DISCLAIMER: Nikki & Nora are the property of Nancylee Myatt and Warner Bros. Television. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Nikki pulled into the drive and climbed from her car, positively beaming at the purchases lying across the backseat. Nora was going to die when she saw everything she'd bought, and the brunette briefly wondered if she should hide a few items from her partner and spring them on her one at a time. Just as she gained purchase on the largest of her shopping bags, her cell chirped; glancing at the display, she smiled.
"Hey, Darius. What's up?"
"Hey, Nikki? Where are you?"
The usually jovial snitch sounded nervous, his street slang replaced with a normal tone as well as normal conversation.
"Darius? Is something wrong?"
"Huh? Oh, no. I just was wondering where you were, is all."
Nikki shrugged as if he could see her. "I'm unloading my car. Oh, Darius! You should've seen the sale at Saks this morning; it was one of those early bird sales. You know, where different items are on sale at different hours. I bought two pair of shoes and got the third one free!"
Darius quickly responded the second the brunette took a breath. If he didn't get a word in now, he might not ever. "Um, Nikki? Is Nora with you?"
"Pfft, you're kidding, right? I have to drag Nora kicking and screaming when we go Christmas shopping. She stayed home in bed; she wasn't feeling well. Of course, going shopping at seven a.m. may have led to her untimely headache." Nikki placed the phone on her shoulder and tilted her head so that she could have both hands free.
"Is her car there?" Darius asked, hoping that the answer was yes and that he was being what his Aunt Lomie referred to as a worrywart.
Nikki glanced around. "Huh . . . as a matter of fact, it's not." The brunette dropped her bags back into the car and took a firm hold on the phone. She walked to the edge of the drive to see if perhaps Nora had parked on the street.
"Her car isn't here or on the street." Turning more serious, the detective questioned, "What's going on Darius?"
"Well, I just happened to be walking over by Poydras Street when I noticed a few police cars setting up barricades. No one's been allowed on the street, and I watched as the few buildings in the area opened for business were evacuated. All, except the bank that is. I'm pretty sure Nora's car is parked out front. Nikki, I think the bank is being robbed, and Nora's inside."
Nora sat along the wall with the others who'd taken advantage of the bank's new Saturday morning hours. Three masked gunmen had burst in just as she'd reached the first available teller, at least that's what the sign she'd been standing behind had stated.
She'd been ordered to move to the far wall and stay put and, seeing as how she was outnumbered, she thought perhaps it was a good idea to comply with their wishes. That and the fact that she hadn't grabbed her gun on the way out; she'd figured that her errands would take twenty minutes tops so she wouldn't need it. Glancing at the clock, she noted that she'd already exceeded her estimation by thirty minutes.
Down the street from the bank, Dan and Georgia studied the blueprints of the building. Georgia had just pointed at one of the air conditioning vents when the sound of squealing tires drew closer. The two detectives along with about twenty other patrolmen pulled their weapons and aimed at the car speeding towards them. With too many guns to count trained on the vehicle, the driver pulled to a screeching halt, climbing from the car in one smooth motion.
Dan dropped his gun to his side, signaling for the others to do the same. "Damn it, Nikki. Are you trying to get yourself killed?"
Nikki didn't bother with a reply, at least not to answer her boss' question. "What the hell is going on, Dan? Why wasn't I called?"
"You and Nora aren't on today; I wasn't calling you unless I needed you." Dan looked over at Georgia, wondering what he was missing. Why was Nikki so upset? Georgia just raised her eyebrow and shrugged.
"You don't know do you?" Nikki calmed somewhat, realizing that Dan hadn't intentionally left her out of the loop.
Nikki pointed towards the building down the street. "Nora's in the bank."
Dan followed his detective's finger as if he needed concrete proof to believe the statement, and there it was, sitting directly across the street from the bank, Nora's car.
He stared at the black El Camino, hoping that if he looked at it long enough it would transform into a different model or, at the very least, a different color. Stubbornly, the car remained unchanged.
"Okay, this changes things." Dan moved back to the blueprints, shifting the focus of his study. Georgia and Nikki stepped forward and peered over his shoulder.
"When's S.W.A.T. getting here?" Nikki asked nervously, hoping that the matter could be resolved before the team arrived. Once they took over operations, the situation would be completely out of their hands.
As if reading her mind, Dan smiled slightly. "They're not. There's a training seminar this weekend, and all the area teams are in Dallas. It'll take hours for an available team to get here."
Georgia concurred. "Yeah, I'm glad it's just us and having Nora inside is an added bonus. If we can create a diversion, maybe she can get to her gun and take over from the inside."
"Um, that may be a problem." Nikki glanced at her colleagues before turning her gaze on the front entrance of the bank. If her lover got out of this ordeal unharmed, she was going to kick her ass.
Nora's migraine had come back in full force. Nikki had accused her of finding any excuse to bow out of shopping, but the truth was she really did have a splitting headache. Of course, it beat not having to lie to Nikki in order to avoid shopping with her clothes and shoe crazy lover or, at least, the blonde had thought so until the pounding had started behind her eyes. Awaking a few hours later to just a dull ache she'd figured she could get to the bank, withdraw her funds, and stop off at the antique shop for the earrings she'd seen her lover admire.
Their second anniversary was next week, and Nora wanted to get something special for Nikki. She'd hoped her forgetful partner would remember this particular anniversary since it was one of their more significant ones. She could hardly believe they'd been living together for two years.
From her vantage point on the floor, Nora couldn't see the front entrance or the street at all for that matter. She had no idea what was going on outside, and she was hoping to be able to figure out when the S.W.A.T. team had arrived. If these guys knew what was good for them, they'd negotiate with the police before S.W.A.T. took over. Nora glanced around at the other hostages and decided that it would be good for them as well. On the day he was sworn into his position, NOPD's newest S.W.A.T. commander made it perfectly clear he would not negotiate with criminals.
Speaking of which, Nora turned her attention to the robbers. Surely, these guys realized that if some green teller had been able to throw the silent alarm without them noticing, then things would go downhill for them from then on, but instead of giving up, they'd lined the hostages up against the wall, giving the indication that they planned to try to negotiate for their release. Glaring at the three men dressed from head to toe in black, wearing ski masks, and holding 9-millimeter Berettas, Nora began to plan her strategy as her headache grew in intensity.
"Let me and Georgia do it, Dan. We're both small enough to fit through the shafts and still have plenty of room to maneuver." Nikki started on her boss the minute it was decided to try to get a better grasp of the situation. The air conditioning vents offered several views of the bank's lobby, and if two people were to successfully crawl to the outer covers, audio and video equipment could be strategically placed to determine the number of hostages as well as the number of robbers. Keeping up with their activities would be extremely advantageous if, heaven forbid, they needed to rush the bank.
"No, Nikki, you're Nora's partner. It's against regulations for you to be involved."
Nikki flinched at his words. Dan had no idea that Nora was more than a partner, or rather, that she was her partner in every sense of the word. She'd managed to skirt around the issue earlier when her boss wanted to know how she was so sure that Nora didn't have her gun. The brunette had explained it away by making up a story about how they were to have brunch together and, when Nora didn't answer her door, Nikki had let herself in, finding the blonde's gun and badge lying on her bar with a short note saying she'd be back from the bank shortly. She couldn't very well tell him that Nora had left them both on the nightstand next to their bed.
Georgia glanced around at the different men standing nearby, noting that they all appeared too broad shouldered to get in and out without drawing attention to the air shafts and vents.
"Dan, I think Nikki's right. We're the only ones who can get the job done. I could go by myself, but it sure would be nice to have views from different vantage points."
The chief looked hard at the brunette detective. "Alright, but Nikki, no going vigilante on me. You follow my rules to the letter, understand?"
Nodding, Nikki turned back to the blueprints to study the path she needed to take in order to put the monitoring equipment in place, but, if she saw an opportunity to bring this situation to an end, she was taking it.
Nora had never seen three more reticent robbers in her entire life; they'd barely spoken a word between themselves. How was she going to get inside their heads if they wouldn't let her? The detective watched the men for a few more minutes, and then moved to stand. It was time to stir things up a little.
"Excuse me? I was wondering if it would be possible to use the restroom. I, um, didn't realize I'd be here for very long or else I'd have used the facilities at home."
The tallest of the three swung around, aiming the gun directly at Nora's midline. She immediately put her hand up in front of her. "Whoa, whoa. I just wanted to go the restroom. There's no need for violence."
He tilted his head, and Nora could make out the blues of his eyes. Okay, so at least she knew one feature of the guy.
"Let's see some ID."
Nora flinched, temporarily forgetting that her badge was lying on the nightstand. Her inability to immediately comply with the robber's demand evidently didn't sit well with his partner standing behind her as he used the butt of his gun to pop her on the back of the head, knocking her to the ground and making her wish her head hadn't hurt so badly before he'd decided to waylay her.
The man reached down and grabbed her purse. He then removed her wallet and threw it to the apparent leader. Nora closed her eyes tightly, trying to ward off the pain, but she was aware enough to be very glad that she'd left her badge at home.
Dan personally escorted his two detectives to the rear of the bank and past the police barricades. They'd had to sneak up to the back of the building from the street located directly behind the structure. Nikki felt a bit like she was in one of those war movies where you had to duck behind something, then run, then duck behind something again. She was extremely grateful when they finally made it to the ladder leading to the roof where they would be able to access the air conditioning shafts through a trap door.
Georgia and Nikki watched Dan weave his way back through the maze before they started up the ladder. They'd only made the second rung when a familiar voice called out in a whispered tone. "Psst! Hey, Nikki."
Nikki wheeled around to see Bobby jogging towards her, glancing over his shoulder occasionally to be sure Dan hadn't seen him. She smiled when she saw what he held in his hands.
"Great. You made it."
"I didn't think I'd be able to slip past Dan, but I doubled around the other side."
Bobby helped Nikki fit the sling apparatus over her head, and he adjusted the straps in the back while she worked on the ones in the front. Georgia looked on in shock.
"Okay, Bobby. Hand me the shotgun. Let me see if I can get it in and out of its holster."
Georgia watched in disbelief as Nikki took the gun and lifted it up over her shoulder, placing it perfectly in the sling-pouch strapped to her back. The brunette whipped it out as efficiently as she had slid it in.
"Um, Nikki? I don't think Dan is going to be very happy when he finds out you brought that big ass gun with you."
Bobby laughed; Nikki didn't. "Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, and I intend to be fully prepared."
Georgia shook her head and turned back to the ladder. "Just make sure my ass is out of the way before you pull that thing free."
This time Nikki did laugh.
Safely tucked against the wall, Nora cursed her stupidity. She should've studied the threesome more closely before attempting to make conversation. She definitely hadn't noticed the short man's quick temper, and her head was paying the price for her oversight. She'd almost blacked out at the pain, but she managed to crawl back to the wall. The three robbers didn't pay her any mind and simply allowed her to return to her previous spot.
The bank's telephone remained stubbornly silent, and Nora wondered if perhaps it was out of order. Someone should have made contact by now, and it was apparent the robbers weren't overly happy about the lack of communication either. Closing her eyes, she laid her head back and tried to keep her focus.
She knew for a fact that the back entrance was inaccessible since she'd heard the guy in charge instruct one of the others to secure it. The front door was definitely out; with the glassed entry, no one would be able to mount a sneak attack. Frustrated, the detective opened her eyes and glanced at the far wall. Moving her gaze upward, she spotted the air vent.
With as much stealth as she could muster, Nora moved her gaze to the other walls, noting similar vents in three different places. Of the four, two were located in very strategic positions; one afforded the view of the entire lobby and the other focused on the teller area where the three robbers spent most of their time. A brief glint shone behind one of the grates, and Nora immediately closed her eyes. She certainly didn't need to be seeing things that weren't there, and she briefly wondered if her head injury was worse than she first thought.
Nikki placed the miniature camera in the middle of the vent and clipped the mike to the cover. She'd managed to maneuver down the shaft without incident and, once her destination was reached, she'd taken a moment to glance around the lobby, her eyes immediately zooming in on her lover.
Nora was sitting against the wall with her head leaned back, a complete look of defeat on her face or perhaps it was pain; Nikki couldn't tell. She just knew that she wanted to grab her lover and take her home, take her away from anything that could harm her. Nikki shook off the irrational thought of busting in with guns blazing to save the day and focused instead on the task at hand.
Just as she placed a second clip on the cover, she looked back at the lobby and started at the eyes staring back at her. Nora was looking directly at her, and Nikki thought for just a moment that she'd actually seen her and known that she'd come to rescue her, but Nora closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the wall. Nikki sighed and continued with her task.
Georgia had had a bit more difficulty navigating her air shaft. There were pieces of loose metal sticking out here and there, and the detective had had to be careful not to catch her clothing on the sharp edges. Once in place, she'd quickly placed the camera and mike at the edge of the shaft and turned to head back to the exit so that she and Nikki could rejoin Dan on the outside to see how successful they'd been.
The trip back was much easier, and Georgia pushed her way out the vent and onto the small landing. She stood on the platform, waiting for Nikki to join her, but as time progressed, she quickly realized that the detective had deviated from the plan.
Nikki made her way to the second vent, the one that would take her closest to her lover. Dan was going to be pissed that she'd disregarded his order to get in and out as quickly as possible, but she had to make sure that Nora was okay before she left her behind. It wasn't that she didn't believe in her partner's abilities; it was just that she had to see for herself that everything was alright.
She arrived at the bird's eye viewpoint just as the robbers decided they'd had enough. The sound of their voices carried up and into her new location.
"Dammit. We've got to get out of here. The longer we stay locked up in this bank, the longer they have to decide how to deal with us. Someone should've called us by now." The robber paced back and forth in front of the hostages, clearly agitated with the situation.
"Well, what do you suggest we do? Walk out and let them open fire on us? If I'm going out, I'm going out in a blaze of glory. How about you, Bob?"
The leader turned and glared at the other man, not at all happy that he'd been referred to by his first name. "Well, John, if you want to run through those doors, shooting at the dozens and dozens of police officers, go right ahead. We'll stay here while you get riddled with bullets."
John slid his gun in his belt and put his hands on his hips. "There's no need to get sarcastic. I just meant that maybe we should each take one of these hostages as a shield. There's no way they'd open fire if a civilian was leading the way.
Nora's head snapped up from its resting place; things were escalating much too quickly. She slowly stood, pleased that the dizzy sensation had passed. "Um, excuse me, but maybe you should try to call them if they won't call you. Make them talk to you."
Taking exception to the suggestion, John whipped his gun out of his belt and aimed it directly at Nora's head. "Sit your ass down or I'll take your head off."
Nikki froze; she silently watched her lover, hoping that Nora would hold her tongue. Slowly sliding the shotgun from its holster, Nikki pointed it towards the man below.
Nora held up her hands and took a step back. "I'm just saying . . ." Three men moved towards her, and now the blonde had three guns pointed at her head. She briefly wondered if the bullets would hurt as much as the pounding sensation currently residing between her temples.
From her position, Nikki focused on the men's trigger fingers. Two of them just had their index finger resting on the trigger, but the third had begun to add pressure, appearing as if he were about to fire. That was all the evidence Nikki needed as she hit the cover with the end of the shotgun, causing it to fall to the floor in a loud clatter. The three men automatically lifted their weapons, aiming at the new target.
Nora stepped back against the wall and slid down the surface, making herself as small as possible and getting the hell out of the way of any stray bullets. Her heart leapt to her throat when she heard the words yelled from above.
"NOPD! Drop your weapons or so help me I'm going to blow a hole right through you."
All three men fired, and the next sound heard was the explosion of shotgun fire. Two men went down as promised, with holes through their chests. The third man, who Nora now knew as John, fired another shot towards the cover, and Nora reacted instinctively, jumping to her feet and tackling the man as the gun flew from his hand.
Not able to get to her ammo in time, Nikki pulled the Glock from behind her back and aimed down below. Nora was wrestling with the man, and Nikki continued to follow the pair across the room, not able to get a clear shot. Suddenly, the two of them went over the top of the teller's desk, completely disappearing from Nikki's view, and the brunette almost fell out of the shaft trying to relocate her lover.
When they both stood, John was smiling; he had the gun and was pointing it directly at Nora. The blonde detective was in between Nikki and the gunman and, since Nora was about the same height as John, there was no way Nikki could risk trying to take a shot; however, she kept her gun trained on the back of Nora's head, hoping that her lover would move or duck out of the way.
"Well, it looks like I'm going out in a blaze of glory after all, and the good news is that I'm taking you with me." John grinned evilly, placing his finger firmly on the trigger.
"Good news for you maybe," Nora replied, moving slowly towards her left.
John noticed the movement and matched Nora inch for inch. "Any last words?"
The next few moments ran in slow motion for both Nikki and Nora. The robber never got a chance to pull the trigger as a loud clatter signaled that another cover had fallen and a distinct voice sounded from above the teller area.
"Eat lead, you asshole."
John turned just as Georgia pulled the trigger on the biggest handgun Nora had ever seen. She'd jumped out of the way when the metal cover had hit the floor, giving Georgia a clear shot to the robber and she hadn't hesitated to fire.
Nikki's threat was complete; John had a huge hole in his head.
The three detectives sat on the hood of Nora's car waiting for Dan. Although pleased with the outcome, their boss wasn't at all happy with the way it had come about. After he'd hugged Nora, he'd immediately turned to his other two detectives, letting them have it with both barrels. He'd confiscated their weapons and told them to wait outside until he'd finished cleaning up their mess. Nora had joined them shortly thereafter.
Nikki had fought the urge to hold her lover into her arms, and Nora had barely kept herself from clinging to Nikki. Instead, she'd slid on the other side of Georgia to resist the temptation.
Crossing her arms, Nora asked casually, "Nikki? Where'd you get that shotgun?"
"From Bobby. I remember you telling me about it and how he had this neat sling to keep it on his back, kind of like in that movie 'Romancing the Stone'."
Nora chuckled and turned her attention to Georgia. "And where the hell did you get that big ass gun?"
"That isn't just any gun; it's a .500 Smith and Wesson Raging Bull Model 500 Revolver, the biggest, baddest revolver ever made."
Nikki tilted her head, teasing, "And why did you feel the need to bring such a weapon along with you?"
Georgia grinned. "Desperate times call for desperate measures."
The two women burst out in laughter while Nora rubbed her aching head.
An hour later, Nikki and Nora were on their way home. Nora had argued about leaving her car behind, but Bobby had offered to bring it to her later and the blonde had grudgingly agreed. Her head hurt too much to be able to drive home anyway.
Nikki slid her hand across the seat, entwining her fingers with those of her partner. "I got scared today. When that guy came up with the gun and you were in my line of fire, I just . . ."
Nora squeezed her lover's hand. "Don't. It was a once in a lifetime situation, Nikki. It'll never happen again, so just let it go. Let's just be thankful we came through it in one piece, okay? Life does go on."
Nikki sighed. "Um, okay. One more thing, though . . . I'm certainly thankful for Georgia's timing, not to mention her cannon of a gun. Did you see the size of that barrel?"
"It was big, wasn't it?" Nora chuckled, laying her head back against the seat. She couldn't wait to crawl into bed.
"That it was." Nikki agreed. She'd seen Nora grimace when she'd rested her head, and she resisted the urge to pull the car over and grab her lover in an embrace, never letting go. Instead, she settled for the feel of her lover's hand in her own.
"We're here." Nikki hated to wake Nora, but she knew she had to; Nora would kill her if she let her sleep in the car. Both women climbed from the vehicle, exhausted. Nora trudged towards the entrance as Nikki followed closely behind but, as they reached the door, Nikki suddenly remembered something.
"Oh, shit. I left my packages in the car. I hope they're still there." The brunette turned and raced to peer in her backseat, relieved to see her earlier purchases sitting and waiting for her.
Opening the car door, she swept them into her hands and started towards her lover who'd waited for her by the door. Nora watched as Nikki balanced the bags and practically skipped towards her, just being reminded of shopping seemed to have breathed new life into her partner. And, that meant . . . Nora would have to watch Nikki try on all those clothes and shoes.
Groaning, Nora unlocked the door and stepped inside, making a beeline for the stairs.
"Nora, don't you want to see what I bought today?"
The blonde continued to climb the stairs in her quest to find the bed. She didn't even bother turning back.
"Not now, dear. I have a headache."
And so, life went on.
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