as she followed a trail of clothes around the room. She knew firsthand that the littered items strewn about the place wasn't the sign of a hasty exit, it only meant that her roommate wasn't the neatest person in the world.

The first place she headed for was the bureau just inside the doorway. She pulled each draw open, rifling through its contents, not even really sure what she was hoping to find. There was nothing but clothing, and the occasional hundred-dollar bill tucked in her underwear. The girl was forever stashing money away for a rainy day.

Jill shook her head, ruefully. Sara was a thief for Christ's sake and here she was leaving money in the most obvious of places. Whenever they robbed someone's house, it was one of the first places they checked. Despite having high-tech safes and the most expensive security systems, even the wealthiest people were still prone to storing valuables in their underwear drawer.

When her search yielded nothing, Jill moved on to the dresser on the far wall. She pulled the top drawer open, keeping her flashlight cupped in her hand as she pointed the narrow beam inside. As she looked down, she noticed something sitting on top of a pile of t- shirts. She grabbed it and pulled it out, shining the light on it to get a better look.

A picture.

Jill stared at it for a moment, focusing on Sara's smiling face, not even aware that she was smiling back. That trip had been one of the best times she'd ever had.

It was also the first time she realized she was in love with Sara.

Nothing came of it, of course. She spent that entire summer mooning over the blonde, while her oblivious roommate continued to go after all the wrong women. About the only thing that helped Jill to get through those times was in knowing that, no matter who Sara attached herself to, it was only temporary. She always came back to Jill. During those days, the brunette slowly began to comprehend the fact that romance was out of the question for them, because it would only end badly. All of Sara's romances did.

Jill made sure of that.

She hadn't really lied to Felicia when she told her she wasn't in love with Sara. The intensity of her feelings had settled down over time, and when all was said and done, their friendship was solid, and that was enough for her. Their `extracurricular activities' had made their relationship all the more important. They depended on each other. They needed each other. And when she shot that woman, Sara had stuck by her, as Jill knew she would.

But now, it had all gone to hell.

A bitter rage came over Jill, and she slammed the picture down onto the top of the dresser, breaking the glass and scattering a few items to the floor. She felt a sharp pain in her hand, and looked down to see a piece of glass poking through her glove. She curled her fingers around it, pushing it deeper into the tender flesh beneath the leather.

Another bad romance, another bad ending. But this time, there was no shoulder for Sara to cry on, and Jill couldn't be there to help her pick up the pieces.

But she could see to it that the person who hurt Sara, the one who used her, the one who came between them, would never get the chance to do it again.

The brunette pulled the bloodied fragment from her hand and tossed it aside as she reached down and swiped away the shards of glass, removing the picture from its broken frame. She gave it one final look before shoving it into the pocket of her jacket and then proceeded to make a cursory check of the remaining drawers, not at all surprised when she came up empty.

With a quick glance around the room, Jill turned off her flashlight and headed to the window. She unlocked it and pushed it up, swinging her long legs out as she dropped gracefully to the ground below. From her vantage point, she could see that the neighborhood was completely quiet, and she flashed a smile in the dark, certain that no one would see her going.

And when the time was right, Billie Chambers would never see her coming.

"So, you worked in vice?"

Billie shifted her position on the leather sofa so she could look at Sara straight on. She gathered her legs up underneath her, bringing her arm up over the back as she nodded, "Yeah, for a while. You see some pretty sleazy stuff. It's almost like a rite of passage when you start working undercover." She smirked as she shook her head. "I thought I was really something, then."

"I bet you were," Sara said sincerely as the image of a younger, more dangerous version of the brunette suddenly popped into her head.

The brunette smiled, gratefully. "Let's just say I was a little. eager." She waved her hand in the air. "Anyway, so there was this dealer. We're talking big bad. He was pumping out a ton of shit, and we were set to shut him down. The problem was, we needed to get in close, so I got tapped, and believe me, I was just itching to get this guy.we all were." She fixed the blonde with a serious look. "A lot of people were turning up dead because of him, so things were getting pretty desperate."

Sara gave her a sympathetic look, trying to imagine what it must have been like for Billie back then, to be that young with so much riding on her shoulders. "So, what happened?"

"I worked him. Got in close. Things were going along pretty well, until." Billie's gaze dropped to the hand resting in her lap.

Sara frowned. "Until.?" The brunette looked up at Sara then, her gaze unreadable.

"Until I had to put up or shut up," Billie replied.

"Meaning?" Sara asked.

The brunette held her arm out, as if presenting it for inspection. "Happiness is a warm gun."

The blonde's eyes went wide. "You.you shot up?" She reached over, gingerly tracing the tips of her fingers across the pale skin near the crook of Billie's arm. "Heroin?"

Billie closed her eyes, enjoying the sensation of Sara's soft touch on the spot where she used to feed her addiction. It seemed appropriate, somehow. "Uh-huh."

"God," Sara whispered, watching with concern as Billie opened her eyes, something akin to regret reflected in their cool depths. "So, what happened?"

The brunette pulled her arm away and shrugged her shoulders. "I got hooked."

"What about the dealer?" Sara questioned.

"I blew it," she replied bitterly. "After I started using, I was a bit.unfocused. My captain pulled me out when he realized what was going on, and thankfully before I did something to get myself killed. But, unfortunately, the damage was done."

"And what about you?"

"Well, I'm still here, right?" Billie leaned back and rested her head against the back of the couch, her eyes staring blankly at the ceiling. "And I got Gavin.eventually."

"The dealer?"

Billie nodded.

After a brief moment, Sara moved in close, pressing her body against the young woman's side as she rested her head next to the brunette's, her fingers reaching up to swipe away errant strands of hair from her forehead.

Billie sighed, softly, feeling the weight of sleep pressing down on her. The combination of the late hour and Sara's gentle ministrations were conspiring against her as she felt her eyes begin to close.

The two remained quiet for a few moments, until Billie's soft, tired voice finally broke the silence. "A few months after I got out of rehab, I had a bad slip," she confessed, swallowing hard as she felt her emotions pushing close to the surface. She kept her eyes closed, hoping that would somehow keep them from spilling out. God, she was definitely tired. "Alexa found me and brought me here. This is.was her house."

Now, Sara finally understood why being here was so tough on Billie. "She obviously cared a lot about you."

"She was the best friend I ever had." Billie opened her eyes and looked at Sara. "And I missed my chance to pay her back, Sara." Tears welled up in her pale blue eyes, and she didn't bother to hold them back, because in truth, she couldn't. Not here. Not in this place where everything was a reminder of her dead friend.

Sara pulled Billie to her, wrapping her arms around the young woman as she whispered softly in her ear. "It's okay, Billie. Let it out." She could feel a pair of hands clutching at the back of her shirt, pulling her tighter as she slowly rocked back and forth.

Billie suddenly pulled back, wiping the moisture from her cheeks with an impatient hand. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Sara responded as she cradled the young woman's face in her hands. She wiped away a few stray tears with her thumbs. "You don't need to apologize for having feelings."

"Yeah, well." The corner of Billie's mouth turned up in a tiny smile. "I pride myself on being able to keep them in check.most of the time, anyway." She drew the blonde's hands away and rubbed her face, vigorously. "I'm just tired."

Sara suddenly yawned in agreement. "Yeah, me too." She glanced at Billie, offering her a wan smile. "And I've got a big day tomorrow." She got up from the couch, holding her hand out as she jerked her head toward the door. "Let's hit the sack, Lieutenant." She thought Billie looked as though she wanted to say something else, but the brunette simply nodded in reply and got up, clasping Sara's proffered hand.

When they reached the hallway, Billie suddenly turned to her. "Umm, Sara?"

"Yeah," the blonde replied, turning to meet her gaze. In the darkness, she thought she saw a smirk on the brunette's face.

"I really need to get some sleep, okay?"

The blonde turned away, trying to hide the smile that flitted across her face. With a heavy sigh, she pulled the brunette along behind her as she muttered, "Killjoy."

"She'll be going before a judge tomorrow. It's the last step before her agreement is finalized."

"And still nothing on her present location?"

"No, so this will be your only opportunity."

"I told you before, I have someone in place. They'll be able to get to her there."

"You're certain of that?"


"It's of the utmost importance that she be made to understand the gravity of her situation."

"She will be."

"Wonderful. I'll be expecting your call when it's finished."

"And I'll be expecting payment through the usual channels."

"Consider it done." Felicia Ralston placed the phone back into its cradle, closing her eyes as she dropped her head to her pillow. She needed to get some sleep if she was going to be fit for what lay ahead. Tomorrow promised to be an eventful day in her life.

...and in the life of Sara Matthews.

Part 7

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