DISCLAIMER: Nikki & Nora are the property of Nancylee Myatt and Warner Bros. Television. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Brush with Death
By Ann


The dim lights of the street barely illuminated the area enough for me to see the suspect running past the bar and into an alley. The undercover operation had been going smoothly up to the point of exchange. Nikki had turned on the southern charm and had the guy eating out of her hand. He didn't hesitate to follow her behind the bar, but evidently Dan hadn't filled everyone in the NOPD in on our little sting operation because, at the exact moment of the exchange, a patrol cop decided to check out the action.

My heart had leapt in my throat when the suspect pulled a gun and shot the patrolman, and I'd held my breath, hoping he wouldn't shoot Nikki, too. I wasn't exactly pleased that he'd used the butt of his gun to hit her over the head, but at least she'd recover from a headache a hell of a lot quicker than she would from a gunshot wound. I didn't even consider the other possibility as I immediately dropped my tray and took off after the guy, knowing that Nikki would never forgive me if I let him get away.

Leaning against the building which led to the alley, I pulled my gun to my chest and took a deep breath. The sirens of patrol cars drew nearer and nearer, so I knew backup was close. I peered around the corner, but only darkness peered back. Slowly, I stepped into the alley, my gun held out in front, leading my way.

I spotted a large dumpster in the corner and was certain the suspect had to be holed up behind it. Slowly, I inched my way along the brick of the building as I made my way closer to the metal container. I never saw the niche in the wall, nor did I see the bottle slamming across my arm. I did, however, realize that I'd dropped my gun.

Reflexively, I placed my hand out in front of me as if it were a shield. My extended arm only serving to remind me how close I was to the suspect, the suspect who was now aiming his nine millimeter directly at me. I refused to beg for mercy, although, I was certain that my face was filled with a combination of the terror I felt coupled with the need to plead for my life. When the son of a bitch smiled, I knew it wouldn't have mattered if I'd voiced my plea aloud or not. He intended to shoot me just as he had the patrolman.

The next few seconds passed so very slowly that I now know the true meaning of slow motion. A shout from the entrance of the alley drew my attention towards the voice. I was never so glad to see Dan and Georgia in all my life. I smiled at them and then turned back at the suspect. He hadn't changed focus; he was still looking at me, and he was still grinning.

This time, I did beg, but the only word that managed to escape my lips was, 'no', as the sound of multiple gunshots echoed in the alley. The suspect wasn't smiling anymore, but mainly because his face had exploded into hundreds of pieces. This realization briefly gave me relief as I now knew he couldn't hurt me anymore, and then another realization suddenly became clear. My shoulder felt as if it'd been gored with a hot poker, the kind that I used to stoke the firewood in our fireplace. In my newly found slow motion, I reached with the hand that had been shielding me and touched my right shoulder.

Confused as to why my shirt felt wet, I pulled my hand away and stared down at it. The dim light didn't seem so dim anymore as the bright red was clearly visible. Why was my hand red?

Dan's voice cut through my haze, and I looked up to see him walking towards me. I couldn't make out his words, but the expression on his face spoke volumes. I'd seen that look before; he was scared; but why?

The shadows of the alley began to close in around him until I could just make out an outline. I blinked a few times, but the image wouldn't come into focus. My legs suddenly went out from under me, and the next thing I knew, I was staring up into the dark sky. Soon, everything went to black, but I could've sworn I'd seen Nikki leaning over me right before the night had swallowed me up.

Beeping? My hearing came back slowly, and I concentrated on the sound. Focusing within myself, I noted that the slow and steady beeps were in perfect synchronization with the beating of my heart. I also noted the sound of steady breathing, and after a few moments, I realized it wasn't my own.

The pain in my shoulder was still present, but the intensity had abated from earlier. My legs were constricted by the covers as was one of my arms, but the hand lying on top of the covers was warm and felt as if it were safely cocooned in another, Nikki. Nikki was here.

I slowly opened my eyes and grimaced at the bright light coming through the window. Slowly, my pupils became accustomed to the change from the darkness of the alley to the lightness of this room. This room? Where was I? Glancing to my left, I noted the rail on the side of the bed and the IV stand. Oh, shit. I'd been shot.

My breathing increased as did my heart rate and, judging from the rapid beeping coming from the machine, my heart was trying to beat out of my chest. I was shot! Oh, God.

"Shh, baby. I'm here. You're okay." Nikki's voice broke through my panic attack, and I quickly turned towards the right. She cupped my face and smiled, tears brimming in her eyes.


"Nora, just relax, okay? You're going to be fine. It was a clean shot, through and through. No damage to muscle or tissue or bone. You're going to be okay, baby. Now relax."

I stared into her beautiful, doe eyes. Nikki wouldn't lie to me; if she said everything was okay, then it was okay. Slowly, my breathing and heartbeat returned to normal.

Nikki smiled at me before leaning down to touch her lips to mine. Pulling away, she moved the hair out of my eyes. "You need a haircut."

"More like a brain transplant." Georgia stepped into the room and stood at the end of the bed, awkwardly holding a vase of flowers.

"Um, these are for you; from the squad."

"Thanks, Georgia. They're beautiful." Nikki released my hand and moved to take the vase. Walking to the window, she placed them on the sill.

"So, tell me why I need a brain transplant." I wasn't about to let her get away with that particular statement.

"Cause you went into that alley blind without any backup, that's why."

Georgia glared at me, daring me to argue with her statement, but I couldn't; she was absolutely right. I could've been killed; I should've been killed.

"You're right. I'll think twice before running headlong into a situation like that again."

Nikki smiled at my reply, but Georgia's eyes almost popped out of her head. She definitely wasn't expecting me to admit my error in judgment. In fact, she seemed almost uncomfortable that I hadn't come back with some sort of sarcastic reply.

Not one to disappointment, I grinned. "Next time, I'll take you with me. You'd make a better shield than my damn hand did."

Georgia placed her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes. I stared right back at her with my grin still pasted on my face. The makings of a smile began, followed by a bark of laughter. Soon, the three of us were laughing and cutting up. Well, as much as my shoulder would allow.

This brush with death opened my eyes to what was really important. Catching a suspect is great, but not at the expense of one's own life. The important thing in life was standing by my side, laughing and wiping her tears. I was just so very glad that they were tears of happiness and not tears of sorrow. I was going to do everything in my power to stay by her side for a very long time, and if I planned to do so, there was something else I needed to do.

My first Sunday out of this hospital, I was taking Nikki to Mom and Dad's for Sunday dinner. It was time to introduce my love to my parents.

The End

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