DISCLAIMER: CSI Miami and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By sinjenkai


Part 4

Slowly awareness crept through Calleigh's drug induced sleep, and automatically turned towards Natalia's side of the bed, but realized that she was alone. Keeping one arm close to her chest, she carefully sat up, wincing as her ribs protested. Looking around confused, despite the mind numbing pain, she couldn't see or hear her wife anywhere. She bit back the pain, and stood slowly, leaning against anything she could, intent on finding Natalia.

Making her way into the bathroom, she splashed some water on her face, trying to wash the haziness from her mind as she washed the sleep from her eyes. Reaching for her bathrobe that hung from the back of the door, she carefully put one arm through its sleeve, before draping the other side over her shoulder, covering her bare skin, and ugly bruises.

Making sure to keep one hand on the wall in case she needed the support, Calleigh slowly made her way through the house. Annoyed with her own lack of progress, she was frustrated with a sharp pain in her side. Clutching onto the couch gasping, she looked up after getting the pain under control, and spied Natalia through the sliding doors, opened to the back yard.

It was then she heard the familiar twang, followed by a soft thump of her wife shooting her bow. It was one of the things that Natalia did when she needed to calm her mind; just like when Calleigh went to the shooting range.

Safely and at a glacial pace, she made her way out onto the patio. For a few stolen moments, she watched the simplistic beauty of Natalia shooting. The grace, self-discipline, and natural talent were a view to behold.

It was only when Natalia had to walk the length of the yard to retrieve the arrows from the target, and headed back, did she notice Calleigh leaning slightly against the back of a chair.

Caught by the sight of her intoxicating wife, she stopped and just drank in the spectacular sight. The blonde's hair was a little mused, her face was freshly washed, and Natalia thought she couldn't look more beautiful. She hung the bow on its stand, and moved to take Calleigh carefully into her arms.

"Mornin' babe, How are you feeling?" Leaning down, she gently brushed her lips against her forehead.

Calleigh sighed; her body instinctively wanting to wrap itself around Natalia, her pain level wouldn't allow it however. She smiled through the discomfort, and ran her hand over Natalia's back, seeking the physical comfort she couldn't have. "Like death... warmed over."

Chuckling, Natalia couldn't help the comeback. "Funny, you look nothing that what I imagined death to be. Now you do resemble the dreams that I've had about heaven though."

Calleigh grinned widely; she ran her hand up Natalia's back, dragging her nails down her spine. The blonde leaned up, kissing her way across what little of Natalia's neck she could reach without sharp pain. "Why settle for dreams?" she murmured.

"Babe, as much as I want to, I don't think that you are in any shape to do anything right now, and besides, we need to have a little discussion about yesterday, remember?"

Sighing, Calleigh lowered her head until she could lay it on Natalia's breastbone. "I know, I was going to tell you, honest. I just wanted to wait until after you took the test. If you would you help me inside to the couch, I'll take my medicine, and we can talk."

"Sure babe... let's take this nice and easy..." She kept her arm around Calleigh's waist, letting her lean on her when she needed to. Finally getting the blonde settled on the couch, she busied herself with retrieving the medication and a glass of juice. Sitting down next to her wife, she handed her both of the items.

Calleigh then reminded her to take her vitamins, and that gave her a few minutes to get her thoughts in order.

After swallowing the bitter pills, Calleigh turned to the brunette. "I had to go back out to the car, and while I was out there, Eric drove up. As he was walking towards me, I remembered what you had said the night before, "Eric can't touch you, not ever.', and I figured out that he had done something to you the day before."

Looking away, so that Natalia couldn't see her eyes, Calleigh whispered on. "I asked him about it, and he basically denied it, but he pinned me against the car and tried to kiss me. I pushed him away and that's when he totally lost it. He grabbed my arm, slammed me against the driver's side window my car, and then punched me in the ribs before he drove off. I managed to call Ryan, and he helped me out."

"I knew that Ryan was up to something, he has the worst poker face." Natalia tried to loosen up the mood, but to no avail, she kept having thoughts of Eric putting his hands on Calleigh's body. She shivered in rage.

Calleigh continued. "There's more. Ryan found a gym bag that Eric left behind, and um.... Eric had our personal files, and he had the files from your therapist. He knows everything about us darlin'."

Natalia's mouth fell open in shock; Eric knew everything then. There were no secrets anymore; that explained his ability to corner her so easily.

"The bag also had medical records that showed that the bullet in Eric's head is moving. That's what is making him do all these strange things. His personality has been steadily deteriorating over the past couple of months according to Ryan, and I think that he's almost reached his limit."

Natalia was shell-shocked. Unable to move or even think, she just sat there holding her wife's hands in her own. "Cal... what are we going to do?" She sounded scared, and very afraid.

Calleigh rubbed her thumb over bronze knuckles, talking calmly. "I called a friend of ours, and she knows someone who is going to help us track Eric down before someone else gets hurt. Ryan met with her last night, so I need to talk to him this morning to find out what happened."

Natalia smiled a tiny bit. "Who did you call in a favor from babe?" She raised their joined hands to her lips, kissing each peach toned knuckle softly.

Hanging her head slightly, Calleigh stuttered a bit. "Um... your friend Jen Slater."

The brunette just smiled, kissing Calleigh's lips softly. "What did she say baby?" She continued to hold onto Calleigh's hands, still physically needing to feel her.

"She said that she knew someone that could help us out, and got her in touch with Ryan. I don't know anything about the person. I figured since you trusted Jen, that I could trust her judgment."

"I love that you open yourself up to people in my life, because they are in my life." Natalia kissed the blonde a little bit longer this time, but still not a full-fledged passionate embrace they both craved. She just honestly wanted to FEEL Calleigh. "I want to meet this person with you. I want to know everything, no more keeping each other in the dark, okay babe?"

Pulling away just a bit, Calleigh looked into chocolate eyes. "Deal, but don't you have something that you need to tell me?"

Natalia nodded quietly. "Eric and I had an altercation in a back hallway at work..." she sighed. "The same thing happened between us that happened between you two, minus the violence."

Calleigh listened quietly, waiting for her wife to add anything else. A few moments later Natalia finished her statement. "Ryan interrupted him, and I froze, I didn't know what to do... I just felt so powerless."

Waiting until Natalia looked into her eyes, Calleigh reassured her. "There wasn't anything that you could have done. He knows everything about us now. He knows which buttons to push to get the best reaction, and we're going to have to be very careful for a while. I don't want either one of us to be alone if we don't have to."

Natalia held Calleigh's gaze, nodding to herself more than anything. She was going to have to go back to looking over her shoulder again. This time it was someone she once called a friend, a former lover. She cringed at the memories of Eric touching her.

"Would you mind getting me the phone so I can call Ryan? I really want to know about the meeting, and I want to know what he found at Eric's townhouse?"

Natalia leaned in, and brushed her lips against Calleigh's cheek before going to fetch the phone out of the kitchen. Grabbing a banana off the table on the way, she slid back onto the couch moments later, handing both of them to the blonde. "You might need something in your stomach for your medication..." She smiled warmly, her hand resting on Calleigh's knee.

"Thanks darlin', but you do know that there is a brand new package of honey smoked bacon in the fridge just waiting to be fried up? I can hear it screaming my name from here." Calleigh looked at her with a very hopeful look on her face.

Laughing she leaned in, and kissed the blonde, soundly to wipe any kind of doubt from her mind that she would do exactly as she asked, but deep down, she knew Calleigh wanted to talk to Ryan in private, in case things were really bad. She flinched inwardly at how bad things could possibly go. She crawled off the couch, and wandered into the kitchen to start preparing breakfast for her wife.

Getting comfortable on the sofa to where she could watch Natalia was she worked in the kitchen, Calleigh called up Ryan, and waited for him to pick up.

"Ryan.... Hey, it's me.... How did the meet go?"

Wolfe leaned against the steel girder overseeing a crime scene for Horatio who was still at the lab, but on his way. Answering his phone on the second ring. "Hey Cal... It wasn't quite that bad. She's an interesting character to say the least." he turned his head away from the noise to hear better.

"Really? What was your first impression of her?"

"Guarded. If anything, she can keep a secret. She's no minor league player either." He commented, scratching the back of his neck. Trying to describe Cerano was a little bit difficult; he didn't quite know what to really make of her. "If you're asking if I think that she's the right person for the job, the answer is yes."

Nodding her head, Calleigh felt a little bit more at ease. "That's what I wanted to hear, so when can we meet with her, and before you ask, Natalia and I have talked, and told each other everything."

Ryan let out an audible sigh of relief, feeling an enormous weight off his shoulders, as much as he loved them, keeping secrets from them was painful and wrong. "I'm glad to hear that. You guys are killing me." His mind flashed back to Eric's townhome, the pictures, the thought made him sick. He clamped down on it becoming serious. "Calleigh, we need to meet immediately, she followed me to Eric's..." He fiddled nervously with the strap on his personal side arm.

Sitting up, then wincing when she moved too fast, Calleigh tried to keep her voice calm so not to alarm Natalia. "Why... what did you find?"

"I would rather discuss this in person, but I will tell you the whole townhome was trashed. You know how much of a neat freak he is, there were holes in the walls..." He sighed turning around to at least try to keep an eye on the team processing.

Closing her eyes, Calleigh missed Natalia looking at her with a worried expression, until she felt a gentle caress against her cheek. Opening up her eyes, she gazed into the face that held nothing more than absolute love, and compassion. She loved Natalia more at that moment, more than anything. They were together in this.

Holding that gaze, Calleigh answered her friend. "Ok, give this woman a call and have her meet us here. What time do you think that you can get away?"

"We're almost done here, we'll be there in about forty five minutes, an hour tops." Ryan crossed his arms, watching the team finishing up, and storing things away in the Hummers and vans.

Sighing, reached out to grasp Natalia's hand. "Ok, why don't you call her and you guys can be here in an hour and a half. We'll see you then."

Ryan closed the phone, disconnecting the call. If his inner turmoil was anything compared to the turmoil of the crime scene, he didn't show it. Telling Calleigh and Natalia was going to be a nightmare made real. Their situation was already a living hell. He slipped on his Ray Bans, and joined the team back in controlled fury of the scene.

During breakfast, Natalia told Calleigh that she had called Horatio earlier, and told him about her busted ribs. He told her that Calleigh was on medical leave for the rest of the week, and then he let her know that IA had cleared her in regards to the shooting.

"You should be warned Natalia that the media has somehow gotten hold of the footage, and it's being shown on the news today."

When Calleigh heard this, she closed her eyes in frustration. "We need to call our families, darlin'. When they see that clip, they're gonna flip out."

Pushing her plate back, Natalia leaned her elbows on the table, resting her chin on her hands. "I've already called Cristine, and told tell her to keep the girls away from the television. Anya is visiting your brother, so I thought that I'd let you take care of them together, if you don't mind."

Smiling broadly, Calleigh couldn't help but chuckle. "I told you that they were getting together at the wedding. I'm glad that Chance has found someone like your sister. She'll be good for him."

Natalia got up from her chair to come around to stand next to her wife. "I'm just glad that she found someone like your brother." Leaning down, she softly kissed the blonde. "I still got the pick of the litter though."

"Oh you did, did you? Well, right back at ya, babe. I guess that we both got lucky." Looking at her watch, she figured that Chance would be in class, so she decided to call him that evening.

Taking the dishes into the kitchen, Natalia just left them in the sink, before she helped Calleigh back into their bedroom to get ready for the day. Carefully they got her out of her clothes and into the shower.

Standing underneath the cascading water, Calleigh groaned as the water slid over her bruised body, it's warmth slowly penetrating through to her aching muscles. Warm fingers started to work shampoo through dark gold hair, massaging her scalp, eliciting a low moan. Leaning her head back slightly, Calleigh closed her eyes, and enjoyed the feeling of being loved, and taken care of.

Standing slightly behind and to the side of her wife, Natalia almost lost herself in the feeling of wet silk running through her fingers, but caught herself. Murmuring quietly, she moved the blonde to rinse the lather from her hair before reaching for the body wash. Working up a lather, she came around to face her wife, and gently began to wash her face. Gazing down at the face that was upturned with eyes closed, trusting her to find all the dirt….trusting her with her heart, with her love. Natalia gave in to her longing, and leaned down to take Calleigh's lips in a slow kiss.

Slowly pushing her back, Natalia trapped Calleigh between her body and the wall. Carefully she ran her fingers down the uninjured side, stopping briefly to cup a full breast, toying with the extended nipple.

Calleigh arch against her, pressing more of herself into the questing hand, while she deepened the kiss. Growling her displeasure as Natalia broke it off, but it quickly turned to whimpers of pleasure as Natalia dropped to her knees to run her tongue through wet curls. As the brunette brought one of Calleigh's legs over her shoulder, the blonde placed her hand on top of her head to keep her balance. Oh, who was she kidding? She was keeping Natalia right where she wanted her.

Slowly Natalia brought her up to the edge, before backing off and starting again, always taking her time, making sure that Calleigh understood how much she was loved, how much she was needed. Finally sliding in three fingers, and drawing hard on Calleigh's clit, Natalia allowed Calleigh to fall gently over the edge, and caught her as she slid slowly down the wall.

After catching her breath, Calleigh drew Natalia down for another kiss. "That was just what I wanted; you touching, and filling me so slowly. You always seem to know what I need for you to do."

Nuzzling a tender spot underneath Calleigh's ear, Natalia murmured. "I just know what I needed to feel, I just wanted you, slow and easy."

Turning into the kiss, Calleigh slid her tongue along Natalia's bottom lip. "So what can I do for you Mrs. DuVista? Is there a special spot that you need cleaned?"

"Not right now babe, but soon very, very soon. I need you too, so bad."

Placing her forehead against Natalia's, Calleigh release a long sigh. "I know the feeling, but this is gonna be so worth the wait."

Smiling, Natalia ran her fingertips over Calleigh's berry colored lips, resisting temptation to just throw caution to the wind; instead, she broke her gaze with Calleigh, kissing her forehead.

Standing, Natalia carefully helped her wife to her feet, and they got out to get dressed. After cautiously binding up Calleigh's ribs, Natalia helped her put on her clothes, before braiding her hair. Then getting dressed herself, she pulled on a pair white jeans with a blue and white polo shirt and sandals. They made their way over to the sofa where Natalia helped her wife slide on a pair of tennis shoes.

Cerano sighed audibly in the Miami heat, it clung to the back of her neck, her temples, her lower back, and anything exposed was in danger of saturation. Her fault though for wearing jeans with only one hole in them and a long sleeve thermal white shirt in ninety degree weather. "Nice digs." was all she commented to Ryan before going back to dead silence. Looking at her reflection in the glass of the door, she checked the checkered golf cap and the gold reflective aviator sunglasses, perfect she thought. She wondered about these female police officers; usually with the badge and femininity, came a chip on the shoulder, of course she had no room to talk.

Natalia heard the doorbell ring, and kissed Calleigh on the cheek, before hopping up to get the door. She swung open the front door, greeting the two visitors. "Ryan... thanks so much for coming..." she looked at the stranger, she gave her a quick once over. Young, dark haired with soft girl next door features; this was the ace in the hole? "Hi, I'm Natalia, welcome to our home." The tall brunette stepped aside, leaving the entryway open for the new comers to come in.

Ryan walked through the door and head straight towards Calleigh. "Hey Cal, how ya feeling today? Heard any good jokes?"

Cerano stood in the hallway with her hands in her back pockets. Cops made the hair on the back of her neck stick up, she wasn't the most respectable of people, half of her world was illegal. She looked at Natalia, nodding before muttering her name. "Cerano." She smiled a thin-lipped smile, pulling off the sunglasses, hanging them on the back of her collar since her hair was in a messy samurai ponytail.

Shifting carefully on the sofa, Calleigh slapped at his hand. "Real funny Wolfe. Who's the kid?"

Cerano arched a jet-black eyebrow at the blonde's remark, as she refrained from rolling her eyes. Cops still had authority in their own house. She leaned against the wall, watching Ryan and Calleigh interact, she glanced back at Natalia, Cerano was heavily reminded of her mother, the eyes and smile was a perfect match. She looked back to Ryan, yawning.

Noticing the yawn, Calleigh couldn't resist from asking the young woman, "Are we keeping you from a party or something?"

Scratching the scar at the edge of her jaw, Cerano smiled, and added some sugar into her voice. "Depends. Is your house at three am party central? If so, I couldn't tell last night." She dropped the smile, and crossed her arms. Arching a cocky eyebrow again, she never broke eye contact with the feisty blonde.

"What were you doing outside our house at three o'clock in the morning?" Turning to her friend, she arched a golden eyebrow. "Do you have something that you want to tell me?"

"What we saw last night was pretty disturbing. Cerano..." Ryan motioned to the young brunette. "..Hasn't slept all night. She's been sitting down the block, keeping watch over your house." He sat on the edge of the sofa, watching Natalia and Calleigh. He hated to having to tell them these things, even worse that they had to go through them.

Natalia came around the sofa to sit next to her wife, reaching for her hand. "What exactly did you see at Eric's? How bad was it?"

Ryan looked at Cerano; she caught the unspoken words 'Can we have some privacy?' She walked into the middle of the hallway, fishing her Blackberry out of her pocket. "I'll be outside Wolfe-man. I have to take this..." She turned around, striding out the front door, shutting it quietly behind her. Ryan closed his hands together, turning back. "The apartment looks like a hermit has been living there for last three months."

Natalia looked puzzled. "That's just not like Eric. He is so proud of his place."

"I know... it gets worse, besides the holes in the walls, stacks of newspapers, old food, trashed furniture, no windows or blinds open there was this room...which is dead bolted" Ryan hesitated a little before deciding to rip the band aide off, he wouldn't want someone hiding this from him. "It was full of pictures of the both of you... it was one of the most fixated, obsessive photography displays I've ever seen."

Looking at her friend closely, Calleigh muttered 'Lousy poker face', before asking. "What kind of pictures are we talking about?"

He slid his phone, open across the coffee table to Calleigh, he had taken a picture of one of the tamer photographs, where Natalia wasn't so disfigured, but bad enough for her to get the gist of how bad the situation had truly become.

Natalia looked over Calleigh's shoulder, and gasped as she caught sight of the picture. It was taken while they were on their honeymoon at The Shore's. They were laying out at their private pool, Calleigh had her head on Natalia's shoulder, with Natalia on her back, her arms around the blonde, both of them sound asleep.

"Damn it! How did he get that shot? There's a eight foot privacy wall totally enclosing the pool." Calleigh forced herself to her feet, ignoring the pain that shot through her chest.

Ryan looked at Natalia sadly. "I have no idea." He turned back to Calleigh, watching her in case she stumbled.

Cerano walked through the front door, slipping the phone into her back pocket. "He probably found a tall building and a really expensive lens." was all she said in way of any kind of greeting, she leaned against the couch behind Ryan.

Turning to look at the young girl, Calleigh frowned. "He had to have gotten a room, but most of the rooms don't have a view of the beach house. The only other way would have been from the roof of the hotel itself.... What did you say your name was? I'm sorry, I didn't catch it."

"Old ladies I've saved from burning buildings ask less questions than you do. Cerano is my name, Calleigh DuVista." She locked her glittering black eyes with the blonde. She was becoming annoyed, fast.

Ryan put his head in his hands, watching Calleigh. He had a feeling she and Cerano weren't going to get along so well. He glanced at Natalia for any kind of sympathy.

Natalia quickly made her way over to her wife, laying a calming hand on her arm. "Come on ladies, this is a tense situation. Let's not make it any worse."

Never taking her eyes off Cerano, Calleigh replied. "All I'm doing is asking her name darlin'. Is that too much to ask for?"

"Ladies? Lady." Cerano smiled pointing at Calleigh. "I'm not afforded that luxury in my profession. The name sticks as far as you're concerned." She switched her sharp gaze to Ryan, arching a condescending eyebrow as if to say, 'Save your girl, Wolfe-man.'

Ryan notices Cerano's look, then looks back at Calleigh. "Calleigh, let it go, cops aren't high up on her list of trust worthy allies..." he trailed off, his eyes flicking back and forth from Natalia and Calleigh.

The gaze was steady. "Ryan, I'm giving her my trust to find Eric and to let us get him some help, but trust is a two way street, and I would like just a little back in return. If not her name, then something that we can build on."

Cerano sighed, realizing she wasn't getting out of this; she went for the ultimate tiebreaker. Pointing to the horrific scar under her jaw that was the only imperfection on the smooth, bronzed skin. She spoke calmly, and steadily, which was the opposite of the way she felt. "This is what happens when I trust cops..." Tilting her head back, she turned her neck slightly, letting the light from outside catch the ridges of the mottled skin, and made sure they understood why she hated cops so much.

Natalia stepped in front of Calleigh, blocking her view of the young woman. She spoke softly, just loud enough for her wife to hear. "Let it go Cal. Don't ask me why, but I trust her. There's something about her eyes that reminds me of someone, but I can't put my finger on it. She'll help us if she can."

Turning to Cerano, Natalia sighed. "I appreciate that you're helping us, but please understand that we've been through a lot in the past few months, and it gets to us every once in awhile. One the other hand, don't judge us by whoever did that to you."

"The person who did this to me hasn't received his judgment, yet. Your thanks isn't needed either. I understand what you're going through though... the man that did this to me still leaves me gifts in remembrance." She smiled savagely, she looked at Ryan.

Ryan walked behind Cerano, putting his hand on her shoulder in some semblance of comfort, which she of course, rolled her shoulder, slipping his hand off. She wasn't mad; Cerano just didn't like being touched, by people she didn't know.

"I want to go to Eric's place and see all of this for myself." Calleigh decided. "I know what you saw, but I need to see it for myself." Turning to her wife, she reached for her hand. "You don't have to come if you don't want."

Natalia stepped close. "Where you go, I go. Don't even think that you're getting rid of me that easily."

Cerano stepped away the trio of people, 'Gluttons for punishment. Fine make it harder on yourself.' she thought, sliding on her glasses while watching Ryan out of the corner eye.

Ryan looked at both women, and smiled grimly. "I'll ride with Cerano; you two can follow us in your car." Personally Ryan would rather share Cerano's lavish Range Rover than his Chevy Malibu, he though sarcastically.

By the time that they got to Eric's, Calleigh had calmed down quite a bit, much to Natalia peace of mind. She loved how stubborn her wife was, but there were times that she just wouldn't let things go.

Cerano pulled the Range Rover into the back alley, cutting the engine. She turned her head slightly, looking at Ryan. "Open the glove box and hand me my pistol please." She pulled on brown gloves this time, the same style. She also opened the center console, pulling out her little black kit for opening locked doors, and a shoulder holster for her pistol. It didn't matter if Delko hadn't been seen by her associates; he could still be around or near the house. Her job was to protect Calleigh and Natalia first, find Delko second.

Ryan opened the glove box, staring at the black nine mm; he turned back to Cerano staring at her, past the reflective lenses. "Cerano..." he trailed off.

She pulled off her sunglasses, putting them on her collar, reaching over him and plucking the gun out of the compartment, snapping it shut. She pulled on the shoulder holster, and slipped the gun in. "Remember how you told me that if I needed anything, all I had to do was ask?" She raised an eyebrow for his acknowledgement, which was a nod. "I need you to overlook this detail. I'm not going to kill anyone unless I have to; I only want to slow him down. I'll go through the back." Ryan nodded to himself, trying to relax as he exited the vehicle.

Ryan walked around the to the front door meeting Calleigh and Natalia on the front porch, he let them in.

Cerano was already sitting at the kitchen table eating an apple, leaning on her elbows watching them; he noticed the little black kit next to her and glared. He said nothing however, and turned to look at Calleigh and Natalia.

Natalia was covering her mouth with her hand, surveying the damage to the home. True, the last time that she had seen the place was a few years back, but seeing this much destruction scared her.

Cerano watched their faces, she wasn't getting up until they asked her to open the door. Staying up all night in a stationary position was harder than she remembered, stifling another yawn behind brown leather gloves.

Ryan put a hand on the counter top looking over its contents. He noticed bills were still being paid, and correspondence with family was being kept up as well, as for all the other odds and ends they were scattered all over the floor.

"Calleigh... Eric's still keeping up his bills, his letters to his family... it's like he's halfway here... and half way not." He picked up a bill and examined it's date; two days ago, it had been paid that night it was received.

Cerano stood up, leaned past Ryan, stealing the letter out of his hand, flipping it over, she read the date. "He's still coming here to take care of things." She looked up at him.

"Well, don't you think that since he only attacked me yesterday, that he was here the night before. I mean really, it's only logical. He wouldn't have any reason to flee until then. Hasn't your mighty network heard anything yet?" Calleigh all but sneered.

Cerano snapped, slamming her fist down so hard on the tile counter top, splitting one tile in two with a loud crack. "Listen… I understand we come from two different sides of the fence, but you asked for my help. So show some respect and it'll be given in turn. If I had heard anything, I wouldn't have agreed to baby sit." She stared Calleigh down, this woman didn't have a chip on her shoulder, she had a whole bag of Doritos. The dark haired young woman held eye contact, not backing down in the least.

"Damn It! Will you two quit having a pissing contest on who's the Alpha Female in this little group." Natalia growled out. "Non lasci il vostro asino comunicare per la vostra bocca." She walked around the room with her hand on her hips.

Ryan looked at Calleigh. "What the fuck did she just say?"

Calleigh shrugged. "Hell if I know. I've never seen her this mad before."

Cerano turned to stare at Natalia in shock and disbelief. Her father had said that to her as a child. Anytime she ran off at the mouth, he would say those words and she would instantly go quiet. Looking down at the ground, trying to bite back tears at the memories, her voice was thick with emotion. "Non lasci il vostro asino comunicare per la vostra bocca. It means 'Don't let your ass talk for your mouth..." she murmured.

Natalia whirled around and stared at the young woman for a moment, frowning slightly, she looked so damn familiar. Shaking her head, she asked. "All right, where's the room with all of the pictures?"

Stuffing down her emotions like always, Cerano brushed past Natalia and Calleigh, walking down the trashed hallway. Stopping in front of the door with the deadbolt, she took a deep breath, settling down on one knee. In no time at all, she had the door unlocked, and open. Cerano stood, and whirled around on her heel, pulling a pack of cigarettes out of her back pocket, and walking towards the back door."I need fresh air.."

Ryan pretended once again to NOT see Cerano do something illegal, instead he watched Calleigh's face along with Natalia's, judging their reaction.

Calleigh pushed her way past Ryan, flipping on the light switch, but abruptly stopped when she got the first look of the walls. Turning quickly, she hissed in pain, but tried to stop Natalia from coming in. "No Talia, you don't need to see this. Please trust me."

The walls were divided into three grisly sections. One wall was devoted entirely to Calleigh, her smile, eyes; her best assets were blown into enormous cutouts. They weren't completed though; just select parts. Another wall was dedicated to Natalia, Calleigh together, though every photo had Natalia's face burnt out, and Eric's replaced with it with his own. The final wall and most horrifying, were pictures of Natalia, her eyes cut out, her throat marked through, mostly things he apparently envisioned doing to her, like the giant butcher knife that stuck out of one of the pictures.

Natalia slowly walked in, and looked at every single picture on the walls. Tears flowed silently down her face. He had captured every important moment in their recent lives, and made each one so ugly, so shameful that she could hardly stand it.

Ryan felt horrible for bringing them here, he shouldn't have agreed to it. "Now do you see why Cerano stayed up all night to watch over you two?"

With her eyes dark in anger, Calleigh growled. "There's no way that he would come to our home. He can't be that far gone."

Pointing to a picture that had been taken the day of their family picnic before the wedding. The two women were astride Natalia's Harley, Calleigh was facing her wife, with her legs wrapped around her waist. "We were on a deserted road Calleigh! Where was he when he took this?"

Shaking her head, all Calleigh could say was that she didn't know.

Natalia turned back to her wife, whispering. "He's raped our lives from us. There hasn't been an instant when he wasn't with us. Every moment that was special to us. Times when we thought that we were alone," pointing to a picture that had been taken when they had first been married down in the Keys. "He knew about us before even I told him in the lab."

Ryan left them alone to go find Cerano outside in the alley.

Stepping over crumpled and torn pictures, Calleigh gathered Natalia into her embrace, not paying any attention to her screaming ribs. All she could focus on was the woman in her arms, and damping down the violent urge to have Eric Delko drawn and quartered.

Shutting her eyes, Calleigh thought back to how many moments Eric had witnessed, but that in itself made her wonder. How had he taken all of the pictures when he had been in Miami while they were in the Keys?

Wiping the tears from Natalia's face, Calleigh whispered. "We'll get him, Talia. I'm going to make him pay for what he's done to us. I promise you."

Natalia's eyes went hard. "We need to get all of these pictures out of here. What happens if he does something awful to someone else. The police are going to come in here, and see our lives. We can't let that happen, Calleigh. We just can't."

Cerano entered the room catching the tail end of the couple's conversation. She leaned against the wall in the hallway, one brown boot on the wall, with her arms crossed, rubbing her shoulder under the leather holster. "If you take the pictures, Delko will know you've been here.,.."

Natalia whirled around. "I don't care if he knows. I'm not going to let our lives be on display to anyone that walks in. How many people have already seen them already, huh? Do you know? Do you know what it feels like to that everything precious and special, turned to dirt in an instant?"

Cerano watched her closely. She didn't know what to say to ease any kind of hurt in this situation. "When my parents were murdered.. I saw everything. My mother's diamond necklace was lying in the dirt covered in blood, my father's Rolex cracked when it hit the cement.. I remember watching it in slow motion.." Her eyes slid out of focus as she went back in time, she snapped back however moments later, watching them shrewdly.

Taking a step towards this unusual woman, Natalia appealed to her. "Then you understand why I want them out of here?"

"It doesn't matter what I understand, if you take them, Eric will know you've been here. Wolfe will be next in Delko's little hit list. I'd rather him keep these for a little bit longer, and then destroy them once he's caught. No one will find them I promise you.." she trailed off watching Natalia wearily, she didn't know what do other than the only obvious option.

Calleigh sighed. "Talia.... look at me. Please Natalia." Slowly the brunette turned to look at her wife. "She's right. They need to stay here. We need to trust her. Let her do what she thinks' is best."

Cerano wanted to scream, 'No shit, Sherlock. Don't wave a flag in a bulls face', but now was hardly the time to go screaming like a lunatic in the face of a morally, and emotionally defacing moment in these women's lives. She was attempting to reserve any judgment until she knew them better; Wolfe wasn't so bad, cute, for a boy.

Ryan stepped into the room, softly talking to his friends. "I think that it's time for us to go. I don't think that it is safe for us to stay here too long?"

Cerano brushed past him easily, her hand unconsciously slipping towards the pistol under her arm, her thumb flipping off the safety as she walked towards the front door.

She had heard a creak in the floorboards upstairs. Her heartbeat picked up in anticipation of any kind of confrontation, but time slowed to a glacial pace. She slid along the wall inching towards the stairs, pulling the Glock out of her holster; she swung around facing up the foot of the stairs. One hand held the gun, the other was palm up facing Wolfe, telling him to be quiet and be still.

Motioning to the women still in the room to stay there, Ryan went to back up the now silent woman, peering around the corner. Cerano never took her eyes off the upstairs landing, her hands steady as a surgeon. In her opinion, if she was anything at her job, she was a professional.

Cerano motioned with her head that she was going up the stairs, with her hand though, she told him to stay here. "Stay with them." She whispered as quietly as she could, slipping quietly up the stairs. Turning around the far right corner, she noticed the window was open, the blinds buzzing from the breeze. She heard someone slide off the roof and onto the pavement, by the time she made it to the window, the person was peeling out of alley and around the corner. It looked like a late model Crown Victoria. "Fuck me sideways up a cactus in the dessert..." Cerano slipped the pistol back into the holster, and put her hands on the edge of the window, glaring at the now empty alley except her Rover.

Ryan slowly peered into the room, and seeing her beside the window, he lowered his gun. "Did you see anything?"

"I heard a floorboard creak, and since this town home is relatively new, there should be no warped wood panels. I turned the corner, and saw the window was open. I heard someone jump off the roof, but by the time, I made it to the window, what looked like a Crown Vic was already half way around the corner. From the angle I couldn't' catch the plate..." she ran a frustrated hand over the back of her neck.

Ryan mimicked her action, rubbing that back of his neck. "That means either Eric has switched cars, or he has someone helping him out. Either way, we're screwed, because he's gonna know that I let you guys in here."

"Got a dog?" She turned around, walking out the door of the empty bedroom, and down the stairs to the room.

"Got a dog? When do I have time to take care of a dog?" Ryan muttered as he turned and followed the enigmatic woman back downstairs.

"You'll get time for an animal that'll afford you the extra ten seconds you'll need to get to a gun in the middle of the night." She answered back; she flipped the safety back on her handgun walking around the corner to find Natalia and Calleigh, unharmed and safe, only then did she slide the weapon back into the holster under her arm, snapping the leather strap to keep it in place.

Calleigh had positioned herself in front of her wife, holding her Smith & Wesson in the ready position. "What was it?"

"We had company, but they're long gone now." Cerano put her hand against the wall, leaning against it thinking quietly to herself.

Taking several breaths through her nose, Calleigh tried to calm her fiery nerves, and asked in a relatively calm voice. "Do you think that the people that you have supposedly watching this place caught a plate or a description?"

Cerano had already pulled out the blackberry Nextel and chirped her associates. "Tell me you saw that?" was her dangerously low line cutting across the Nextel 2 way. She'd heard the blonde add "supposedly" into her question, she refrained from shooting her the finger.

The chirp came back instantly "I'm chasing him through traffic right now." Cerano was torn, leave the three cops to fend for themselves and chase this piece of shit down herself, or stay put and let her minions do the dirty work.

She knew she would never catch up, she hissed back over the line "If you lose them, I'll make you regret it." She marched into the kitchen, and ripped open the back door, needing fresh air, this was grating her nerves like a cheese grater on provolone.

Ryan came back down the stairs, putting away his pistol while sighing. Looking at his friends, then over to the woman standing outside with her hands on her hips, he swore to himself. "Cal, I hate to suggest this, but Natalia has to go to the station to sign the shooting reports, and I think that she should tell Horatio at least something of what's going on."

Moments later the trio of officers heard a loud "FUCK!" and the shattering of a cellular phone against a brick wall, then dead silence.

Putting away her gun, Calleigh couldn't help, but mutter to herself. "They lost him."

Cerano was outside, trying not to spontaneously combust, obviously this was more serious than originally thought. She crossed her arms over her chest, staring at her reflection in the glass of Rover windows. She hated asking favors, but this was a pretty big deal.

She turned around and walked until she was standing in the doorway. "They lost him... though not before reporting that it was a police issued Crown Vic."

Natalia started shaking her head. "Eric doesn't drive a Vic. It's a Ford Escape."

"Then I'm going to have to forgo sleep tonight and go hunting..." Cerano rubbed her hands over her face, internally grimacing at the lack of sleep for the second night in a row.

"No! You're not going to be any good to use if you are sleep deprived. What we are going to do is this." Calleigh turned to her wife. "Darlin', I want you and Ryan to go to the department. Sign the papers, talk to Horatio. I want you to tell him the basic facts. Tell him that we are handling the situation, and we are asking him to trust us without knowing the full story. I know that it's a lot, but we need him to go along with us on this."

Looking over to Ryan, she pinned him with a steely gaze. "You are not to let her out of your sight, and you are going to start staying at a hotel, which we will pay for."

Then finally turning to the still fuming woman. "If you wouldn't mind driving me home, you can stay there for the remainder of the day. I would like for you to check out the house, and look at my guns to see if there is anything that you can use. You can rest there until dark."

Cerano stifled a yawn behind her leather-gloved hand, in the back of her mind, she was still trying to connect the dots between Natalia, and how she knew her. She looked at Calleigh, and nodded a tight jerk of her head, accepting her offer, and walked out to lean against the Rover.

Natalia wrapped one arm around Calleigh's hips loosely, kissing her cheek softly, as much as she hated the idea, it had to be done. Horatio needed to know, and it was her duty to report all that she could without actually forcing him to be involved legally.

Cerano held the back door open for Calleigh, Natalia, and Ryan to walk through, leaning her head against it, quietly processing thoughts through her head, and what she might need from her own place.

Natalia stopped in front of Cerano, she made sure to barely invade her personal space, hoping it made the point as obvious as it could be. "Se qualche cosa accade lei, nessuno lo conserveranno da me." If anything happens to her, no one will save you from me. She gave her the nastiest look she could muster, and held her gaze.

Cerano for her part, stepped up as close to Natalia as she could, making their noses almost touch, she smiled back grimly while reaching into her back pocket. Sliding out a butterfly knife, she flipped it open and stabbed it into the doorframe right above Natalia's head. "Se succede qualcosa a lei, io anche fornire i tuo istrumenti." If something happens to her, I'll even provide your tools. Never breaking eye contact, she understood Natalia's point. However, she was no spring chicken to a death threat.

Holding out a hand to her advancing, and fuming wife, also not breaking eye contact, Natalia reached up to grab the knife from the jam, flipped it closed, then reached around to slip it back in to the pocket that it came from. "Bambine non dovrebbero giocare con oggetti appuntiti." Little girls shouldn't play with sharp objects.

Cerano smiled cruelly, looking the taller woman up, and down, she slipped the gold-mirrored aviators back onto her face, walked past Natalia, and opened up the passenger side door of the Range Rover for Calleigh. She was a little impressed with Natalia's cajones, but then again, she was a cop for a reason. She leaned against the car, staring at Natalia. "È meglio essere uno sciocco, che per aprire la bocca e provarlo." It's better to be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and prove it.

Natalia just smiled back in answer to Cerano's quip, although it unnerved her how many sayings they both knew in Italian. Turning back to her wife, she ran her hand up over her collarbone into the blonde hair. She stepped up close to Calleigh, and gently ran her lips over her wife's. Right as the kiss was about to reach indecent, she pulled back, leaving a soft chaste kiss on the berry pink lips.

"I love you, call me when you get home. " She whispered in Calleigh's ear before walking towards the front door with Ryan on her heels.

Calleigh took a moment to get her eyes back in focus, as her wife had most efficiently staked her claim on her in front of Cerano. Heaven help this woman if she tried anything or let anything happen to her. Calleigh never wanted to get on the wrong side of Natalia DuVista.

Cerano rolled her eyes at the display behind her sunglasses, but secretly she knew she would of done the same thing, the blonde was a hell of a looker. She smiled inwardly at the thought, and looked at Ryan in another white blazer. What was it with this guy, looking like some Miami Vice reject?

Getting in the open passenger door, Calleigh winced a bit as her ribs protested all of the movements that they had been doing. "Do we need to make any stops on the way back to our house?"

Cerano leaned against the doorframe of the SUV looking at the blonde. "Depends on how your ribs feel...." She looked at the hand holding Calleigh's ribs.

"I'm good for a while longer. The pain isn't roaring yet; just getting my attention. Let's go."

Cerano shut the door behind her, climbing into the driver's side starting the engine quietly; she shifted in her seat moving the shoulder harness to pull on her seatbelt. She reached up and flipped down Calleigh's visor so the sun wouldn't be in her eyes. Fractured ribs were a bitch on your weight transfer. She was quiet the entire drive to her side of town.

Calleigh quietly thanked her for the visor, but for the rest of the ride was silent, just looking at the scenery that flew by them on the road. Quietly looking around, she noticed all the CD's on the visor, and tried to read the labels. The Beatles, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, T Pain, Kanye West, 311 and some band named Fall Out Boy were most of the names she could read, there were several others she couldn't. Looking under the dash, she saw not only a police scanner, but a radar jammer. Smiling her approval, she realized that this woman was prepared for almost anything.

Finally after a twenty minute drive, Cerano pulled the Rover behind a tall three story red brick warehouse, which took up about half a of a city block. The bottom floor looked to be an auto garage, since the entire south face wall had eight rolling doors that were thrown open to the early afternoon Miami weather.

Inside the doors was a mechanic's wet dream, snap on tools, car lifts, even a rim-fitting machine, plus a paint box that was specially designed for painting cars. The walls of the garage were covered in posters of bands, women, and car parts.

Cerano got out of the SUV, and walked around to help Calleigh out of the vehicle, thankfully she loved lowered SUV's or that would of been impossible for the blonde.

Three of the eight lifts were occupied with cars, a 1971 Charger RT, a 1967 Mustang, which had seen better days, and a beach dune buggy that was currently missing tires.

Whistling softly, Calleigh walked around the Charger, careful not to touch the paint job. It looked like the original paint; Sunburn Orange with a Black Stripe, and a RT hood. "What's underneath the hood?"

Cerano smiled affectionately patting the burnt orange paint lovingly. "She's got a 440 Six-Pack." She looked under the chassis to see if any improvements had been made since she'd been away the last few hours.

"Nice, I'm impressed."

New air filter, and the brakes were in the process of being replaced. She leaned back, looking at the blonde carefully. "Birthday gift from my brother last year."

Walking towards the Mustang, Calleigh couldn't help running her hand over the cracked paint, and dented metal. Muttering to the car, "Hello baby. it's looks like you've seen better days. Well, it looks like that you'll be put back in shape soon."

Turning back to the woman that was leaning against the Charger, she explained. "My dad bought me one of these for my first car, but one night he wrecked it. My dad has a slight drinking problem."

Cerano walked around behind the Mustang, she patted the fender lovingly as well, and an almost motherly expression as her calloused hands ran over the rusted metal and peeling paint. She was crap at this emotional stuff; her parents were gone, she had her brother, but they weren't very emotional towards one another, more like a team against the world. She reached behind the car, and pulled out a rolling chair, and slid it across the floor to Calleigh. "Everybody has their fight."

Carefully sitting down, Calleigh agreed. "Yeah, but they shouldn't draw other people into it." Shaking her head, as she didn't want to get on that subject, she motioned around the room. "I like what you've done with the place."

"Jordan-" Cerano halted at her brother's name, wondering where he was. She checked her watch, a matte black Oceanus dive watch that read one thirty. He'd probably been trying to call her on the cell phone that no longer existed, oh well. "My brother loves to restore old buildings."

"Well, it's evident that he's very good at it. Does he do it professionally or just as a hobby?"

"My brother doesn't do anything unless it's a hobby.... You've got to be thirsty." Cerano waited to see if Calleigh needed help standing up from the chair, she held out a hand hesitantly.

Looking at the hand, Calleigh choose to take what was being offered, and stood up with the help. "I would love a beer. Natalia is quitting for a while, and I find that I miss a good beer every once in a while."

"You came to the right place then..." she motioned to the freight elevator they'd refurbished when facing the problem of renovating the next two stories. She leaned down lifting the gate open and held it up for Calleigh to go ahead.

"Cool." Calleigh could tell that Cerano was trying to be as friendly as she could, and realized that it was probably not the easiest thing for her to do. She made up her mind to cut a bit of slack; not much, but enough to maybe earn her trust.

Cerano watched the blonde out of the corner of her sunglasses for a moment before taking, then off hanging them on her collar. She pushed the button for the living quarter's level, the second story. She crossed her arms. There was a cop, in her home. Never in a million years would she have thought this possible. 'Goes to show you though.' she thought bitterly.

Once the door opened, Calleigh looked into a wide-open space. The large ceilings easily topped twelve feet at least, there was a large galley kitchen, any chef would be jealous of done in industrial steel and natural wood accents. The large piece of weathered oak that separated the kitchen from the enormous game room like space that was big enough for a pool table, three large leather couches, four matching recliner like chairs. On section of bare wall that wasn't open, vertical opening style windows reminiscent of the industrial era, were six flat screen TV's. Massive black and white photos adorned the walls in between each window down the line. At the very end of the massive room, there were two doors, both bulleted steel to match the kitchen and overall rough theme of the room.

Taking a step out of the elevator, Calleigh moved slowly around the room. "Is this an original Ansel Adams?"

Cerano nodded, walking out of the elevator, she glanced at the large black and white photograph of the twisted tree over the large boulders. It was how she felt sometimes, horribly twisted, and disfigured, but in the right light, maybe she was beautiful on some tragic level. She took the holster off, and set it on the large white oak island in the middle of the kitchen, then she walked towards the refrigerator.

Joining her, Calleigh exclaimed. "Natalia would kill for a kitchen like this. She says that cooking relaxes her, and she is an excellent chef. She said that her mother would spend hours in the kitchen, teaching her all sorts of recipes from scratch."

Cerano gave a hard pull on the massive sub zero monster, looked in, and pulled out one bottle of Shinerbock, then she shut the fridge. She turned around, put her elbow on the bottle top, twisted her elbow out, popping the top off, then handed it to Calleigh before pulling out a barstool for her. She herself turned on the water, leaned down, and scooped two steel water bowls off the floor, holding them under stream of water now pouring into the sink.

"I remember, in flashes sometimes, what our kitchen used to looked like." She sighed, not really wanting to go into specifics. Jordan was her brother, it wasn't just her story to tell. She'd doubt he'd have a problem with it, but he'd at least want to tell them with her to fill in the blanks she was missing. They were sometimes like a cohesive stream of consciousness together.

Calleigh watched what the woman was doing with a puzzled look on her face, before she realized that she was staring, and took a long draw on the beer.

Suddenly several loud barks, and the scatter of animal nails on wood came bounding down the long room, out of one of the open steel doors that was probably a bedroom. Two large pit bulls slid to a halt, half way past the kitchen, with large traditional grins on their faces for their breed. One of the animals was blue gray, half its face was white with one eye blue while the other was black. The other animal was red with an entire white head; one ear was red though, and both eyes were yellow, Both of the animals had their ears clipped traditional for their breed as well. "Adonis! Echo!" Cerano smiled putting both the bowls on the floor, opening her arms.

Both dogs succeeded in knocking her back into the cabinets, and slobbering all over her while she hugged them roughly, pushing them back playfully, at the same time.

Calleigh almost laughed at the childlike expression on the woman's face. Clearly, she adored her pets, and that one trait moved Cerano up on Calleigh's list.

"Alright! ALL RIGHT!" She pushed them back, using their big blunt leather spike adorned collars to move their massive weights. "God, I leave for twenty four hours, and you act like I haven't been here in months." She climbed to her feet, opening up a large trashcan full of dog food.

"I take it that these two are your babies?"

She scooped out two large helpings into two more steel bowls she produced out of the cabinet and onto the floor. "My entire world. Dogs don't need a reason to love you other than to know you're theirs." She put the lid back on can, and leaned against the countertop watching Calleigh drink her beer.

Taking another draw of her beer, Calleigh swallowed before asking. "What is it that you need to take to the house, other than a change of clothes, and possibly a new phone?"

"I need some steel." She patted her hands on the countertop, trying to ignore Adonis spraying water all over the floor by sloshing his bowl around.

"I'm assuming that you are referring to knives."

Cerano let loose a deep belly laugh, laying her forehead in her hands, looking towards her pistol on the table she nodded. "No sugar, I'm going to chalk that up to a blonde moment…" Wiping a tear from her eye. "Though my brother does collect that kind of steel, I prefer the loud kind."

Calleigh almost snorted beer though her nose. "Ah, my kind of woman. Well, you are certainly moving up on my list. Any woman that prefers guns to knives is a friend of mine."

She opened up a drawer in the island, and pulled out another Blackberry Nextel, turned it on and uploaded all her contacts via internet. Once she had them, she looked at the dogs, making sure they didn't make too big of a mess on the floor.

"Don't me wrong, I respect the power of a small sharp blade...." She pointed to her neck for emphasis. "But I don't play games, tough bitches get fucked up, and put on ice for their rest of their lives." She finished pushing away from the counter, grabbed a towel before dropping on the floor to clean up all the water while Echo leaned her head against Calleigh's thigh, drooling all over her slacks.

"Hey sweetheart. I take it that you were really thirsty. Sorry about that. Didn't know that I was taking your mommy away from you." Calleigh scratched the dog between its ears.

"Isn't that right Adonis?!" The red pit jumped to his feet, growling playfully, his seventy-pound frame was perfectly tense. "Come on boy, let's go get some clothes, huh?" She looked back at the blonde. "Echo, STAY." The blue pit leaned against Calleigh harder, and whined. Cerano rolled her eyes.

Still scratching the dog, Calleigh said. "Sorry Echo."

Cerano walked out of the kitchen, heading towards the door to her bedroom at the other end of the large room. She stretched her arms over her head, letting the muscles relax for a little while, she pushed her door open, disappearing into the room.

Calleigh looked around the kitchen trying to dissect more about the closely guarded woman with such a horrific past. She noticed several pictures on the counter a few feet away. Carefully getting off the barstool, she made her way over to get a closer look.

One obviously was a picture of her parents wedding day with family members surround the happy couple. It looked like a typical large family wedding, with many on both sides. She could that Cerano looked like her mother, but with her father's eyes. She was about to go to the next photo when a woman on the far side of the picture caught her attention. Except for the hair color, she was twin of Natalia. Frowning, she filed that information away, and moved on.

The next photo was in a bronze frame was of two toddlers, wearing little coveralls. Both children were adorable, not to mention covered in grease. Cerano had her messy hair in a ponytail while her brother was a messy of unruly black tufts. They were starting up at the engine above them, sucking apple juice boxes.

The third photo was a picture of same two children, though much younger, maybe only two and a half, holding a large Cuban cigar between their four little hands. However their faces were turned up in perfect rapture at the male figure, whose feet they were currently sitting on. The man was laughing in the picture, a large open smile, his eyes twinkling as he looked down at his children. He had a lit cigar in his mouth and a glass of liquor in his right hand.

The final photo was encased in a gold orange frame, both of the twins were probably six, this must have been taken right before the parents were killed. They were curled around a beautiful dark haired woman that looked very similar to the other woman in the first photo.

Calleigh was lost in thought as she made her way back over to the bar stool, thinking back to what little she actually knew about her wife's family. She knew that her mother had died when Natalia was in her mid-twenty's, so that would have made her about the right age for the woman in the picture. Seriously, though, what are the odds that Cerano and Natalia were from the same family? A million to one? Closing her eyes briefly, Calleigh mentally went through their bedroom closet, trying to remember if there was a family album anywhere. She still had her eyes closed when Cerano came back out.

Cerano stared at Calleigh, she was either zoning out, or deep in thought, she quietly set the black gym bag on the floor reaching into the cabinet to pull out a bottle of water to drink leaning back against the counter.

Cerano was hesitant about showing Calleigh her personal vault, there were many things in that vault that were illegal, and not all of them were weapons.

"So that's all you're taking? Where's your steel?"

Cerano simply lifted her hand, and pointed up with a lone index finger to the third story. She walked towards the elevator, opening the doors up for Calleigh, and throwing the duffel bag in.

Following the young woman, Calleigh had the feeling that she was about to enter a place that few people had been allowed to go. Swallowing hard, she told herself that there was nothing there that would get their young savior in trouble. She would ignore whatever she had to ignore to keep her wife safe.

Cerano shut the door with a snap, she leaned over, and pushed the button for the top floor. When they finally reached the floor, Cerano leaned down once again to open the gate. The entire third floor was a gym. There were training mats, punching bags on pulleys that slid down the ceiling, massive windows letting in light. The two parallel walls with windows had different vintage swords, and weapons hanging on the wall in displays. The far wall however, was painted jet black with red words painted across the ceiling "I'm a stitch away from making it, and a scar away from falling apart", below it were two brass doors that resembled vault doors. The gym smelled of coppery tint of blood, and sweat; everything a gym should be, the speed bags moved in the breeze.

Calleigh kept silent as she walked through the room. Cerano was a multi-faceted woman, and she was interested in finding out more about her, and her family.

Cerano dropped the duffel bag on the floor by the elevator, lovingly looking around the room. Hell had a room, and it was this one, 'Punish yourself to punish others', was her philosophy. She turned to look at Calleigh's expression, satisfied at the look of awe on the blonde's face, she walked over to the set of brass doors.

One wall was dedicated entirely to pistols; Sig Sauers, Smith and Wesson's, while another wall was dedicated to both automatic and single bolt rifles. A few pairs of brass knuckles were laying on one of the steel benches, next to three bongs and several containers of what looked to be exotic strands of marijuana, Cerano stepped in front of that section and casually draped a sheet over that section of the bench.

She grabbed small sawed off shotgun, and two of the Sig Sauer pistols that were matte black, except for silver inlaid handles. She grabbed enough ammo for both, pushing them into the bag. She then leaned over, and pulled out three brass knuckles, slipping them quietly into the bag.

"Nice collection. I have a few of these at home. I do believe that I may have a few things that you could use however. You can check them out when we get there."

Cerano nodded, she had a bigger collection at her private home in Vancouver, she doubted though that Calleigh or Natalia would ever see it though. While her brother had been there, he had his own personal home on Lake Como in Italy that was used in the ending scene of "Casino Royale."

"Ok then, is that it? I hate to cut the visit short, but the ribs are really starting to protest, and the meds are at home." Calleigh stated, sweat beginning to show on her forehead.

Cerano picked up the bag and slung it over her shoulder, she then jogged to the end of the room and picked up the other duffel bag, and she slung it over her other shoulder in the same way. Walking back to Calleigh, she took a moment to size her personal weight before simply scooping her up in her arms, carrying her as she would a small child, since she weighed little compared to the weights Cerano normally lifted.

"Hey, you don't have to do this. I can walk perfectly fine on my own two feet."

Gruffly Cerano agreed, but amended. "You're right, but your wife will have my ass if you arrive home in worse shape than you left it in, and I don't mess with Italian women."

Calleigh turned her head to look into Cerano's eyes. "Natalia isn't Italian, she Puerto Rican. Or at least that is what she's told me."

"No Puerto Rican woman speaks old Italian Proverbs." Was all she murmured back keeping her arms around the blonde, she carried her into the elevator, still refusing to set her down she pushed the button for the bottom floor and waited patiently.

"Maybe she's part Italian then? I don't know, but her father is Puerto Rican for sure."

Cerano shrugged easily even though she was carrying Calleigh, and two heavy duffel bags. When they arrived on the bottom floor, Cerano walked out towards the Range Rover, opening the door with spare fingers, she easily set Calleigh in the passenger seat, and then slid the bags into the cargo area before settling herself in the driver's seat.

After making sure that her passenger was as comfortable as she could be, Cerano started up the Rover, and headed for the DuVista home.

Natalia maneuvered the Crossfire expertly through traffic as Ryan had the good sense to sit there, and hold on to the door handle.

"So... that was a tense moment back there." He gripped the door a little tighter every time Natalia barely missed clipping the car either next to them or in front of them.

"Really, I didn't think so. Cerano seems to be a leveled headed woman, who knows exactly where she stands. I was just making sure she knew what was important, and she agreed." Natalia replied as she passed a slow moving Corvette.

Ryan shot her a disbelieving look, there was no way she expected him to believe that. He'd seen the tension, and who couldn't miss the knife in the doorframe? Ryan stayed quiet however and let his silence speak for itself.

After pulling into the departmental parking lot, and turning off the car, Natalia turned to Ryan. "We need to get our story straight. I don't want your poker face to give us away, so you need to believe in everything that we're going to say."

Ryan opened his mouth to object but then swallowed it. She was right, he was a pretty bad liar, that's why Eric always interviewed the witnesses. The thought of their AWOL friend brought him back to the present. "What are you going to say?"

Sighing, she closed her eyes for a moment to get her thoughts in order. "That Eric has confronted the both of us, and on one occasion, it came to violence. That we don't want to file charges, but are taking action to find him, and to get him some help since he hasn't been acting like himself for a while."

Ryan's eyes widened a little bit at not allowing Horatio further into the situation, but he understood their need to keep everything in control. "You lead, I'll follow."

They got out of the car, and headed inside making their first stop at Internal Affairs, where Natalia signed the required paper work that ended the investigation, and cleared her in the shooting. Then they went in search of Horatio.

Ryan tried not to let his emotions play across his face, laser vision was a trait Horatio could use at any time. No one was immune to the stare from those drilling eyes. Ryan turned to follow Natalia watching her to make sure she wasn't approached by anyone from the lab since they were trying to find Lt Caine.

Turning the corner on the second floor near offices, they finally ran into the man himself.

"Ms. DuVista, I wasn't really expecting to see you until much later the afternoon. How is Calleigh feeling?"

"She's very sore, but otherwise completely fine. I know you weren't expecting me Horatio, but I needed to sign some things." Natalia tried to push down the shame she was starting to feel for the lie she knew she had to tell.

Tilting his head, he looked at the young woman standing in front of him, then at Ryan standing off to the side fidgeting. "What else can I help you with then?"

"Is there somewhere private we can talk?" Natalia glanced up, and down the hallway, then turned to look at Ryan, shooting him a warning glance to relax, lest he spoil the farce.

"Of course, let's go into my office." They took a few steps, and were soon comfortable seated on a leather sofa while Horatio leaned against this glass desk. "What can I help you with?"

Taking a deep breath, Natalia started. "Well, as you know Eric has had a very hard time reconciling that Calleigh and I are together, much less married, and he has started confronting us one on one. We are handling the situation, and do not want to bring up charges against him. We understand that he always hoped that he and Calleigh would be together, but is taking him longer than we hoped to adjust."

Nodding his head, Horatio waited calmly for her to continue,

"Eric hasn't been acting like himself for a bit, and we are worried that he might injure himself so we've got someone out looking for him, and are asking you to please let us handle this without bringing the legal system."

Horatio looked at the young woman sitting across from him, wondering just how much she wasn't telling him. He didn't have to look at Mr. Wolfe to know that there was more going on, but he also knew that Natalia, and Calleigh wanted to handle things on their own, and would ask for his help at the proper time.

"You and Calleigh, do whatever you think is best. As you know, I'm always here for family, and I'm sure that Mr. Wolfe here will give good council when needed. I'll have your back when needed."

Horatio's cell phone chirped, so he took the call, then quickly walked around to turn on the television to the afternoon news.

A local news channel WFOR-TV, CBS Miami station was broadcasting from the scene of the bank robbery. Natalia recognized Newscaster Erica Sykes, and pushed down a wave of revulsion. However, her revulsion turned into rage when they ran the video of Natalia's image in the glass, holding a gun towards the assailant and Calleigh.

"How can they do that Horatio? That didn't ask for my permission to use my image or anything."

Sighing, all Horatio could say was. "The media thinks that all is fair when it comes to the news."

Natalia sighed, even when Ryan put his hand on her back in comfort. Ryan didn't know what else to do, everywhere they turned, there was another obstacle.

Horatio answer was drowned out by Sykes cupping a hand to her ear, and talking into the microphone. "We have someone on the line right now wanting to say something about what we are watching." Moments later Eric's unmistakable voice threaded over the television speakers. "It's an outrage that things weren't handled better. Where was SWAT? Where was a Hostage Negotiator?!"

Turning to Natalia, Horatio fixed her with a hard stare. "Are you sure that you want to handle this on your own? This may escalate faster than you think."

"The person that we've contracted to help us is well versed in this kind of work. Horatio please, trust us." Natalia pleaded openly, her hands clasped together. She had never asked Horatio for anything ever.

Silence filled the room for a few minutes, before Horatio answered. " As you wish, call me if you need anything whatsoever. If possible, just keep me up to date and what's going on."

"We will," Natalia stood up, and put a hand on Horatio's shoulder for a moment, instinctively though she hugged him tight. He was such a good man and an even better police officer. Calleigh was more like Horatio than her own father.

With that, Ryan and Natalia left the office, and headed towards the car. Once there, Natalia handed Ryan the keys, silently asking him to drive. Getting into the passenger side, Natalia buckled up, then leaned against the door, and closed her eyes.

"Hey Ryan! Do you remember where my sister Cristine lives? Would you mind if we make a stop there for a little while?"

He shook his head as he looked around to get his bearings, changing lanes and headed towards their new destination. They were almost there when Natalia's phone chirped. Looking at the caller id, she couldn't help, but smile when she saw Calleigh DuVista.

"Hey baby.... Are you home?"

Her wife's smooth Southern drawl calmed her frazzled nerves. "Yup, about five minutes away.... How did it go with Horatio?"

Rubbing her forehead with her free hand, Natalia replied. "Better than I had hoped, even though Eric almost messed everything up."

"What do you mean? Was he there?"

Hurriedly she explained. "No, the news was showing clips of the robbery and he called in yelling about the lack of support from SWAT or a Hostage Negotiator. However, Horatio said that we can handle this ourselves and to call him when he is needed."

Natalia heard her wife sigh. "We owe him so much already. We are never going to be able to pay him back."

"I know.... Hey, we're headed over to Cristine's. I need an Izzy B hug. Will be home soon."

"Are you alright darlin'? We can head over there to be with you if you want?"

Shaking her head, even though she knew that she couldn't be seen. "No, I'm fine. Just wanted a kid hug. We will be home in about a half hour."

Earlier that day across town, Eric had sat in a chair at the motel room he had rented for the next few days, though he doubted he would actually stay entire time, as he wanted to keep on the move.

He leaned over, and flicked the television on. Leaning back against the headboard, he shoved down his disappointment about losing his duffel bag; the hell he had to go through to get those files was a nightmare. Finding the hacker, and then assuring him, he was in fact not going to arrest him from doing an illegal favor, had been hard enough. Pilfering the MDPD database had been no easy feat; that alone worried Eric, that someone would eventually find the duffel bag, and him.

He felt a cold sweat break out onto his brow as he watched the local news broadcast from the day before. He had missed the news the night before when he couldn't decide where he wanted to stay. He stared in disbelief as the pre-recorded tape showed police swarmed onto the scene of a bank robbery. He recognized Natalia standing in the window, pointing a gun at a man who holding Calleigh in his arms, tightly with a gun to her head as well.

He screamed in rage, picked up a vase of the small tabletop, and threw it into the wall. Grabbing the phone, he dialed the news stations number quickly, as soon as he realized he was on the air, he started ranting. "It's an outrage that things weren't handled better? WHERE WAS SWAT?!" He screamed into the phone, how Natalia dare put Calleigh in this kind of danger, AGAIN. "WHERE WAS A HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR?!" he screamed again.

The woman on the other end of the phone, obviously the news anchor Sykes, had the call cut due to the rage and volume of his voice. In a fit of sheer rage, he threw the phone into the wall, and put his hands on his head. Screaming, pulling out his hair, and crying, holding his head in pain as another headache hit, causing a wave of nausea. He would find Natalia and he would make her pay.

Tucker Rains was sitting in the parking lot of a Motel 8. Cerano had told him to find this Eric Delko, but not to apprehend him. Apparently, he was borderline psycho with a gun. He knew the CSI would cover his tracks, but skill can always be beaten by sheer determination, he thought to himself. Cerano was a machine; she didn't stop, she didn't eat, she didn't sleep until she found you, and made you pay for what you had done.

Tucker heard a loud crash in the motel room above him, he wondered what that was about. He looked outside to see a black Ford Escape, the license plates weren't matching to the vehicle he was looking for though. He'd wait until he had evidence that was more concrete before calling Cerano. He didn't want to piss her off without her brother around.

Finally, after a comfortable ride back to her home, Calleigh had just closed her phone from talking with her wife. "Natalia will be home in about a half hour. She's going by her sisters with Ryan for a few minutes. That should give us plenty of time for you to check out the house, and my 'steel' as you say.

Cerano nodded quietly, she swung the Rover into the driveway so getting Calleigh into the house would be easier. "May I have your keys to unlock the door, set the bags down, and then come and help you into the house?" was the quiet reply.

Smiling, Calleigh opened the door. "I can make it inside under my own steam. I would rather not let the neighbors have any more gossip than necessary, but thank you though. I'll take it slow."

Cerano never answered, instead climbing out of the SUV, and opening the cargo bay to pull out two black duffel bags, she then follow Calleigh up the front walkway, waiting patiently as she unlocked the door.

Unlocking the door, Calleigh immediately went into the kitchen, grabbed her medicine along with a glass of juice, and quickly downed two pills. Walking over to the sofa, she sat down heavily, and with a sigh. "Take a look around while I catch my breath, the spare bedroom is through there and there are clean towels in the guest bath."

Cerano wordlessly slipped the a small gun out from the side pocket of the black duffel bag that contained her clothes, and set the pistol down on the couch next to the blondes right hand, slipping the safety off without a word. Then she walked into the guest bedroom, and shut the door quietly.

Slipping the safety back on, Calleigh pulled out her own gun from the back of her waistband and placed it next to the smaller gun. Muttering to herself, she couldn't help but smile. "At least shesl always prepared."

About fifteen minutes later, the door creaked open revealing a freshly showered and make up free Cerano. She looked every bit a young twenty something girl, freckles evident under the tan, not to mention several scars that were visible on her arms, midriff, chest, and face. Small, but noticeable seemed to be the theme with the year old marks. Cerano sat on the couch next to Calleigh in shredded blue jeans, Nike shoes, and a black famous stars and straps tank top looking at her silently. Her wet hair was slightly starting to turn into lazy waves reminiscent of Natalia's own waves.

"Feeling better?" Calleigh asked. "Can I get you something to eat?"

"Yes and no, I can fix something myself." Cerano wasn't being rude, on the contrary, this was her version of nice. She did brash, wild, controlled fury, psycho, gangster, hard ass, top bitch but nice wasn't really in her emotional dictionary. "I can fix you something too?" She let the question hang in the air.

"Whatever you fix will be fine. Help yourself to anything in the kitchen."

Cerano climbed off the couch, returning minutes later with two roast beef sandwiches complete with strips of bacon and Swiss cheese over toasted wheat bread and two tall glasses of sweet tea. She set one down in front of Calleigh before returning into the kitchen cleaning, up the mess quickly and wiping down the counter. Finally sitting down, she looked at the blonde again.

Having waited on her guest to join her on the sofa, Calleigh finally took a bite of her sandwich, rolling her eyes. "Ah bacon, a food of the gods. This is perfect, thank you."

Cerano smiled, but only grunted in response, beginning to devour her own food at a much quicker pace. In half the time, she had finished her meal, and was draining the glass of tea in record time.

Arching a golden eyebrow, Calleigh swallowed a bite of her sandwich before saying, "If you're still hungry, you're welcome to fix another."

Cerano reached over the couch, and opened a duffel bag pocket producing two dark chocolate candy bars, handing one to Calleigh without a word, ripping her own open, and grunting quietly in satisfaction.

"Chocolate and bacon. What more can a person ask for? When you finish inhaling that, you can check out the security to see if it passes your muster."

Cerano stood up once she finished the chocolate, then reached into the bag, pulling out a laptop and several very tiny cameras, and motion detectors. Wandering out through the back door, and returning through the front minutes later, she sat down the couch, and began opening up programs on the laptop without a word.

Watching her guest work, Calleigh finished her sandwich, then the chocolate bar before inquiring. "Well, what do you think?"

"It was okay before, it's top of the line now." She turned the laptop to face the blonde, showing several windows open with images moving across them. She'd set up a perimeter full of motion detectors, and camera's. "Watch dog program, if someone's around, you'll know." She leaned back against the couch cushions.

"Impressive. Is all of this of your own design?" Calleigh was very curious about the young woman.

"Yes." was the only forth-coming reply that the younger woman presented. Her young cherubic features were as always masked in face of indifference and stoicism.

Calleigh waited for something more, but when none was forthcoming, all she could do was to lean back. "Mmkay, would you like to see what I can offer you as additional back up to what you have brought?"

"Yes." still with the one word replies. Cerano wasn't really too keen on opening up to the blonde, she was fine, but far from comfortable enough to even think about divulging any kind of personal information. Trust was a glacial highway with Cerano.

Slowly getting up off the sofa, Calleigh gratefully accepted the hand that Cerano held out to help her up, before moving into the third bedroom, and into the closet. Keying in the code for the gun safe, as soon the lock snickered open, she stepped aside to let Cerano look.

Cerano kept her hand behind Calleigh, natural instinct in her bodyguard nature. As soon as she was sure the blonde wouldn't stumble, she examined the contents, pulling out a massive .338 sniper rifle. Cerano whistled in low appreciation, staring at the weapon in her hands, feeling like Da Vinci staring at his first canvas.

Inside there were two Sig Sauers pistols, the first being a P250, and the second was a P226 X5 Bianchi. Next were a Smith and Wesson SW1911 DK and the pistol that Natalia had bought her as a wedding gift. A Glock 35, then a Heckler & Koch USP Tactical and USP Expert finished off the pistols.

The sniper rifle that Cerano was drooling on was a .338 Lupua with Accuracy International folding stock, a Night Force NXS with a Zero Stop Optics and a Nights Armament Night and Vision mount. There was also a Winchester single bolt 22 rifle that used to be Calleigh's grandfathers, a Remington 597 Magnum Rifle and two Rugers rifles; A SR 566 and a 10/22.

Calleigh was proud of her collection, as some of them had personal meanings while others were just because she wanted them.

"Damn, do you own your own range or something?" Was all Cerano muttered, her hands instantly flicking open the scope and lifting the large rifle to sight it, pulling it hard against her shoulder.

Chuckling, Calleigh answered. "No, but I do have an ex-flame that runs one in town that I frequent often."

"Hmmm" was all that Cerano muttered, setting the rifle back down in its place. "With the .338 Lupua, I could have Delko's skull for a hood ornament." She murmured dryly before running her hands over the old Winchester rifle in admiration. The blonde had exquisite taste in firearms, not to mention cars, so she couldn't be all that bad.

Reaching out, Calleigh grabbed the young woman by the arm, turning her to face her. "We do not want Eric killed. That has never been our intention. We want to get him help."

Cerano arched a coal black eyebrow, her eyes resting on Calleigh's hand until she removed it.

Calleigh crossed her arms, waiting on the woman to respond.

When the blonde finally removed the vice like grip from her arm, Cerano looked down at the floor. "Don't take this the wrong way, but it's my natural instinct to track him down, and gut him like a fish." She raised black glittering eyes to stare at Calleigh for a moment before looking back down, this was difficult to do even for her. "But if you want him alive, I can do that too."

Closing her eyes briefly, Calleigh took a deep breath before reopening them. "My natural instinct whenever Natalia is threatened is to do the same thing, but I have known Eric for a long time, and this condition is not of his making. He was shot in the line of duty, and at the time, they couldn't remove the bullet. So no, I don't want him dead unless it comes down to him, or Natalia."

"That's what Wolfe said...." Cerano replied under her breath before shutting the gun vault, and walking out of the room towards the couch to sit down and rest, which she guess the blonde did too.

"Wait." Calleigh stopped her before she took more than a few steps. "What did Ryan say to you?"

Cerano had the grace to blush, thinking foolishly that her voice had gone unheard. "Uh.."

"Uh?.... What?"

"Shit..." Cerano covered her face with a scarred hand, trying to shut the blonde out. "If it comes down to you and Natalia, or Eric, I was instructed to choose you." She dropped the hand, leaving the bedroom and almost collapsing on the couch in exhaustion.

Calleigh dropped her head in more of a mental exhaustion that a physical one. Walking over to the sofa, she stood beside Cerano. "Yes, that is the choice that needs to be made. However, what you need to do right now is to go into the spare room and get some sleep. Your system will alert us if someone gets too close. Just make sure that it doesn't go off when Natalia, and Ryan gets here. I'm going to lay down myself."

Cerano grunted, lifting her protesting body, and made it to the spare bedroom. She eyed the blonde before shutting the door. She pulled a pistol out of her bag, and slipped it under her pillow before curling up in a ball and slipping into a light sleep.

Calleigh watched her go in, and shut the door. Slowly turning, Calleigh made her way to her and Natalia's bedroom, but before she made it over to the bed, she detoured to their closet. Wanting to find Natalia's photo album, she search high and low until she found one on the back shelf.

Slowly making her way over to the bed, she propped herself up with a couple of pillows, and began to thumb through the pictures. There were the standard pictures of Natalia and her sisters in the school pictures and their Easter best, but it was almost past the middle before she found what she was looking for. A picture of a very young Natalia in the kitchen with her mother, and her wife had flour all over her face. It was the woman that stood next to her laughing daughter that caught Calleigh's attention. It was the same woman who had been in Cerano's parents wedding picture.

Leaning her head back, Calleigh closed her eyes. Cerano and Natalia were related. They were complete opposites. One law abiding while the other was a lawbreaker. Calleigh had seen the drugs in Cerano's gun vault, but choose to ignore as she hope that it was just for personal use, and not for distribution.

Calleigh realized that both women had to have an idea that they were related. Something had happened at Eric's house that she had seen on both of their faces, something that struck a chord in both of them. Now Calleigh had to decide if she should bring it up to them or let it come out naturally.

Laying there, thinking about the choices, Calleigh slowly drifted off to sleep.

Ryan pulled up in front of Cristine's house to see that Isabel and Eva playing in the front yard. As soon, as the girls saw their aunt, they squealed and ran towards the car.

"Tia Talia! Did you come to play with us?"

Opening the passenger door, Natalia exited the car, only to kneel down on the sidewalk with her arms open wide. "I just came by to get a hug from my favorite nieces."

Isabel laughed. "We're your only nieces, so we have to be your favorites." Looking over Natalia's shoulder, the young girl asked. "Where's Tia Calleigh? Didn't she come with you?"

Standing up and walking towards the house with the girls hands in hers. "No, not this time, but she told me to give her Izzy B a big kiss."

Isabel abruptly stopped, tugging on her Aunt's hand. "Then you had better give it to me now, before you forget."

Natalia knelt down next to the smiling girl and proceeded to cover her face with kisses. "There.... That should be enough kisses to last you a while."

Ryan leaned against the Crossfire after climbing out, watching Natalia's nieces, mini figures of their aunt screaming across the front yard.

Eva patted Natalia's shoulder, asking. "What about me?"

Looking very serious, Natalia answered. "Tia Calleigh told me that I should give you a butterfly kiss."

"What a butterfly kiss?"

"This." Natalia leaned close to her oldest niece, and fluttered her eyelash against the young girl's cheek, making her giggle.

Cristine walked down the walkway towards her laughing children and sister. "Hey, you ok?"

Looking at up her sister, Natalia slowly go to her feet. "I am now. Just needed a kid hug." Looking down at her nieces, she stated. "Hey girls, why don't you go and play in the back yard. There's too much traffic out today, and I don't want you to accidently run out into the street."

"Ok, Tia."

Waiting until the girls were out of earshot, Natalia turned to Ryan, silently asking him for just a minute more. Turning back to her sister, she asked. "Did you see the news?"

"Yeah, and we heard what Eric said. What is he thinking?"

Shaking her head, Natalia wasn't going to take the time to go into the detail. "Let's just say that he's not thinking clearly. Listen, I would like for you to keep the girls in the backyard if possible. Just humor me for awhile."

Cristine bit her tongue on all of the questions that she had, knowing that Natalia and Calleigh's job sometimes had repercussions towards their families. She knew that Natalia would only ask her to do this if things were getting serious. Instead, she asked about her sister-in-law. "How is Calleigh feeling?"

"She's sore, and has a couple of cracked ribs, but she's getting around. Listen, I just wanted to see you, and the girls real quick. I'm headed towards home, and I'll call you later. Give the girls, and Andre a kiss for me."

Kissing her sister good-bye, Natalia turned back, and got into the Crossfire, waiting for Ryan to get inside, and head for her home. In a few minutes, they were pulling into her garage, and the door was closing behind them. Getting out of the car, Natalia led the way into the kitchen, telling Ryan to help himself as she headed towards their bedroom.

Stopping right inside of the doorway, Natalia saw her wife sleeping peacefully on their bed, propped up by three pillows with a open book in her lap. After closing the door, she walked over to see that the book was her family album, and it was opened to a picture of her and her mother cooking in the kitchen. She had spent a lot of time there as a child, that had been their special time, just the two of them cooking.

Carefully she removed the album, placing it on the nightstand, before leaning over, and lightly brushing her lips against Calleigh's.

Calleigh's eyes fluttered open at the brush of lips against hers, moaning softly, she reached up tangling her hands in soft caramel hair, bringing her wife's lips fuller against her own. Natalia's hands were carefully placed on either side of the blondes head, and not around her waist like Natalia wanted them to be, leaning back she broke the kiss reluctantly.

Looking up at her wife, Calleigh smiled. "Hi there gorgeous. Come here often?"

With her eyes dark with need, Natalia huskily answered. "From time to time, I come quite often. How do you feel?"

Smirking, Calleigh couldn't resist. "With my hands usually, but I have been known to use my tongue upon occasion."

Natalia stifled a moan, looking at her wife spread out on their bed beneath her, now wasn't the time or the place with Ryan in the living room, and Cerano asleep in the guest room. "I know babe." She leaned down, and gave her another soft kiss before helping her sit up. "So tell me why you fell asleep thumbing through my childhood memories?"

Turning to grab the album, Calleigh winced as she reached for the book. Gratefully accepting Natalia's help by picking it up. Point to the picture, she quietly asked. "Is this your mother?"

"Yes. I was maybe.. ten or eleven in this picture. We were trying to make a pie." Natalia smiled warmly at the picture, tracing her fingers over the edges fondly, resting her head on Calleigh's shoulder.

"Did you learn your Italian from your mother?"

"Yes, my mother was Italian, my father is Puerto Rican, I'm half and half I guess." Natalia was curious where Calleigh was taking this. "Why do you ask babe?"

"Because we went by Cerano's place for her to pick up some clothes, and while I was there, I saw a picture of Cerano's family." Pointing to Natalia's mother, Calleigh continued. "Your mother was in it."

Glancing up at her wife, Calleigh asked. "Have you ever met any of your mother's family?"

Natalia's impersonation of a fish out of water would have been amusing to anyone else. "N-n-no, she was disowned, my father told me, when I was young."

"Do you know the reason why?"

"No, my father always kept it a secret from me. I get the impression that my mother's side of the family wasn't exactly law abiding...."she trailed off wondering to herself, could Cerano be related to her?

Taking a deep breath, Calleigh carefully watched her wife. "I believe that your cousin is asleep in one of our spare bedrooms."

Natalia stared at the picture a moment longer, she always wanted to know what her mother's side of the family had been like. If Cerano was really her cousin, then they needed to talk. She looked up at Calleigh, smiling. "What should I do?"

"I think that you should talk with her, but later. She needs to rest if she's gonna be up all night again, and I don't think that there will be anyway to stop her. It seems to me that once she set's her mind to do something, it's gonna take either hell or high water to stop her. Like someone else I know."

Natalia smiled, cupping the blonde's cheek, leaning over to steal a kiss, she murmured against her lips. "Must be the Italian in me...." was the only explanation she gave. After the kiss, she helped her wife up off the bed, and into the living room where Ryan was examining the laptop.

Calleigh cautioned. "Be careful with that. I wouldn't want Cerano to hurt you if you messed something up."

Ryan laughed. "Sadly your probably right." He stood up facing them. He lowered his voice to a conspiratorial level. "I have the impression that if I didn't have a gun, I would be at her mercy...." He shook his head, he'd never been afraid of a woman, but there was a first time for everything.

Laughing, Calleigh retorted. "What makes you think that you having a gun doesn't place you in the same position? I don't think that it matters either way with her."

Cerano opened the door to laughing, and smiled, leaning against it. "I have a feeling this joke is on me?"

She yawned behind her hand, coming to sit down the couch barefoot, looking at the trio of police officers.

Calleigh shook her head. "You didn't get enough rest. You can go back, and get some more if you want."

"No, I'm fine. I come from a long line of insomniacs. She said laughingly, missing that neither Calleigh, nor Natalia joined her in laughter.

Looking at her wife, Natalia went back into the bedroom to bring out the album, and to organize her thoughts, while Ryan stood up to say his good-byes. Calleigh thanked him for everything that he had done that day, and told him that they would give him a call in the morning if they needed him. By the time that Natalia returned, the young man had left.

Cerano was stretching on the sofa, trying to pop her back. Sitting up she flipped open the laptop. "Tell Wolfe-man to stop touching things." She grumbled.

"I did." Calleigh stated quietly, watching her wife walk into the room with the album, and sit between her and Cerano.

"Cerano." Natalia softly asked. "Do you know who this person is?" Pointing to her mother.

Cerano stopped typing, looked around Natalia, and as soon as she saw the picture, she went completely still. Narrowing her eyes, she looked at the image. "That's my aunt, she was disowned when I was six." She looked up at Calleigh, and then Natalia. "Why are you asking me this? And where did you get that picture?" Her voice was curious, and a little bit wary.

"Why was she disowned? What did she do?"

Cerano slowly took her own time to answer, sweeping her messy, choppy hair up into a kind of ponytail. She crossed her arms, staring out at the reflective surface of the pool. "When my parents died, there was a huge argument about to whom we would go. My grandfather insisted on boarding school for my brother, Jordan and I. This woman obviously disagreed, and made it quite clear, my grandfather became so enraged with her interfering, and never staying in her own business that he disowned her. She didn't agree with lifestyle she knew we would end up living." Cerano looked down at the floor, scuffing it with her bare toe wondering if things would of been different for Jordan and herself growing up if they hadn't lived with their grandfather.

Natalia got up off the sofa, and walked a few feet away before turning back. "This is my mother, and if you were six when your parents died, that would have made me in my early twenties, and I had never heard of my mother's family. She didn't talk about them. I always thought that they were gone."

"Anytime I asked about her, my grandfather just ignored the question." Cerano shrugged. She turned to look at Natalia, she saw everything that made her miss her mother. The eyes, the smile, the nose, everything, even the way she carried herself.

Natalia knelt in front of the young woman. "Me nor my sisters knew anything about you. Our mother never mentioned you at all. I don't know why. Maybe she was trying to protect us from her family. I remember when she passed away, I was curious why no one showed up. Now I know."

Cerano got up, walked out to the pool, and closed her eyes, pushing the feelings down; the feelings of relief at having someone else to talk to. It seemed that she had family. It wasn't just Jordan anymore. She could have cried in relief, but still she held her own counsel. It didn't change a damn thing, it was still just them, the twins, until they found that sorry fuck that butchered their parents.

Turning back to stare at Natalia, she was torn, to admit everything, the moving from city to city, trying to lure the murderer out of hiding long enough to chase them. She rebelled internally at even remotely sharing anything about her personal state of mind, how was she supposed to let this, cousin? in.

"I don't blame her." Was all she murmured, looking past her at the photo album sadly.

Natalia was still kneeling on the ground. "I remember one summer when I was in my twenties, mama went away for a short time, and when she came back, she was very sad, and quiet. She died soon after that so I never knew what had happened."

Rising up, Natalia went over to the young woman. "I know that this is a lot to get used to, but you do have a family. Somewhere you can belong. Just want you to know that you will always be welcomed here."

Cerano hesitated, and then placed her hands over Natalia's, clasped them in her own, she looked down at the difference between their hands. Natalia's were soft, slightly calloused, free of scars, no protruding bones from broken knuckles, or burns on the sides of her hands from fixing carburetors. Her own hands weren't hideous, they just told a different story; hard work, pain, and loneliness mostly. Maybe one day, when she put an end to all this madness, she'd finally rest, but until then, it could never happen. "Thank you." She gently dropped Natalia's hands before walking towards the guest bedroom. If Natalia really was her cousin, then there was no question about what she had to do.

"Cerano, wait." Natalia called out.

Cerano turned around and looked at Natalia, and Calleigh. She stuffed her hands in her pockets, and looked down at the floor. "Yes ma'am" she muttered respectfully.

Going to stand in front of her, Natalia waited until she looked up into her eyes. "I can't change the past. I can only be concerned about now, and the future. I have two sisters and two nieces that would love to get to know you, not to mention Calleigh's family. I don't want to take over the role as your mother. I don't have that right. The only thing that I can be is your friend, if you will let me. We all have our past, whether it be good or bad, it's the past. So whatever has been done to you, or you have done is of no concern to me. Just from here on out, know that there is someone in your corner."

Cerano looked at the Calleigh for a moment, then back at Natalia. "And there is someone in yours. I have to get ready to leave, if you'll excuse me for a few moments, I'll be right back." Cerano disappeared into the bedroom, and quietly shut the door.

Natalia stared at the closed door for a few moments, before she turned back to her wife with tears in her eyes. "What kind of life has she had, Cal? What did that family put her though? There is so much pain in those eyes, and on that body, that it breaks my heart to look at her."

All Calleigh could do was be there for them both.

Twenty minutes later, Cerano opened the door with the duffel bags over her shoulder, strutting into the living room, ready to start busting heads, and balls. She was wearing hot pink fuchsia heels with pointed toes, a barely there plaid pink and black skirt with steel hoops around the top of the waist with a scraped black shirt leaving her abs and back completely exposed, with long lean tough arms. She leaned over, picked her 9mm out of the bag, and slid it into the back of her skirt. With heels, she would be at eye level with Natalia; her makeup was done to the T as was her hair and attitude. She then looked down at her heels to make sure the ridiculous amount of leg on display at least looked nice. Scars she had, but in her opinion, she was still beautiful and deadly at the same time.

Calleigh was still sitting on the sofa as Natalia had gone to take a long soak in the tub. Giving the young woman a once over, she commented. "Going out trolling I see."

Cerano blushed hard, and looked down at her outfit. "Sometimes an ass can get you where a gun can't." was all she offered. "I'm leaving to meet with Jordan, we need to talk, and he needs to know some things. He had mentioned wanting in on the operation. Tell Natalia I said good night," She asked politely.

Calleigh slowly got up from the sofa to stand in front of the girl. "I know that you agreed to help us, but this was before we knew. If you want out, we talked about it, and we will understand. However.... if you want to continue, all that I ask is that you be very careful. You obviously are very good at whatever you do, you've been trained well, but.... just be careful. Let me.... us know if you need anything. There's an extra key on the counter in case you want to come back."

Cerano hesitated, then she leaned over, and lightly kissed Calleigh on the cheek before walking out silently, grabbing the key off the counter; her hips swaying, and the gun moving hypnotically along with it.

Shaking her head, Calleigh set the alarm and headed into their bedroom. Stripping off her clothes, she made her way into the bathroom to find Natalia, leaning against the back of the tub, with her hair pinned up, and a towel underneath her neck. Steam was rising from the water, making the tiny tendrils of Natalia's hair float on a breeze.

"Why darlin', you look downright delectable."

Opening her eyes, Natalia couldn't help, but smile at the sight of her wife. "Baby, I know that it's not funny, but I have never seen that many colors on one body that wasn't a tattoo."

Looking down at her body, Calleigh had to agree. Her peaches and cream skin was marred by the black, blue, purple, and disgusting green of her fractured, and bruised ribs. "Well, at least I know that you just don't love me for my body."

Sitting up straight in the tub, Natalia motioned for her to join her in the tub. Carefully Calleigh stepped into the tub, and into her wife's embrace. Sighing as she leaned back, Calleigh angled her head to that she could give her wife a slow kiss. "Mmm, and you taste downright delectable."

"Why thank you my love." Natalia lathered up a body sponge, and proceeded to wash the golden hair beauty that was seated in front of her. taking great care not to cause her any pain around her ribs. After cleaning her off, they enjoyed the warmth of the water until it began to turn tepid.

Carefully standing, then helping out her wife, Natalia grabbed a body sheet to dry Calleigh off. After helping Calleigh into her nightclothes, Natalia dried herself off, and got dressed.

Walking out into the living room, she noticed that the spare bedroom door was open, and turned to Calleigh who was standing in front of the refrigerator, trying to decide what she wanted to eat.

"Did Cerano leave?"

"Yeah, she went out, dressed to kill. I told her that she had the option of continuing to help us out, and she took the extra key so she might be back late tonight. She said that she was going to meet up with her brother Jordan; that they had a lot to talk about."

Going to stand behind the blonde, Natalia placed her hands lightly around Calleigh's waist, resting her chin on her shoulder. "How do you feel about some scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheese grits."

Turning her head so that she could place a kiss right underneath Natalia's ear, Calleigh murmured. "Sounds great to me."

"Then go sit at the bar, and let me get to work." Natalia instructed.

Doing as she was asked, Calleigh watched as her wife efficiently started their meal. Leaning her chin on hands, she asked a question that had been puzzling her since Eric's. "If Eric was in Miami when some of those pictures were taken, who took them?" Twisting around on the barstool, Calleigh looked out past the pool, past the fence and into the trees. "Someone was in the trees, with a camera watching us."

Natalia thought back to the picture of them in the backyard, someone COULD of been in the tree's, but which one, and in which yard? She looked at the empty guest bedroom, and hoped Cerano would be okay. All of these new motherly instincts were new, but welcome, in regards to her wife and new extended family.

"Which one of neighbors wouldn't notice someone in their back yard, baby?"

Calleigh turned to look at her wife, not really seeing her; her mind cataloging their neighbors. Natalia watched as the blonde's head moved like she was reading something. "Mr. Marshall, he's the truck driver. He's hardly home, and his mother can't get around that well."

Natalia was suddenly very afraid for Mrs. Marshall. "Baby.... when did Cerano say she was going to be back?" She walked into the kitchen, to hold the blondes hand, running her free one up her back, into her hair.

"She didn't. Why don't you give Mrs. Marshall a call? You can tell her congratulations for winning at the last art show at the Senior Center. Her needlepoint of a field of lilacs got first place."

Natalia plucked the phone out of its cradle on the island, and then feeling the blonde settle into her arms, she dialed the Marshall's number. While she waited for the elderly woman to answer, she took a deep breath in Calleigh's hair, loving the way she smelled out of the bath.

Calleigh listened with a half ear to the conversation, she was mentally trying to figure out how many other places they had been, and where the unknown would have been hiding. The possibilities were staggering.

"Mrs. Marshall? It's Natalia, your neighbor? How are you?" She listened as the older woman told her that she was fine, and answering that they were also were fine. She also made sure to congratulate the woman on winning the last art show at the senior center. She politely declined a dinner invitation for later on that week, and wished her well before hanging up quietly. She wanted to call Cerano, if not just to say be careful. All these hormones were really starting to get on her nerves, she thought peevishly, kissing the blondes neck, and biting her ear gently. "What are you thinking beautiful?"

Even though Calleigh really didn't want to get into it, she knew that it had to be brought out into the open. No more secrets. "Eric has to have someone working with him. Someone who he has either bribed, blackmailed, or stumbled upon. That's the only way all of the pictures could have been taken. Ryan would have noticed if he had been gone for long periods of time."

Natalia stilled almost immediately at hearing these words. The blonde was right, Eric had been present for work half of the time most of those pictures were taken. How crooked was MDPD? Very crooked, she thought. "How ironic is that the police are crooked, and we've hired what looks to be a career criminal, who happens to be my cousin, to fix everything?" She leaned her forehead against the back of Calleigh's, her arms instinctively tightening around her wife's hips where it wouldn't be painful to hold her.

Turning in her wife's arms, Calleigh gazed up into her worried eyes. "Darlin', it may not be an officer. It may just be some lowlife that Eric found. Let's not open a can of worms before we plan to go fishing."

The taller brunette chuckled, and kissed her wife softly on the lips. "Can I just say that my life would be boring without your one liners?"

"Your life would be boring without me period. Admit it. I add some Southern spice to your life." Calleigh leaned forward to nibble on a tempting bronze spot of skin.

Natalia's breathing hitched, as she ran her hands up the blondes sides, noticing the flinch of her wife's skin whenever she came to close to the mottled flesh of her ribs. "As much as I would love to stay right here, I know that if I burn the bacon, I'm sleeping on the sofa so let me get back to cooking."

Natalia quickly fished the bacon out of the pan, and slid it on mostly onto Calleigh's plate with a little bit on her own, and then served both steaming piles of food onto the table in front of the blonde's chair, and her own. "Breakfast is served baby."

Calleigh with the help of her wife, was seated, and both of the women discussed the rest of their day. Natalia relayed messages from the girls to their Tia Calleigh, and passing on butterfly kisses. Calleigh shared what she had seen of Cerano's living arrangements. Natalia listened enraptured by Calleigh's description of Cerano's apartment, which proved that a life of crime apparently paid well.

They finished up their meal, and Natalia placed the dirty dishes into the sink before joining her wife on the sofa to watch a movie. She was planning on waiting up for her newest family member to come home.

Cerano sat in the Rover in behind her building. How was she going to break this to Jordan? She watched him look out at the car for a moment, and then go back to stripping the paint off the Mustang. Climbing out of the SUV, she walked into the bay, and dropped the duffel bags.

"We need to talk..." she stated, her arms leaning against the Mustang.

"If it's about that outfit, mother would turn in her grave…." He muttered from the other side of the car, smiling widely at her. Jordan looked every bit her brother; dark chocolate hair, big brown eyes, tan skin, freckles across his nose, not to mention six feet tall with a body most male models would of killed for. He was handsome, but he didn't know it.

"Fuck off Jor. This is serious, it's about our family." She growled, looking over the top of the hood at him.

"What family? It's only you and I." Jordan laughed handing her a paint scrapper. "Get to work if you're just going to stand there." He looked up at her when she didn't move, walking around the car, he came to stand beside his only living family.

"What's wrong Slick?" Jordan was starting to worry, his sister never EVER shut up when she was around him, always talking, always wanting to know his opinion. That's why he loved her so much, she always wanted to know what he thought, like it was the most important thing in the world to her, but then again it probably was.

Sighing, he watched her run her hands through her hair nervously before turning to look at him. "Sit down Jordan…" He leaned over, grabbed a rolling chair, and sat down waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"We aren't alone anymore…." She trailed off, looking down at her hands, which Jordan covered with his own, and made her look at him.

"What are you talking about Slick?" he smiled warmly at her.

"Do you remember how we used to ask about Aunt Antonia? We weren't ever allowed to see her, not after Mom and Dad died. She was disowned, and I was just contracted by her oldest daughter for some bodyguard/bounty hunter work."

Jordan stared in shock at his twin sister, they weren't alone? He turned to look at her quietly before decided to speak his mind. "We're still alone."

Cerano understood what he was saying, she nodded sadly even as he continued to speak. "Until we catch that bastard that carved up our parents and you, we are alone." He thought a moment longer. "Though, we must take every step to protect our new family." He smiled at her as she looked up at him in shock. She'd obviously thought he would reject the idea. He enveloped her in a huge hug as she hugged him back tightly, she was trying not to cry, he could tell.

Releasing her, he smiled. "Let me go get changed, and we can meet up with our new cousin. On the way though, you're filling me in on all the details…." He trailed off, walking towards the elevator.

The laptop started making a horrid beeping noise, the screen flashing red, alerting Natalia that someone was outside. When she looked, instead of a black range rover, she saw a long, lean, black car with neon bar headlights that sat in the driveway. The engine was idling. Natalia stared at Calleigh who had brought out her gun. Moments later, she relaxed when she received a text message from Cerano. "Your cousins are in your driveway."

Clicking the proper keys on the computer, Calleigh disarmed the security system as Natalia went and opened the front door. She stood there in the shadow of the doorway, waiting to greet the newest members of her family.

Cerano came first up the walkway, dressed in the same revealing outfit, her heels clicking up the concrete. Behind her stood a much taller male, at least six feet tall with the same brooding black eyes, however, instead of a stoic blank face, Natalia was greeted by a slight smile and dimples. The man had the same dark skin, freckles and intimidating presence his counterpart possessed. "Good Evening Mrs. DuVista.... " was his greeting as he came into the light after his sister slid past Natalia in the doorway quietly.

"Good Evening Jordan, welcome to our home and please, call me Natalia." The brunette wanted to give this young man a hug, but restrained herself.

Jordan smiled tightly, and then glared at his sister, who was watching them impassively from behind the couch. Her face said one thing, but they had long since passed just reading one another's expressions, his sister was still dictating the terms of their relationship. "I see you've already met my female half. My twin sister....?" he looked at his sister, she was arching an eyebrow at his antics. He loved to ruffle her feathers just for the kick of it, rolling her eyes, she shrugged at him showing she cared little for this information was shared with their cousin.

Calleigh was sitting on the sofa where she had a good view of the players, and couldn't resist saying, "Twins.... didn't think that the world could handle another Cerano."

Jordan's smile widened, and he released a deep chuckle, he looked at his sister smiling. "Two Cerano's? There are two of us." he walked over behind his twin and placed a massive hand on her muscular shoulders. "The Cerano twins are at your disposal." He squeezed her shoulder hard, making the skin turn an angry red. She didn't even flinched, but she sighed, annoyed and rolled her shoulder away. "FINE."

Natalia shut the door to stand next to her wife. "I'm at a loss for words here. I didn't expect to have two new cousins today. Um... have a seat please. Make yourself at home."

Both of the twins stayed standing, Jordan was staring holes in the back of his sister's head though. The female Cerano just looked at Natalia and Calleigh helplessly. Jordan looked up at Natalia, and then at Calleigh, 'Cute couple', he thought. "Natalia, there is something we have to ask of you." He looked at the taller brunette, gesturing for her to sit.

Sitting on the arm of the sofa next to Calleigh, Natalia placed her hand on the blonde's shoulder and waited, "Ask away."

"Please don't take this the wrong way, but your relationship to us must remain a secret." He sighed before continuing sadly, regret tingeing his voice. "We would love to welcome you into our family and have bygones be bygones, but our world is an unsafe world."

His sister for the spoke for the first time that evening. "Especially for law enforcement officials."

Calleigh spoke up. "Meaning what exactly?"

Jordan turned to look at his sister, who took a deep breath, looking at the blonde hard. "I'm not going to sugar coat this, anything you hear cannot be used against us, do you understand?" She asked simply, her voice was liquid steel. She wasn't asking in truth, she was telling.

Calleigh's voice was just as hard. "As long as you keep Natalia safe, I can live with that."

Natalia interrupted, "As long as you keep both of us safe, WE can live with that."

Jordan took a step up, staring back at them. "My sister has never had an unsatisfied client." The young woman in question placed a small-calloused hand on his massive chest, pushing him back slightly. "Jordan, relax. They're not implying anything. Stop." Her voice was no longer hard; it was pleading and sad. He looked down at her with the same expression. "Gray, this is serious. You're about to confess to police of every law you've ever broken. On purpose, knowingly." He put a hand on the top of her head, staring down hard at her.

She turned to look at the women, before quietly sat down on the couch, crossing long tan legs, and leaned over the laptop. A few moments later, she turned the screen to face them. It was her own personal police file. Her arrest record totaling every assault, reckless driving incident, illegal street racing, possession of a controlled substance, breaking and entering, and several attempts to put her behind bars that had failed in the courtroom. The D.A's office obviously had a soft spot for a one Ms Grayson Isis Cerano, whose known associates listed in the following fifteen pages.

Looking over to the two women, Cerano explained. "I'm what's referred to as a Retriever. You lose something, I find the person that took it, I exact the punishment asked, take said stolen item, take my fee, and leave."

Natalia stared at her for a long moment. "How do you know Jen then? She wouldn't need your help, she too resourceful."

"I occasionally work with the honest citizen that's looking for a rare object, maybe something treasured, and lost. I cannot discuss the nature of our relationship, as it would be unprofessional to do so." She stared back impassively.

"Then why are you telling us this? We realized that you've had a hard life, evidently, we weren't even close to what you've been through, but why tell us. Are you trying to scare us?" Natalia questioned her.

"On the contrary cousin, I'm protecting you." She stood up haughtily, and moved beside her brother who watched the scene with the same interest a child watches a game show; bored contempt.

Natalia stood, and took a step towards the young woman. "Protecting us from what? We need help with Eric, and whoever is helping him."

"It's within your best interests to keep our relationship a secret." was all Jordan said.

Shaking her head, Natalia look confused. "Explain why?"

Sighing impatiently, Jordan's voice took on a very strict tone as he spoke to his sibling. "Grayson, they have to know, you have to tell them. It's either all or nothing. It's dangerous for them to not know." He looked back at Natalia, and then at Calleigh. "Hard life doesn't even begin to cover it." He turned back to his sister who was watching him in return. Finally, she spoke with a guilt-laden voice.

"The man that killed our parents is a cop." She looked away from all three people, and walked outside to the pool. She slid the door behind her, and disappeared out of view of the door.

Jordan looked at them sadly, and sat down on the couch, dismissing his sister's criminal record.

Natalia almost collapsed back onto the sofa arm, reaching for Calleigh's hand. "How do you know this? Do you know who he is?"

"It's hard to miss a shiny badge in the dim light of a street. We don't know his name, we know some things, which we will keep to ourselves, and reserve the right to follow the old traditions." he said callously. Then as if thinking of it as an afterthought. "That's the reason she hid so much from you, why endanger people who don't have to be?"

Calleigh shifted on the sofa to get a better look at the young man. "Stop being so bloody cryptic, and say it right out. Quit hiding behind the 'old traditions'. We agree not to use anything that we learn about either one of you against you. However, we need to know what we are up against straight out. We can deal with anything that we can see, touch or feel. We're CSI's, police officers and scientists, but we're also two very stubborn women that will do anything that they have to keep the other one safe. We have both killed for the other when we had to, so don't coddle us."

Natalia turned to look quizzically at her wife, but didn't say anything.

"Fitting you've killed for one another. The old tradition means Grayson will track him down, that we will track him down, and together will exact our punishment, and we will kill him. Until he is dead, we are, but ghosts in your life. Please understand, my sister...." He motioned out the window to the woman who was trailing her fingertips through the pool water while dangling her legs in it. "My sister has lived, breathed, eaten, and dreamed of revenge for the last 19 years. She is the most fitting person to find your Eric Delko because who better to know his pain than one who's living it?"

Calleigh asked. "If Grayson is a Retriever, what do you do? Do you have a record also?"

"Our grandfather once asked the two of us who it would be to follow in our father's footsteps. I would of gladly answered and taken on the burden, but as always ever the martyr and tortured soul, Grayson took my place on the chopping block. Her experience comes with the cost of her sanity and her soul. Don't take her assistance lightly."

Hanging her head, Calleigh sighed before looking back up at Jordan. "Answer the question damn it. What do you do? How are we supposed to not hold anything against you or even help you if we... aw hell."

Letting go of her wife's hand, Natalia rose to go stand next to her cousin. Slowly she brought up her hand to run her fingers through his unruly hair, and to stare into his eyes. After a few moments, she murmured. "Both of you have my mother's eyes. Whatever you have done doesn't concern me, what you will do, does. I want my family to be safe, but I want them also to be straightforward and honest with us. Just tell us, please."

"In all honesty, there is no chance that Gray will not find Eric." He took her hand in his, engulfing it in his bear like grip. "I don't have her record, though I do have her reputation. I own a bar. When you were at my home earlier today," He looked over at Calleigh. "You failed to realize the garage wasn't as deep as the upstairs levels were; below and behind the garage is a bar. Lucky's. I cater to the underbelly of Miami. Drunk people talk a lot." He smiled warmly before finishing. "I restore buildings, cars, and the like. My sister on the other hand is basically a contract killer." He finished jokingly, hoping to ease the moment.

Natalia turned to Calleigh, shaking her head. "Well, I did ask for him to be straight-forward." Turning back, she continued. "So we keep your existence a secret for how long?"

Suddenly Grayson slid the glass door open, something in her clasped right hand, striding across the floor, her heels clicked angrily. "Look what I found." She handed Jordan what looked to be a small black piece of circuitry.

Jordan looked at the device in rage. "Sparky" They muttered together under their breath.

Groaning as she got up from the sofa, Calleigh went over to look at what they were holding. "Sparky?"

Grayson unconsciously put a hand on Calleigh's arm to make sure she was steady, and then showed her the device. "It's a remote camera, it's takes pictures from signal beamed at certain times. This one is cheaply made by a guy named Sparky Henderson." She looked at Jordan who was smiling wickedly. "Playtime?" He asked cheerfully, and with a hint of excitement.

Grayson answered back with her own grim smile as Jordan fished out a pair of brass knuckles and laid them in his sister's hands. "Have fun Gray. Say hi for me." Grayson leaned up, kissed her brother on the cheek, then patted his huge arm before striding towards the front door.

Natalia looked at Calleigh. "Be right back." Then ran after the young woman.

"Cerano.... Grayson.... wait!"

Grayson halted in backing the Audi R8 out the driveway, the low super engine humming in anticipation of being let loose on the melted Miami streets at sunset. She looked up from behind mirrored Oakley sunglasses, her lips turned down in a frown. "Yes ma'am?" she asked quietly.

Placing her hand on Cerano's arm, Natalia frowned as she searched for the right thing to say. " Like I said before, I can't change the past, I can only be concerned about right now. You are a part of my family now, and I can keep it a secret as long as you need me to, but I want you to be careful. I.... we are here for the both of you. If you need our help, please don't be too proud to ask for it. We will give it gladly."

"Someday, maybe I'll take you up on that...." She hesitated, and opened the door before stepping out of the super car. She faced Natalia, standing up to her full height, finally able to look her in the eye. Biting her lip, she did something completely out of character, she reached out, and pulled Natalia into a bone-crushing hug. Whispering thickly, "Family is forever. No matter what anyone says.... You wanted my trust? I'm leaving you the most important thing in my life right now."

Nodding her head, Natalia tried to lighten the moment. "Does he do windows?"

Letting her cousin go, she slipped on her sunglasses, hiding the watery eyes, she was a Cerano after all. "And gutter's too. Be safe." She climbed back into the car, pulling the pistol out of the back of her skirt, cocking it, and laying on the seat beside her with the brass knuckles. She smiled one last time before flooring it out of the driveway, and leaving a peel of rubber and noise down the street in the fading Miami sun.

Natalia stood there in the evening shadows, listening more than watching Cerano exit their neighborhood, until normal sounds returned. Turning around, she made her way back inside, closing the front door behind her. Walking over to the sofa, she looked over to the young man who had made himself comfortable next to her wife.

"Have you eaten dinner? I can fix you something if you would like?"

"No, I don't want to trouble you Mrs. DuVista." he said politely. Both twins had refused to use her first name or Calleigh's, still preferring to refer to them as the DuVista's.

"It would be no trouble, honestly, and since we are family, please call me Natalia or Talia. Mrs. DuVista sounds way too formal."

"Hmmm..." His cell phone chirped, and he answered it back. "Go ahead Gray." he waited a few moments and then the familiar husk came back across the two way. "I found Henderson. I count three bodyguards. Hardly seems fair. They're so big, and I'm so little." The chirp ended. He looked over at Natalia and Calleigh. 'Well Talia, what do you want your Retriever to do?"

Taking a deep breath, Natalia turned to look at her wife, neither one saying anything. After a few moments, without taking her eyes of off Calleigh, she simply stated. "Do what you have to do to get the information. No loss of life, and be careful."

"Gray, don't kill anyone this time. Dead men tell no tales remember?" he smiled when she answered back just as calmly. "Fair's fair. Chirp you when I'm done. If a man gets his ass kicked in an alley, is there anyone to hear him scream?" She ended the chirp, and Jordan laughed cutting off the phone, standing up walking into the kitchen. "What did you feel like making?" he smiled warmly, as if his sister hadn't just entered a dark alley with three armed bodyguards carrying only one gun and a pair of brass knuckles.

Reaching down to take Calleigh's hands, Natalia carefully helped her up off the sofa. "Actually, I was going to say to help yourself, because I would like to have a talk with Calleigh for a few minutes. I want to go over a few things with her.

Jordan said nothing except to busy himself in their kitchen, pulling out ingredients. He placed his cell phone on the counter in case Gray should chirp back with results.

Gently leading her wife into their bedroom, Natalia let her go though the doorway first, before closing the door behind them, then walking around to stand in front of Calleigh with her arms across her chest.

"What exactly did you mean when you said we have both killed for the other?"

Calleigh's eyes turned hard. "Just what I said. Because of my carelessness, you had to kill that man yesterday, and I know that you would do it again if you had to."

Taking a step closer to Calleigh. "Who did you kill Calleigh, because of me?"

Looking down at the carpet, Calleigh took a deep breath. "I killed Jake. I murdered him up on that roof top."

Shaking her head, Natalia looked at her in disbelief. "No, you shot him when he threw the knife."

Bring up her head; Calleigh's expression was heartbreaking, because she just knew that this would be something that Natalia could never forgive. Turning away, she continued. "No, I murdered him. I could have only shot him once, and it would have been enough. Instead, I shot him three times. Once in the shoulder, once in the stomach, and the final time, in his heart. He had kidnapped, and beaten you. He was trying to keep us apart, and he would have never stopped. He would have gotten out, and come after us again. I was not let that happen, so I did what I had to do, and I would do it again."

Natalia's hands found themselves into the blonde's hair forcing her to look at her. "It doesn't change anything because I would have done far worse if it had been you, il mio amore." She looked hard into her wife's beautiful face. "I killed that man because I had to save your life, the lives of others. You did what you had to, just like I did what I had to." She murmured, looking hard at Calleigh, wanting her to understand.

Tears were falling freely down her face as Calleigh stared back at the love of her life. She didn't hate her. She understood. Closing her eyes, Calleigh let go of all the guilt that she had been carrying around for so long, because of what she had done. When she opened the back, they were bright, and full of love. "I love you Natalia. You are my world, and I will always protect you."

"And I will always love you, just as much baby. You are my world as well; this life doesn't work without you." She leaned down, crushing her lips into Calleigh's, passionately trying to pour all of her love, affection, admiration, and desire into one kiss.

Calleigh pulled her hard against her body, not caring about the pain; she needed to feel Natalia's body against hers. She wanted to be surrounded by her warmth, her pulse, to feel the breath coming in and going out of her body. Frantically she pushed up Natalia's shirt up so that she could run her hands over silken skin.

Natalia whimpered, picking Calleigh up in her arms, laying her down on the bed softly before climbing on top of her, nipping at her kiss swollen lips before capturing them in a heated kiss. She lifted her arms, allowing the blonde to remove her shirt.

Rolling them over, Calleigh leaned down to capture one of Natalia's nipple's between her lips, while she situated herself between her thighs, groaning at the heat that came through.

Slowly she moved down the bronze body, using her fingers, and tongue to taste and feel everything that she had been missing for the past few days. 'Ah the sweet torture.' Dipping her tongue into her belly button, twirling it about like she was going to do in a different area in a few moments.

Natalia arched up against the tender, but heated assault; hands fisting the sheets and eyes rolling back in her head. This was where her home, her heart laid with this woman. Everything that she had gone through up until then was to get her to this woman, to this place, to this love. Reaching down with one hand, she gently tugged on the golden tresses that were moving slowly down her body.

Fiery green eyes looked up from dark curls, barely focused.


"I won't...." Calleigh answered before finally dipping her tongue into damp curls, moaning with the sweetness that she found. Slowly she licked her very slowly; starting at her entrance all the way up to the top of her clit, then back again. Circling her clit, never fully touching it, always teasing, Calleigh was driving slowly Natalia up the wall. She was trying to go as slow as could, wanting this to last, but her wife was having none of that as she tried to pull her ever closer. Calleigh hummed as she tried to savor every drop of her wife's essence, every inch of Natalia's sex was calling to her, begging to be touched.

Natalia couldn't take much more, her wife had a very talented tongue and she praised the lord every day that she was the one that she used it on.

Finally with a final lick, a long draw, and a gentle bite, Natalia went perfectly still for one exquisite moment. One moment where time and space were in perfect alignment and she felt everything, before she floated back down.

Natalia whimpered as Calleigh gave her sex one long slow kiss before crawling carefully up the bronzed body. She nuzzled her nose into soft caramel hair before stealing a soft kiss. "I love you so much Talia...." she whispered.

Wrapping her arms around her wife, and snuggling deeper into the embrace, Natalia smiled happily. "I love you too baby." She kissed her temple just as softly, and smiled again.

They stayed that way, very happily, both trying to catch their breath for quite awhile until sounds from the outside made their way into the room.

After leaving the DuVista's, Grayson made her way over to Sparky's. She watched from the safety of her sports car, while Sparky signed for a crate of wiring that was being delivered into his seedy motel that he operated out of. Grayson hated Sparky. He took people's privacy for money.

She listened as Jordan chirped that the DuVista's wanted no one killed, and to be careful. That mean she couldn't chop anyone up into tiny pieces of shark bait, what a shame. She watched while the three bodyguards stood outside while all the crates were escorted into through the kitchen entrance. She silently screwed the silencer onto the end of the Glock 9mm handgun, and smiled, slipping the brass knuckles down her cleavage.

Stepping from the car, she walked up behind one of the bodyguards, and shot him in the back of the knee, watching the cartilage explode from the other side. His two counterparts turned at his scream, and saw him lying on the pavement being stood over by a bombshell in a miniskirt and heels, holding a silenced handgun.

Both bodyguards reached for their guns, however unsuccessfully, as Cerano shot them both in the bicep, watching them drop to their knees, holding their arms. She pistol-whipped two out of the three men, leaving the third for questioning on her way out.

Silently she walked up the stairs, passing several prostitutes who either looked at her hungrily, or in jealousy for her body. She paid them no mind. At the end of the hallway, Sparky looked up. As soon as he saw who it was, he paled considerably in the low lighting.

"Sparky, it's been awhile." She smiled sweetly, pointing the gun at his head. He froze as did the prostitutes in the hallway.

"Grayson…. long time no see, where's your brother?" He looked around nervously. If Jordan wasn't here, there wasn't a chance this meeting would be without blood.

"Oh, he's visiting some friends. Why don't we go into your office to talk in private?" She pushed the silenced gun into his temple, smiling hatefully. "That way, in case I shoot you, no one will see anything."

Sparky Henderson was terrified of the Cerano twins. Jordan made him quiver in fear, but Grayson made him piss his pants and cry for his mother, and she was dead.

He silently opened the door, and shut it after her, motioning for her to take a seat, which she refused politely, and remained standing. Tossing the mangled red light camera onto his desk, she pulled the brass knuckles out of her cleavage, and slipped them onto her right hand, while tucking the pistol into the back of her skirt. "Who ordered it?" she asked.

"Cerano, I can't divulge details you know tha..." Whatever else Sparky was going to say was cut off by a vicious punch to the hip. He screamed in pain, falling to the floor holding his hip while Grayson stood over him.

"I'm going to ask you again. Who ordered it?" Her voice was deadly calm. Her black eyes glittering maliciously.

Sparky felt sweat run down the back of his neck as the tears pooled in his eyes. "I-I-I don't know! It's anonymous! It was ordered and shipped over the internet!" He winced as she leaned down lifting his five foot six inch body off the floor by the front of his shirt, letting his feet dangle above the floor.

"Then I need the address." She smiled again. This was becoming taxing. She was wasting precious time that could be spent tracking down Delko and bringing him alive, albeit severely fucked up, to Calleigh and Natalia.

"I CAN'T!!" pleaded Henderson, he placed his hands together pleading.

Cerano didn't even flinch when she punched him in the ribs, hearing the sickening crunch of crushed bone; she dropped him back onto the floor.

He was sobbing in pain by now, coughing up hunks of blood. She walked over to the phone, and pulled it off the hook. "I'm going to dial 911. When they get here, they'll either find your corpse or someone with severely broken ribs and a cracked hip. I'll ask you one last time, what is the address?" She pulled the gun out of the back of her skirt, and pointed it at his skull.

Natalia lifted her head up when she heard a loud bark followed by a wet splash, and the sound of a squeaky toy being chomped on by a large animal. She turned to look at her wife in curiosity, their neighbors didn't have dogs.

Raising her head from Natalia's shoulder, Calleigh listen carefully, until she heard, "Adonis," Then she turned back to her wife. "I believe that we have some new family members for you to meet. Come on."

Getting off the bed, they went into the bathroom to clean up, before Natalia got dressed, and they went out to see what the noise was all about.

Jordan had Grayson up on the counter, who was trying to push his hands away. She had a vicious cut through her bottom lip, and a bloody nose. "STOP." She made it quite clear that antiseptic wasn't going anywhere near her face. Jordan sighed and growled. "Put your hands down or this is going to end up as another scar." Grayson stared at him balefully, and then noticed Calleigh and Natalia standing at doorway.

Natalia balled her hands into fists, trying to control the urge to go over to help Jordan, but she stayed where she was. Instead, she just asked, "Does the other guy look worse?"

The cruel smile was an obvious answer, despite the blood in her teeth, Grayson looked quite happy with herself. Jordan however, looked annoyed, and exasperated, so he busied himself with cleaning the cuts on her fists from the brass knuckles. "I swear you do this for fun...." he muttered under his breath.

Grayson reached over, and stuffed two pieces of cotton up both nostrils, before she picked up an ice pack, and pushed against her lips, covering her bloody smile, as she gave the two women thumbs up.

Shaking her head, Natalia shook her hands to relax them, before going over to see, exactly how bad her cousin was hurt. Gently pulling away the ice pack, she winced at the split lip. "I would suggest no trumpet playing for the next few days until that heals."

Grayson narrowed her eyes, but shrugged, picking up a plastic cup, spitting a mouthful of blood into it. The slice went through both lips, and was bleeding into her mouth. She licked her lips unconsciously. "I found Sparky." She smiled widely again. Putting the ice pack back on the corner of her mouth, trying to stop the swelling.

Stepping forward to look at the damage of her young friend, Calleigh's eyebrow arched as she retorted. "And it looks like he found you too."

A loud bark of laughter was the blonde's answer, Grayson's mouth turned into a very wide bloody smile, and she laughed even harder. Finally the laughter subsided. "I guess you could say that." She held up the mirror, and smiled haughtily at her reflection. "Scar's are the new black." She joked. "I also found who ordered the camera, sort of, but I got an address where it was sent for the delivery conformation."

"What was the address?" Calleigh simply asked.

"Want to go Blondie?' was Grayson's retort. "I'm sorry, that was uncalled for." Grayson reached behind her, pulled out a bloody piece of office paper, and handed it to her.

The paper was smeared with blood, but the address clearly read 580 NW 118 ST, the name was obviously fake, John Smith?

"The house was empty, sort of, camera equipment, some blank DVD's, a few of those camera's.... and this big mother fucker who gave me this present." She pointed at her face smiling. "He told he'd been hired by this cop, and he was supposed to doing surveillance on two crooked CSI women that matched your descriptions."

After she recovered from the shock of being described as crooked, Natalia had to ask. "What was the description of the person who hired him?"

"I'm 95% sure it was Delko. There was no way this guy was lying to me with the cop's description." She looked sideways at the brass knuckles sitting on her duffel bag, hoping that they didn't see the flecks of blood on the brass.

Calleigh caught her glance, but said nothing about it, instead asked. "Was there anything else there that could lead to where Eric is?"

Grayson hopped down from the counter, took some tape, wrapping up her right hand slowly before placing the tape and the antiseptic back into the bag. She then slid her heels off, and placed them back into the bag, flexing her toes, she looked into the backyard at the dogs jumping into her cousin's pool.

"By that time, he'd kind of lost consciousness. If you want, I can go back and ask him. He can't have made it to a phone that quickly...." she muttered the last part under her breath. Looking at Jordan, who was shaking his head. Instead, he took the keys off the counter, and went to go get dog food out of the car.

Sighing, Calleigh went into the kitchen, filled up a medium sized pot full of water, and placed it on the stove to boil. Then walking over to the duffle bag, she grabbed the brass knuckles before stopping in front of Grayson, holding out her hand. "Is this the only pair or do you have a back up?"

Like a child who'd been caught with her hand in a cookie jar, she pulled a bloody pair out of the back of her skirt, and handed it to the blonde. She shrugged like it didn't matter that she'd most likely disfigured the man for life, but there are times when hard choices had to be made, you couldn't be the hero all the time. She spit another mouthful of blood into the cup watching the blonde while Jordan walked through the door with a 40-pound bag of dog food.

Standing in the middle of the room while all of this was going on, Natalia was beginning to look a little bit confused. Shaking her head, she muttered to herself. "Somewhere along the line, the inmates took control of the asylum, and I'm totally lost."

Calleigh smiled as she heard her wife, so she came around and led her to a bar stool to sit on. "It's ok Darlin', I'll explain it to you in a bit." Patting Natalia's hand, she walked over to the cabinet to get two huge bowls for the dogs.

Grayson was starting to get annoyed with the amount of blood, pouring into her mouth, it wouldn't stop. Confused, she opened her mouth, and looked into a mirror. "Well fuck me...." She realized it was going to be another scar. She whimpered quietly, touching it.

Calleigh peered at the cut. "We have some surgical glue, if that would help. Natalia had to use is when her legs were sliced."

Grayson's whimpering stopped immediately, and she stared Natalia down with a look. Jordan dropped the bag on the floor, staring at the brunette as well.

Looking at the twins, Natalia finally spoke. "Uh, I guess that you weren't around a few months back when there was someone killing women who looked like me. Well, he kidnapped me, and decided to show me his carving skills." Shrugging, Natalia continued. "I know that it's not in good taste, but I have to joke about what happened sometimes, because if I don't, it will haunt me, and I'll have too many nightmares."

Grayson sat perfectly, still not moving at all. Nightmares were something that she knew too well. When they had renovated their building last summer, she'd installed soundproofing into the bricks of their bedrooms so she and Jordan wouldn't wake one another in the middle of the night. Jordan came around the corner, and pulled both Natalia and Calleigh into another large gentle hug, careful of the blonde's fractured ribs.

Calleigh looked at her wife, laughing. "He's the hugger, she's the muscle."

Grayson smiled thinly, and opened the kit on the counter pulling out a numbing agent, a needle, and dissolving thread plus a mirror, and tweezers. Gathering up her supplies, she headed towards the spare bedroom while Jordan kept them distracted. The bleeding had to stop or she was going to the hospital. Hospitals meant questions, and questions meant more cops with badges and guns. She had to find Eric now.

Natalia jumped off the barstool, following the young woman, grabbing the first aid kit that Calleigh was holding out.

Grayson set all her supplies down on the counter, and started stringing the needle. She'd stitched herself up numerous times, which was why she never complained about her scars, it was her own handy work. She remembered Jordan watching her in dread the night her parents had died, when they'd stumbled back up the street to their own home. She'd ran inside, and done it herself with a sewing needle and thread until they'd made it to their grandfathers the next day. She'd passed out three times trying to sew her neck back up, but in the end, Jordan had helped her like the saint he always was.

Entering the bathroom, Natalia almost balked at the supplies laid out in front of her cousin. "Grayson let me help you please. This won't be as painful, and it will heal faster."

Watching her out of the corner of her eye in the mirror, the younger woman leaned towards the mirror applying the numbing agent to the skin. She then ran hot water cleaning the needle before wrapping the thread around her fingers until she needed it. "Talia. It's fine. I don't need the glue, though if you would hold my cut together, it would make this easier?" She looked up hopefully at Natalia.

Instead, Natalia firmly pushed the younger woman to sit on the vanity stool, opened her own kit, and took out the glue. "Jordan! Would you come in here for a moment?"

Grayson glared silently at her brother who appeared in the doorway. "Touch me, and you'll be eating through a tube for a month, you mammoth."

"Cal, come here darlin."

"Blondie, if you want to continue to shoot your guns at your little range, the same goes for you." Grayson stood up, and dared all three of them to touch her.

"Sit down!" was all Natalia said, her eyes were hard. "As you said, family is forever, and we all are family. We take care of each other, so sit down, and let us."

Grayson stared back at the brunette for a moment, but then for some unknown reason, she sat back down crossing her arms, and rolled both of her eyes, one of which was about to turn a nasty shade of purple.

"Fucking fine.... Christ on a cracker...." She muttered under her breath. Smart woman she thought, she knew that physically, she wouldn't hurt them.

"Watch you language. Swear all you want, just don't take Jesus' name in vain. One house rule." Natalia leaned over the young woman. "Cal, come here and hold the wounds closed for me."

"Gray's got a mouth that could make a priest blush." Jordan smirked, leaning against the doorframe. He'd finally lived to see the day someone could make his sister shut the hell up, and listen. "Isn't that what your last girlfriend said?" Grayson shot him the middle finger.

Nudging the young man aside, Calleigh made her way to the wounded woman, and after washing her hands, carefully held together the gaping skin while Natalia applied the glue. Smiling while she was putting on the last bit, she couldn't resist saying, "Now I don't want you to talk for at least ten minutes. Take a shower, but don't get your face wet. You can wash it later."

Grayson had the polite grace to refrain from splitting the glue just to add a parting remark; she stood up with Jordan's help. He helped her out of her shredded shirt and destroyed skirt that were both covered in blood. When he turned her around to help her into the shower, Calleigh and Natalia were treated to an array of violent scars in the bathroom light.

Jordan helped her into the shower, threw a towel over the top of the curtain, and walked with the women into the living room to explain why Grayson's dogs were swimming in her pool.

Sitting on the sofa, Calleigh patiently waited for the young man to start talking, while Natalia put away the kit, and washed her hands again.

"We brought Adonis and Echo, because neither one of us can be here all the time, though Grayson will be sleeping here to protect you. At night, I'll be working to find Eric, and she'll work the days. This requires both of our attentions." He explained, pouring the food into the bowls, pulling out two towels, and walked outside to dry both massive pit bulls. Echo bolted through the house, and jumped on the couch next to Calleigh whining. Adonis however, walked in slowly sniffing, then followed his mistress's trail to the shut door, he plopped himself on the floor waiting patiently, much like Calleigh.

Natalia sat on the arm of the sofa, next to Calleigh, looking at the dogs.

Echo sat up, and licked Natalia across the face, letting her tongue wipe across her mouth, nose, and forehead.

"I think she likes you." Jordan laughed.

"You are so washing your face, and brushing your teeth before you kiss me again." Calleigh laughed.

Jordan roared in laughter, his hand on Calleigh's arm, he doubled over, and held his sides. Grayson finally came out of the bathroom, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, barefoot with her hair dried and light make up. She sat down quietly on the floor with Adonis who was sniffing her face.

Grayson looked from her brother over to the two women, and held up her hands in a silent question, asking what was so funny.

Jordan caught his breath, and looked at his sister, quietly motioning. 'Echo just licked Natty in the face, and Calleigh said that she had to wash her face before she kissed her again. Oh, it was amazing." Grayson laughed quietly, trying not to split too wide of a smile. Finally, the time passed and she could talk. "Epic."

Calleigh arched an eyebrow, "Natty?"

"Welcome to the family, be prepared for nick names, random musicals, practical jokes, and the like."Jordan smiled wrapping an arm around his sister, hugging her tightly to him, then he attempted to crush her, while she easily slipped out from underneath him, and had him in a headlock moments later.

Watching the two playfully wrestle, Natalia got a little teary eyed, and decided that it was time for her to go to bed. Leaning over, she whispered quietly to her wife, who nodded and they both stood up.

"You two can make yourself at home. You already have a key to our home, so feel free to come, and go as you please." Walking over, Natalia rose up on her toes to give Jordan a kiss on his cheek, before giving Grayson a careful hug. "Sleep sweet Gray, and you young man, be careful."

Jordan smiled, as Cerano's are bred with trouble, violence, and pain in mind. Grayson hugged her back. "Good night, tall, dark, and stormy."

Passing by Jordan, Calleigh thumped him playfully on the arm, "Call if you need anything." then ruffling Cerano's hair, she warned, "Don't stay up all night."

"You betcha, Shortstack." Jordan smiled.

A golden eyebrow arched up, while Natalia tried to cover her laugh with a cough.

Looking over at her wife, Calleigh shot her a warning glance. "No comments from the peanut gallery, if you know what's good for you.

Laughing, Natalia wrapped her arms around the blonde, and they walked together into their bedroom and closed the door.

Grayson watched as the DuVista's went to bed, before she followed Jordan outside onto the driveway. She fidgeted while he loaded her duffel bags into his Jeep.

"What Slick?' Jordan suddenly turned around, staring at her.

"What do you mean what?" Grayson eyed him curiously finally realizing he wanted to talk.

"Listen Gray. I'll be fine, I promise. It's just surveillance. If things start to get nasty, I will call you okay?" He leaned down hugging her tightly. He knew how afraid she was of losing him, to be truly alone.

"Okay. Please just text me every hour so I know?" She pleaded quietly looking up at him.

"Fine." He complained climbing up into the raised vehicle and leaving the driveway. Grayson stared at Calleigh's Crossfire and her own black Audi R8. She ran her hand over her split lip cursing quietly. Turning around she walked back into the house. She made sure the dogs had enough water, and food, then she made them lay down outside Calleigh and Natalia's bedroom door. She herself, slid the silencer back onto her chrome 9mm, she grabbed a blanket and a pillow, put the gun under the pillow and slept until dawn.

Part 5

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