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

New Beginnings - Nora's POV
By Ann


Nora Delaney limped into the precinct, pulling a handcuffed suspect behind her. All she wanted was a cup of coffee and a beignet, but the asshole, she was currently escorting, just had to go and grab an elderly woman's purse right smack dab in front of her.

Her brother, Bobby, was the first to notice her arrival. "Hey Sis, rough morning?"

The blonde detective glared at her brother. One could look at her with eyes half shut to know she'd had a bad start to her day. Her shirt was ripped at the elbow and the fabric was stained with dried blood, her jeans had a hole in the right knee where traces of blood could also be detected, and the obvious makings of a black eye marred her otherwise lovely face.

"Stow it, Bobby. I'm not in the mood. Ever since Dan got promoted, I've had to chase down every Tom, Dick, and Harry on my own. It sure was nice when I had a partner to cut them off at the pass."

"But you said you didn't want another partner; you said you wanted to work solo, remember?"

"Well, I've changed my mind. I just hope Dan partners me with some guy who's fit."

The suspect tried to pull away and, without looking, Nora reached over and popped him in the back of the head. "Bobby, would you mind taking this guy to booking while I freshen up a bit and change clothes. I'll be there in a minute."

The cop took the man by the arm. "Sure, Nora. Take your time. He's not going anywhere."

Nora nodded and walked towards the locker room, her limp more pronounced when she strolled through the doors. She nodded to the taller brunette as she moved to the sink next to where the woman was applying a coat of lipstick.

The blonde hissed as she began to remove her shirt, the caked blood sticking to the wound. So caught up in surveying her injury, she never noticed the appreciative gaze the other woman gave her when her shirt finally came free. Nor did she see the slight smile form on the brunette's face when she turned away to lower her jeans, exposing her newly acquired tattoo she'd gotten the day she'd found out her partner had been promoted, the ink symbolizing the new direction she'd hoped her life would take. Nora had chosen the Phoenix to bring her life full circle, back to its original purpose as she started over once again. She had no idea that it also was a symbol of love.

Back from booking, Nora plopped down at her desk and picked up a file from the ever-growing stack. The ringing of her phone brought a smile to her face. She welcomed any interruption that would keep her from filling out reports.

"Delaney." Nora barked into the phone, throwing the file back on top of the pile.

"Nora, I need you to come to my office. There's someone I'd like for you to meet." Dan's voice seemed distant, and Nora sadly shook her head, realizing that hearing her ex-partner's tone over the phone instead of face-to-face was now going to become the norm. But, for now, she welcomed the opportunity to see him again.

Striding down the hall, Nora stopped briefly outside Dan's door. She rolled her neck to rid the tight knots as she tugged her shirt down nervously. Exhaling loudly, she knocked on the door and entered with a smile pasted on her face.

"Hey, Dan. You needed to see me?"

The brunette from earlier sat in the chair in front of the new chief's desk. She turned and smiled warmly as Nora entered the room, and the blonde almost tripped at the greeting, confused as to why the woman's open and caring expression seemed to touch a chord deep inside of her.

"Nora, this is Nikki Beaumont. She'd going to be your new partner."

Nikki stood and extended her hand, and Nora reflexively reached out with her own, stunned beyond belief that she was to be partnered with a woman, a beautiful woman at that. She was only able to nod her greeting as words suddenly escaped her. The initial touch of their hands had sent shivers down her spine, and the blonde was rendered speechless.

"Today, I'd just like for you to show Nikki her new desk and acquaint her with your current cases. Tomorrow, you two can go out and nab the bad guys."

Dan's voice pulled Nora back to the here and now, and she released Nikki's hand as she turned her attention back to her boss. "Um, okay." It seemed her gift of speech was returning slowly, very, very slowly.

Later that evening as she dined with her brother, the blonde detective discovered exactly who Nikki Beaumont was.

"Her dad's Arthur Beaumont, you know, the city councilman. She's in a whole different class than we are, Nora. She grew up with the silver spoon in her mouth routine, real high class."

Nora groaned. "Well crap, that's all I need. Here I was hoping for someone who'd be able to watch my back, but I guess I'm back to being on my own. She's probably never broken a fingernail in her life."

Bobby shook his head in sympathy. "Sorry, Nora. Maybe she'll decide to return to the high life and leave the detecting to people who know what they're doing."

"You know what's funny, Bobby? I didn't get that vibe from her today. She had some really good ideas about some of the cases I've had on the back burner, and she never gave off the holier-than-thou vibe. I kind of liked her. I guess looks can be deceiving."

A grin creased Bobby's face. "Speaking of looks, Yowza, she's one fine looking woman. I think I could melt in those eyes."

Nora almost choked on her drink when the exact same feeling made itself known, in high definition no less. The detective barely listened to her brother prattle on about Nikki's looks as she contemplated her own thoughts instead.

She'd noticed women were attractive before, but she'd never been attracted to other women. There was just something about Nikki Beaumont that made her feel relaxed and comfortable, and not in the relaxed and comfortable friends' kind of way. Putting her thoughts away for later, she refocused on her brother's words as the pair caught up on the precinct gossip.

Back at home, Nora crawled into bed and closed her eyes. Her conversation with Bobby had confused her more than ever. Learning of Nikki's background had unsettled the detective and, even though Nikki seemed to contradict every thought the blonde had ever had concerning New Orleans' high society types, Nora wondered if she'd misread her new partner.

The detective tossed and turned for the next several hours, her thoughts filled with doubt and uncertainty as well as a heavy dose of confusion. Finally, the blonde decided to take each day one at a time and see how things went with Nikki. If worse came to worse, she could always request a new partner.

Just as Nora began to drift to sleep, a tingling sensation started in her lower back, and she sleepily rubbed the area surrounding her tattoo. The blonde slowly relaxed and nodded off, totally unaware that her Phoenix was preparing to rise from the flames.

The End

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