DISCLAIMER: CSI Miami and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
WARNING: This story contains scenes of bloody violence. Reader discretion is advised.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By sinjenkai


Part 8

Grayson pulled Mercedes into the lift, and killed the engine. Slipping off her shoes, she made her way upstairs, trying to keep her back to the wall, sneaking into the Complex. If Jordan caught her, she'd most likely never live it down. Especially if he saw her back, Sonia had left plenty of evidence from their night together. Not that she minded, a dirty smile making its way onto her face.

"Nice of you to join us for breakfast Slick." Calleigh was sitting on one of the bar stool, watching her in-law trying to sneak in. "Seems to me that you had a nice time last night."

Grayson stopped stone still, almost like a statue. She really wanted to pretend they couldn't see her, but that wasn't going to happen so she turned around with a sheepish smile on her face. "Good morning."

"Hmm, never thought that Sonia was a scratcher, but you live and learn." Calleigh wasn't even trying to keep the smirk off her face.

"Don't tease her babe." Natalia admonished. Turning to her cousin, she asked. "Can I fix you something to eat?"

"Why, did you and Sonia spend a few evenings together before Talia?" Grayson stuck out her tongue like a child, wrapping her hair up into a loose ponytail, which only further showed off the large amount of scratches all over her back and shoulders. "Actually, if you could make me whatever you're having, while I go take a quick shower and get ready that would be great. By the way…Enjoy my bed?" She arched an eyebrow at the couple.

Calleigh's eyes darkened momentarily. "No..."

Natalia jumped in before her wife said something that she might regret. "Calleigh doesn't get into relationship with suspects. She's seen what can happen to investigations that can get them derailed."

"It was a joke..." Grayson patted Calleigh on the shoulder, a sarcastic smile on her sharp features. Smiling, she left them alone to go get changed to meet this drug dealer; who most likely would regret the day he ever met her.

By the time that Grayson returned to the kitchen, there was a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese grits and toast waiting for her. Jordan was astride another one of the barstools, while Natalia was leaning against Calleigh, eating off her plate.

Grayson sat down, annoyed how this outfit made her feel. Loose baggy jeans with grease all over them, a shirt that was shredded and too loose. She hadn't washed her hair, leaving it unkempt and lank around her face. She'd even put dark circles under her eyes with studio make up. Her idea was to appear to look like a junkie until she needed to be otherwise. Sitting down, she dug into her breakfast.

"Good Morning Beautiful! I hear that you had one hell of a night. I must have been the loneliest person in town last night." Jordan teased.

"Hey Slick, to answer your question from before... You were right. Your bed is a black hole. We showered last night after dinner, and I laid down to wait on Natalia to get dressed, and the next thing I know, it's time to wake up for work." Calleigh exclaimed.

"I had a fantastic time last night, and I'm hoping to enjoy Sonia's company again, no matter if there's clothing or not. And you could change the lonely part if you'd return Julio's phone calls. His baby sister Miranda has the hots for you. FYI..." Grayson smiled, as she finished her food. Dumping her plate in the sink, she jumped into her brother's lap, messing up his already messy hair while he grumbled, holding her tight in a bear hug so she couldn't move. She yawned watching Natalia and Calleigh. "Cal, are you going back to work today?"

"Yeah, I'm healed enough that I don't feel any pain." The blonde answered. "And I'm sure that with me and Eric out, that the labs are backed up. I'll probably be inside all day."

Dumping his sister off his lap, Jordan stood up. "Well, if you ladies are ready to hit the road, I will be more than honored to escort you to work."

Natalia grabbed her purse off the counter, before giving Grayson a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'm glad that you had a good time last night. You deserve it." With that, she took Jordan's offered arm, and they walked over to the elevator.

Blushing, Grayson ducked her head. She still wasn't used to all this affection, but maybe she could be in time.

Calleigh made like she was going to follow, but stopped next to the young brunette. "Right now, I guess that Talia is playing the nice cousin, so that leaves me in the role of the bad one. I don't want you to take this wrong, but please be careful. Not only today, but with Sonia. I don't want see either one of you hurt. You're family, and she's a good friend. Okay?'

Standing, Grayson stared directly into Calleigh's eyes. "It is not my intention to hurt Sonia, but I can't guarantee it won't happen, not in my line of work. I can assure you that we have agreed to keep things as honest as we can, but any more than that, is none of your business and you would do well to stay out of mine."

Calleigh stared back at her a long time before she just shook her head, and went to join her wife in the elevator, leaving the young woman alone.

After getting to work, Calleigh escorted her wife to the DNA lab before heading to talk to Horatio. On their way to work, they had decided that they needed to come as clean as possible with their friend and supervisor, hoping that he would let them continue to handle it without him getting involved.

After finding him in his rarely used office, Calleigh sat down and explained the situation as the best that she could; leaving out of course the Cerano's, the pictures, and the paint job. Horatio was deeply troubled however, hearing that somehow Eric had gotten hold of both Calleigh and Natalia's personnel and medical records, not to mention the bullet moving through Eric's head.

When Calleigh had finally finished, Horatio thought for a moment. "I understand that you want to take care of this yourself, and it says a lot that you are doing what you can to protect Eric and his job. I would like you to please keep me as up to date on everything that you can. I have a feeling that you left many things out, and while I respect your need for privacy, I do hope that you know you can trust me."

Reaching forward, Calleigh covered his hand with hers. "We do know that we can trust you, it's just if you don't know about something, you won't have to lie about it. I promise you that if I feel you need to know something, I'll let you know."

"Fair enough. Well, I'll let you get to work. I'm here if you or Natalia need me."

Calleigh thanked him before heading down to Ballistics, to spend the next few hours catching up on reports and tests.

It was right after lunch that she got a call that she needed to go out to a scene near the waterfront at some abandoned warehouses. It seemed that there had been an illegal fight club there that had resulted in at least two deaths before they moved it to another location.

After letting Natalia know that she was leaving the building, and that she could be careful, Calleigh went out to her Hummer, and after checking that everything was still in its proper place, she headed out.

The entire drive to the warehouse, Calleigh had the feeling she was being followed. Her fears, however were laid to rest at the very last light before the scene, as a car rolled up and a young Hispanic male ducked his head at her respectfully. Calleigh smiled; this had to be one of Grayson's people. She pulled the Hummer into the warehouse back lot and put it in park. Checking the area visually, she walked around the vehicle to pull out her kit and respective items.

Calleigh had read the preliminary reports, and knew that the deaths had happened over the last couple of days. Walking inside of the warehouse, she spotted an octagon enclosure made of chain linked fence material welded to steel posts that had been driven through the concrete floor. A pile of wrestling mats covered the floor on the inside of the enclosure.

After taking a series of pictures of the outside of the octagon, she carefully walked around the outside, looking for evidence of blood, torn skin or other body fluids that would show up on her scope. She was so intent on looking that she didn't pay any attention to noises from the outside.

The black Chrysler was parked directly across the street from the warehouse, Jacinto had the air conditioner going full blast. If anyone other than Cerano had asked him to work on Monday, he would of told them to fuck off. He'd rather work a Monday than to cross Grayson Cerano in any sort of fashion. He looked up again and almost spit his coffee all over the dash. The man Grayson was looking for was right in front of him leaning against a Ford Escape, watching the warehouse in the same fashion he was.

He scrambled for his cell phone, spilling his coffee on himself in the process. In his hurry, he dialed the wrong Cerano.

"You've got Jordan....what's up?"

"Shit, Jordan, I meant to call Grayson. I found Eric. He's followed Calleigh to a scene. Call Grayson NOW! I'm not allowed to engage him!" Jacinto rushed out. He was terrified what the female Cerano would do to him if something happened to this blonde.

Calmly Jordan told him what to do as he ran towards the stairs. "You call Grayson, tell her just what you told me. Tell her that I'm on my way. What's the address?"

Jacinto relayed the address across the line, then hung up. He dialed Grayson frantically, his pulse sky rocketing as he listened to the phone ring three times before she answered.


"It's Jacinto, Eric is here. He followed Calleigh to a scene. I'm watching him walk in the building right now. I accidentally called Jordan, and he said he's on his way so I could call you." Jacinto's words rushed out so quickly it seemed like it took a few moments for Grayson to understand him.

"Jordan is on the way?!" Grayson's stomach hit her feet. It was too dangerous for him to be there, Eric was too dangerous. She knew calling him would be futile, he was honor bound to protect Calleigh and Natalia, just like she was. "FUCK!!" She screamed into the phone. "Tell me the address now." She growled out. She abandoned her search for Denton, the Ferrari flooring its way out of the parking lot in a cloud of rubber and road dirt.

Jacinto almost pissed his pants as he tried to give her the address, having to start over twice because he was afraid of what she might do to him.

In less than five minutes, Jordan was pulling behind the Chrysler, and jumping out of the car. Jacinto had been leaning against his ever since the phones calls. "Cerano said for you to wait. She'll be here in about ten minutes. I'm supposed to keep you out here."

Jordan shoved Jacinto out of the way with a hard push, which was easy since Jordan was twice his size. "Get the hell out of my way. Tell her I said family doesn't wait." Jordan tore through the door looking for any sign of Eric or Calleigh.

Eric had been watching Calleigh for the most part, she was so beautiful; her hair like spun gold and her skin reminded him of peaches and honey. He had to have her for his own. Eric grimaced as a wave of pain shot through his skull, clutching it hard, he thought of Natalia touching her, and his rage grew exponentially. As quietly as he could, he snuck up behind her, snatching her gun out of her holster before she even heard him. "Good afternoon My Love." was all he muttered, staring her down in hunger.

Spinning around, Calleigh gasped as she realized that she was now unarmed, and alone with someone that she really didn't know. "Eric, it's good to see you." Trying to keep him calm until help arrived.

"I'm sure it is." He threw the gun away, he wouldn't need it. He would never harm Calleigh. He loved her so much. He smiled at the thought of making her his own. "I've missed you Calleigh." He walked towards her with open arms.

Calleigh looked around to find that she had nowhere to go. Eric had picked the perfect spot as she was against the enclosure and a steel girder.

Eric grabbed Calleigh, forcing her to sit in the corner while he pulled the handcuffs from his pocket, snapping them in place around one of her wrists, he had her to himself now. Calleigh couldn't escape, as he handcuffed her to the enclosure. Holding her other arm eagle spread, he taunted. "Time to kiss and make up Calleigh..." Eric smiled, lowering his mouth to hers. She twisted, kicked and screamed, trying to keep away from him.

Jordan roared in rage at seeing what Eric was about to do, he caught him in the middle with a violent football tackle, pinning Eric to the ground, he punched him hard across the face. Bringing back his arm again, Jordan growled. "Keep your hands off Natalia's wife." before delivering another stunning blow.

"Calleigh is mine!" Eric spit back, blood dripping from the corner of a busted lip. He caught the fist in midstrike, elbowing the Jordan hard in the jaw, stunning him. He brought up his knee's, pushing the larger man off him before clambering to his feet, to kick him hard in the mid-section, listening to the satisfying yelp of pain.

Scampering to his knees, Jordan managed to pushed himself up enough to raise his hands, blocking a kick by his forearms. Dropping his hand to the ground, he launched at Eric, arm out, wrapping it around Eric's waist, slamming the crazed man to the ground. Eric growled, clamping his hands together bringing them down with brute force on Jordan's spine between the shoulder blades. "She's MINE!" Eric proclaimed, kicking the bear of a man off him. Rolling to his forearms and knees, Jordan winced, but before he could lift himself up, Eric caught him again with a soccer style kick to his head, causing him to gray out.

"ERIC! LEAVE HIM ALONE!" Calleigh screamed, trying to distract him so that Jordan could protect himself.

Looking around, Eric heard Calleigh screaming at him to leave this man alone. He wanted Calleigh, he needed to take her with him, he smiled through the bloody lip, and advanced towards Calleigh.

Putting his hands on her arms, he pressed himself down upon her, effectively pinning her between the enclosure and him. He ran his hands through her hair, down her face, over her chest, gripping her hips hard. His rough hands slid up under the front of her shirt, tracing over her chest in awe, "Your skin is amazing." His hands wandered towards her belt, then down her thighs, his hands pushing them apart, and pulling her roughly to him once more, yanking hard on the wrist which was manacled, causing her to scream in pain."You will be mine Calleigh." He breathed into her ear.

Trying to push him away was impossible, Calleigh twisted her head away from his breath. "Get off me! I will never be yours."

"Yes you will. You'll be mine again and again. You'll love every minute of it. It'll be us together on horseback on the beach, us together on a couch falling asleep. NOT NATALIA!" He screamed in her face, holding her chin in an iron grip, forcing her to look at him. Eric crushed his lips against her, wanting to breathe in Calleigh's sweet breath. When she wouldn't open her mouth for him, he brought up his other hand to pinch her nose close until she was forced to open her mouth to breathe.

Holding her breath for as long as she could, the disgust was written plainly on her face. When breathing became essential for fear of passing out, Calleigh gasped for air, almost gagging as she felt Eric grin in victory against her lips.

When she felt him shove his tongue into her mouth, the rage at his audacity won out over her disgust at his assumptions. Opening her mouth wider, she took pearly white teeth and bit down hard on the side of his tongue she could reach.

"Ow… So you like a little pain with your loving… I never imagined that baby." He leaned down, pressing his mouth against her throat, biting, then sucking hard against a pulse point he found there.

Blindly reaching out, Calleigh got her fingertips on her kit. Trying to push him off her body, she actually was able to use her foot to pull the kit closer. Her fingers hooked on the handle sliding it further into a clenched fist. She brought the near 15 lb testing steel and carbon fiber kit down on his head. As he fell back from the blow, Calleigh was able to delve inside and pull out a bottle. Not even caring what it was, she squirted its contents into his eyes.

Eric screamed in pain, instantly letting go of Calleigh, it was alcohol. He put his arm over his eyes and blindly backhanding her shoulder. He scrambled for the floor to find his way as his eyes burned, trying not to open them. "WHY CALLEIGH!" He growled, crawling away from her, grabbing at a water bottle that had spilled out of the kit. Calleigh's boot came down on the side of his neck and she did everything she could to keep beating him, crying out as the handcuff started ripping into her thumb and wrist. Slipping just out of her reach, he unscrewed the lid, pouring it into his eyes. Falling forward, he pinned her against the cage with force enough to leave bruises on her shoulders and upper chest. "I'm sorry… I didn't mean to hit you, I was blinded completely, I swear!" She put her foot against his thigh as he pleaded. "ERIC GET OFF!" She screamed in his face. Pushing her shoulders hard into the cage, she grunted, kicking him away, Eric fell back and made towards the exit, spastic that he hurt her, eyes watering from the sting of the alcohol. Escaping.

"Jordan... Jordan... Are you okay? Jordan... Can you hear me?" Calleigh screamed at her cousin.

Jordan laid on the floor, barely conscious, blood trickling out of his nose and mouth. He couldn't even think, let alone form a complete sentence. He just groaned back at Calleigh, his eyes rolling back in his skull.

"HELP! IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE? HELP!" Calleigh continued to scream, hoping against hope that the young man that she saw before would come in and help them.

Jacinto watched as Eric scrambled into his vehicle, God, he wanted to chase him, but he heard the blonde's screams from inside the building. He wasn't allowed to engage Delko per say, so he rushed into the building, gun drawn anyway to find the blonde handcuff to an enclosure and Jordan on the floor, unmoving and deathly pale, covered in dirt and blood. "Oh my God..." Jacinto muttered. He quickly found the handcuff keys, glittering in the dust, and tossed them to blonde while kneeling beside Jordan.

Unlocking the cuffs as quickly as possible, Calleigh scrambled over to the unconscious man, dragging her kit with her. Using its contents, she quickly cleaned the blood from Jordan's face to find that he had a broken nose and was about to examine his head more closely when Grayson burst into the warehouse.

"JORDAN?!" her normally tan features went white as a sheet when she saw her brother laying on the floor. Pushing Jacinto aside, Grayson collapsed to her knees beside him, running shaking hands over his face and chest. "Oh my god Jordan, can you hear me?" Tears begin to stream down her face, unchecked emotions surfacing. "Jordan?!" She ran her hands over his face; his nose was broken, so was the bone beneath his eye. She felt around his skull, nothing major, but he had to have a severe concussion. "Calleigh, call 911!"

Punching in the number, Calleigh gave the needed information, hung up before calling Horatio to let him know what happened. He quickly told her that he was on the way, and for her not to talk to anyone else.

Closing her phone, Calleigh went over to Grayson who was still kneeling next to her brother. "Gray... Grayson... you need to leave... you can't be here... the Police are on the way... I won't leave him." she pleaded.

Grayson didn't even acknowledge the fact Calleigh was talking to her, she hadn't moved from her perch by her brother. She ran her hands over his face tentatively, then checked his pulse, which was fine. Grayson then checked his skull for any fractures, she opened each eye hoping for any kind of insight to his medical condition.

Reaching out, Calleigh touched Grayson on her shoulder. "Grayson."

Grayson rolled the blonde's hand off her shoulder. "I can't leave him..." her voice broke, she grasped her brother's hand bringing it to her face. "Jordy, please wake up..." she felt numb inside.

"I promise that he won't be alone. I won't leave him for a minute, but you need to leave now. You can't do him any good if you're behind bars. Go find Eric...he can't be far away." Calleigh's voice broke.

Grayson's body went stock still, almost like a block of ice, freezing from the inside out. She laid Jordan's hand on his chest, and leaned forward kissing his cheek. "An eye for an eye brother..." she kissed his forehead lastly, leaving her lips there, murmuring something in Italian quickly, Calleigh couldn't make out, it was so rushed and whispered.

Grayson stood, not even sparing Calleigh a glance. She grabbed Jacinto by the front of the shirt shoving him towards the door. "Get the fuck out of here!" He took her advice, leaving just as quickly. Minutes later Calleigh heard two sets of peel outs down the street, the exhaust of a high-powered sports car echoing in the distance.

Barely a minute later, sirens filled the air as an ambulance, a couple of squad cars and Horatio's Champagne colored Hummer screamed to a stop outside the warehouse. Calleigh tugged the collar of her shirt closer to her neck, making sure all the buttons were securely fastened. The outer door slammed open with Horatio entering with his gun drawn.

Silently, he gave signals to the officers following him until Calleigh called out. "Horatio, send in the EMT's now!"

Jordan hadn't moved a muscle, his groans had gone silent as well. His pulse was steadily dropping and his skin had become a grayish tinge.

With that, Horatio began barking out instructions and the EMT's rushed in to kneel next to Jordan, pushing Calleigh out of the way.

The EMT's knelt over Jordan and begin to access the situation. Within minutes, they had him stabilized and on a gurney. "He has head trauma, we need to get him to Cedars Medical quickly. He has a broken nose and a broken orbital bone under his eye." They carefully loaded him into the ambulance as Natalia finally made her way to Calleigh.

"Calleigh! Are you okay? What happened?" Natalia grasped the blonde's hand, unable to hold her for all the officers on scene, it wasn't the time.

Calleigh pulled her hand out of Natalia's grasp. She couldn't deal her right then. She took a step back, shaking her head slightly. "Not now Talia, I need to talk to Horatio. I'm sorry."

"I know, I'll be right here when you're ready.." Natalia reluctantly let go of her wife, and made her way over to where Jordan was being readied in the ambulance for transportation. She had to make sure he was okay without exposing them.

As she reached for his hand, Jordan opened his eye. "Hey handsome. You're going to be alright."

"Calleigh... is she okay" Jordan muttered.

Holding his hand, Natalia leaned over so that he could see her clearly. "Calleigh is fine. She's talking with our boss right now. You are going to the hospital, and we'll be there as soon as we can."

The side of his face that wasn't completely mangled, morphed into what could be described as a relieved smile which quickly went flat when he noticed his sister was nowhere to be seen. "Are you okay? Where's Gray?" his voice was raspy and broken. His large eye was full of fear and worry, glinting back at Natalia with concern.

Natalia smoothed her hand over the side of his face that wasn't marred. "I'm fine, but I have no idea where Gray is? I'll find out, and let you know at the hospital. Can I have your phone?"

Jordan's hand left hers and he slowly pulled it out of his pocket, handing it to her, but not before laying his head down. The motion caused a wave of sickness to roll in his stomach, threatening his constitution. "If you can't find her... go back to the Complex... STAY THERE..." He held Natalia's hand hard in his, not letting go. "STAY THERE." he closed his eyes, letting his grip ease on hers.

"We are not going to leave you alone at the hospital. We will be there. We'll have Ryan with us, I promise." Natalia was quick to reassure him.

"I'm a little embarrassed right now, and my pride's taken quite a hit. Let's pretend I whooped his ass and he crawled away, scarred for life..." Jordan's voice was growing weaker by the syllable. The EMT's glanced at her worriedly. "We need to get him to a hospital or the swelling in his brain will cause irreparable damage." the man urged.

"Then you don't need to be here. Get him there." Taking a step back from the gurney, Natalia watched as he was finally loaded up and the ambulance roared off.

Turning, Natalia walked towards the spot where her wife and Horatio were quietly talking. Close enough to see that Calleigh was favoring her left wrist, but not close enough to hear what was being said.

"It was Eric, Horatio. He must have followed me here. I had a feeling that I was being tailed, but I thought that it was the people that were hired to keep a lookout. I guess that I was wrong." Calleigh shook her head, feeling disgusted.

"The important thing is that your alright... are you alright?" He was more than concerned, Calleigh was like a daughter to him. His eyes flickered to her wrist, then back to her eyes. He reached out to place a hand on her shoulder, trying to steady her wavering form.

Stepping away from his hand, Calleigh stated. "I'm fine. I need to finish the scene before I go to the hospital to be with Jordan." Closing her eyes, the blonde tried to banish the images of her injured friend and everything else that had happened.

"Calleigh, someone else will handle the scene. Who is Jordan?... The young man?..." Horatio urged, he needed to know who this man was. It seemed that both Natalia and Calleigh were treating him like a family member, almost like a long lost relative.

'Oh shit!' Calleigh thought to herself. "Um, Jordan Jeffries, he's a friend that's been helping Natalia and I out."

Horatio was silent for a long time, his hand reached out towards her injured wrist without actually touching it. "Calleigh when I told you that you can trust me... I meant it. Go be with Natalia." He left her alone with her thoughts, choosing to let her come to him, as was Calleigh's fashion, in her own time.

As soon as Horatio walked away, Natalia was at Calleigh side. "Babe, we need to get your wrist looked at."

Shaking her head, Calleigh disagreed. "No, I'm fine. We need to get to the hospital, and be there for Jordan."

Natalia hesitantly reached out for her wife, something was off. Something had happened."Baby... look at me please..." Natalia's voice broke, she was scared out of her mind for Calleigh. If something were to have happened to Calleigh, she didn't know if she could survive without her.

Sidestepping Natalia's hand, Calleigh looked away, she couldn't look at her, she couldn't bear to be looked at, nor she couldn't take the thought of telling her about what had happened. "Just take me to the hospital please, Talia. I need to see Jordan."

Natalia's heart broke, but she let it go, backing away from the blonde, and leading her towards the car; never straying more than a few feet, but never touching or crowding the blonde.

Opening the passenger door to Jordan's Charger, Calleigh sank into the seat with a groan. Closing her eyes, she pushed away the image of Jordan so that she could concentrate on what needed to be done. Without any emotion in her voice, she spoke. "Natalia, you need to call Ryan and have him meet us at the ER. I'm sure that Horatio has already let him know, but I want you to make sure that he will meet us there. Then we need to get in touch with Gray. I don't know how we are going to do it, but we have to keep her informed on Jordan's condition. That may be the only thing that keep her from killing someone."

Natalia refrained from answering Calleigh on all counts."We will baby, I promise." She didn't mean to say baby, afraid that anything she would say or do would cause the blonde to snap. "I have Jordan's phone, so I'll be able to contact with Gray. Hopefully..." She didn't need to add that she was doubtful her cousin would leave them unprotected. Her hand reached for Calleigh's before she could stop herself.

"Don't touch me!... don't touch me." Calleigh pleaded. "Not now... not yet... Just do what I ask, okay?"

Tears sprang to Natalia's eyes, but she did nothing. Taking a moment to gather her thoughts, she dialed Ryan, and made sure he would meet them at the hospital. She tried calling Grayson, but the phone just rang and rang. Finally when the voice mail came on Natalia simply asked that she as well return their phone call. After finishing up the calls, she pulled out of the parking lot, keeping silent the entire ride, even though her heart was screaming inside.

The sound of melting rubber and the feel of protesting gravity were lost on the tormented brunette in the driver's seat. Grayson strapped herself into the Ferrari, making sure the buckles were tight and pressed down on the gas pedal, watching the odometer start to exceed eighty miles an hour on a city street.

The images of Jordan laying motionless on the floor were burned into her retinas. No matter how many times she shook her head, thought about Sonia naked, about the night her parents had died; the image of her brother lying broken on ground in that warehouse wouldn't fade.

There was no way she could catch Eric; he was nowhere in sight, period. She'd looked, oh how she'd looked. He had disappeared like the snake he really was. Her vision-blurred red, her only reasonable target would be Denton. She knew where he was exactly, she had been searching all morning for that sorry bastard, and had finally found him when Jacinto had interrupted in near hysterics. How cruel could fate be, making him accidentally call Jordan instead of her.

Grayson squealed to a halt, ripping off the harness, she yanked car to a halt and swerved into a gas station. Putting the car in park, she yanked the black brief case out from under the back seat.

Ten minutes later she was redressed in a long sleeve black shirt, jeans, running shoes, her hair in a ponytail, the Oakley shades in place. Starting the car, she pulled on the shoulder holster, placing her customary nine millimeter into its proper place, then dug out her favorite pair of brass knuckles, stainless steel with crosses on each protrusion, and a small knife into her pocket. Pulling into traffic, it was another ten minutes before she reached Denton's favorite hole in the wall no name shit bar. She smiled cruelly.

Slowly opening the car door, she slinked from the vehicle, all confidence and deadly determination. Grayson rolled her shoulders, and clenched her fists, before she pushed open the flimsy wood door and entered the small dingy bar. She looked around and spotted the one green shirt in the whole bar, Denton with his described dreadlocks and customary bloodshot, strung out eyes.

"Denton." She never removed the sunglasses, staring at him from behind reflective lenses, keeping her emotions hidden easily without having to tax too much thought on the effort of a poker face. If he answered her, well he'd live. If he ran.. well if he ran? Remembered lessons from The Aussie flashed back to her from years before and learning to hunt 'big game'.

'A lioness is the real leader, the king of the jungle holds his throne only to her. She is perfection in motion, silent, never over bearing she watches the herd, picks out her victim and stalks him.'

Without turning around, the tired, world-weary man grunted. "Whatsit to ya?"

Normally she'd offer a couple of Andrew Jacksons, maybe a Franklin; if it was really worth hearing. Tonight she was feeling more violent. Grayson's smile was oozing sensuality, she leaned herself close to the man, letting her expensive perfume waft over him. She bit her lip, pushing her sunglasses back to look down her button nose at him, past freckles and youthful promises. "I was hoping to ask you if you'd seen a friend of mine..." her suggestively innocent voice trailed off.

Turning to take a long, slow perusing look at the very feminine body standing next to him, Paul Denton, sat up straighter, hitching up at his jeans. "Well honey, if I don't know who you're talking about... Maybe I can become your new friend."

"I'm looking for my ex-boyfriend, Eric Delko... have you seen him?"

His eyes flicked briefly, before he turned away. "Fuck off bitch... Delko ain't lookin to know you... you ain't no blonde..." Then turning back to look at her suddenly, Denton's eyes went wide in horror as he gasped, "Cerano!" Tossing a glass of cheap whiskey in her face, he ran out of the back door of the bar.

Cursing and spitting the cheap swill all over the floor, Grayson gave pursuit, knocking a bar patron out of the way. Bursting through the back door into the open air, Grayson looked each way down the alley, searching for Denton's retreating form.

The sounds of a cat squawking and breaking glass gave Grayson a direction to go in. Running down the alleyway, she barely ducked in time to avoid a piece of a two by four swinging at her head. "Fuck you Cerano... I heard that you were helping out cops now... some guy that hangs out with Delko seems to know you pretty well..."

Dismissing the thought that several people knew who she was, it instantly clicked in her mind, Denton knew her Eric's partner was. She dodged back as the fool made another dangerous swipe at her again with the two by four. "Fuck me? No sugar! FUCK YOU!" Grayson grabbed the two by four and slammed it hard into his face.

As Grayson tried to catch him again on a backswing with the piece of wood, Denton surprised the hell out of her as he shattered it with a karate chop. "You're nothing, but a butch dyke who can't fight worth shit. All you need is a real man to teach you how to feel. Comeon bitch... schools in session."

Striking out with a foot, he caught her right below her knee, effectively dropping her down, before raising up his fist to hit her behind her ear.

Roaring in pain, Grayson deflected his next punching with an arm and a head butt to the face, her anger dulling out any pain. Bending down and flipping around quickly, she kicked him hard with a roundhouse kick to the chin, making him snap his head back. "That's for the Dyke bitch comment." Grabbing him by the hair, she forced him down to his knees in front of her.

"A real man to teach me how to feel, huh?" She forced his head back to look at her, she brought down her fist in vicious right cross, breaking his nose. "How's that feel pumpkin? You can call me Ms. Cerano."

Spitting out the blood that was gathering in his mouth, Denton looked up at the bitch that everyone was so afraid of. Well, he was just the man to teach her a lesson. Bring up his fist, he caught her right between the legs. Dropping her to her knees with a grunt. "How's that feel? Does your girlfriend do that for you?"

Collapsing to her knees, Grayson forced down the wave of pain that was shooting from between her legs. That son of whore, he hit her in the fucking pussy. Well... if that's how things were going to be, then the glove were off. She gathered her strength and reached into her pocket, pulling out the knife, flicking it open. "No, cause if she pulled that kind of fucked up shit" She slammed it into his left calf. Hard. "I'd return the fucking favor." The assassin twisted the blade, making the serrated edges twist and bite brutally into the already deep wound.

"YAA!!" The man screamed in pain, clutching at his leg, trying in vain to stop the bleeding. "You damn bitch.. I'm gonna fuck you up!" He tried to stand on his other leg, but Grayson smiled coldly. Reaching out she grabbed his testicles in her hand and gave them a sharp twist. The reaction was instant, Denton went blue, then purple and collapsed on the floor, gasping and whimpering like a kicked puppy. Standing over him, holding him between her legs, her BlackBerry chirped from her back pocket.

"Unless this is my brother alive and well... I'm busy." She snarled into the device, after seizing it from her back pocket.

"I am alive and well and worried as hell about you. Where are you?" Jordan growled out.

"Jordan?" Her voice never broke or even falter, though it did sound a little bit lost. She recovered quickly. "I'm right as rain. Can't really say the same for Denton though.." Muting the call for a moment, Grayson taunted the man writing on the ground in front of her. "You know Denton, I really don't like being punched in the cunt... that wasn't very nice." Grabbing the hand he'd used to punch her, she placed it over his testicles. Making sure she kept eye contact with him, she pulled the knife out of his leg slowly. Slamming the knife down, making it slice through his hand and into his privates, effectively nailing them together. "Nobody throws a drink in my face you asshole, at least not the cheap stuff." Denton screamed painfully, followed by a bone-wracking sob of fear and pain.

Jordan calmly continued. "Just get the information needed Cerano, then get back to the Complex. I'll make sure that the girls get there safely."

"No can do, dear brother of mine.. No more games. I'm ending this. Talk to you soon." She closed the phone, before she walked around, surveying her handiwork. Denton was sobbing pitifully into his remaining his hand. The knife was jutting from a nasty bloody union of hand and testicles. Putting her foot over the wounded calf, she stepped down on it. "Where's Delko..?" Grayson snarled.

"I DONT KNOW! OH MY FUCKING GOD I DONT KNOW!" He screamed, clutching his leg now, and then screaming more in pain as she kicked him hard in the testicles; they were probably shredded by now. "WE ONLY MEET AT NIGHT! IT"S ALWAYS AT A DIFFERENT LOCATION.. I swear to God... " Grayson sat on the milk crate next to his head, staring down at him in satisfaction.

Her Blackberry chirped a number of times, interrupting her concentration. "WHAT?!" She roared back over the line.

Natalia's voice came over the phone. "Cerano... stop. I'm asking you to stop. If you have your information, that's enough. He didn't hurt Jordan... He didn't hurt Calleigh... Let him go."

Sighing, Grayson reluctantly agreed. "You're taking all the fun out of my job Natalia..." Closing her eyes, she thinks of Sonia. "Fine, he lives. For now." Looking down at the whimpering human. "You should stop selling poison. A cop just saved your life..." Grayson muttered.

"Thank you Cerano... Go to the Complex and we'll be there as soon as we can."

"I'm not a dog." Closing the phone again, Grayson grabbed a dirty rag off the corner of a garbage can and tossed it over Denton's face. "Clean yourself up.. you're bleeding everywhere She examined her outfit, and flicked a few pieces of dirt off before leaving the scene of her crimes.

When they finally pulled up to the hospital, Calleigh barely waited for Natalia to turn off the car before she jumped out and almost ran into the ER. "Where's the young man that had the head wound?"

The nurse at the desk, looked up at her. "Do you know how many head wounds we get on a daily basis lady? You gotta give me a name."

Arriving out of breath, Natalia interrupted. "Try Jordan Jeffries."

Looking through her computer, the nurse nodded her head in another direction. "Room eight, the Doctor is in there now, but you can't go in. Family only."

Natalia pulled out her shield. "We're police officers, and he's a witness to a crime."

The nurse backed down, and pointed down the hall.

Calleigh didn't waste any time into hurrying into the room, slamming open the door.

Jordan jumped, but held his head in dismay, the pain hadn't subsided yet. The doctors had set his nose, and had made sure the orbital bone was in place before telling him not to fall asleep, his concussion wouldn't allow it. Half of his face wrapped in gauze, he smiled at them relieved. "Natty… Shorty... I'm glad to see you two..." He waved happily, Jordan was also heavily medicated.

"Bear, you'll do anything to get attention, won't you?" Calleigh joked, but inside she was dying, Jordan looked like hell. She wanted to envelope him in a large hug.

"You know me..." Jordan kidded back, waving them over. "Did you find Grayson?" He was hoping his sister hadn't gone off the deep end like he was afraid she would. He was praying to everything she hadn't ignored Natalia's calls. "What the hell happened?"

"No, Grayson didn't answer her phone." Natalia answered. "What all did the doctors say? When can you go home?"

Jordan stared back at them impassively. "Answer my question and I'll answer yours." His voice completely flat. He was going to treat them with the same tough love he treated his sister with.

Ryan chose that moment to stick his head in the door. "Hey Calleigh, Natalia... Just wanted to let you know that I'm here."

Calleigh almost hugged him for coming in right on cue. "Ryan... Hey, why don't you stay here with Natalia while I get my wrist looked at. I don't want her left alone." With that, she almost ran out of the room.

Turning to her cousin, Natalia gently asked. "Jordan, I need you to tell me what happened."

Jordan tried to remember as far back as he could, things were fuzzy for the most part, the drugs were not helping. "Jacinto, the guy we had tailing her called me, said he saw Delko outside the warehouse. He called me first by accident, so I made him call..." His eyes flashed to Ryan before continuing. "Cerano. I was there in minutes. By the time I arrived, Delko had Cal handcuffed to a fence enclosure, and he had some evil intent in his eyes. I tackled him, we went down, but he was too quick for me, in the end." Jordan admitted. "He kicked me in the head and that's all I remember after that. And Calleigh's voice..." He sighed, he hoped that Grayson was alright, clenching his fists at the thought of her.

Whispering, Natalia barely forced out. "What do you mean Calleigh's voice?"

"She was saying that she would never be his... I'm so sorry Natalia... The next thing I remember is you in the ambulance.." He closed his eyes, looking away from her, at that moment he looked exactly like his sister, lost and broken.

Natalia took his hand in hers. "There is nothing for you to be sorry about. I can't answer your question. She hasn't talked to me yet. She won't even let me touch her."

Jordan pulled Natalia onto the bed with him, ignoring Wolfe, he held his cousin close. "It'll be okay Natalia, I promise." He ran his bear like hands over her soft caramel hair, he knew how scared she was, how scared they all were. "Do you still have my phone? Maybe I can chirp Cerano?"

She remained in the young man's embrace for a few moments before reaching into her pocket, and handing him the phone.

Jordan didn't let her go from his arms, he just made the phone call around her.

"Unless this is my brother alive and well... I'm busy.." Came Grayson's vicious reply through the two-way chirp, along with what sounded like someone whimpering. Her rough voice cut through the room almost violently creeping into everyone's ears.

"I am alive and well and worried as hell about you. Where are you?" Jordan growled out.

"Jordan?" Her voice never broke or even falter, though it did sound a little bit lost. She recovered quickly. "I'm right as rain. Can't really say the same for Denton though." Suddenly someone screamed painfully over the line followed by a bone-wracking sob of fear and pain.

Still holding his cousin, Jordan calmly continued. "Just get the information needed Cerano, then get back to the Complex. I'll make sure that the girls get there safely."

"No can do, dear brother of mine.. No more games. I'm ending this. Talk to you soon." The line went dead.

Natalia pleaded. "Get her back. You've got to get her back."

"Talia... I don't know if I can..." He chirped her back, after seven chirps she finally answered, there were still screams in the background but they were muffled. "WHAT?!" She roared back over the line.

Natalia took the phone. "Cerano... stop. I'm asking you to stop. If you have your information, that's enough. He didn't hurt Jordan... He didn't hurt Calleigh... Let him go."

Grayson sighed over the line. "You're taking all the fun out of my job Natalia..." her voice came back softer. "Fine, he lives. For now." It sounded like Grayson was speaking more to her hostage than to Natalia. "You should stop selling poison. A cop just saved your life..." Grayson muttered.

"Thank you Cerano... Go to the Complex and we'll be there as soon as we can."

"I'm not a dog." She ended the call abruptly. Natalia just shook her head, and Jordan stated."Wolfe, take Natalia to Calleigh please."

Shaking her head, Natalia stopped him. "What did the Doctor say Jordan?"

"He said that I could go home tomorrow, so you need to arrive bright and early to get me out of here. I hate hospital food." Jordan joked.

Sighing, Natalia nodded. "I'll check with the nurses to see what time we can get here."

"Go Natty… Go find Calleigh. She needs you more than I do right now." Jordan looked up with his one eye, trying to think how dashing he'd look with an eye patch. Jack Sparrow eat your heart out, wanker, he though smiling to himself, picking up the remote and turning the TV to the news.

Leaning over, Natalia placed a gentle kiss on his forehead before she turned to Ryan. "Let's go find my wife."

Walking out into the hallway, Natalia looked up and down the hallway, trying to figure out which way to go.

She sighed, walking down the hallway, passing a few nurses, she finally distracted one enough to look up from her chart. "My partner just arrived with a broken wrist, where would I need to go to find her?" Natalia put her hands on her hips, staring down at the nurse with a look very reminiscent of Cerano. She set her jaw, and arched an eyebrow waiting for her answer, her badge on her hip gleaming in the late afternoon Miami sun, and her chocolate eyes turning black with intensity. She was going to get some answers come hell or high water.

"She's in examination room four."

"Thank you." Natalia turned and walked down the two hallways it took to get to the examination room she was looking for. She took a deep breath and knocked on the door lightly. "Calleigh?"

There was nothing for a few moments, then she heard Calleigh. "Come in."

Natalia turned to Ryan, giving him a steely gaze. "Stay out here please." All he did was nod, she opened the door, and walked into the room, hoping to God this didn't blow up in her face.

Calleigh was sitting on the gurney, with her legs dangling over the side. "Hey."

Natalia swallowed, her eyes zeroed in on Calleigh's wrist, which was enclosed in a splint. Clearing her throat, she sat down in the only chair in the whole room, by the door, which was a safe distance from Calleigh on the gurney in the middle of the room. "Hey."

Holding up her wrist, Calleigh gave her a fleeting glance. "It's just sprained. I'm glad that it isn't broken."

"I'm sorry. Are you in a lot of pain?" Natalia was trying like hell to keep her voice even. She didn't want to ask too many questions, and force the blonde to tell her things she didn't want to, afraid she'd retreat further into herself. She was sorry that her wrist was sprained, she was even sorrier she couldn't take her beautiful wife in her arms, and kiss away everything that was holding them apart.

"It's felt better. What did Jordan's doctor say and were you able to get hold of Grayson?" Looking down at the floor, Calleigh couldn't meet Natalia's eyes.

It hit Natalia like a ten-ton bricks as she saw the mark that Eric had left on Calleigh's neck, peeking out from underneath her collar. Eric had sexually assaulted Calleigh, literally put his hands on her. Despite wanting to throw up at the thought, she held back all emotion, trying to do this for the both of them. Natalia stood up and wandered over to the curtain that was pushed back against the wall used for rape victims and started to pull it closed. "He can leave in the morning, and would like for us to be there to pick him up because he hates hospital food. And yes, I talked to Grayson. She'll meet us back Complex in a while."

Nodding her head, Calleigh sighed. "Good, well then... The doctor said that I can leave... Can we go to the Complex please?"

Calleigh wouldn't looked Natalia in the eye, and when they spoke, she wouldn't even to look in her direction. 'God...' Natalia thought, it was taking everything in her not to break down and beg the blonde to tell her, but she knew it wouldn't do any good. For either of them. "Yes." Calleigh wouldn't let Natalia even touch her. She hugged the wall rather to walk next to her.

She was going to kill Eric for this. Grayson would be the one to help her, that was for damn sure. Natalia would turn in her badge right now, along with her gun. She was sure her cousin had a few at her disposal. Her mind already preparing ways to tell Horatio without really telling him why she was quitting.

Natalia cleared quite a wake, her heels clicking down the hall, her chin held high; she looked like a larger than life version of her cousin, their swagger almost identical. Not a doctor, nurse, patient, officer, fireman, county official, not one person stood in her way back to her cousin's room, opening the door for the three of them.

"Jordan… Calleigh wanted to say good night before we left for the Complex." Natalia stepped inside the room so Calleigh could walk in. Ryan of course, seeing the look in Natalia's eye, stayed outside without a word. She smirked at the white jacket he was wearing, Miami Vice indeed. Shutting the door, she turned around, standing in front of the door.

"Hey Shorty! Could I work the eye patch?" Jordan pointed to his face, attempting what looked like a roguish smile.

Grinning at the young man's humor, Calleigh went over to lay a hand on his sheet cover feet. "I think that you could pull of anything you wanted to Bear. We'll be here bright and early tomorrow to spring you from this joint."

Jordan patted the space beside his hip, looking at Calleigh with his mangled face. "Come here sugar."Jordan groaned, moving over a little bit, making room for her to sit.

"I'm good right here, if you don't mind." Calleigh swallowed hard, her eyes darting around the room.

"Alright, that's fine darlin..." Jordan didn't even bother to hide his accent, he was too medicated, his tongue becoming a little bit thick in his mouth, but at the least he could still formulate a coherent thought. "You know, speaking of joint..." he laughed, then held his jaw wincing. "Ow."

Natalia jumped in. "No extra medication will be taken while we're around young man. You will do what the doctor orders, okay?"

Jordan smiled, but didn't laugh, even though he wanted to. "Ha, so you admit it's medication! I knew it. Calleigh. I owe you one, you saved my sorry ass. Do you take cash or credit?" He teased.

"You're already paid in full. We'll see you in the morning, and we'll take you to breakfast." Patting his feet, Calleigh lowered her head as she turned towards the door. "I'll wait in the hallway with Ryan." And she scooted out of the room.

Tears formed in Natalia's eyes, as she went over to take the place that he had offered Calleigh.

Jordan instantly opened his arms, pulling the tall woman into his embrace, his wide chest the perfect place to bury her tears. "Natalia, I know, it's okay..." He shushed her holding her tight in his arms, like all the times he'd wanted to comfort Grayson, but was unable to do.

"He touched her Jordan... I know that he touched her… I saw his mark… I want him dead. I need for you to call Grayson and have her hunt him down for me." Natalia pulled away, and Jordan saw the fire in her eyes.

Jordan looked at her balefully. "Natty... Calleigh wouldn't want that for you…" He wasn't going to mention that if Grayson had any idea what had happened, Eric wouldn't live for more than twenty-four hours, tops. He felt his jaw tighten and the pain of rage begin deep in his heart. This was reminding him far too much of Grayson and the Benedict.

Grayson would find Eric, no question of that, but she would most definitely enjoy torturing him to death even more. She would never bring him to Natalia; they had agreed under no circumstances would their family see their work, Grandfather excluded.

"I don't care... Eric's not going to stop until he has her, and I'm never going to let that happen. So you call Grayson and tell her that she had better get her ass to the Complex, because with or without her, Eric Delko is dead." Getting up from the bed, Natalia reminded Jordan of his mother when she would stand up to his father during one of their discussions.

"Natalia, she's already there, waiting for you. She just called asking where you were... that's rare even for her." He smiled placidly at his cousin. "Happy hunting Natalia. Be careful what you wish for."

He hoped Grayson could get through to Natalia, if only to let Grayson do the killing. He didn't want the karma of Eric's death on her soul.

Leaning forward, Natalia placed a gentle kiss on her cousin's cheek. "Thank you Jordan. I know that you understand." Then she turned and walked out of the room.

Ryan escorted the women out to the Charger. "I'm following you home, and I'm not taking no for an answer."

Turning to face her friend, Natalia explained. "We're not going home... We can't for a few days. I'll go into more detail later... Just follow us, and thank you again for being such a good friend." Natalia gave him a hard hug before she turned back to the car, to find that Calleigh was already inside, sitting as far away from the driver's seat as she could get without not being in the car.

Silently Natalia started the car, backed out and pulled up to the parking lot exit, pausing a moment to let Ryan pull behind them. Checking traffic, she headed towards the Complex.

The feeling in the car was colder than the A/C was pumping out. Natalia didn't know what to say, and Calleigh couldn't say anything. They both were relieved when the Complex came into view and Natalia was pulling up to the garage doors.

Grayson was standing in the open bay door, the only one open. She was wearing a white long sleeve button shirt, the sleeves rolled up high to reveal her tan muscular arms, her jeans were distressed denim, but skin tight, her feet with encased with rattlesnake cowboy boots and the shirt was untucked hanging over a Texas belt buckle. The shoulder holster strapped to her back and arms held a steel plated Glock. Half of Grayson's face was covered in her traditional Oakley sunglasses, reflective as always, her hair pulled back into a tight ponytail. She waved them into the lift, her hand on the gun as soon as she saw Ryan, then relaxed noticing who it was.

The white sunglasses matched her white shirt, and it offset how tanned she really was. It also showed off how many scars crisscrossed over her arms, face, chin, neck, any visible skin really, though they were subtle. Grayson stood patiently while they pulled the Charger into the lift.

Natalia got out of the car first. "Did you find Eric?" was all she said in an ice-cold voice.

"Come upstairs to talk with me first and then we'll talk about Eric, Natalia." Her voice was calm, with even more ice behind it than her cousins. It wasn't a question, it was a command.

Grayson walked around the car, opening the door for Calleigh, but not touching her, just letting her out.

Calleigh waited, refusing to move until Grayson stepped away. She couldn't look at her either. She couldn't bear to see the displeasure in her eyes.

Grayson knelt down on the floor in front of the blonde, her head down, so Calleigh didn't have to look at her at all, just the back of her neck. She looked like some modern day Templar Knight pledging herself to the blonde in service. "I know, come upstairs. You can have a shower... if you want... my bed is yours… if you want... my room is dark enough. Adonis and Echo can sleep with you." She never once looked up, touched, or leaned towards Calleigh in anyway, just stayed completely still.

"Just protect Talia." Calleigh whispered. "That's all I want."

Grayson rose and backed away from Calleigh, leaving the door open, but not before whispering. "Then I have to help her kill Eric..." She stepped back more, walking around the car. So this was how it was going to be. Natalia following in her psychotic footsteps, how ill fitting. She was going to have be incredibly blunt, once she got Natalia alone, as she stepped around her cousin, shutting the lift door.

She then motioned Natalia to follow her up the steps, and leave the blonde, even though she knew it must be hell to do so.

"NO! SHE DOESN'T GET TO DO THAT! THAT'S WHAT YOU DO... THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO!" Calleigh bolted out of the car, grabbing Grayson by her arm, yanking her around to face her, screaming.

Grayson smiled, her tactics had worked. She was playing off Calleigh's love for her cousin. She was counting on the fact that Calleigh wouldn't want that for the woman she loved. And she was right. "Are you asking me to kill Eric Delko?" She said back calmly, behind the lenses, her eyes were flickering to Natalia, who was standing there in shock for a moment. Suddenly she was beside them, trying yank them apart, even though Grayson hadn't even moved a muscle to stop Calleigh in the first place.

"Calleigh! LET HER GO! She will help me track down Eric. He has to die for what he did to you. He has to DIE!" Natalia was yelling now as well.

Calleigh backed away. She couldn't let Natalia touch her. She still couldn't look her in the eyes. Coldly, she spat out. "You don't get to make that choice." Shaking her head, her hair covering her face. "It is not your choice."

"Fine. I'll do it. Jesus FUCKING Christ already… Please follow me upstairs and pick out the way he dies then." Grayson strutted up the steps backwards, beckoning the couple to follow her in a satirical manner. "Shall I smear honey all over his face, in his eyes, nose, mouth, ears? Bury him chest deep in a fire ant pile? How would that work for you? Or maybe just bury him and leave him in the wilderness for the bear and wolves?" She was getting into stride now, picking some of the most inventive methods she'd used and devised in the past. "Or maybe just toss him off the back of a boat covered in pig's blood? I hear sharks love the taste of Cuban food..." She stared down hard at Calleigh, ripping her sunglasses off. "Sugar, if you want him dead, it's on the house. And you can have it anyway that you want, just say the word." Her cold eyes boring into Calleigh's eyes, forcing her to look at her. Make her realize the depth of the situation and what she was insinuating.

"I want my hands around his neck... slowly squeezing the life out of him." Calleigh's eyes were just as cold as the ones that she was staring into.

Grayson jumped down the steps, landing in front of Calleigh, purposefully walking towards her, her strides long and powerful, her black eyes glittering maliciously.

Flinching, Calleigh almost took a step back, but she didn't.

Grayson stuck out her hand, palm upwards, presenting it to shake. "Fine. You've just made a deal with the Devil... Calleigh DuVista." Grayson stared at her under her lashes, giving her the same glare she gave every client. Every person who'd asked for her services had been on the receiving end of the stare. Lesser men had crumbled and backed away. "One body, one soul, one life, in exchange for your happiness... Can you live with this deal?"

Grayson hadn't properly washed her hands on purpose, letting the caked blood under her fingernails stay, along with the red plasma stains that still tinted her skin red, she had merely wiped the blood off, not even bothering to use soap.

Natalia stared at her cousin. No! She wanted to kill Eric. Grayson could help, but she couldn't allow Calleigh to kill him. That would be her right to face her accuser, but Natalia would be there to watch Grayson kill him instead of Calleigh, if she couldn't do it. "As long as I get to help."

"I'll take your deal if you get Natalia to a safe place right now. You leave tonight." Dropping to one knee, Calleigh pledged. "Afterwards, I am yours to command."

Natalia stared down at Calleigh, completely horrified by what she was seeing. She couldn't take the image, racing up the stairs to be alone. Grayson flinched, hearing the one thing that she hadn't counted on this at all. "Stand up. Now."

Reaching up, Calleigh took the offered hand. "Deal."

Grayson was surprised Calleigh let her touch her at all, she didn't let go of her hand, yanking her close just like she'd man handled Grayson earlier. She stared down hard. "Do you have any idea what the hell you're sacrificing here...?" She let the implied question hang, if Calleigh went through with this, she would most likely lose Natalia forever.

With tears in her eyes, but with a completely impassive face, Calleigh just said. "Yes."

"Then Natalia gets the house... everything goes to her. And you live here, under my supervision. I'll teach you how to kill, if that's what you want..." She looked at Calleigh disgusted. How could she just walk away from Natalia, from everything she loved. Grayson was enraged. Natalia was her family, how dare this woman just drop her? She let go of her hand, backing away from her, walking up the steps, leaving her to take the elevator.

"I want the 'divorce' to be as pleasant as possible, and you will stay the hell away from Natalia." Grayson turned around to smile at Calleigh. "Congratulations, I hope this everything you wanted. My prices are steep."

"Will she be safe? Can you promise that?"

"No one will be safer from you than my cousin." Grayson left her to her own devices, walking up the stairs silently.

Calleigh stood there in the lengthening shadows, listening to the retreating footsteps of the Devil, finally allowing the tears to fall.

Grayson walked up the stairs completely enraged, Eric would pay the most physically, but the mental torture she would save for Calleigh. She almost hated to do it, but she would turn Calleigh into student. She could be the new Grayson, she grimly thought. Entering the kitchen, she saw Natalia opening a bottle of rum from under the cabinet, and she sat down on the stool to watch her.

"Talia... I don't know if that's a good idea..."

Natalia ignored her, pouring three shots of rum, placing each one on the counter in front of her. "Probably not, but this is my life and I can do what I damn well please." Picking up one of the glasses, she stared at it long and hard, before she flung it across the room. "Shut the fuck up! You don't even have a heart. What do you know about feelings Grayson? You kill for a living. Where is the feeling in that?" Natalia screamed, her anger finally breaking through the smooth veneer of clenched emotion.

Grayson stared back her impassively. Natalia's argument was right, she'd lost her soul a long time ago, her heart was probably soon to follow. "You're right... I don't know anything about feelings... I only know how to kill people. How to make them suffer... Natalia I'm sorry..." Grayson slid off the stool to stand behind her cousin, a hand resting on her bronzed shoulder. "I can't protect you from this."

Natalia turned to stare down at the Devil herself. She looked into glittering chocolate eyes, and felt something move inside her. It was like looking at her mother when she was young, after she'd been told she'd failed a math test, the crushing look of pity.

Natalia turned away from Grayson even as she spoke to her, softly and gently. "Go lay down... you need to rest... trust me to do this for you Natalia... Familia..." Natalia shook her head, turning back to face the Devil.

"Don't you get it? He touched her. He put his hands and his mouth on her. He MARKED her. And for that, she's trying to protect me. She knows that Eric won't stop unless he's dead. That he will come after me even harder. She's giving up everything that we planned, everything that we hoped for. She's even giving up our… future, just so I can be safe." Natalia cried. "She doesn't care what it costs her, as long as I'm safe. She doesn't care that she just sold her soul as long as I'm safe." Balling her hands into fists, she went to stand toe to toe with her cousin. "You know the irony of all of this, was that I was going to ask you for the same deal. The exact same deal." And then she collapsed to the floor.

Calleigh didn't know how long she stood there in silence. It could have been ten minutes or hours, but she finally made herself move. Walking over to her Crossfire, she peered into the window, pleased to see the keys were in the ignition. Going over to the garage door, she pulled it open, got into her car and backed out. Eric wanted her... well, he could have her. Yanking the gearshift into drive, she roared off down the street.

Grayson got off the stool to kneel next to her cousin, wanting to offer her comfort, but unsure exactly what to do. She had just assumed that Calleigh was fed up with the stress of having to watch out for Eric and of him showing up at the scene. Shaking her head, she admitted to herself that she was mainly concerned with what had happened with Jordan, and hadn't bothered with anyone else.

"What exactly is going on?"

Grayson and Natalia's head snapped up at Jordan's voice.

"What are you doing here? You're supposed to be at Cedars." Grayson stood, meeting her brother half way across the room.

Brushing her aside, Jordan went straight over to his cousin to gather her into his embrace, gently picking her up to carry over to the sofa.

"Talk to me Natty... What's wrong? Where is Calleigh?" The gentle giant, held her close, rubbing Natalia's back, and stroking her hair.

Sniffling, Natalia muttered against his chest. "Calleigh made a deal with your sister that if she will help her track down Eric and kill him, that she will be Gray's apprentice."

Jordan glared over at his twin, shaking his head. "You accepted it. Didn't give it a second thought. Did you ask her what had happened, or were you so pleased that you finally have a true disciple that you didn't care."

His sister recoiled as if slapped; she had never fully intended to let it go that far, hoping deep down it would be just too far out of reach for either Natalia or Calleigh to follow through, in fact, she had counted on it. His words were the kind someone else would say to her, careless hateful remarks and he'd never spoken to her this way, even when it was deserved, it made her cheeks sting with shame. And that's what made her such a good assassin; she covered all the bases before she made any move. She'd become lax in her duties, after this engagement, she would have to cut all contact with the family. It was becoming too dangerous now.

Abruptly something that Jordan had said earlier caught her attention. "What do you mean, where is Calleigh? She's downstairs moping."

"No she's not, and her Crossfire is missing."

Natalia struggled to get out of Jordan's grip, even in his weakened condition she was no match for his bear like strength and he held her fast. "Oh my GOD! She's gone after him on her own. Where would she go?"

All three said at the same time. "Eric's house."

Grayson pushed on her sunglasses. "Jordan… Natalia, you're coming with me. Neither one of you can protect yourselves." Grayson waved them both to follow her as she flew down the stairs to the Mercedes, holding the door open for them. It was the only car with more than two seats and the horsepower to maybe catch Calleigh before she did something all of them would regret.

Pulling out his phone, Jordan turned to his sister. "Who do you have watching the house?"

Grayson ignored her brother, pulling out her own phone and making her own phone calls. She was serious when she had meant no more games, family included, this was her job, her engagement, and it was time to stop taking prisoners. "Jacinto, if you see Eric, shoot on sight. Watch out for the blonde... She's already there!" Grayson cursed, and punched the dash, shattering the center display. "If you see Delko, take the fucking shot. ENGAGE HIM!" She screamed into the phone, ending the phone call and pushing the car harder and faster than it was safer to with Jordan and Natalia with her.

"Slow down Grayson, there's more than just you in the car, and don't even start thinking that you are going to start doing everything all on your own. We are a team." Jordan growled.

Grayson ignored him; let him say what he wanted. They were a team. Sometimes. She slowed down, tears stinging in her eyes at the rage she felt consuming her. This was all Eric's fault and he was going to pay, heavily. When it came to the job, she was alone and she liked it that way. Finally seeing the street to Eric's condo, she jerked the wheel hard, sending the car sliding in protest of rubber and smoke.

Grayson made sure Eric's car wasn't there and saw Calleigh's Crossfire in the driveway, the front door wide open. She cursed violently, kicking the driver's door open, and pulling out a gun, holding it by her hip. She gave the signal for Jacinto to follow her into the house along with Jordan and Natalia.

"No, get out Grayson." Natalia demanded. "You and your lackey, get the fuck out."

Grayson stopped, even though she wanted to kill everyone in sight just to stop the rage she felt consuming her entire body. She grabbed Jacinto by the front of the shirt for the second time that day, shoving him out the front door, leaving Jordan with his beloved cousins. Grayson had never felt so helpless in all her life. She stomped over to the Mercedes, ripping open the door and, pulled out a pack of cigarettes, lighting one up, she exhaled a long stream of smoke while Jacinto stared at the house, grumbling to himself.

"Shut the fuck up, or I'll kill you just for fun." She hissed, and he instantly slinked back to his own car, leaving her to stew in her own rage.

"Stay behind me just a little bit, but stay where I can see you please." Natalia asked her cousin. "She's may need to see you."

"I'll be right behind you..."

Making her way inside, Natalia squinted in the dark rooms, trying to find her wife. She wasn't in the living room, nor the kitchen or Eric's bedroom, so that left the one room that she really didn't want to go into. Walking down the dark, back hallway, she came to the picture room to find the door open. Peering inside, Natalia's eyes searched the room, finally finding her wife standing in the furthest corner.

Natalia moved into the room, trying not to spook her wife. "Cal?" Her voice was soft, pleading. They had to leave, if Eric showed up, she was afraid he'd bring his silent partner and Grayson would be out matched for sure.

"Go away Talia. It's not safe for you here." Calleigh's voice was void of emotion.

"Calleigh, I love you. If this has to happen, then it happens to the both of us. I will not leave you to him." She ground out, furious that Calleigh would just leave her like this.

Swallowing the lump in her throat while closing her eyes, Calleigh muttered the only thing she swore she would never speak. "I don't love you... I will never love you... I just wanted to fuck you like everyone else."

Natalia felt her rage boil over. "That's bullshit, you know that there was no one after Eric. DAMN IT CALLEIGH! Stop lying and trying to protect me from this shit... I know what he did! It doesn't matter, I love you still. DON"T PUSH ME AWAY!" Natalia screamed, flinging a tripod past Calleigh, watching it embed itself in the wall.

Ripping her shirt open wide, exposing her chest, revealing the marks that Eric had left. "HE FUCKING TOUCHED ME...HE PUT HIS HANDS ALL OVER ME, TALIA.... HE SPREAD MY LEGS AND PUSHED HIMSELF AGAINST ME... I CAN'T TAKE THAT HE DID THAT... I CAN'T STAND THAT YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THAT." Calleigh screamed.

"LOOK AT WHAT HE DID TO ME." Calleigh took a step closer to the brunette, making sure that she could see the bruises on her neck, shoulders, and chest, before pushing down the waist of her pants to show her the bruises that were forming on her hips. "DO YOU WANT TO FOLLOW THAT?"

Natalia answered without hesitation, stepping up to the blonde. "Yes, there is nothing he, nor anyone else could ever do to you that would make me walk away. Don't you get it? You are my wife and I am yours." She whispered in Calleigh's ear without touching her.

Tears streaming down her face, Calleigh stared at her before falling to her knees amongst the pictures of all of the stolen moments; moments that had been some of the happiest times of her life, times that had been violated by someone who used to be her friend. Someone who had protected her, and whom she had trusted.

Natalia gathered the blonde into her arms, protecting her, shielding her, loving her for all time. She shielded her from the outside, from anything that could touch them in this moment. She started to cry as well, her tears mingling with Calleigh's hair as she kissed it over and over again, sobbing out of relief Calleigh hadn't left her.

"I'm sorry... I thought that I was doing what was right. Leaving you, making sure that you would be safe... I couldn't stand it if you were hurt... Especially if it was because of me." Calleigh sobbed.

"I love you Calleigh..." Natalia's voice broke along with her wife's. "I would die without you, waste away to nothingness. If we die, we die together. Just as we live, we live together." Natalia made Calleigh look at her, wiping tears away from jade eyes.

Bringing up her hands, Calleigh whispered. "I love you Tal...."

Suddenly the window shattered through as Eric threw in a lawn chair, bellowing. "Keep your filthy hands off my wife."

Pulling out her gun, Calleigh sighted on the man that was threatening her family as Grayson was came through the door with Jordan on her heels. The assassin's eyes were narrowed slits as she sighted Eric through the window and pushed Calleigh's gun away from her target. She turned to Jordan, tossing him her gun. "Get them the fuck out of here!" Diving through the window, Grayson tackled Eric mid run, both of them going down in a tumble of limbs, curses, and glass.

Calleigh once again tried to draw a bead on Eric, but Grayson was in the way. "Move out of the way, Gray." She shouted.

Jordan put his hand over the gun, yanking it from the blonde's hand. "Get your wife out of here. Jacinto is covering the front. Get into the Mercedes."

Reaching, Natalia grabbed the arms of both Calleigh and Jordan. "Both of you move it. We need to get into the Mercedes, NOW!"

Jordan tried to pull away, but Natalia wasn't having any of that. "JORDAN! You have to protect us, I'm not armed and Calleigh is wounded...you have to help us?"

Jordan was torn, he knew he had to protect Calleigh and Natalia, but he was loathing leaving Grayson, no matter how angry he was with her at the moment. He watched in dismay as Eric had her pinned to the ground, landing vicious punches to her mid section before she brought up guard and held him down on top of her, not allowing him to move at all. He heard her smart comments even now in the heat of the fight. "What's wrong Delko? Mad that Calleigh found someone that could satisfy her needs? You're just a boy, Natalia is all woman!" Eric punched her hard in the face as she laughed at him through a bloody mouth. Jordan screamed in rage, shoving the women towards the door, and the Mercedes parked out front.

Grayson kicked Eric hard in the chest, shoving him off her; he stumbled and fell back several feet, landing on his back stunned. Grayson scrambled to her feet, making sure the knife in her pocket was still there, she laughed circling him, taunting him. "Get up you sorry piece of shit! GET UP!" She kicked at him in the face, unprepared however when he caught her leg throwing her several feet into a tree. Grayson laid there stunned, watching as Eric approached with a victorious smirk on his face. 'Oh you sorry fuck... you have no idea who your messing with!' Grayson though vehemently. She pushed herself off the ground, backing away from him, making him come to her.

Natalia stared at the scene in the front yard; Jacinto was staring at them in horror, screaming for them to get in the vehicle, Grayson couldn't hold him off forever. She searched for Jordan, and found him right behind them, his hands full of steel, pointing both guns at Eric, not caring that his sister was in the way. Grayson for her part, was backing away from Eric with blood pouring like a fountain from her mouth, she looked pissed, though not really hurt. Even though she was retreating like a wounded animal, she seemed in control. Eric was stalking her in true fashion, following her closely and smiling psychotically. "Grayson!" The bloody brunette never even looked up, dodging Eric's swipes at getting his hands on her.

Pulling her wife behind her, Calleigh snarled as she headed towards Eric, determined to get his attention so that Jordan could toss Grayson a gun. "Eric... you don't want her... I'm the one that you want...The one that you lust after... You want me..." Ripping off her shirt, she threw it at him, offering herself to him; standing there in her bra and pants. "Here I am... Come and get me. If you can get to me, I'm all yours."

Grayson realized what was happened and stopped trying to draw Eric closer; instead, she reached out and backhanded him hard across the face. "Doesn't matter who you chase Eric because you can never please her... She belongs to Talia. In order to get Calleigh and Natalia, you have to kill me." Grayson then punched Eric hard in the ribs, watching him drop to his knees. "JORDAN, COVER HER UP AND GET THEM OUT OF HERE OR I'LL KILL YOU MYSELF!"

Natalia grabbed Calleigh, and pushed her into the Mercedes, followed by Jordan, she scrambled into the driver's seat, distraught at leaving Grayson to fend for herself.

"Talia, you can't leave her with Eric. He'll kill her... She'll die because of me." Calleigh begged.

Natalia agreed, but she couldn't let Calleigh be anywhere near Eric. "She can take care of herself, baby..." Jordan watched the fighting, everything in him wanting to jump out of the Mercedes, and save Grayson. He cringed as Eric kicked her knees out from underneath her and sat on her chest, punching her viciously.

Flooring the Mercedes out of the driveway, Natalia tried not to watch the bloody scene in the rear view mirror as she roared down the street, followed closely by Jacinto, heading for the Complex.

Punching the side of the car, Jordan bellowed in rage, he was torn by where he wanted to be, and where he should be. Drawing in a deep breath, he attempted to calm his nerves, knowing that they were still not in the clear. Eric had a partner somewhere out there.

Natalia knew that they had to get away quickly, but she also knew that she couldn't take the chance that Eric's partner wouldn't follow them back to the complex so she began to take abrupt turns, making sure that there wasn't anyone back there other than Jacinto.

"Jordan…Jordan!" Natalia got his attention. "Call Jacinto and tell him to make sure that no one is following us. Tell him to split off in a couple of minutes to see if there is and to meet us at the complex afterwards."

Doing as asked, Jordan dialed for Jacinto, who when he answered his tone was polite instead of Grayson's cruel demands. Jacinto of course agreed to anything either one of the Cerano twins asked of him. "Alright Natalia, Jacinto will be breaking off in 3...2...1..." Jordan watched while the Chrysler 300 swung wide and went a different route out of view.

Carefully watching the rearview mirror, Natalia couldn't see anyone that seemed to be following him nor them so she began to breathe easier. Glancing to the back seat, her heart skipped a beat as she saw that her wife was curled up in the corner of the car, silently crying.

Looking ahead, she saw a spot and quickly pulled over. "Jordan, do you have a blanket or something in the trunk that we can cover Calleigh with and can you drive?"

Nodding, Jordan pushed himself out of the car, popping the trunk, he pulled out a blanket that had been left in the trunk in case of emergencies; it wasn't anything nice, but it would have to suffice. He walked around to the driver's side, giving the blanket to Natalia. He was afraid to touch Calleigh, not knowing if she would reject him or not.

Getting into the back seat, Natalia carefully laid the blanket about the blonde's shoulders. "There you go baby. That should warm you up a bit."

Calleigh slowly sat up, not looking at Natalia again, staring straight ahead. Reaching up, she drew the blanket closer to her body. "Thank you..."

Natalia looked down at her clenched hands in her lap, then over to Jordan driving. "You're welcome." Natalia asked. Her eyes lifted to stare up out the window as the road flitting by them. The images of Grayson's face, bloodied at the hands of her former boyfriend made her skin crawl.

All of a sudden, Natalia felt a touch on her leg and looked down to find that Calleigh had laid her head down on her thigh, wrapping her arm around her waist. Tears were still slowly falling down her face.

"It will be alright Cal… It has to be because we have too much to live for." Natalia gingerly lifted her hand to run her fingers through her wife's golden hair, closing her eyes and offering a prayer to the angels above that they both were safe.

Calleigh buried her face in her wife stomach, closing her eyes and inhaling her scent. This is what she was striving to protect… This woman meant everything to her. What she had tried to do was the right thing; it's just that she went about it the wrong way.

Jordan pulled the car into the complex and quickly got out to close the garage door, before heading towards the stairs, talking with Jacinto on the phone.

Sitting quietly in the car for a few moments, Natalia finally got the nerve to ask. "Why did you do that Cal? Why did offer yourself to be Grayson's apprentice?"

Calleigh's body went stiff before she slowly sat up to stare at the seat in front of her. "I did what I thought was right. I needed to know that you were safe. Your life means more to me that my own."

Shaking her head, Natalia got out of the car to go around to open Calleigh's door. "That's awfully selfish of you Calleigh. Do you think that your life means any less to me?"

Carefully sliding out of the car, making sure that she didn't touch the brunette, Calleigh wrapped the blanket tighter around her shoulders. "No Talia, I don't, but I…"

"But nothing Calleigh, you once again you made a decision without taking into account what I would feel about it. I thought that we had a partnership; not a dictatorship?"

Calleigh's eyes snapped towards her wife. "We do have a partnership and you know it. What about you? You said that you want to kill Eric too. Were you going to talk about that decision before you went through with it or after you came back to me with Eric's blood on your hands."

"That's not fair Calleigh. What did you expect me to want to do when I saw the mark on your neck in the hospital? I saw red and I wanted Eric to pay, he has no right to touch you; not now, not ever." Natalia stepped forward, her eyes flashing and hands on her hips.

Shaking her head, Calleigh turned towards the stairs. "And here the only thing that I was concerned about is your safety and I thought that Grayson could get you somewhere safe. Oh dopey me."

Natalia stormed past Calleigh, standing in her way, blocking her assent up the stairs or elevator. They needed to get all of this out in the open."Grayson can do several things Calleigh, but she can't be you. She can't be my entire world Calleigh... And don't go sarcastic on me."

Drawing the blanket even closer, Calleigh faced the brunette. "Well, who in the hell is going to be my world if Eric gets to you? Do you think that I'll just get over you quickly and move on to someone else? Gee, thanks darlin'."

"Calleigh, Look at me please...?" Natalia pleaded. "This isn't easy for either one of us. We are too close to all of this to think straight."

Calleigh took a step back. "You think Talia? No... Answer the question. What am I supposed to do if he gets you? Do you think that I'll have it any easier knowing that my 'friend' killed my wife because he was infatuated with me?"

"Well, how in the hell do you think that I will feel if my former lover kills my wife because I love her more than he ever could?" Natalia finally broke down, tears streaming past bronzed cheeks; she picked up a wrench and threw it hard across the garage, anything to burn off her anger at being so helpless.

Calleigh's eyes went wide at the dent that the tool left in the toolbox that it hit, while her mouth hung open in she. Slowly she turned her head to look at her wife and they both started laughing. "I am so not going to tell Grayson that you did that. Maybe she won't notice."

Natalia looked down at her hands like she couldn't believe what she had done. "Well, I'm not going to admit it." Looking up and over to her wife, Natalia's facial features softened. "What are we arguing about?"

Calleigh walked over to wrap her arms that was still holding the blanket around the brunette's waist. "On how we're both terrified that the other is going to get hurt and will do anything and everything to protect them. Even if it means doing something totally out of character."

Sighing, Natalia gazed down into her wife's eyes, smiling slightly at their clearness. "We gotta stop doing this Cal… we need to talk to each other and let each other know what we're feeling. Why do we have such a hard time with this one thing?"

Smiling back, Calleigh whispered. "Because we are two VERY independent women who each thinks that she knows what's best for the other and we can't see how much we are hurting each other. I'm sorry that I didn't think the whole thing out. I was just going on my gut reaction and wanted you to be safe."

Tucking the blonde head underneath her chin, Natalia rubbed gentle circles on her back before turning them towards the elevator. "Let's go take a nice long shower before Grayson gets home because I'm sure that she's not going to want to go to the doctor and I'm not going to let her fix herself up."

Leaning her head against her wife's shoulder, Calleigh gave a silent prayer of thanks that they were both safe and still talking to each other.

Grayson reached up, digging one of her nails into Eric's left eye, if he kept beating on her like this, she was going to pass out, and soon. Grayson couldn't see as the blood from her mouth and nose was flowing up into her eyes. She calmly pushed her finger in deeper, hearing his scream made her smile in satisfaction.

Eric clutched his face, scrambling off Grayson, he could only see out of his right eye now. He looked down at the woman who had held him from his beloved Calleigh, he kicked her hard in the ribs for good measure and left her be. She was unimportant to him in the grand scheme of things; he kept his eye covered, and ran for his Ford Escape. He put it in reverse, and took off down the street.

Gasping in pain, Grayson clutched at her ribs, forcing herself to her feet and stumbling towards Calleigh's Crossfire, praying that the keys were in the ignition. 'Yes!' Turning the keys, she grinned as the engine roared to life, pulling the gearshift into drive, she peeled out in pursuit of her prey.

Eric did a double take in the rearview mirror, that crazy bitch was following him. He put his hand over the top of his head, as another wave of pain crashing over him. Eric pushed harder on the gas trying to escape; he flew through a red light ignoring the honks and narrow escapes.

Grayson was glad that the time and money that she had spent at the defensive driving school. She weaved and swerved around the cars that Eric left twisted in the intersection. Grinning, she pressed harder on the gad, slowly gaining in the Escape.

Growling in frustration, Eric fumed; obviously, she wasn't some run of the mill bitch. Eric smiled, slamming on the brake and jerking the Escape into the wrong side of traffic flying past oncoming cars.

Grayson narrowed her eyes as Eric made a stupid move by dodging into traffic. She wasn't brave, but she was stupid enough to follow him. She chased him through two intersections, pulling up alongside him; she was tempted to ram him. He obviously had thought of that before her however. Eric jerked the Escape hard crashing into the Crossfire forcing Grayson to fly off the road and rocket through a cross walk, slamming into a telephone pole, the car protested loudly with twisted metal and smoke rising from the crash. Eric stopped the Escape, tempted to go back, but decided against it, he had bigger fish to fry.

She never blacked out, Grayson watched the whole wreck in slow motion, when the car finally came to a bone shattering halt, she lay there, and gasping covered in her own blood. Shaking she raised her hands over her face, she was grated with several painful lacerations including a massive cut that sliced down from the left side of her forehead down through her eyebrow . The cut had missed her eye, but continued on down her cheek.

Grimacing, she made sure nothing was broken, except for the ribs, pushing the door open, she fell out and lay gasping painfully on the sidewalk. She heard sirens, crawling painfully over broken glass, past the smoking wreckage and gathering crowd. Grayson laid in the middle of the road until a car stopped, she smiled as she stood, calmly walked over to open the door, pulling the idiot out of his car and slamming the door behind her, flooring it in reverse and heading towards the Complex, Eric had gone back underground.

Grayson unsteadily reached for her phone, which was thankfully only battered and not broken, much like it's owner. She found Carlos's number and dialed it, waiting for him to pick up. When she heard his terrified squawk of an answer, she gave him the directions to the wreck and told him he had ten minutes to make it disappear or he wouldn't wake up tomorrow morning. All she heard was a dial tone and assumed that meant it would being taken care of.

Ditching the car about three blocks down from the Complex, Grayson choose to hoof it the last few hundred yards to her home. She knew it would raise questions if she pulled a stolen car into the lift. Jordan, Natalia, and Calleigh's face swam into view. She was so completely livid with herself, she'd totaled Calleigh's car, and Eric had escaped, her skill, her training, her moral compass, her entire being had been put in jeopardy by everything she'd done today. She'd screwed the pooch big time and Grayson hated animal abuse.

Finally, she made it, almost passing out into the elevator. There was no way in hell she could make it up the stairs in this condition; she'd lost almost a pint and a half of blood that made any normal person dizzy. Not to mention someone who'd had their ass handed to them by some CSI.

She shut the elevator door, almost collapsing into a fetal position as a wave of dizziness overwhelmed her again. Grayson reached clumsily for the third floor button; if she could make it to the bathroom upstairs, she'd be fine. All of her first aid materials were upstairs in the gym bathroom, the second floor bathroom was home, and the third floor was work. Pushing it in hard, she steeled herself for the run she was going to have to make to that bathroom door, if she could lock it fast enough. She needed to get herself under control, she needed to process everything, look at all the angles before she talked to anyone. The adrenaline was still burning in her veins, the hate, the rage, tearing her apart, the shame making her stomach roll in guilt. Offering Calleigh that deal, leaving Jordan at the scene, being unable to stop Eric, totaling Calleigh's car, she'd fucked up so badly.

Finally the metal grinded to a halt, and she ripped the door open, gritting her teeth, she half crawled, half stumbled her way to the bathroom. Throwing the door open, her heart racing in her chest, she slammed it shut behind her, locking it. Scrambling to the toilet, she retched violently into the basin, her tears streaming down her face.

"Feeling better now?" Came Natalia's voice from somewhere behind her.

Grayson wiped the bile from her lips; she stood to her full height, ignoring the pain shooting from her right knee and her ribs on her right side. Grayson knew she looked like Death, it didn't really bother her ever to look bad, it was the fact she felt guilty. Guilty for failing. Again. Purposely ignoring Natalia, Grayson pulled out several stacks of gauze, iodine, ace bandages, icy hot, burn cream, and a number of butterfly bandages for the cuts on her face.

She resisted the urge to vomit again when she finally caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Fuck. Her once perfectly white buttoned down shirt was now black, brown, ripped, shredded, and covered in blood and grass stains. The entire left sleeve was missing and only tatters of the right sleeve still hung on for half-life. The shirt hung open exposing angry lacerations from several broken ribs, her face was shredded like grated cheese, cuts marring her once beautiful face, the long laceration through her left eyebrow and down her cheek made her look like some evil villain. She was pale, her skin drawn tight over the bloody mouth and nose, her usually glittering eyes were dull and lifeless, and her hair was tangled and knotted. It would of been comical if it weren't so serious.

"Sit down Gray, let me help you." Natalia took the supplies out of her hands, placing them on the counter. Carefully maneuvering herself between her cousin and the counter, Natalia tore off the remains of the shirt, her face impassive as she surveyed the damage. "Can you get out of the pants or do you need some help?"

"Natalia, I respect what is you think you're trying to do. I would however ask you to please get out." Grayson stared back her. She wasn't screaming, she wasn't yelling, she wasn't even emotional. "I need a few minutes to myself please. You can help me clean up afterwards, but I need ten minutes."

"Right back at ya, but with respect... no. There are no law officials in this building ever again. This building is for family. Calleigh and I may not approve, we may not join in, but we will never judge you on it... So if you need to smoke or shoot something for the pain... do it because I'm not leaving this room without you." Natalia declared standing with her arms crossed her chest.

Well... Fuck. Grayson was at a loss for words. She was hoping Natalia would of given her ten minutes in the room alone by herself, she wasn't really planning on smoking, but hell if she was offering to sit there and watch. Instantly her anger sprang up, she wanted to slap her cousin, how dare she intrude and demand what wasn't hers to ask for?

Jordan wouldn't have dared do this in the past, and Grayson suspected this had something to do with the fact he probably believed Natalia and Calleigh would eventually make her go soft. She'd go straight when George W. Bush wore a rainbow flag to a PFLAG conference. Well fuck all three of them; she was still Grayson Isis Cerano. No one else had fucked this up, she had done it all on her own. Her grandfathers chilling voice drifted out of her memory with his thick Italian accent. 'Fix your shit Mia, or I'll be forced to fix it for you.'

Eyes glassed over in memory and Grayson backed away from her cousin. "Natalia, get out of my bathroom. Now." She growled, her arms wrapping around herself.

"Damn it Grayson!" Natalia threw up her hands. "What is it about the women in my life that are too damn stubborn to ask or even accept help from someone else?" Turning to take a step away, she whirled back around. "Do you think that it makes you appear weak? What?"

"I'm sure the other women in your life weren't tortured on a daily basis. Nor were they schooled specifically on how to handle pain large amounts. Now get out." Grayson's voice was bone chillingly cold.

Stepping up to her cousin's face, Natalia's voice matched hers. "I don't see anyone in here that would tattle on you if you asked for help... I don't see anyone in here that would think less of you, who expects you to behave in a certain way. I see my family who has been hurt on my behalf who I want to help, but is behaving like a child."

Picking up a marble vase, Grayson threw it hard into the wall. "I AM NOT A FUCKING CHILD! GET OUT!" She screamed. She was sick of everyone always treating her like some toddler who had run away from her parents. Well her parents were dead and Grayson was twenty-five years old now. "GET OUT!"

Natalia turned for the door. "Well, that proves my point. Okay, you win. You're big, bad Grayson Cerano. You don't need anyone."

Covering her face, Grayson knew what she had done was childish, and incredibly immature, but she meant it. "I am not a child; I have never been allowed to just be a child. What I need is for someone to help me, like you said... I just... I don't know how to ask for it. I don't like being referred to as a child... it brings back bad memories." Her body shook uncontrollably as memory after memory rolled over her.

Turning around, Natalia stepped back over to the young woman. "All you have to say is, please. Calleigh or I will be there for you. We can help you through the memories. We can help replace the dark one with happier ones. Let us help you."

Shaking hands wrapped around herself as she sank to her knees, Grayson shook her head back and forth. "It would take longer than either of you two will live to replace all of my bad memories." She whispered.

Kneeling down along with Grayson, Natalia reached out to take one of Grayson's torn up hands. "I'm not saying that we can replace them all, but we can start, one at a time. Will you let us...let me help you?"

She put her hand on Natalia's chest, pushing her to back off, not out of the room, but as far away from her as she could get in the semi-comfortable bathroom. She pulled out a small wooden box, opening it up on the couch, she bypassed the joints she'd already had rolled, the cigars of marijuana made the whole room smell like pineapples and grapes. Instead, she reached in, retrieving a small tiny bag with a thumbnail size of crystallized marijuana, placing it in a small glass pipe and lit it. After several long pulls, she set the glass pipe, bag, everything into the box and hid it back under the sink.

Unbuttoning the jeans, Grayson stepped out of the boots, before peeling her socks off and taking the jeans and panties down with one fell swoop. She very carefully pulled off the bra dropping it next to her ruined clothing, she turned shower on as hot as it would go, and closed the curtain behind her, and she stayed silent the entire time, not a whimper of pain or agony crossing her lips.

Grayson stood underneath the hot spray for a few moments, letting it clean anything that happened to be loose, away from her body. She was about to ready for a cloth when the sound of the curtain being pushed back startled the hell out of her.

Natalia was placing one of the bar stools there in the shower while taking the cloth from her hand. "We need to make sure that you get out all the debris, or things could become infected." Her hands were incased in plastic gloves, and she had moved all of the supplies within reach. "Darlin', you ain't got nothing that I haven't seen before, so get over it and let's get to work."

Not knowing if she should punch her or thank her, Grayson settled with thanking her since punching her just required too much energy. She reached past Natalia to pluck the mouth guard out of the kit. She used it when the pain was horrible enough to make her scream. She stuffed it into her mouth, staring ominously at the bottle of iodine. 'This was going to fucking bite.' she thought.

Carefully, Natalia started running a wide toothcomb through Grayson's hair, dislodging the glass and gravel that was hidden. Making multiple passes on each section, she moved on once she felt that they had gotten every item out.

Still standing behind her cousin, she used the cloth and a pair of tweezers to begin cleaning her back. As gently as she could, she pulled out shards of glass, gravel, wood and other materials that Natalia didn't want to think about. When she finished, she gently smoothed Neosporin over the smaller cuts before she picked up the bottle of Iodine. "This is gonna hurt Gray. I'm sorry."

The younger brunette didn't answer, her shoulders hunching forward in on herself, ignoring Natalia's words. Grayson moved the mouth piece around in her mouth a little, taking several deep breathes before nodding to go ahead, she was ready.

As quickly as she could, she covered the larger cuts with the stinging antiseptic, and then began blowing on the wounds, trying to lessen her cousin's pain.

The hunched form only flinched once, and it barely registered as anything more than a shiver. She stayed completely still the entire ordeal, never shying away from Natalia's touch, content to just hold her pain inside of her skull. 'FUUCCCK!' Grayson's mind was screaming obscenities in both Italian and English. One of her hands reached and laid it's palm flat against the wall, just to support her weight; the nails never dragged down the tile wall, and the fist never clenched.

After placing butterfly bandages over the larger wounds, Natalia finally moved around to face the young woman. She couldn't help her face as it flinched at the damage. "Close your eyes Gray, I need to concentrate, and I can't when my own eyes are staring back at me." Natalia smiled for a moment.

For her part, Grayson nodded, closing her eyes, she waited patiently for her cousin to start working on her face.

"Thank you." Was softly whispered, before Natalia started to work. Picking out the glass, Natalia could begin to see imprints of her former lover's fist appearing on her cousin's face. Swallowing the bile that was threatening to come up, Natalia took a deep breath through her nose and continued.

After about twenty minutes, the wounds on Grayson's face were cleaned and glued shut that Natalia had the foresight to stop and get on their way back to the Complex.

Stripping off her gloves, Natalia warned Grayson again about the pain before she carefully felt around her sternum. The steering wheel impression worried her more than the seatbelt burn that ran from her left shoulder down to her right hip. She didn't feel any broken bones, just a few bruised ribs, but as she was about to turn to get some tape, she noticed a certain impression on Grayson's right chest.

"Calleigh's Crossfire won't need it's yearly tune-up, will it?"

"A new car will be delivered in the morning." As soon as she was alone, Grayson planned to order another Crossfire. The one the blonde had been driving had been a fine car, yes indeed, but bells and whistles always made her feel better personally. The new Crossfire's were beautiful and the blonde deserved to have something nice once in awhile. She sighed, looking past Natalia at the wall, wanting to be left alone.

"Don't bother, we were thinking about getting something larger. Her backseat was too small anyway." Taking a step back, Natalia looked at her cousin with a very critical eye. 'Damn, she looks like shit.' But there was no way that Natalia would ever say that, for somehow, this tough, no holds barred, fuck you and the horse you rode in on young woman and her sweet gentle giant of a brother had wormed their way into her heart, and she admitted to herself that she loved them.

"Okay Slick, I've done all that I can do. Jordan picked out something easy for you to put on and I'll leave you to yourself now. Thank you for allowing me to help. We'll be waiting for you downstairs." Natalia sighed as she turned to get out of the shower.

It took several moments for Grayson to find the words she wanted to say. "Natalia please... wait." Even though Grayson couldn't actually bring herself to look at her cousin, there were some things she needed to say to her.

Natalia kept her back to the young woman, figuring that it might make it easier for her to speak.

"Eric escaped... since I report to you... I'm sorry." Grayson stood wrapping a towel around her for comfort, she strode past Natalia proudly, unwilling to let the brunette see her flinch, limp, or do anything other than act normal. She quickly donned the yoga pants and loose large t-shirt before leaving the bathroom to wait for Natalia to join her in the elevator.

Natalia took her time getting to the elevator, but stopped just short of getting in, holding out the wooden box from the bathroom. "Do you need another hit before we go downstairs?" Knowing that the young woman had to be in pain.

"You must be implying that something awful awaits me Natalia." Grayson drew herself up to her full height pushing the box away from herself firmly, the pain was mind numbing but she pushed it down like so many times before and steeled her features. "I meet my fate willingly." She stared impassively at Natalia taking a few long moments to cross her arms, her ribs protesting heavily against the movement.

Quietly, Natalia answered. "The only awful thing that awaits you is your own demons. All we want is to know what happened, and what we need to plan on now. There is no blame to be cast, because we are all guilty. I'm asking you if you need something more for your physical pain. Jordan had already taken care of his 'medication', so you need to take care of yours."

The female Cerano bristled at any kind of advice Natalia was imparting to her, she'd share information, relay her thoughts, and then she'd sleep. Eric was a fucking dead man. "Natalia, I am fine." Her voice was steel, even if her emotions were screaming otherwise. "Let's just get this over with." Her eyes glittered back hatefully, not at Natalia, but at what Eric had done to her face.

Shaking her head, Natalia got into the elevator, pulled down the gate before pressing the second floor button. Silently the two women rode the wooden box down one level.

Opening the gate, Natalia walked out ahead of her cousin, going straight over to her wife, placing the wooden box down next to her before enveloping the blonde in a hug. "Hi, you okay?"

Uncomfortable with the wooden box being in the kitchen or on the second floor at all, Grayson picked it up and placed it in a drawer, shutting it effectively. She then pulled out several ice packs and placed them in various towels, before she retreated to lay down on one of the enormous leather couches and place the ice packs on various aching limbs. She ignored the other people, hoping for a few minutes to collect her thoughts and figure out how to say what she had done.

Leaning back against Natalia's chest, Calleigh closed her eyes, and almost started crying as her once again realized what she had almost walked away from. When was she going to quit being so stupid?

"I'm good darlin. How's our girl doing?"

Sighing, Natalia muttered in Calleigh's ear. "Other than hard headed, stubborn, prideful and a few other words that I can't repeat... She's good."

Jordan felt horrible when he saw his sister; how could he leave her like that. He walked past Natalia and Calleigh, kneeling on the floor beside the couch, reaching out to take Grayson's hand. Grayson ignored him completely, her hand slipping out of his, and laying back across her chest. It broke Jordan's heart that she wouldn't even look at him right now. "Gray..." He began.

"Don't... just don't..." She waved him away, and Jordan complied for now, only moving to sit on the floor next to her head.

"Do you want something to eat Tal? Or maybe to drink?" Calleigh quietly asked.

"Nah, I'm good." Natalia was content to stand there, holding her wife, realizing how close they had come to losing everything. Nuzzling the blonde head, she inhaled the aroma of jasmine and vanilla of Calleigh's body wash and shampoo.

Silence then prevailed throughout the room as each person realized how close that they had came to losing something so precious, and what life would have been life without them.

"I lost Eric... He got away, I'm sorry." Grayson's admission was so soft the Jordan almost missed it.

Turning his head slowly until he was looking at his sister's face, he asked. "What did you say?"

Pulling the ice packs off her face, Grayson sat up and almost defiantly declared.
"I.. Lost.. Eric." When he placed a hand on her knee, she moved it to the side, not wanting him to touch her. "Can you make me a drink please, and bring me a cigar?" Her voice had softened and she reached up touching his cheek sadly. Jordan covered her hand with his; that was all the contact she would begrudge him.

Rising to his feet, Jordan made his way into the kitchen, reaching into the cabinet that held the liquors, he grabbed the bottle of Gentleman Jack and poured a tall tumbler half way full, before he reached into the drawer to take out the wooden box.

Returning quickly to her side, he knelt in front of her, putting the drink on a coaster in the middle of the coffee table, next the cigar he also laid down a Zippo with a large peace sign on it next to the cigar. He opened the drawer under the coffee table and pulled out a steel ashtray setting it slightly to the left. Finally he settled himself at Grayson's feet, trying to stay as close her as possible.

The female Cerano calmly crossed long legs, trying to appear lady like; years of training snapping her back into focus. This was nothing more than a Retriever sharing information with the Employer. The Target had not been neutralized. Strike one. Grayson had only ever gone as far as Strike One, and this was only the third time this had happened. Reaching over Jordan, she picked up the cigar and placed it between her lips, sucking softly for a moment, she lit the end inhaling deeply letting a stream of smoke pour out of her nostrils. Holding the cigar in her left hand, she tasted the aged whiskey and licked the insides of her lips, savoring it. "Thank you Jordan." She whispered quietly.

Calleigh turned to take her first look at her young friend. 'Damn, Eric messed her up royally.' She hoped he looked twice as bad. "What happened after we left Gray?"

"We danced, it was a draw. He got into his SUV and drove off. I pursued in your Crossfire. He had to use his automobile to stop me. I apologize for the loss of your car." Grayson tapped Jordan on the shoulder, and he handed her his cell phone. She skimmed through it and found the appropriate name for the Chrysler Dealership. She texted the car model, the options, the color, and the license plate description that made her smile a little. She took another long drag off of the cigar and blew a few halfhearted smoke rings at the pictures the man sent her back, her eyes flickering up to Calleigh.

Turning away for a moment, Calleigh shook her head. looking at Natalia. Murmuring loud enough for only her to hear, "This is just a business to her. There's no emotion what so ever. You are nothing at all like your cousin."

Shifting on the stool, Calleigh turned back to Grayson. "Just to let you know, I told Jacinto to go back to Eric's to board up the window. and take care of the door. I'm assuming that you will still have the place watched."

"That's fine, and you assumed correctly." The young brunette examined her reflection the glass tumbler. She then picked it up, to hold it against her horribly mangled face, looking up at Natalia. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I lost Eric. I'm sorry that I totaled your wife's car. I'm sorry that I couldn't protect either one of you." She turned to look at Jordan, who was staring down at his hands.

"My debt to you was paid in full dear brother. An eye for an eye.." She touched his mangled eye socket that was now covered by a black eye patch making him look dashing and rogue. Grayson then touched her own face, smiling to herself in self-mocking. She always wanted to be more terrifying, more frightening so the questions were fewer and the answers popped up without being asked.

Trying to understand the young woman across the room, Natalia asked a simple question. "Do you always pay your debts?"

"I have only failed to repay one debt. The Benedict's time will come. I only have Two more strikes before I become a Liability." She took a small sip of the whiskey, savoring the taste of the oak and cherry wood she tasted in it. Grayson then, sucked softly on the cigar, twisting it counterclockwise between her lips tasting the pineapple flavor of the cigar paper.

Next to her on the floor, Jordan shivered, leaning his head against her knee. He was afraid she wouldn't be able to catch Eric. He was even more terrified of what would happen to their family if she didn't find him in time.

"What exactly is a Liability?" Natalia asked.

Groaning in pain, Grayson leaned over the coffee table, and pulled out a matte black Lady Smith and Wesson much like Calleigh's. She also retrieved an empty clip, and slid one single titanium hollow point bullet, her preferred choice, into the clip and slid it home. Making sure her point was obvious she laid on the table in front of her staring it silently.

"A Liability is when the Retriever has not fulfilled their end of the bargain." She didn't even bother to look at Natalia or Calleigh, choosing instead to suck softly on the cigar, producing large clouds of smoke around herself and a small tingle to race through the base of her skull.

Quietly, Calleigh asked. "Do you do it to yourself or does someone do it to you?"

"Depends on the client." She answered back gruffly.


Jordan got the point, and stood up to help her walk into the kitchen, taking the drink and ashtray with them. He helped her sit down on one of the remaining barstools so she could look Calleigh and Natalia in the eye. "If a Retriever cannot fulfill her end of the deal, she has become useless to the Family. In your case... I doubt either one of you has what it takes to pull the trigger. So most likely it will be Stefan when I call him for that favor. I'm sure he'll enjoy it." Grayson drained the tumbler, she had barely set it down before Jordan was refilling it this time, adding one cube of ice, he left the bottle on the counter top.

Silence hung heavy over the room for a moment before Natalia asked. "What if the client ends the job? What happens then?"

Taking several long painful moments, Grayson swirled the ice cube around in her drink, thinking. It was rare for a client to end an engagement. It had only happened when working for an honest person, someone who was looking for a lost heirloom, or a family member that had been cast aside years ago. "I won't end an job this far into the engagement, I'm sorry Talia. I can't. It would be too risky for the both of you, my Grandfather would become involved and you two would both be killed for knowing anything about me at all. I am sorry, but I cannot allow that to happen." She took a long sip of her drink. She then ashed the cigar in the tray, and took an extremely long pull, emitting smoke from both nostrils she continued. "After I complete my assignment, I will be taking a long break."

Grayson neglected to mention that the three of them would probably never see her again, but she'd check up on them when she could.

Jordan smiled, if his sister finally took a break, maybe he could convince her to finally retire, and lay down the vendetta.

Clearing her throat, Calleigh leaned forward a bit, before asking. "I need to know... How bad is Eric hurt?"

Imitating the blonde's body language, her voice still normal. "Five broken ribs on the left side, and he's now blind in his left eye." The assassin answered back in a toneless voice. Her black eyes glittering into Calleigh's. "Look at me, and let me make something perfectly clear to the both of you." Her eyes flickered to between the two CSI's.


The mobster leaned back, making sure she had their undivided attention, she did. Placing the cigar between her lips, she steeled her fingers together, looking at her relatives, one by blood, one by marriage. She was saying this so she completely understood. "I may be a killer. I may be void of emotion and apathy. And I certainly am incapable of mercy. The deal that you took..." Grayson stared Calleigh down. "Is void and wasn't meant in the capacity it was taken." Jordan stared at his sister, he'd been wrong apparently.

"The bullet stops with the last female Cerano. I take no apprentices, I take no students. I will not pass on my knowledge to anyone. I was planning to use your emotions against you and force you back to Natalia." Grayson took another long drink, and poured more into her tumbler.

"I would of kept you from Natalia yes. I would of threatened you with bodily harm and I most likely would of followed through with those threats to protect my cousin if I had been to thoroughly convinced of your ability to follow in my footsteps. I was right about you however, and thankfully Natalia, you don't have the genetic impurity that I alone seem to carry." Grayson smiled coldly over the edge her tumbler, taking another long sip.

Jordan stared at her, he'd been so wrong, snapping at her like that out of line but he had felt warranted with what he'd seen. Natalia sobbing on the floor, the scene at the hospital, everything had blown up in their faces.

"Grayson.." He began, and his sister naturally waved her hand through the air, dismissing his words. "Don't.. I don't want to hear it, I know what you thought Jordan. It's fine, how else would you have seen it? However, do not ask to included in another engagement after this one has ended." Jordan stared at her in shock, she had taken the one thing he couldn't force her to give back, her privacy.

"Grayson Isis Cerano, you cannot do that..." He started up. "It doesn't matter what you say Jordan, Grandfather has final say..." She hated to pull that card, but it was the only way to protect him from how bad things were going to be eventually.

Rising up to his full height, Jordan's eye blazed pure fire. "Family is family Grayson. That is the first and last rule that Grandfather has always stated. So you are making your own rules now?"

Grayson ignored her brother towering over her. Let him try to physically imposing since that shit didn't work on her, one punch and Jordan would be begging for her to stop. She hoped it wouldn't come to that even if she was prepared for it. "Family is family only applies to him. Little lesson learned from the man himself." Pulling hard on cigar, she blew smoke rings circling her glass.

Sliding off the stool, Calleigh came around the counter to place her hand on Jordan's arm. "Let it go for now Bear. We've all had a shitty day, and this isn't help any of us." Rising up on her toes, she placed a gentle kiss on his cheek, before turning to his twin, staring at her long and hard before she simply stated. "Thank you." Turning around, she nodded her head towards the bedroom to Natalia. "I'll warm up the bed."

Grayson smiled and relaxed, she'd counted on Calleigh to always end the discussion, Jordan wouldn't argue with her; they were too close already. It was a perfect opportunity to disappear out her brother's life and save him the painful death she knew would one day come from the hands of her Grandfather. Calleigh and Natalia could replace her in his life. It was perfect and without flaw. She believed that Jordan was more appropriate in their lives that she was anyway; not to mention a better person. Putting out the cigar, and leaving the mess for her brother to pick up, she limped quietly towards the elevator and disappeared upstairs to sleep on the air mattress in the music room.

"Grayson please stop. Take my bed." Jordan stopped the elevator's assent by holding onto the gate. His sister glared up at him in anger. "Leave me alone for once.." her voice fire and brimstone, biting at his heart, pushing him back from her. "Gray... you need a real bed... you're hurt badly." She pushed the doorstop button, and shoved him hard away from him. Jordan stumbled and fell hard on his rear end, staring up at her in shock, she had rarely if ever, put her hands on him in anger, normally her self-control was perfect. "Don't... I told you to stop Jordan and I meant it. Leave me... leave me be." She ground out, turned around before slamming the gate shut, disappearing upstairs.

Walking over to her gentler cousin, Natalia knelt down beside him. "She's trying to protect you, you know. She's doing the same exact thing that Calleigh did. Pushing you away. Thinking that you're better off without her. She doesn't realize that the two of you together are one. You're the light to her dark, and you always will be. She needs you, she just doesn't realize it."

Wrapping her arms around the young man, Natalia hugged him hard. "Not to worry, the DuVista always complete their assignments, and she our biggest one yet. Go to sleep Bear."

Jordan looked at his cousin with tears in his eyes. "That's the first time you called me Bear Natty, and you promise you won't give up on her."

"Never. Sleep sweet."

Smiling sadly, Jordan cast a quick glance upstairs before shuffling off to his room. "You too Natty, you too."

Taking a few minutes to clean up the mess and turn off all the lights, Natalia finally made her way to her temporary bedroom, only to find it awash with candlelight. Calleigh had lit a number of tea light and placed them about the room, but Natalia didn't see her wife in the bed.

"Cal... where are you?"

Hearing a sniff, Natalia walked around the bed to find her wife, sitting on the floor in the corner with her back against the wall, crying. Dropping to her knees, Natalia peered at her carefully, wanting to gather her into her embrace, but feeling that they needed to talk this out, waited.

"Baby, what's the matter?"

With her knees drawn up to her chest, Calleigh had her head bowed and her arms wrapped around her knees. "I'm no better than Grayson. I don't think how things affect you. I just do what I think is best in no regards to your feelings, and I almost lost you because of that."

There was nothing that Natalia could say that would ever be able to change Calleigh's mind, but there was something that she could do. Reaching down, Natalia took Calleigh uninjured hand, and drew her to her feet. Stepping closer to the bed, she placed the trapped hand on her chest so the blonde could feel her thundering heart. "Can anyone control what this loves?"

Quietly Natalia pulled Calleigh's shirt over her head, leaving her bare from the waist up, before repeating the action on herself.

Calleigh's eyes were immediately drawn to her wife's breasts as her dusky nipples were already hardening. "Can just someone else's look turn me on so much that my body reacts?"

Pushing down her own drawstring pants till they laid in a puddle on the floor, Natalia reached between her legs with a slender finder, and withdrew wet evidence of her arousal. Reaching over and spreading it on Calleigh's bottom lips, Natalia stepped close and breathed into her ear. "Can just the thought of anyone else's touch get me this wet?"

Calleigh's tongue peeked out to taste the sweet temptation as her body slowly began to break out in a sweat.

Ghosting her hands along the peaches and cream body, Natalia used just a feather light touch to remove Calleigh's last remaining article of clothing so that she was standing in the flickering candlelight. Her skin was glowing, shimmering in the iridescent shadows, her beauty almost taking Natalia's breath from her chest.

"Can anyone else's body make me forget to breathe with its beauty?"

With the same finger that had teased the blonde with her essence, now gently pressed Calleigh back until she was lying on the bed, with Natalia between her legs. Using the tips of her fingers, Natalia let them barely caress the blonde's body like a phantom lover, never letting them linger too long in one place, causing her to tremble and moan.

"Can anyone else fill my ears with sounds so sweet that they come from heaven above?"

Kneeling above her love, caramel hair hanging down, casting her face in shadows, but her eyes glowed like they were lit from within, Natalia whispered. "No one has anything on you my love. Your strength, your passion for life is unsurpassed; just as your love for me has no limits. You would walk away to keep me safe, you would stand aside to allow me peace, you stand beside me to give me support."

Leaning down, Natalia brushed her lips against Calleigh's, barely tasting the remnants of herself, running her tongue over her bottom lip. Murmuring against the silky texture, Natalia admitted. "You are the reason that I am alive. You are the golden light that shows me what love is. You are mine Calleigh DuVista, and I follow no one."

Moving her mouth over the spot that Eric had tarnished earlier, Natalia placed her lips on the pulse point, biting it gently before drawing it into her mouth, as her hand slid between the pool of wetness between Calleigh's legs.

Turning her head to give her wife more access, Calleigh fisted the sheets as her nerves started the familiar hum along her skin.

Thrusting her hips in time with her hand, Natalia ground her palm against Calleigh's clit. Pressing herself up with her remaining arm, Natalia looked down at her wife, breathing in the scent of their combined arousal.

Breathing hard, Natalia gasped. "Calleigh… Cal… Look at me."

Green eyes fluttered up to stare into hers. "You have my mark… MY MARK. No one else's… You have my heart, my body and my soul, just as I have yours. No man, woman…nothing will ever keep up apart."

Leaning down to give her a hard kiss, Natalia flicked her thumb against the bundle of nerves, causing Calleigh to shudder her release as Natalia swallowed her scream. Slowly her thrust, drawing yet another tremor through the blonde's body, Natalia finally withdrew her fingers from the warmth, to draw a sheet around their sweaty bodies.

In her wife's embrace, Calleigh began to cry again, yet this was a healing cry. Natalia had taken all her emotional wounds, and healed them with love. She was right; they could and would get through everything together. Calleigh would never doubt her again.

Settling against Natalia's breast, Calleigh breathed. "I love you." before closing her eyes and falling asleep.

Smiling, Natalia pressed a kiss atop her blonde head, and whispered. "I know… and I love you too." Sighing, the brunette soon joined her wife in her dreams.

Part 9

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